Saturday, February 27, 2010

How to Know If Your Doctor Is a Great Doctor

A lab coat.Image via Wikipedia
I can talk all day long about bad doctors, just see yesterday's post. I have frankly had more experience with that kind of doctor than the good kind.

I do know that excellent doctors are out there, however. I will give you my personal check list that I have to have in my doctors. If he or she doesn't have these qualities, I move on until I find a better doctor.

I base these traits on three fabulous doctors that I have the pleasure and good fortune and thankfully now good health -- thanks to them -- to work with. One is a female ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat), one is a hormone specialist (he was the first doctor to believe that I had a thyroid problem and he fixed it) and one is a thyroid surgeon (often called one of the best thyroid surgeons in the country). I can easily add a fourth excellent doctor and that would be the TV doctor named Dr. Oz. I love that he cares about people with every fiber of his being. Had he not become a heart surgeon, he would have made a great shrink.

Traits of Excellent Doctors:
  • They are rarely late for your appointment and if they are, they quickly apologize for keeping you waiting. They bother to put magazines in the waiting room in case they do run late. Simply putting up medical graphics or drug company promotions on the wall does not count as reading material. If you see an abundance of Big Pharma advertising, leave.
  • They do not require you to wear that silly paper gown unless they have to examine something under that gown.
  • They do not repeatedly interrupt you.
  • They do not wear ties and often they leave that white doctor's coat at home as well. Bad germs love ties and that white coat often puts a lot of distance between doctor and patient.
  • They are not offended if your bring in internet research that you want to discuss with them. This kind of doctor is thrilled to have a patient who is knowledgeable about their own health and one that will be an active partner in their own health care. They often recommend books for you to read to further your knowledge. This kind of doctor is never threatened by an informed patient.
  • They don't stop learning the day they receive their diploma from medical school.
  • Many of them don't mess with insurance because they refuse to allow an insurance suit to tell them how to best treat their clients.
  • They spend at least 30 minutes with you; often they spend an entire hour with you.
  • They ask how you FEEL and then they listen to what you say.
  • They understand the body as a whole and thus treat the body as a whole.
  • Many of them understand drug interactions so thoroughly that they could double as your pharmacist.
  • They never denigrate holistic health care; instead they integrate it into their knowledge base and practice.
  • They actually do the basics that every doctor should do: take your temperature, your pulse, your weight and your blood pressure. If you are seeing a thyroid doc and they never bother to actually walk over to you and examine your thyroid, fire that doctor.
  • They often have a nutritionist on staff or recommend that you see one.
  • They treat you with respect and assume you are an intelligent being who can grasp the finer points of your illness.
  • They say that their best knowledge has come from their patients, meaning as they help patient after patient back to a state of health, they learn something new with each case and that helps the next patient they see.


  1. I have nothing bad to say about thyroid hormone supplements. I take about one capsule a day and have no issues. And i really don't mind the bad after-tastes.

  2. Ha! Over are the days of 30-1 hr with a physician. They can't make a living with the decreases in insurance reimbursement.