Choosing a Doctor


I had an interesting email come in the a few weeks ago from a woman looking for advice on finding a doctor:

I had an interesting email come in the a few weeks ago from a woman looking for advice on finding a doctor:

Dear Ms. Speyer,

I got your email from OB-GYN net and they said I should ask you my question. I am pretty sure that I am pregnant, but we are unsure about how to choose a good doctor. I live in NC, but just want some tips to make sure I get a good doctor. Do you have any tips that you can share with us? I would appreciate any advice that you could give to me. Thank you for any help you can give.

I decided that this was a good question for the OBGYN Forum, OB-GYN-L. The answers were interesting . I called my message " How to Pick a Doctor". Mark Lawson of Lubbock correctly pointed out that you "pick" cotton and "choose" a doctor. But ultimately we gals in the south just want to pick a doctor we cotton to. ;-) Here is some of the good tips I received:

We must note that a "good" doctor was specified. Which raises the question, what constitutes a "bad" doctor? Should we have record of his academic grades through medical school? Since most medical examinations end in honours, pass or fail should "good" be further qualified. Does good mean honours graduate? Academic excellence does not necessarily translate into "good" clinical skills or "good" people skills. Good surgical skills, good diagnostic skills, good clinical acumen, good patient relations, good listener.... Should we look at competence then. Competence does not translate into "good". I think that you have hit the nail on the head. Exactly what is this entity "a good doctor"? I think the Hippocratic oath tried to define it. Simply put: A "good" doctor ensures that his or her patient receives the best medical care at all times.
Dr. Carlos A. Chase

Call L&D (labor and delivery) and ask to speak to the L&D charge nurse, be diplomatic, tell her you're new in town and wondered if she would know of a good physician, **aside** contrary to stated beliefs elsewhere, this does not force her to consider the "bad" rather she feels proud to exhibit her altruistic nature **end aside** ask her for several references, maybe three, she is not in a position to play favorites... usually she will name three....(her favorite is #2 I've heard tell) 3)Call back and ask the question of the other 2 L&D charge nurses during their shifts.... (7-3)(3-11)(11-7)... if any of the referrals match that might be your person... Still remember, how you get along with your physician is a key factor, but we have heard good things about this technique....
Mark Lawson, Sonographer

A variation on (Mark’s) theme that I often use is to recommend a call to the chief resident at a teaching hospital, and ask her/him the same questions.
Larry R. Glazerman, M.D.

This is very interesting and I have to say I have been asked this question myself on many occasions by friends/acquaintances/relatives who were going somewhere else for Ob care, specifically where I did not personally know any of the docs.

My standard answer has been very similar to Mark Lawson's…I believe it says quite a bit when the nurses who *see you doing your thing* on a daily basis vote with their feet. As most know it helps to be a good surgeon etc., but the art of *practicing* medicine involves so much more. So talk to the people who see you being a practitioner every day...
Hugo D. Ribot Jr., M.D.

My fail proof method of finding a good Dr. in a new town is to call the chief resident on the service which is needed and ask him/her who she/he would see if they had the problem. If no residency program in town, check with the medical society.(not near as good as first method only requirement here is membership)
R. Daniel Braun, MD

And then in my nightly Net surfing I ran into an article addressing this very topic. "Choosing an Ob-Gyn" by Susan Feightner.

She agrees with the doctors methods and has some very detailed advice on what type of questions to ask before you make a final decision.

It all made me stop and realize how most of us don’t spend enough time making this decision an informed one. We should because the relationship between a woman and her Ob/Gyn is usually a long one and impacts many of our major life events.

I sent all the opinions off to the lady with the question and here is her reply:

Dear Ms. Speyer,

I wanted to say Thank you so much for all your help. We had no idea where to start, but I have an appointment on Friday with a doctor, but will only be talking and looking things over to make sure I like the place. He owns the Birthing Center here, but is just a doctor too. I want to make sure the option of drugs is there if I want them. We had only a few that we could choose from that our insurance company recommends, so I hope I picked the right one.

Certainly armed with all the good advice of the physicians she’s off to a good start.

Now if we could only figure out a way for doctors to only pick the "good" patients we’d really be on to something! ;-)

Warmest Regards,


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