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How to find the best doctor/surgeon

me_and_my_mom
Posts: 45
Joined: Dec 2012

I am thinking positive, and hoping my mother will be ready for her debulking surgery in a few months. I keep reading how important the skills of the surgeon are for this operation. She has chosen a surgeon based on nurses recommending her because she is 'so nice'. I want to make sure she is the best one for the job though. I am having trouble finding info on the internet. We live in Massachusetts.
thank u

2timothy1 7's picture
2timothy1 7
Posts: 345
Joined: Jan 2012

The nurses who take care of surgeons patients should know how well the patients do. I have also read surgeons who have at least 5 years experience are better. I also asked my surgeon how long she'd been doing it. Best of luck to you.

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1297
Joined: Jul 2012

I was referred to my GYN/ONC surgeon and did not have much of a choice. But then again I live within Canadian free healthcare system and you don't, well not yet. I assume that your insurance covers all surgeons, because I have no idea how it works in USA.

MARKET ANALYSIS:
I would get a list of all GYN/ONC surgeons in Boston or in whole Mass.
www.bidmc.org; www.massgeneral.org; www.dana-farber.org; other hospitals
Think about logistics: transportation, visiting, lodging if the hospital is too far.

EXPERIENCE CRITERIA:
Hospitals usually post doctor's bios on their web-sites, so filter your list only to the more experienced doctors (over 5 years).

REFERENCES:
Then narrow your list down by running their names through www.ratemds.com. Pay attention not just to their rating but to the actual patient's comments and any past lawsuits. You can also include the "oh so nice" surgeon, she may in fact be well qualified.

AVAILABILITY:
When you have 3-4 choices left, call them all, talk to them and ask about their availability around the time of your mom's surgery (end February / beg. March). It is safe to operate 4-6 weeks after her 3rd chemo round. Before 4 weeks her blood counts may be too low. After 6 weeks CA125 may start going up again.

INTERVIEWS:
Meet with the available doctors. Bring all documents (blood tests, CT scans, chemo protocols, medical history, hospital transcripts, etc.) with you. Question everything including their experience with advanced OvCa patients, number of surgeries performed, types of surgery, mortality rate. Believe it or not: more experienced surgeons have higher mortality rate because they deal with more difficult cases.

DECISION:
All short-listed surgeons are well qualified.
Make your final selection based on your gut feeling.

Sorry, I know that I am a nerd. And a professional buyer.

MJensen
Posts: 93
Joined: Oct 2012

I agree with what the others have said. I trusted my Oncologist implicitly and feel he is the best in Santa Barbara. When the time came for my surgery I asked him if it was his wife, who would he want doing the surgery? He gave me the same name everyone else did. I would ask the Dr's and nurses in Boston who they recommend. We also have a website for all local Drs and they all have patient ratings. I refer to that website all the time. I didn't care for my surgeons bedside manor when I met him at first but was told by everyone he was the best. He did both of my surgeries laproscopically which really helped with the recovery time. I really like him now that I have gotten to know him. He may not be warm and fuzzy but he is an excellent surgeon! I am sure your family will make the right choice. So glad your mom is doing so much better! Michele

poopergirl14052's picture
poopergirl14052
Posts: 1185
Joined: Nov 2010

By my primary MD..very happy with my gyn/onc..she truly has seen my insides as well as my outside.

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