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Life With Lupus

How to find a good doctor?

does anyone have ideas how to find a good doctor before the actual visit?

I mean whom do you ask questions or say this is how i am...will the doctor with well with me? I have done this in the past with office women but they assure me yes that the dr i am seeing is great etc..

Than i get in there and he does not even listen to me..and has the nerve to say i insulted him by saying he is not listening to me!! lol!

So how do you find good doctors without trying million of them..or am i stuck?

Those are excellent points...the bests rheum dr i had...was hours behind but he spent as much time as we needed with him...he was my first one. Also my primary care dr..who also was internal medicine doctor..was one who diagnose me and was honest enough to say she did not know enough. I have had some great doctors...when i moved out in country...we just have limited doctors here...seems like most would rather be out playing.

But you are right about time. My old lupus dr here...I was one of his orig patients...he has gone from allowing half hour to now it is ten minutes...i finally had it with him because i lost my teeth due to dry mouth. Dentist kept bugging me to get him to prescribe this drug...he kept saying it was not that bad..well once i lost front teeth..he said he would...was too late.

so i been trying doctors that people or doctors up here say are okay...but so far i think they are horrible. My primary doctor just wants one so when i am sick...he can send me to him and help me get better. He does not know how to treat SLE , RA and fibro..though he tries with fribro..and does any test i feel i need.

but asking about times is great point....i just wish the office people would answer truthfully so i dont waste their doctors time or mine.

i like all your ideas....i am going to jot them down and use them to make calls or when asking people about their rheum doctor even. Thank you so much!!

Ann A. said:

I have found several variables to be strongly related to a physician's willingness to listen. Among the most important variables are: (1) how many patients does the physician schedule for each day and (2) how much time is scheduled for each patient. My primary care physician - the one I really like - schedules me for 1/4 hour. My rheumy only schedules me for 1/4 hour. As you can probably guess, the one who gives each patient more time is the one who listens.

Another variable which is important for me is the scheduling of laboratory work. My primary care physician who gives me 1/2 hour appointments has me come in for the lab work the week before our appointment. That means that during the first half of our visit, I bring up new complaints or bring him up to date on what is going on with my specialists and during the last half of the visit we go over the lab work. He hands me a copy and then we go over it together one line at a time. When I leave his office I always feel satisfied. My rheumy rushes me through the fifteen minutes and then I stop for the blood work on the way out. They promise to send me a paper copy, but I always have to call back and remind them.

For this reason, I have asked my primary care physician (whose specialty is internal medicine) if he would consider helping me manage my lupus. He can order the appropriate blood work and both of us can read a lab print out. Then he only needs to refer me to the rheumy when the blood work is too out of whack for him to deal with it. But the great thing about this doc is that he pays more attention to how I feel than he does to the paperwork.

In addition to lupus, I have Hashimoto's autoimmune thyroiditis. For years I was only being treated with synthetic T4. And even though the lab work said I was fine, I felt terrible. So on one of my thyroid sites, I searched for a physician in my area who was willing to also treat thyroid problems with T3. That is how I found the internist who is currently my primary care physician. On this combination of medicines the blood work indicates that I should be showing symptoms of hyperthyroidism. But I am not. I feel better than I have in years. So I am hoping that if he is in charge of all of my medication he can orchestrate a symphony that works for me instead of the paper.

So, I suggest

asking how many patients are seen in one day

how much time each patient is given

blood work scheduled before appointment so that it can be discussed

willingness to try integrate treatment approaches that are not considered to be standard practice in conventional medicine but which work for some patients.

Unfortunately, it’s like finding a good fit. Of course it’s best to get other patient referrals, i have used the internet for this. personalities have to mesh also. I think so much of it today is trial and error, sadly. Takes a lot of time, energy and money to find a good team. The trick is don’t settle for less than you are comfortable with. No matter what it takes, you deserve a good doctor that will work with you.

Anna gave me some great questions to ask ahead of time. I live in a very small town in remote part of Calif. So for me to get to cities with many Rheum doctors is 3/4 hour drive...basically day or even spending the night. So i cannot just keep trying different doctors....it will wear me out.

I do believe in asking people, support groups etc...but you should ask person who as much like you as you can get. What i want in a dr is completely different than some other persons idea.

I like her point of finding out how much time they spend with patients plus how many they book per day. That says a lot about the doctor. Is he into making a wad of money or really trying to help people? Help Dr is more likely to spend more time and have fewer patients per day. I had one /two like that and they are the best to me. Now if you do not like doctors who are not on time...then you hate em...but i knew they take all the time i needed to answer all my questions and try to work with me. Not just order me around like some i have known....or do nothing like others till you are hospital sick..even than i lived too far so he could not come and check on me because he books so many patients per day and sees ea one for at most..note at most.10 minutes! What can be solved in that amount of time if you have things going on?

So that is why i am asking how to find a good doctor ...before the appointment...if possible. Of course i still must click with them...but thank you and hope you have a Happy New Years ..healthy one!!

Oh i am not writing directly to you...but to anyone who is reading this. I realize i need to make myself more clear...what exactly i am looking for from you out there in the forum...as support. The online guides..i have tried to use those and i have used them too...but i often wonder if doctor has someone on his staff do it for them...and then on flip side how many people tend to do negative ones way more than positive. But i have used them despite my wondering about how accurate they are.

