Health Care News & Discussion
Choosing your Personal Physician
06/04/1998 2:03 PM
Last week we told you about how having your own physician is critical to your health and life. But sometimes it is very hard to find a competent, caring physician. It is best to acquire a physician during your healthy years, before a crisis develops.
If you have a job and are raising a family and are in your 30s or 40s, it would be a good idea to obtain a medical checkup. It won’t cost much more than your 30,000-mile car checkup. Get a copy of your county medical society’s physician directory. Look for the internists and general physicians. Choose one in your area and call your hospital to ask if she/he’s on the staff. Call her/his office to find out about the cost and length of the initial comprehensive exam and to make the appointment. At the conclusion of the visit be sure to ask the reason for any recommendations and when to schedule your next evaluation. If, at your age, the recommendation is every three years, then return in three years for another checkup.
If a medical problem occurs, you should always see your doctor first. Even if it’s a bad knee, a bad shoulder or a backache, and you just know you need a neurosurgeon, go to your personal physician first to get an experienced overview. Let me tell you about Mr Cole who did things on his own.
Mr Cole had a bad back and saw a neurosurgeon who operated on a herniated disk. His backache persisted and he found yet another neurosurgeon to operate on his back again. He did this five times before he became paralyzed from his waist down. And he’s only 40. He takes pain pills 6 & 8 times a day for his back pain that is worse than the one he complained so loudly about before he had the operations. Back operations only help the pain that goes down into the leg, not the back pain itself. If he had just gone to his personal physician before any of the operations, he may be experiencing some chronic pain but not the severe pain he now suffers. He probably would still be able to walk, and wouldn’t have to urinate through a rubber hose coming out of his bladder passing through his abdomen.
And in this age of crackdown in medical costs, he not only would have saved the five major hospitalizations, but probably most of the 40 hospitalizations he’s had since, which has made his life very unpleasant.