Diagnosis and prognosis are very different concepts based on different criteria. Diagnosis refers to identifying the nature or cause of the condition. Prognosis refers to the future of the condition based on previous case histories. People very often get these terms confused and link them together as a predetermined out- come of their injury or their illness. In other words, the prognosis is the likeli- hood of the person’s future with their condition based on other cases. It is a sub- jective not an objective conclusion but remember there are no two humans exact- ly alike physically, mentally, with beliefs or inner strength and ability. So really, how much credibility does that really give a prognosis?
In my long career as a disability advocate I’ve seen hundreds of people come for help as victims and helplessness because some doctor told them that they would never be able to do this or that and their future would be pretty bleak. Negative prognosis is more dangerous than the diagnosis itself because it fosters an attitude of giving up and giving in.
Why do doctors continue to make these negative diagnosis? I think there are two main reasons. One is that they are trained to look at facts based on previous out- comes and not to give patients “false hope” (how I hate those two words). An- other reason is they are medically and scientifically trained and are not invested in transitioning their patients into the world after the hospital or diagnosis. In summary, they do not know the almost unlimited options living with disability. They rely on a rehabilitation facility to do that but the rehabilitation staff is bound by doctor’s orders and his prognosis. Our whole medical system is based on specialists who are all under the control of the doctors. But guess who has the control over the doctors? You and only you. That’s right, you have the last say, you decide your own prognosis. You empower yourself by digging out the op- tions, learning what is possible. You are a unique human with your own brand of determination and courage. Only you know what you’re capable of. Don’t let the medical field take away your self-determination by telling you what you can’t do.
The life journey is not about the destination but the process of every day and how you live that process is totally up to you. Disability – Connections is a 501c3 nonprofit that was designed with an “each one teach one” platform be- cause we realized experience is the best teacher but a platform was needed to allow people with disabilities and their families to connect with each other. Ex- plore the resources below or share what you know.