Do You Trust Your Doctor

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 999
   Posted 6/1/2009 3:20 AM (GMT -6)   

It is 1 am and I thought this sounded like a good thread. I hope that if I get to sleep and wake before going to work I can re-read this and still hope it sounds like a good idea. I notice comments in Posts and I have faced this myself. Do we, and if so, how much do we trust our doctors. You read the medical license that is sometimes posted on the walls in the exam rooms but it does not say, graduated 151 out of 152. At least he wasn't at the bottom right. There are places where you can check out doctors but I am not sure how reliable those sites are. We can get recommendations from other, read advertisements or like in my case, he is the only one for over 800 miles that would agree to see me. My questions are simple.


What criteria do you use to gauge how much you trust him or her? Do you simply trust him or her just because they have a degree and an office? What steps do you take to check out a doctor before going to see him. On my surgeon last year, I told him I checked him out (even though he was the only surgeon who would agree to see me). He asked me what I found out about him. I told him his wife's name, son and daughters names and what college they are attending, his political affiliation, awards received and some major medical interest causes he had been attached to as a donor. I knew when and where he went to med school and where he did his internship.  He was impressed and maybe a little worried. I am not advocating all this was necessary, but what steps do you take before trusting a doctor to help you with major life issues?

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 168
   Posted 6/1/2009 4:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi FatherJohn,

One thing we all should do is check with the state medical board. They can't tell you how good the doc is but they can sure tell you if there have been any actions taken against him. It's sort of like the BBB for small businesses. Obviously the docs don't want any problems with the board publicized but the information is generally open to public inspection. There may be something a harmless as a record keeping technicality or it could be something major.

I don't know if you followed my difficulty with my pain doc but it was disturbing enough to cause me to research the board's database. It turns out he has quite a history of problems that has him on probation currently. I didn't know that when I was referred to him. Had I known then what I know now I probably would have looked elsewhere.

As you point out, there is no reliable system for measuring or grading the quality of services delivered. That leaves us with word of mouth evaluations from other patients. Not a very good system for something as important as our health care. It certainly is an area that needs to be addressed.

Degenerative disc disease since 1985, 4 back surgeries, fused from L2-S1, instrumentation. Being treated for chronic pain. Oxycodone 30 mg. IR. Candidate for SCS in the future.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 536
   Posted 6/1/2009 10:03 AM (GMT -6)   
FatherJohn, This is a very good thread topic. And it is of utmost importance. I really haven't ever thought about it before. I feel bad for having said that. This is our lives we are talking about. I would think checking with the AMA to see if there are any major complaints or suits against them. There has got to be other sources for checking them out as well. I have gotten referrals from my doctors and from other people. It sure would be nice to know the correct and reliable source to go through in the future.

Tony McGuire
Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 483
   Posted 6/1/2009 10:19 AM (GMT -6)   
I wasn't going to ANY doctor, because I didn't trust, nor like, the last one. Then I started having some pretty serious situations, and asked the ER/Emergency Clinic doctors about their pick if they had to go to a doctor.

And that's who I went to, and began asking questions. So far, the answers have made sense and have taken me in the right directions. As far as I know he has never lied to me. 'Like' isn't exactly in the ballgame with this one (pretty flat personality it seems), but I don't have to have a new best friend - since I'm looking for an effective doctor.

So yes, I do trust this doctor and respect his knowledge. Started by word of mouth and tested by personal contact.
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Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16418
   Posted 6/1/2009 1:07 PM (GMT -6)   

Very good topic indeed. Its a tough one to asnwer like you say. We can check them out to see if there are complaints filed. I have alot of friends in this town that I can make calls to and find out the dirt on alot of drs. They are still in the hub of things so its fairly easy for me to have one checked out. Also friends can help out here too.

