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Finding a good doctor

Neck of Steel CindyNNeck of Steel Cindy Posts: 1,064
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Don't you just hate it when the doctor blows you off? I think that connecting with a doctor is as key to a good recovery as the skill he/she has.

A surgeon takes our life into his hands when we hop on that operating table. I can't imagine the pressure he must be under knowing that if he/she makes a mistake, we pay the price. A good surgeon will realize this every time he operates.

Some of the things that I look for in a good doctor are:

1) Experience
2) Board certified
3) Does he have any malpractice suits on record
4) Word of mouth recommendatiosn
5) Does he take the time to listen, really listen
6) Do we connect or does he treat me as "beneath" him
7) Compassion
8) Staff support
9) does he explain what he wants to do in terms I can understand
10) Is he okay with 2nd opinion
11) How long does he follow-through before passing me off to someone else
12) Does he treat me as if I am his #1 patient, or am I just a number
13) If having surgery, will he/she do the surgery or will he supervise a younger resident. If I find a highly experienced successful surgeon and choose him because of his success rate, I don't want to find out later that he wasn't the one who actually operated on me. Make sure you know who is in the operating room with you!

I have dealt with a lot of doctors through the years. Some good, some great, some should close their doors. A good doctor is easy to find, a great one is rare.

We should all make sure we are comfortable with the surgeon we choose, as well as the doctors who continue taking care of us, from our primary care physicians to pain medical specialists, to whomever we need next.

I am now working with a pain management doctor who takes the time to listen every time I see him. I am surprised at his level of compassion and how he comes in, sits down, makes eye contact while we are talking, and I am his number one focus while he is in the room.

For those of you who have crappy doctors, I am sorry. I know I am lucky. Just wish all docs had a magic wand and could make us well again!

Please share your recommendations for a good doc and what steps you take to make sure you get the best care possible.

Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    Your list is pretty thorough. I dont know that when you put the list together if they were in a priority list. If so, different people might have different orders, but hopefully all those criterias should be included or at least considered.

    The biggest one for me is Compassion and Listening. My current Pain Management doctor does so much of this. I have told her many times, that I consider her a person first and a doctor next.

    Now, when it comes to the ones who are going to operate. I want most of those same things, one thing people talk about, that doesnt bother me and that is besides manner.
    Sure it would be nice to have a doctor who is easy to talk to, but when they are in the business of opening up with a knife, I dont care if they have the worst manners, just do the job!

    I am also so very fortunate, I can not stress this anymore.
    The fact that my wife has been in the same Hospital in the medical field for over 35 years and many of our friends are doctors and other medical professionals, we have sort of an "insiders" look at which doctors you want and which ones you dont.

    When I had all my surgeries, my wife made sure, I had the anesthesiologist that she knows was the best, she knew the OR nursing staff as well as the recovery room nurses. And our doctor friends told us which neurosurgeon to go with. Now at our hospital, there are only 3 to select from, but two of them, I wouldnt want to have them come anywhere near me with a knife.

    So, I have an edge on many other people when it comes to this. But still, when you start to pull in your entire medical team (cause its always more than just the doctor), you should basically interview them! Really, talk with them before the surgery.. After all its your body
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I was just coming up with a list of things that are important to find a good doctor. No certain order. I used to think that if a neurosurgeon was committed to all those years of schooling, residency, fellowship training, whatever, then he must be super good. Just check around here and you will see that so many people have had surgeons who are maybe good, but definitely not great.

    If I can help someone realize that not every doctor is the best doctor for him/her, then my purpose of this post is done. Be your own advocate and find a doctor who matches what you want.


    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • You know my surgeon has all the qualification except his bedside manners. Since I am new to surgery and chronic pain, I have a hard time connecting to him if we can't communicate with and relate to one another. I did end up choosing him because he was referred to me and I needed surgery soon.

    So far...rest of the doctors that I see on regular basis are awesome! It took awhile, but I have a team that I trust.
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