Be Strategic and Choose Your Doctor Wisely!
I’m going to give you some tips on how to find a good doctor, but first I want to tell you a little about my experience, and how I ended up with mine. I will have to say he turned out to be the best, and I measured every doctor I had from then on, by his high standards and integrity.
On March 9th, 1983, the day I turned twenty-six, I found myself in front of an Gyn-Oncologist at the University of Alabama Hospital in downtown Birmingham, an hour south from my home, after being diagnosed with cancer of my reproductive system just barely ten days before. I had a large tumor in my pelvic area that was causing massive bleeding.
Good Doctors Beget Good Doctors
My mother had been treated for cancer fifteen years before and had a terrific doctor with whom she had a great relationship with for many years. Since she knew him so well, and trusted him with her life, he was the one she called frantically seeking help for me. Breast cancer was on the rise at that time and he specialized in it only, so I was not a candidate for him, but he did refer me to a surgeon that he had personally trained. That's how I wound up with such a good surgeon on that fateful day.
Listening - A Good Bedside Manner
Before he examined me, he sat and talked with me first. I was quiet and reserved by nature, and I could see he was aware of that. Relaxed and kind, he gently began to ask me some general questions about myself. When he found out it was my birthday, I could see him halt in his demeanor at the contradiction between what was supposed to be a happy occasion for me on that day, but in reality was a raw, unsettling situation for both of us. He wished me a happy birthday, and it sort of broke the ice, for me and for him. In just a few moments, I realized what kind of man sat in front of me. He had won me over with his ability to understand that I had a life, not just a problem. That began a trust with my surgeon that has lasted to this present day. For years he has been listed as one of America’s Top 100 Doctors in his specialty.
Here are my suggestions:
First, start by asking the people you know and trust, like close family members, or co-workers whose opinions you value, and one more idea would be to ask a surgical nurse, if you know one. A good surgical nurse will not stay with a bad doctor. Perhaps you have a friend who has a friend that just happens to be one. Your general physician will refer you out, but may be clueless as to whom to send you to. Doctors and nurses are not supposed to be preferential, but if you handle your quest with finesse, and use the civilian underground grapevine, which in my day was how we went viral, you could possibly end up very successful.
Second, if you go to the internet, make sure a doctor’s credentials are plain to see, including education, residency, special skills, attributes, and honors. Do not buy into these websites where doctors give a first name only, and specialties that don’t jive with one another. A doctor worth their salt will bare their bones. Most of them studied many years to be able to practice medicine and to serve the public, they are proud to list the details of their education and career.
You may not have a "built-in" resource like I did, but you can utilize the energy and knowledge of trusted friends and family to help you find that special doctor made-to-order. I believe you can do it. Good luck!
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