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How to find good neurosurgeon/spine doc

2

Comments

  • I too love my doc, he had great bedside manners, never felt rushed, he was very good at explaining things, and he is listed here on this site, He told me what he could do and couldn't do, and told me straight up, he was the third doc I went to, and am so happy,,,, oh ya, someone on this site reccomended him to me, and another reason I liked him, as the person who told me about him had complications, and the doc was right on top of eveything,I am not perfect as far as spine, but doc didn't have a perfect spine to work with, I am much better now, would do it over again with him.
  • A lot of it is knowing your own needs in the first place. I want the whole package. I want to be treated as a whole person. I want to be part of the team or involved in my care. This means the doctor has to be a good listener. Sure its important the doctor have good technique, but if the doctor is so arrogant and "checks out" when you present concerns, it can place you at higher risk. For example, he/she may miss a complication that could have been avoided. So a doctor with good technical expertise AND one that takes my concerns seriously is important to me. Really this is the difference between being confident and being overly confident to the point the patient is at further risk.

    Since I've experienced this never-ending flare-up I've visited several spine surgeons. The first one was well trained, devoted to spine surgery and actively operating. I noticed when I begin to answer his questions he quickly checks out. He even glanced at his text messages while I was answering his questions and failed to inform me in several ways. The second surgeon I saw (also spine doc) did not review the images with me directly and even behaved as though he was skeptical towards my complaints. The third surgeon actively listened to my concerns and did not seem to allow his ego to get in the way. He asked more questions and made sure I reviewed the images with him. When I questioned his logic and gave him more information to back my concerns he factored my additional information into a possible treatment plan pending further testing. The fourth surgeon I visited only listened for information to back up what appeared to be a preconceived notion of my problems and seemed to only want to help me on his own terms.

    My outlook on these doctors:
    #1) I'm sure he would do good work but if I ran into complications post op I'm afraid he would not pick up on the problem until the problem became more serious.
    #2) His skepticism towards me makes me feel skeptical of him.
    #3) With this surgeon I felt yards ahead of the other surgeons. He shows more willingness to factor in my complaints and concerns and wants me to be involved from the get go. I'm more willing to go back to him and explore further testing. My only problem is he is 400 miles from my home and if I ran into a complication this could be a huge problem and a risk.
    #4) This guys "conservative" manner is self serving. He already sees me as "broken" which I find demoralizing. Working with him might be just as risky as #1 or #2 doctors.

    Background: I have a recent past history of serious complication after a craniotomy. Thus I proceed with caution and am sensitive to marked deficites in the relationship from the beginning. I kind of like the doctor to be themselves from the beginning so I can evaluate them in terms of their strengths and weakenesses as you would a job applicant.

    Sure searching via this forum or going to a major university or a referral through another doctor are all good starting points. To me its important to go further and factor in the rapport you build or not build with the doctors as well.

    Its also a good idea to be mindful of the doctors accessiblity. How much does his or her staff protect him or her from you? The staff can easily compound complications if you are not able to directly inform the doctor post operatively. Sure they might say to call a certain number after hours etc, but I also look at how easy or not so easy it was to work with the staff in getting my initial appointment etc. Like I said, I want the whole package.

    Hope this helps.
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