Monday, June 26, 2006

How to get in to see an exalted specialist


…Remember in “Sex and the City,” when Samantha had to er, dangle, her movie star BF Smith before a bored doctor’s nurse to even get an appointment with a famed oncologist?

…Dennis McCafferty, writing in USA Weekend’s new HealthSmart section (June 12-19, 2006), ticks off some ways you might be able to get an appointment with the cheeses with year-long waiting lists.

…Get your current doc to recommend you. People used to be afraid of offending their doctors by asking for second opinions. Don't be.

…The top docs are detectives, diagnosticians. Emphasize any unusual aspects of your case. “My doctors seem stumped, they have never seen anything like this before.”

…Explain to the staff that you are coming from a long way away or that you have failed eight other treatments.

…Go to extremes. One patient even flew in a private jet to see the doctor while he was in Florida during spring training. A no-no? Saying you can come to the doctor’ home. They hate that. Another thing that doesn’t work: Lying. One woman came in April for her October appointment, then tried to act confused. “She wasn’t a good actress,” laughed the doc.

…Probably any approaches in the stalking area also would not be well received.

…Be sure this is the right doc for you in the first place. Check their websites. You might find things you don’t like.

…To find top docs, go to www.castleconnolly.com, www.bestdoctors.com, or www.hospitalcompare.com. The latter looks at hospitals—but it doesn’t hurt to know about the place you may end up.

…HA once talked to a woman who had waited 8 hours for a doctor mentioned in Parade magazine. Personally, she wonders if one doctor can be this different from other known and respected docs in town.

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