There are many types of surgery, very few decisions are as important as deciding which surgeon will perform your procedure. Choosing the right surgeon can be tricky and sometimes your insurance company makes the choice for you. However, you might find yourself in a position to select your own surgeon especially for elective procedures. This little guide will make it easier for you to decide the right doctor to fit your needs.
Surgeons are specialists. In addition to being medical doctors, they have additional educational requirements to incise the human body. So, what should you look for? Academic and professional credentials and accreditation are key factors when choosing a surgeon. Start with board certification. Many surgical disciplines have an oversight board that will examine the ability of the candidate. If the doctor demonstrates a high level of competency and ability, the oversight board will offer certification. In addition to board certification, surgeons must perform residencies in a hospital environment.
Check their residency diploma and verify it with the State board of medical examiners. Each state has license requirements for surgeons and files should be readily available. State records are invaluable for background checks, especially if the surgeon was educated abroad.Work history can also shed light on qualifications. Making discreet inquiries may help you discover the surgeon’s background and qualifications. It may also reveal any specialties or specific procedures. The hospital itself can also lend some clues. A residency at Johns-Hopkins or Cedars-Sinai is a good indication of quality.
In addition to academic and employment related metrics, a surgeon should also be genuinely concerned about people. Talk to the surgeon beforehand. Interview him or her about why they chose medicine and what approaches they take to patient care. Their answers will reveal a lot about their character. While some doctors, and surgeons in particular, may exhibit arrogance; they should still show concern about you as a patient. If you are getting a bad vibe, do not discount your intuition. It may be a red flag.Whether a surgeon or a pediatrician, they all took the Hippocratic oath which states first and foremost to “do no harm.”