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Old 02-05-2010, 12:56 PM   #21
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I think a good doctor is made by his experience not the medical school he attended. Medicine is more of an art than a science and in my mind a doctor is a good as his experience. You can go to best university in the world and if you've never seen a case of tropical disease, you probably cannot diagnose the condition so a doctor's post medical school experience such as the hospital at which he or she did their internship and where they end up serving are probably more important than anything.
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Old 02-05-2010, 01:08 PM   #22
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What red flagged Jackson's choice of physician for me was the area Dr. Warner practices in. It's a really low class hood area in Houston. You won't catch me running around there after 6 pm.
Why would he go to a physician that practices in an area like that when there are so many fine African-American physicians out there in nicer neighborhoods--and in L.A.? Why get a physician all the way in Houston? If it doesn't smell right....
Orchid, with all due respect, I find this post a bit offensive. Poor people get sick too and need doctors to care for them. God bless the doctor who chooses to serve the underprivileged!! One can make an argument that the doctor who serves the underprivileged might be a better doctor because poorer people tend to be less healthy. From all accounts, Dr. Murray seemed to have been a very good doctor. His only mistake was excercising poor judgment. It seemed to me that being star struck and his dire financial situation contributed to this poor judgment. I am not excusing his behavior of course.
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:19 PM   #23
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Sorry, Letj, I didn't intentionally mean to upset anyone. Guess I just doubt his "intentions" more than you do. More than a few physicians in the family, and maybe I've heard too many stories.
However, for those physicians that actually choose to serve the underprivileged when they have a superior educational background (meaning having finished at a top school)..well, there can be no higher calling. Unfortunately, I think this is rare and most physicians that practice in the hood don't have a superior educational background. Au contraire.
And Dr. Murry definitely did not graduate from a superior medical school. In fact, I think his school is like the 6th from the bottom.
I hope you can prove me wrong here, Letj.
Obviously, you did not get the point of why would Michael Jackson--with all his money--go so far out of his way to this particular physician. Does that not strike you as odd? Do you believe Michael Jackson was poor and that's why you were offended?
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:48 PM   #24
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However, for those physicians that actually choose to serve the underprivileged when they have a superior educational background (meaning having finished at a top school)..well, there can be no higher calling. Unfortunately, I think this is rare and most physicians that practice in the hood don't have a superior educational background
I think you are just misinformed. The vast majority of medical schools are associated with (among others) hospitals that traditionally serve minorities and the underserved. Call them "inner city" or whatever, places like the old Cook County, Cleveland Metro, Charity in New Orleans, numerous county hospitals, etc. etc. etc. are staffed by some of the top academic faculty. Many are very competitive. Some choose to practice there, some because it is where their academic affiliation is, and some out of altruism. They may not be "pleasant places" to go but they may well have all-star staff.

Then there are community health centers all around the country staffed by sincere, altruistic doctors serving minority populations year after year at less than average income, with quality that would put some private practices to shame.

Letj makes some good points.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:04 AM   #25
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Many health insurers have some background information (i.e med school, residency, graduation year, certifications, etc.) about their participating providers on the website.
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:31 AM   #26
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I don't see it as why would Michael Jackson choose this particular doctor, anyway. I see it as why would ANY doctor want to spend a year or whatever with only one patient. I don't imagine the pool of doctors looking for a short-term job like that is very big (and I think most doctors have huge debt coming out of medical school but they still wouldn't want this kind of gig).

Also possible that MJ/his people didn't hire the dr--could have been a requirement of the comeback-tour producers to get him in shape for the tour and told the dr. to do whatever it took.
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:58 AM   #27
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So, I find this Murray went to Meharry Medical College in Nashville, 6th from bottom of this list, where your MCAT needs to be a mere 7.5 score and your GPA only needs to be a 3.1 (isn't that a C grade average?).
So, I feel my theory is right about Dr. Murray; however, I am going to pay more attention to where my physician went to school from now on.
I'm not sure the quality of the medical school has any bearing on the quality of care someone might receive from a physician practicing medicine for a substantial period of time. We trust our accrediting agencies, educational institutions and professional licensing authorities to ensure that our professionals pass minimum standards of competence before they're launched into society to practice a profession that could be hazardous to the public if performed poorly. It's the additional training and experience after miminum certifications have been met by the professional that are a better indicator of quality of care or competence of a professional, rather than initial professional/vocational training at a professional school.

