Brittney D. (California)

My Patient Rights > Brittney D. (California)

Brittney D. (California)

It was February of my freshman year of high school. I was 14 years old. Everything seemed normal. But the course of my life – and diet – changed. It became a formative year that changed my mental and physical life.

I started feeling pain all throughout my gastrointestinal tract. It became more severe as time progressed, feeling like knives were being drug along the inside of my stomach lining. I started having bloody stool, which eventually turned into 25 or more trips to the bathroom each day. I started losing weight. At my worst, I lost 25 pounds in the span of two weeks. I was hollow. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I was numb to everything going on around me. My parents were my true heroes, taking me to daily doctors’ appointments and countless tests. We had no idea what was happening to me. After an MRI, CT scan, ER visit, and weeks of waiting, we finally scheduled a colonoscopy and endoscopy to get answers.

On the day of my colonoscopy, my parents carried my frail body into the hospital, praying for answers. After the procedure, I sat for hours waiting to hear a diagnosis. When my doctor came in with a grim look on her face, I knew my life was about to change – and not for the better. She diagnosed me with a chronic autoimmune disease called Ulcerative Colitis. Essentially, my immune system no longer recognized my colon cells as healthy and began attacking them. This causes inflammation along the entire gastrointestinal tract. My doctor told me it was one of the most severe cases she had seen, and that they were unable to complete the full colonoscopy due to the damage in my intestines. I needed the first of four blood transfusions that day.

After weeks of slow approval processes with my insurance, I was eventually put on a medication that weakened my immune response so my body wouldn’t attack my intestine and the inflammation would go down. This medication saved my life, allowing me to start my sophomore year of high school like a semi-normal teenager.

As I slowly recovered, I decided I wanted to make a change. I wanted to be a voice for patients who may not have one. I wanted people to know that they were not alone, and they have a community of people who are supporting them. That is how I got involved with My Patient Rights.

I quickly realized that it can be hard to find resources about your rights within the health care system, especially when going through a health crisis. I was lucky to have my parents advocating for me every step of the way, but what about the people who might not have that support? My Patient Rights gives patients the information they need on how to share their story, how to be a patient advocate, and how to fight for their right to access health care.

We are a community of strong individuals who have fought not only for their care, but in many cases, for their lives. For more information on My Patient Rights, check out our website at, and please contact us! We would love to hear your patient story.

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State and federal law protects your rights. When you sign up for a health plan and/or if you have problems accessing care through your health plan, it is important to know your rights.