Monday, September 3, 2012

Perform Your Due Diligence

I read a disturbing article recently concerning a medical doctor who, in my opinion, should not be practicing. After allowing her license to expire in Colorado following a series of mistakes, she moved to Illinois and took up practice again as a neurosurgeon. Before long, she again began to make mistakes.
Leaving Illinois, she completed a one-year neurointensive care fellowship at Mount Sinai and now works there. She now works in an ICU environment, supervised, with neurosurgery patients.
A friend of mine is a nurse and explained some of the legalities involved. It seems that if a doctor surrenders his license or allows it to expire, nothing prevents them from moving to another area and reapplying for a license there. As long as the license wasn't revoked by the state where they practiced, if they move to another state, many other states will allow them to re-license.
While this doesn't seem fair, it does point out that we, as patients, need to perform our due diligence before we allow anyone to treat or prescribe for us. We tend to be a little on the gullible side when it comes to the medical profession. In part, I feel this is because it only seems logical that if someone has a license to prescribe potentially lethal drugs and perform surgery, they must have been found competent. Right?
Wrong. Someone graduated last in the class. And there's a minimum score for passing the licensing exam. What did your physician score?
There are some doctors you just can't seem to talk to. They have an overbearing attitude or talk to you like your IQ is in the single digits. You couldn't possibly understand the explanation to your questions. So you walk away with questions unanswered.
Don't let this happen to you. If you can't speak freely with your doctor, in a friendly informative fashion, find someone else. And before you choose a doctor or surgeon, regardless of the recommendations, check them out for yourself. You can start by checking with your state medical board.
Another place to begin is with. Just go to the site, click on the doctor's bag at the top left and fill in the spaces with your doctor's name. And there's your information, whether their license is active, if there have been any board actions, when his license expires.
It's time we took charge of our medical care, by doing our homework and checking the credentials of people who can potentially harm or kill us as easily as I can miss a typo in a manuscript. Yes they're doctors, but they're still human beings and therefore fallible.
I'm not against medical doctors. Far from it. I've known some fantastic doctors. I've also known some I wouldn't trust to put down a dying animal. You have to take charge of your own well-being. Do your homework and get some information before you entrust your life to a surgeon's hands.
Along with this, you need to ask about your prescriptions. You need to ask what they are, what they're for and make sure they won't conflict with any allergies you have or any other medicines you take. When you pick them up from the pharmacy, check that what you received is what was prescribed. If you have any questions,don't take anything until you've checked with your doctor or pharmacist.
Ask questions. Get answers, or go someplace else. Don't be a statistic. You only have one body. Take care of it and make sure your doctor does, too.

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