A panel of anonymous physicians respond to questions about the profession in New York Magazine’s Best Doctor issue. It’s seven pages long, so this is just a glimpse.
How should a person choose a doctor?
“I think it’s the same as choosing a car mechanic. You have a person who does your taxes, and you make a decision about which person to hire. . . . You deal with professionals who know more than you in all walks of life, and you somehow learn how to find out who’s full of shit and who’s not.”
How can a patient get an appointment with a busy specialist?
“It’s all about who referred you. If you don’t have someone who referred you to them, then you’re sort of in the general pool with everybody else. The second most important factor is what insurance you have.”
How can a patient get a doctor to really pay attention?
“The truth is, we’ll spend more time with patients we like. We’ll joke with them, we’ll laugh with them. You have fun with patients you like. People who are obnoxious and pushy, we get the business done and get on with it.”
Are doctors unduly influenced by drug companies?
“You know, all doctors are wooed. But the true excess is not in the pens and the steak dinners. It’s the relationships pharmaceutical companies develop with hospitals that are much more nefarious than buying a doctor a steak dinner.”
Are most doctors good at what they do?
“Ten percent are unbelievably horrible, 10 percent are great, and the great unwashed are in the middle.”
Is doctor training better or worse than it used to be?
“Worse. . . . Medicine was holy work—a calling. It was a privilege and an honor—you should sacrifice everything. Everything else came second.”
[via Kevin, MD]