Looking through my emails I came across the “seven ways to check out your doctor”. Rule Number One was “ask around”. That could either be a good or a terrible idea.
You could ask a nurse. Assuming you get a glowing review of your doctor. What does it mean?
If you ask an Operating Room Nurse: It means that the doctor shows up on time, is organized, rarely throws temper tantrums, has no strange rituals, and treats them well. They never see the final result so they have no idea of the outcomes.
If you ask an Emergency Room Nurse: It means that the doctor comes when called, is good at handling the patients, doesn’t require a lot of assistance and gets the paperwork done. They also never see the final results
If you ask a Floor Nurse: It means the doctor is polite when they have to call, they visit the patients at regular times and don’t require a lot of assistance or demand unusual things.
I’ve had nurses tell me how wonderful a doctor was who was found to be drug addicted and had his license suspended because of his high complication rate.
You could ask another doctor: If you get a positive response, it could either mean that they’ve sent a lot of patients to this doc and they come back with great results or that they’re golfing buddies. If you get a negative response either the doctor you’re asking doesn’t believe in Plastic Surgery and thinks Plastic Surgeons are overpaid prima donnas, or he has actually seen some unsatisfactory work.
You could ask someone who has already had surgery by your doc, but this can be dangerous if you don’t understand the psychology. A powerful mechanism is called “cognitive dissonance” (sorry). In it’s simplest form, it means that the mind is distressed when it holds two conflicting ideas, and finds ways of relieving this stress. The classic example is the fox wants the grapes, but is unable to reach them (the dissonance). The relief comes by convincing himself that they were sour anyway. What does that actually mean to you? If the person you’re asking about your doc has had a bad experience or result with the doctor, they could be in a state called “dissonance”. Without realizing what they’re doing, one way of relieving this “dissonance” is talking someone else into doing the same thing (sort of share-the-misery). I recently had a patient come to me with a very unsatisfactory breast augmentation. She needed to have fairly extensive surgery to correct the previous surgery. While talking to her, I found out her daughter was also interested in breast surgery and she sent her own daughter back to the original doctor. That is cognitive dissonance at work. If someone recommends a doctor, careful questions will tell you whether they are really satisfied or dealing with “cognitive dissonance”.
Best choice is to ask someone who is still researching potential doctors. You can share the information and take advantage of the adage “two heads are better than one”. Good luck.
Remember, Plastic Surgery done poorly can cause; embarrassment, humiliation, prolonged disability, financial hardship, deformity, irreparable damage, or death.