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New Survival Guide Shows How to Choose Your Doctor

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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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"How to Survive Your Doctor's Care" by Pamela F. Gallin M.D. (Lifeline Press, $19.95)


Make that plural: Your primary care physician is important, and Dr. Gallin explains how to find a good one (and what's reason enough to dump a bad one). But her main point is that medicine is a team sport. When you pick a doctor, you are in effect selecting the specialists (and nurses) who will collaborate on your care in the event of a serious problem. You want these "invisible doctors" to be the best, because your life could someday depend on an anesthesiologist's routine calculation or a pathologist's depth of experience.

How to get the best: Start by singling out the top medical center in your area, Dr. Gallin says. Then pick your primary doctor from its ranks. Don't know which hospital is best? One place to start is the current Joint Commission of American Hospitals (JCAH) accreditation report. Ask for it by name at the hospital administrator's office.

Shades of gray: There's a lot of fascinating insider stuff here about how the medical system really works, including Dr. Gallin's sometimes unhappy experiences as a patient herself, or as a family member's advocate. She gets angry but she also understands medicine as a continuum in which diagnosis and treatment often are tangled rather than discrete steps on the way to a cure. Where many patients expect treatment to be right or wrong, she sees discrepancy between right treatment and treatment that is right on. She wants readers to know what makes the difference and how to make it work for them.

Extra cred: An ophthalmologist who started out to be an engineer and maintains a convert's zeal for her profession, Dr. Gallin also is the author of "The Savvy Mom's Guide to Medical Care."


(c) 2003, The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

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