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Old 10-18-2015, 08:16 AM   #21
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Not much useful to add, just some things I wanted to share.

There is a movement towards publishing statistics on how well hospitals and surgeons perform on stats that actually matter such as:
* How often one needs to go back
* Medical errors
* Time to recover

I believe in Denmark and Sweden they are the furthest. You might want to ask around if there are similar stats being available in the field where you need an operation. Sometimes they are shared between hospitals but not the public.

Barring that information, there is very clear evidence indeed that the best results come from surgeons and hospitals who do the operation themselves, and do it often. So not the surgeon supervising or signing off on the young surgeon, but actually doing the whole thing.

In addition the actual day where you get the operation also is a factor. Don't go in on the weekends or friday evening.
Weekends, Fridays or holidays. Buddy's wife had a tubal ligation on Christmas day, and bleed to death. Any surgery can be deadly, best to improve the odds anyway you can.
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Old 10-18-2015, 03:23 PM   #22
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Absolutely. For example:
Nursing care especially: Hand washing practices. Pain control. Medication safety.
Housekeeping staff: Clean environment
Pharmacy: Mediication safety.
Management: Organizational culture of safety.
Yes and check out the practice group as a whole, best laid plans and all that. My DH needed some cardiac work done on pretty short notice. Mitral valve repair, started to become a problem and they recommended sooner rather then later. Research 3 locations and sets of doctors. Pick the practice that he started with when it became a problem. (very highly rated), Has a conference in the hospital with a cardiac surgeon who he likes a lot. I research the gentleman and it's all good. Start the ball rolling, insurance, pre-test, and all that stuff. I get called a week later by the scheduler for a completely different surgeon ..I'm like WTH, what about Doctor A who worked with my DH, well Dr A says Dr B is the expert on valve repair around here and Dr B should do it.MY response was, why do we have to hear this from the scheduler because it's kind of a big deal.

We proceeded with Dr B and things went fine, however the day of admission I had to make a stink about actually talking to the doctor in person, they said he was busy. I said we have never even talked to the man and I am going to see him in person before the surgery. The PA do a lot of the opening and closing and all the support staff is crucial to good outcomes. I don't think they get enough credit for what they do.
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Old 10-18-2015, 07:04 PM   #23
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Our neighbor is an anesthesiologist. I don't ask her who to get, but she will tell me who not to get as a surgeon.

And she knows she's good since she's a gas passer--watching every surgeon in our area perform their skills.

Good internal medicine doctors and good family practice docs will use good quality surgeons.

My urologist has a sign in front of his office with a dripping faucet applique. I'd think twice about using him for anything serious.
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Old 10-18-2015, 07:12 PM   #24
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Lots of good suggestion. A few years ago we moved to an area about 60 miles from where we lived before. So, we've needed to find some new doctors up here. We did a mix of things.

DH found his urologist by asking a former co-worker in the area. He gave us two names and I researched both.

We recently found a family practice doctor by asking the orthopedic surgeon who he recommends. He actually wrote out a list of several making comments on them.

DH found an ophthalmologist by looking for in network doctors in our area and they he had me research them.

In terms of researching, I will say that I do pay attention to online reviews. I don't go by any one review and don't go by rating overall. I look at the substance of the comments. I take it as a given that every doctor will have some unhappy patients. What is important to me is when I see a pattern of negative comments about things that would bother me. If it really looks to be pervasive then I will go to someone else unless I actually know someone who has good personal experience with the doctor.

I do realize reviews can be faked but I think I'm pretty good at spotting that kind of things. And, again, I'm looking more at patterns than individual reviews.

I also, in addition to checking where the doctor when to school, did his/her residency, etc., will do a Google search. For example, for one doctor that had been recommended to me by another doctor's office, I found a newspaper article about a reprimand of the doctor that gave a lot of details and resulted in me just deciding to take a pass on that doctor.
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:19 PM   #25
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I sympathize with the OP's question of how a non-insider finds a good surgeon. Unless you know a surgical nurse or anesthesiologist in your area, it takes quite a bit of questioning and researching to rule out the marginal ones and narrow it down to the top recommended surgeons for the particular procedure you're most likely to have. I think W2R's suggestions are all excellent.

Also, there is a time and a place to do one's research, and it is well ahead of when it is anticipated that the surgery may be needed. In more than one occasion, I was asked by the patient only 5 minutes before going into surgery whether he had made the right choice in his particular surgeon. Not a good time and place for a completely unbiased opinion. I know some people just want some reassurance for their nervousness, but it's past the time for consideration of a different surgeon with better reputation.
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:19 PM   #26
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When my sister in law needed brain surgery she already was seeing the head of the neurosurgery department at the university she worked at. She wanted a second opinion and ended up with the top neurosurgeon in the city an hour away (again, University based teaching hospital.) In other words - she went for the top dogs at teaching universities.

When my brother was fighting his losing battle with cancer he was told that his case was too much for the local surgeons - but they referred him to the top specialist at the teaching hospital an hour south, in a bigger city. This gastro/gi/oncologist had a TERRIBLE bedside matter, but also had top residents studying under him who took excellent care of my brother. (Think "House" and his team.)

In both cases - the top doctors ended up being at teaching hospitals.
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:11 PM   #27
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When my sister in law needed brain surgery she already was seeing the head of the neurosurgery department at the university she worked at. She wanted a second opinion and ended up with the top neurosurgeon in the city an hour away (again, University based teaching hospital.) In other words - she went for the top dogs at teaching universities.

When my brother was fighting his losing battle with cancer he was told that his case was too much for the local surgeons - but they referred him to the top specialist at the teaching hospital an hour south, in a bigger city. This gastro/gi/oncologist had a TERRIBLE bedside matter, but also had top residents studying under him who took excellent care of my brother. (Think "House" and his team.)

In both cases - the top doctors ended up being at teaching hospitals.

One thing about this that some don't realize is that in teaching hospitals, it is often surgical residents who are doing most of the actual surgery. The esteemed neurosurgeon will often appear at the start of surgery, leave for 45 minutes or so, reappear to check on the 2 residents' progress, ask them to call him/her when they reach an important point in the resection, leave, then return and scrub in on the most critical part, then finally leave as the residents begin closing. Not the most experienced hands are doing the bulk of the surgery. But with close enough supervision, everything usually goes well.
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