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When choosing a Doc…

  • By Dakota

    I know is very overwhelming feeling when deciding getting surgery & choosing a doctor. How do you know which doctor to choose?

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  • By Andrew Lumpe, PhD Moderator

    Dakota, Some things I’ve learned over the years include the following:
    1. Recommendations/referrals from trusted doctors. They usually know the good docs around town. Sometimes you have to be careful because they’ll first recommend a doctor from their own clinic because they’re trying to keep the business in house.
    2. Recommendations from friends. Ask around about other’s experiences.
    3. Board certification. Don’t go to a doctor unless they’re board certified in the area in which they practice. Each speciality have a governing board which oversee the certification process and it’s very rigorous.
    4. With the advent of the internet, online patient reviews are readily available. Just googling a doctor’s name reveals reviews. One word of caution about this, it’s likely that more naysayers will take the time to complete a bad review than a happy patient will post a good review. But I’ve noticed that if a doctor has a good reputation, they’ll be plenty of strong reviews.
    5. Experience and training. Look to see where the doctor was trained. Was it at a reputable medical school? Where did they do their residency and fellowship training? How long have they been practicing? This can be a double edged sword…too unexperienced mean less knowledge, too experience may mean they’re out of touch with the latest ideas and techniques. If you’re looking at a surgical procedure, ask how many of those procedures have they done?
    6. Where do they work? I find that excellent doctors generally take the best jobs at the best clinics and hospitals. If you live in a smaller community, you may need to travel to a larger city to find higher quality care. Once, when my son was small, he had a problem with his elbow. We lived in a small town at the time. The pediatrician suspected a dislocated elbow and sent us to an orthopedic surgeon. The ortho looked puzzled when examining him. He excused himself which I took to mean he was looking up in a book. He also brought back a fellow doctor who also didn’t know what was going on. They ordered a complex set of xrays with contrast die. They found the two forearm bones were fused together. We went to a big city children’s hospital and the doctor did a quick exam immediately told us what was going on (a congenital problem) and said the xray should never have been done.

    Remember, you can always get a second opinion on any diagnosis and insurance will usually pay for this.

    Hope you find some good doctors!

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