Excerpt from "Choosing Your Doctor" as seen in Sick Girl Speaks!
Compatibility with your doctor is an issue of great importance. Whether you see him or her once a year or once a week, it is important to have some of the same philosophies and approaches to your health care.
Personality is important, and that is obviously something completely unique in every situation.
There are a few generalizations I can make about doctors, however, that are worth considering when you are deciding if you and your doc are a good match. At the very least, it is imperative to know that when it comes to your main physician, you do have choices.
Individual vs. Team
Both of these options have clear pro’s and con’s. Being treated by and individual allows more room for consistency and personal interaction. For the most part, I find this to be ideal. However, example 2 is one dramatic experience that can outline the flaw in this system of care.
The upside of the team approach is that there are many doctors working with you who are able to put their heads together to find the course of care best for you. There is less burnout and there is always someone to cover for a sick or otherwise unavailable doctor.
The down side of the team approach is the revolving door. Each time I go to clinic at my
Conservative vs. “Laid Back”
By conservative, I do not mean politically. There are some doctors who will not take a chance with your health in any way. That means, if you come in with a fever, they will send you for blood work, a CAT scan and urinalysis before they are satisfied that you only have a passing virus. The “laid back” doctor, however, will assume it’s nothing before they assume it’s anything. They will send you home and let you “wait it out” before they will order tests or prescribe meds. Both have pros and cons, but it’s important to know which approach you prefer before choosing a doctor.
Old vs. Young
At the risk of being “ageist”, I have found there are differences in the two. They both have very distinct benefits and it’s up to you to decide which one seems more important.
An older doctor obviously has more experience. This translates to the patient as less guess work and unnecessary tests. I have often gone into see an older doctor with unusual symptoms and they know right away what is wrong with me. Why? Because they’ve seen it first hand millions of times.
A younger doctor may have to do a little more research to figure out the cause of your problems, but the advantage to a younger doctor is that they are more often up on all the latest drugs and technologies. Medicine changes rapidly, and it’s difficult to keep up. A younger doctor is more likely to know about a new procedure or treatment that can be a smoother road for you than the roads of yesteryear.
Male vs. Female
The difference between male and female doctors is very much what you might expect. Women tend to be better at the whole beside manner thing. I have no evidence to prove that they are better or worse doctors than men, but I do sometimes worry that their emotionality can lead to a quicker burn out.
In many areas of medicine, there is a drive to use the latest and greatest theories to enhance or prolong life. What is interesting is that no two centers seem to have the same idea of what that “latest and greatest” may be.
When I was waiting for my first set of donor lungs I moved to