ER as Tony says is a decent source sometimes. I have found my PCPs nurse to be a great wealth of information on good drs as well. I found my gastro who I think is worth his weight in gold thru a nurse that was our client. I have been with him almost 7 years now. If I go into an appt blind, I just check things out while there, attitude of the office staff, listened to patients in the waiting area. Once I meet the dr I go by my gut feeling and kind of take it from there. I will sit and listen and then after I am home I sort of think things thur. Do I whole heartedly trust every dr I see, absolutely not. They are human too and can make mistakes.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 1235
   Posted 6/1/2009 4:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I do most of my research online as far as specialties go, degrees, colleges
, then narrow the field through family and friends. I have also asked friends who work in other
doctor's offices about a doctor. Once I make an appointment, though, I watch the office staff, how courteous they are to other patients,
how long they wait, if they roll their eyes or hide behind a plastic barrier, if they smile and laugh....
Then I see the doctor, I wait to see if they shake hands, make eye contact, hide behind the file/folder pretending to read.....
if they ask questions about the yes' or no's they see in the interested or not they appear to be....
if they ask about previous tests and results, or if they cut me off during my answers or tend to rush me through them...
There is alot that you can tell once you get into the office, no two ways about it and sometimes I think it is far more telling about the doctor and the office
than any research you can do on line.....
PLIF/TLIF Fusion w/Instrumentation L4-5 Spondololysthesis L4-5.Laminectomies L4-5, foraminal stenosis L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, herniations L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, central canal stenosis L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1
POST OP CES 3/30-06
Neurogenic Bladder and Bowel, bilateral numbness legs and feet
Revision for failed Back surgery, pseudoarthrosis L4-5, hemilaminectomies L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, bmp added to revision fusion, replaced two bent screws that were reversing out of vertebrae - August 2, 2007
On going back pain and neuropathic pain, failed back surgery, consult for scs, decided not to do that at this point.
Adhesive Arachnoiditis also......just what I didn't need..9/08- adding bilateral ulnar neuropathy with severe compression to the mix. They want me to see a surgeon for ulnar nerve surgery, but I'm not biting.
I've seen enough surgeons over the last few years.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/1/2009 6:29 PM (GMT -6)   
It's a great topic but once again this thread is hard to read. Drags out. I don't know why!

I don't trust a doctor until I get a good sense that he/she respects and listesn to my input and is willing to
put that into the mix without my having to beg for that "privelege".
Yes, there's the issue of if they graduated last in their class, but some doctors that struggle but
are wiiling to learn may be better than arrogant ones at the top of their class.
It also depends on what type of doctor I'm looking for.
A surgeon I want someone who as good as I can get, and I could get less about
bedside manner.
But finding a PM doc is a real challenge for me, mostly because there are so few
around who prescribe. And the one who does I DON'T trust because I've already
heard too many things. So I avoid the one source of local PM I have.

Interestingly I went to an eye doctor today. Trying to get my body checked out before I
lost my insurance. And I was having some weird things with my vision and when I called
the office (I used the doctor my cousin goes to, and who has had a good reputation even
though the older doctor has retired now and a newer guy has taken over his practice)
on Friday they told me I needed to be evaluated soon in case their was a retinal tear.
They got me in this afternoon. And it was one of those places where everyone on the
staff was just so nice, pleasant and respectful - including the doctor - and I complimented
them when I walked out and thought this is how it should be all the time!
I left feeling relaxed, relieved that there doesn't appear to be a retinal tear but the
doc wants to check once more at the end of the month to make sure I'm not developing on
and they got me in on the 23rd and the woman making the appointment said it was
because they wanted to make sure they had time before I lose my insurance in case they needed to
do a procedure. I didn't have to remember every little thing - THEY did. Anyway,
I hope I'm making sense and not making too many mistakes as my vision is still a bit
blurred from the drops!

I think anymore I end up taking the doctor who can get me in for a particular problem and
while I should do more research, unless someone's doing a big procedure I honestly don't research
too much.

Rambling again. Rambling in the dark! LOL


Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 168
   Posted 6/1/2009 7:01 PM (GMT -6)   

Do you know why some posts are very wide and others are all in one screen? Is there any way to control the margins? It seems that once the thread is
started all the subsequent posts are wide like that.

Degenerative disc disease since 1985, 4 back surgeries, fused from L2-S1, instrumentation. Being treated for chronic pain. Oxycodone 30 mg. IR. Candidate for SCS in the future.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/1/2009 7:15 PM (GMT -6)   
I haven't yet figured this out (I'm not a computer person, that's for sure!).
What I thought was happening is that there would be a sentence or series of
character or a line or whatever that was unbroken (no spaces in it) happened to be in one post and that seemed
to change the whole thread.

BUT I don't see that in this post, so I don't know. So I just keep hitting the
return key right now.

Do you have any ideas? I look back over the posts, all I can see is the line that separates
the signature material each person puts in. That seems to go on without a
break. But I don't know if people put that in, or if it's something with the
program. Maybe someone with computer knowledge has an idea?

Sometimes the easiest thing is to start a new thread!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 999
   Posted 6/1/2009 7:50 PM (GMT -6)   
I am sorry for the waay this thread is looking. I will start a new on in a little bit and try and transfer some of the information.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 6/2/2009 9:10 AM (GMT -6)   

Can't read entire postings on this page but alot of times Dr's have had malpractice strikes against them that don't tell

the true story!  My judgements and choices of Dr.s  are based on how his/her office hums, you can usually tell by the office staff, if they

care usually the Dr does too.  If he listens, is open to hearing your questions and admitting he doesn't know something

but is willing to check into it for you and makes you feel cared for or hopeful when there isn't anything else to do,

asks how the pain level is, really

wants to hear HOW you ARE DOING, REMEBERS your last visit (even if he has to read his notes), 

Offers you new treatments if he thinks it might help and makes you

feel like you are his ONLY patient...well in my book thats the Dr. for me!! 


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