My husband is in the military so we move around a lot. I always start by looking for the best university hospital. I search their Rheumatologists and Nephrologists as well and look for whoever is in charge. I then google them and a few of the others on their team with the word Lupus and look for any research stuff they have been apart of. After that I take the name of the doctor I want to see to my primary doctor and they push to get me the referral for the doctor.

I asked the nurses in the hospitals....but that was when the PCP did rounds. Here in NY things have changed so much that your doctor doesnt really take care of you in the hospital any more...the hospital staff does. But the nurses should still know...who they like, who they use...personality...etc.!!!!

Deb, I did a lot of internet research to find the dr. I liked a website called health grades, usually there is a patient review included as well.

I agree strongly that a doctor who spends time with their patients is much better. My last PCP would sent his Nurse Practitioner in and had only 15 appointments a week himself (as in he never saw his patients). I have nothing against NPs, but I would like to actually see my doctor occasionally. At the beginning of my find to find an answer, I was in my PCPs office several times a month and saw the PCP once, just so that he could tell me my extreme fatigue was nothing and the pain was in my head. When I have days I can’t move I’m in so much pain, that’s not in my head. One day I went in (as a walk-in) because several of my symptoms were so severe there was no way to ignore it. My PCP and his NPs were all booked, so I begged until another doctor agreed to squeeze me in (three are 12 PCPs in my old office). This doctor was the fist doctor (PCp, specialist, ER) to actually sit down and talk to me in “common language” I could understand. He apologized for me having to wait in the room for him (a whopping 15 minutes after being squeezed in) and spent nearly over an hour with me (that would be his lunch time). He went over everything in my file, all my symptoms, and thoroughly examined me. He ordered so much blood work the order was on 2 pages, and explained everything he was looking at (wait, you can be told what blood work is being ordered and why without asking 10 times?!?!?). After the results came in, he called me and set up an appointment at my earliest convenience to come in and go over it. This lead to the revealing of a MAJOR misdiagnosis my PCP had made. As a result, I filed a claim with the Medical Board and insurance company against that doctor. I requested my office to change my PCP and it was declined (still baffles me). Due to the claim filed against my original PCP, I could no longer see him (fine with me). This left me with the dilemma of having to find a new PCP though. :-/

I can't tell you how many times I've asked my friends and trusted acquaintances if they know a good _____ doctor. I hate going into anything blind, especially doctors offices.

Where I live there are no rheumatologist at all...so nurses here do not know any. Not even the doctors here no any really. I agree about using RN's since i have few in my family lol! or anyone that works behind the scenes with doctor can tell you if they are decent people.

So guess now since driving to SAC just seems overwhelming to me. I tried very hard to talk myself into driving that far...i could see friends etc...but i am so wiped out and been now actually showing signs my kidneys are acting up. I really must see someone. My GP here now has ALS, lou Gehrig...i get now why he was pushing me to find one. He has even asked around for me as well only to be told...about few in southern Oregon but as he put it...they are just adequate. He knows i like being treated with respect, kindness and as equal in making choices about what meds, etc i am going to take or use.

I have ton of alternative people here...but what happens is when i end up in the hospital they do not have rights and i am tossed around to what doctor is on call so i must repeat my story a million times. My GP runs any tests i know i need to be check every few months but he now has said he won't because...this is hard...he clearly has at most a year or so if he is lucky of being able to practice. He has promised to keep me as one of he final patients. Just not fair some one as kind as he has been to me, has terminal disease. Sure make me realize how good i have it no matter even if i am crying from pain or fatigue, fingers hips wont work cause of RA. Compared to what he has to go through my life is piece of cake! So for both of our sake i need to find a new Rheum at least...in Ashland or Medford in Southern Oregon. I even been considering Reno...but think Sac. is closer. Also if i have doctor in SAC or SF so i am hours from my home i imagine all my surgeries are going to be down there...so far from my home.

So I cannot ask around since there are not that many people here with Lupus. I have tried to locate SLE group in Medford but with no luck. IT must be about 80,000 people. So if anyone is from that area...i would appreciate help of decent Rheumatologist. I thank person who gave me name of guy in Sac on scripps dr...he sounds really great...just the drive i think it would be 4 hours from my house all way into his office. Right now just not sure i can make it.

None in Chico....i was told. Auburn or Grass Valley, Davis all might be bit closer than Sac. I also toyed with Eureka and that area

Oregon would really be much closer...so appreciate any one that lives there...must be someone in Oregon on this site!! I do thank everyone for suggestions...i did get some excellent ones to ask the office staff that will help greatly...so thank you for all of those bits of advice. But my doctor's voice is being effective ...he asked if i found one last month...he said he will worry if i do not have one that he likes too..lol! so really just have to bite bullet and guess put it out on as many sites as i know for SLE. again thanks..sorry i am unable to write short posts. I really apologize.

I asked the nurses in the hospitals....but that was when the PCP did rounds. Here in NY things have changed so much that your doctor doesnt really take care of you in the hospital any more...the hospital staff does. But the nurses should still know...who they like, who they use...personality...etc.!!!!