In the legal profession, the degree from a prestigious law school makes a good office wall hanging, but it doesn't vouch for professional competency, character or integrity -- that's acquired or revealed from years of practice and experience. I assume it's the same way in the medical profession.
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:32 AM   #28
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Well, ChrisC, I have no idea either if school and quality correlate; but, when you aren't in the medical community and are in a location where you know nobody in the medical community, it's all you have to go on.
If someone has a great idea how to check the quality of care from a specific physician, it would be great. I know there is some board somewhere, but not sure where or what it is. It would be a great timesaver for many I think to use.
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Old 02-06-2010, 01:20 PM   #29
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Well, ChrisC, I have no idea either if school and quality correlate; but, when you aren't in the medical community and are in a location where you know nobody in the medical community, it's all you have to go on.
If someone has a great idea how to check the quality of care from a specific physician, it would be great. I know there is some board somewhere, but not sure where or what it is. It would be a great timesaver for many I think to use.
It's not all you have. You check with other doctors or medical providers, you check with other patients, and you check with the medical authorities. You check to see if the physician might be certified in a specialty.

The medical school someone graduated seems to me to be a very unreliable proxy for the quaility of medical care you might receive. It can give you a false sense of security to think that someone who graduated from a superior medical school will give you superior medical care, or a false sense of insecurity that someone from an inferior (or foriegn) medical school will give you inferior medical care.
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:09 PM   #30
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I think you are just misinformed. The vast majority of medical schools are associated with (among others) hospitals that traditionally serve minorities and the underserved. Call them "inner city" or whatever, places like the old Cook County, Cleveland Metro, Charity in New Orleans, numerous county hospitals, etc. etc. etc. are staffed by some of the top academic faculty. Many are very competitive. Some choose to practice there, some because it is where their academic affiliation is, and some out of altruism. They may not be "pleasant places" to go but they may well have all-star staff.

Then there are community health centers all around the country staffed by sincere, altruistic doctors serving minority populations year after year at less than average income, with quality that would put some private practices to shame.

Letj makes some good points.
Rich, I have to agree with you. I am from New York and most of the top hospitals are located in NYC and serves a sizable minority.
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:26 PM   #31
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What do you call they guy person who graduates last in his c;ass at med school?



Doctor!
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:03 PM   #32
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My Training, by Rich_in_Tampa

Back in the late 60's, I chose to skip medical school after finding a book of matches with an ad that said "Got what it takes? Learn medicine at home in just 8 weekss."

I worked like a fiend for those 2 months and graduated first in my class (I'm just guessing there). It was not easy - lots of pictures with so many labels to remember, practice knotting and unknotting my shoelaces over and over until I got it down, and repeatedly removing gizzards from poultry discarded by the grocery store (just in case I ever had to urgently remove a gizzard from a real patient). One of the two textbooks we used had over a hundred pages.

Eventually, things started to click, and I knew I had mastered this profession. Looking back over who I was before and after those gruelling 8 weeks, I knew I was a changed man. The rest is history.

Back then they weren't so strict about grades and licensing.



My mother in law' doctor has his diploma mounted in the waiting room. He went to school in one of the Caribbean countries, I forget which one.
He seems to be doing a good job of keeping her alive so far. He took over the practice from a local well known doctor that retired.
Of all of the doctors I have associated with, none seem to come from Harvard or even I school that I have heard of.
Out in the sticks where I live there doesn't seem to be any MDs. What they have instead is DOs (doctor of osteopathy). I was concerned at first because I never heard of them before. Seems that they are the same as MDs except that their approach is more holistic. Took my appendix out OK.

