Aug 21, 2009

Picking a Doctor (Finding a Doctor: Part 2)

Now that you have some idea what style of doctoring will work for you, it's time to actually get an appointment.

This is not Doctor D's area of expertise since he is usually on the "getting picked" end of such things, but he has tried to find doctors for enough of his own family to appreciate that this can be a tricky step. Usually you are stuck staring a a long list of unfamiliar names from the phone book or insurance company. The best way to pick a doctor is to consult the experts in your community: retirees and soccer moms.

These people know stunning amounts about every doctor in a 5o-mile radius since they spend several hours a day discussing every doctor visit they or their friends have had in the last few years. So just saunter up to an Oldsmobile or minivan and show them your list. You'll have to sit through long stories about constipation or little Johnny's ear infection but you'll hear a lot about the names on your list.

A couple things to remember about the advice you get:
  • The doctoring style that worked for Harold or little Johnny may not work for you. (Like Ms. Smith from last post) Pay more attention to what they say the doctor said/did more than how they liked or disliked the doc.
  • Even the best of doctors (even Doctor D) will sometimes have patients that dislike them. A complex doctor-patient relationship sometimes doesn't work even with good doctors and patients. Don't avoid a doc just because one person hates them. (But if everyone hates them don't go, unless you just want another jerk in your life.)
  • Be careful when you hear effusive praise being poured on a doctor. Don't take it too seriously. Anyone who thinks their doctor is the best thing since sliced bread probably has a few screws loose. Doctor D's weirdest patients have sometimes been the ones that fell all over themselves saying he was the answer to all life's problems, when he hadn't done anything for them.
So with those things in mind circle one on your list and get an appointment. We'll talk about what to do at that appointment in Part 3.

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