Tuesday, February 08, 2005

How good is your doctor really ?

Most patients judge doctors purely by external appearances, such as: bedside manner; reputation; hospital affiliations; clinic decor; and how the phone is answered. Most take the doctor's technical competence for granted - after all, aren't most doctors equally good ? However, there is no doubt that doctor's skills can vary widely - and how good your internist is at unearthing rare problems or how well your surgeon wields the knife in the OR can make a world of a difference to you ! But how do you judge who is the best at handling your particular problem ? This is an amazingly complex question to answer, and The Bell Curve in The New Yorker by Dr Atul Gawande provides lots of food for thought - for all patients, and their doctors as well.

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