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Old 02-07-2010, 06:54 PM   #33
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Yes, I am aware that some clinics in less than desirable neighborhoods have excellent physicians. I know cause I've used them before myself. The clinic I used was run by a Neurosurgeon from one of the major hospitals, so your service was excellent (for a low cost).
That wasn't even the point of this post, and I have no idea how this got so off-track, but I can say I am fast realizing that I must have been the only one to question why Michael Jackson would choose a physician far from LA where he lived. I guess that didn't seem odd to anyone but me....oh well....
Onward to more pleasant topics for me.
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:13 PM   #34
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It's not all you have. You check with other doctors or medical providers, you check with other patients, and you check with the medical authorities. You check to see if the physician might be certified in a specialty.

The medical school someone graduated seems to me to be a very unreliable proxy for the quaility of medical care you might receive. It can give you a false sense of security to think that someone who graduated from a superior medical school will give you superior medical care, or a false sense of insecurity that someone from an inferior (or foriegn) medical school will give you inferior medical care.
Very true. I am aware of major, major patient safety snafus involving physicians who graduated from Ivy League schools. And I'm also aware of superb care being delivered by physicians who graduated from a variety of countries and medical schools. A few years ago I worked with two residents from Nigeria, who were among the best all round physicians I have ever encountered. The advantage of locally trained physicians is that their learning is more consistent and they know the local system.

IMHO a basic medical education can be delivered by most medical schools, but not all; layered onto that are many factors, including the listening and communication skills, professionalism, teamwork, commitment to learning, experience, procedural skills, etc. of the physician, the accountability of the system he or she is practicing in, and his/her involvement in clinical audit / peer review of some kind on a regular basis.
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:33 PM   #35
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We have not been sick much to see many doctors, leave alone knowing how to rate them.

But I have worked with many engineers in my career. Though nobody cares about what school a guy came from once he has been working a few years - what he could do told more about his ability than anything else - I have seen plenty of lousy engineers from top engineering schools. The only reason we bothered to find out their pedigree was because these engineers were so lousy we wondered what schools they graduated from. One individual, despite having a Master degree at an Ivy school, couldn't even write a coherent sentence in English so that he could at least help with paperwork tasks like writing reports. And remember that the typical nerd is not that great a writer to start out with, so our standard is not that high. This American's English was truly atrocious, near the point of illiteracy. Another engineer with a doctorate from the same school was able to do better, but of course more was expected of him.

Of course, I remember these individuals more because of their impressive schools, while other flunkies from lesser schools would not raise any eyebrow. The point is that the correlation of the school's prestige to an individual performance is not infallible.

On the other hand, I worked with a fellow who was so desirable at his megacorp (a multinational corporation with more than 100,000 employees) that VPs from different divisions tried to recruit him and fought to have him. His degree? A mere BS from a state school. He could get a graduate degree easy enough, but got bored with schools and wanted to get out to the industry to do something "real". He used to point out to me so many errors and BS things published in articles in academic and professional refereed journals in the field that he was an expert in.

I tell my story for what it is worth, and don't know if it has any similarity to the medical profession.
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Old 02-09-2010, 10:14 AM   #36
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Since NW-Bound used a non-medical example first, I don't feel like this is as much of a hijack: I put next to no weight on the school attended based on my professional experience with engineers and MBA's. My current example is with two coworkers who graduated less than two years apart from Harvard Business School (HBS) which is widely recognized as one of the top MBA programs in the United States:
  • One of these coworkers has the sharpest business mind I have personally witnessed in many years. This coworker does not flaunt his HBS background; and, has mentioned the unofficial HBS slogan more than once when discussing his classmates: Often wrong; never in doubt.
  • My other HBS coworker is one of the most useless people I have had the misfortune to be associated with and has never, to my knowledge, done a single spec of quality work.
I put much more stock in what a person has done (experience) and attitude/character than educational background attempting to evaluate a person for a given position whether it be engineering, finance, medicine, or most anything else. Since I rarely have the time or access to evaluate these qualities myself before making some kind of commitment (whether hiring/contracting a new engineer or choosing a new doctor/specialist), I do rely very heavily on recommendations from people I trust for my initial screening.
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