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Walking the Health Care Labyrinth

Pioneering the role of “patient navigator,” Elisabeth Russell helps clients navigate the maze of today’s health care system

Heal
As soon as she arrived home, Elisabeth Russell knew something was wrong with her two-year-old daughter: Claire was walking funny, dragging her left foot. She called her pediatrician, who agreed to see Claire the next day. After a flurry of tests and CT scans, doctors sat Elisabeth down and spoke words a parent hopes never to hear:  “Your daughter has a brain tumor.”Lightheaded with shock, Elisabeth collapsed. Once she came to, she sat frozen, struggling to decipher what the jargon-jabbering specialists were telling her and her husband. But what it boiled down to was this: “They said there were no survivors of this kind of tumor; that my daughter had, at most, six months to live,” she recalls. Feeling desperate and anxious to do something, Elisabeth started calling the top brain tumor specialists in the country, pleading with receptionists and nurses to speak to someone, anyone, who could help. Within a few days, the evidence she’d gathered convinced her that Claire’s only option was radiation, and shortly thereafter her daughter started receiving treatment five days a week.At that point, Claire’s c …

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Patient NavigatorDoctorHealth Care SystemElisabeth RussellHealthcare

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