Terlingua Dreams

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How do you find specialist in your area?

I do not even know how to begin this post...as you know my mother has had her share of back problems this past year.  Last August she underwent not one but two Vertebroplasties.  Here is a link if you do not know what that is http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/back-surgery/vertebroplasty-procedure

The neurosurgeon that performed the surgery was not to our liking.  Apart from the first surgery where she experienced a few pain free days, the pain came back even worst.  A second vertebroplasty was performed within three weeks of the first.

This time a month passed and more pain.  He wanted to perform a third surgery but mother decided to see if it would heal on its own as it was torture having to make the trip to San Angelo and back and the relieve was short lived.  He was not happy with her decision.

There was a long list of events that lead us to question his competency and that of his staff.  It is all documented in this blog and I will not bore you with the details again. This doctor was like a cowboy herding cattle. To make a long story short we are no longer seeing him.  The Uvalde doctor mother is currently seeing said he would find her a physician who could help her...I took him at his word.

Last week mother was in severe pain and I called his office on Friday.  He called us at home on Saturday morning.  When I asked him if he had found a doctor for her...he seemed oblivious to the fact that he had said he would do so.

I am aware that he has a lot of patients and finding a doctor for mother is not his job but why did he say he would and then forgot about it?  Does he not read his notes?  Does his nurse not read his notes?

I thought perhaps I would be hearing from his office Monday or Tuesday but the call never came.  I do not know whether to call them again or find a neurosurgeon in the San Antonio area myself.

My question is how do you all go about looking for a doctor?  Referral from friends or your personal physician?  The Internet?  If the Internet what sites do you use?  Angie's list?  I do not want to make a mistake and end up with a doctor the likes of the one in San Angelo!

Please feel free to chime in, I welcome all comments.  Thanks in advance.

Good night.  May you all have Terlingua Dreams.


  1. Good luck!! It seems that the medical profession is a close fraternity that protects each other. A few years ago my wife was near death. The typical medical profession left her down. She found a doctor who practiced integrated medicine and she saved my wife's life.

    1. Glad your wife was able to find a doctor that saved her life.

  2. Find the nearest elder services office. It might not be all that near, depending. Check with the Public Library to see if they have any lists of offices that help the elderly. Once you find your way in, you may find the help you need.

  3. I went to the internet search, for this area. Spent hours, but found 3 places to call. First one didn't take his insurance, but the 2nd one did. There were 2 orthopedic surgeons in that office, and we made an appointment to see one. Had a maleogram, and he told us immediately he couldn't do that surgery but knew several in the area. (Neurosurgeons),, He has an appointment on the 23rd. Also looked at their rating,,,4 1/2 stars,,(Wonderful) and read the comments.

    1. I guess there are no short cuts. I too have been spending hours on the internet researching doctors with good ratings and reading comments. There is so much material out there that it kind of drives you crazy.

      I am glad your son if finally going to get to see a neurosurgeon that can help him.

  4. http://www.healthgrades.com/

    1. Thank you Don. Of all the sites I visited I found this one to have some of the best information regarding individual doctors.

  5. TroublenTX did it the way I would have. That is no guarantee of finding a 'good' doctor however. It is not all about the doctor, the patient and what is wrong plays a big part in how 'good' the doctor may be.

    For the past 15 years my doctor has been whoever the VA assigns to me. For the first 10 years it was always a doctor-to-be that was doing their residency at the VA hospital in Reno, NV. Then for 4 years I had a PA at the Pahrump, NV Clinic that was ever bit as knowledgeable as the doctors-to-be. The last doctor assigned to me at Pahrump was almost as old as I am and from the Philippines but he did well by me; got me down to a much lower blood pressure dosage.

    Sometimes you just have to take your chances. But asking a lot of questions, doing lots of research and taking responsibility for your own health and well being I think are necessary. Going to any doctor and saying 'fix me' is not the best approach in my opinion.

    1. I totally agree with what you said. Thanks for your input.

    2. Edifrey,, Yeah, i did research, both doctors, ie ratings, comments from patients, etc. and both were outstanding, HA, compared to the one that has done his last 2 surgerys,, and didn't fix the problem at all the last time.

  6. I feel really bad for you and especially for your mom. My primary care doctor is part of the UC Davis Medical Center, and she usually refers me to good specialists. If I didn't have that option I guess I would ask around and get recommendations from people I know. My daughter works with someone who uses my doctor and gave her a good recommendation. Good luck.

    1. That is what I have relied on in the past...referrals from her primary care doctor who is a very caring and competent P.A. and whose opinion we both value.

      I do not blame him one bit for his referral to that San Angelo cattle rustler as he only had mother's best interest at heart. At the time office visits took place in Del Rio and only surgery was performed in San Angelo that is the ONLY reason we went with him and not a San Antonio neurosurgeon.

      However after our negative experience I knew it was time for a different way to find a specialist.

  7. First, I am so sorry for your Mom and also sorry for you because I know it must be incredibly stressful for you to see her in great pain and feel so powerless about being able to immediately fix it.

    I will ask around to see if anybody I know knows someone who knows someone. But if it were my Mom, I'd probably take note of, but still wouldn't put too much stock in online ratings & anonymous evaluations. Every patient is different & everybody has different expectations for what good medical care is. For example, I took a recommendation from a friend for a vet who turned out to be...well, not the best & it turned out my friend recommended this DVM to me just because they were "sweet".Well, I don't really care about sweet, I care about smart, experienced, competent & diligently keeps up with advancements in their field.

    If it were my Mom and couldn't get an MD whose medical judgment I already trusted to recommend a top-flight colleague for her specialized problem, maybe I'd start by looking atUTHSC's faculty?

    You have to figure the people on med school faculty have met & continue to meet some strict standards for being on the ball, right? You'd know better the specialty you need, but this guy looks like his office might be a good place to call, even if only to get a recommendation from them for another doctor he respects, knows has a good reputation & might be taking new patients with your Mom's medical needs.

    Whatever, I'd look closely at the CVs of everyone whose name you can gather from a variety of sources. It's not always true, but frankly, the med school they went to & where they did their residencies can be a good indication (among many other indicators, of course) of how smart, focused & dedicated they are.

    Also, I'd probably rule out anybody who doesn't have a hospital affiliation. (Again, because they have to meet standards to keep up their affiliation, I figure there's one more layer of oversight for competency.)

    I would still call back the Uvalde doc and pressure him for a recommendation anyway, if I were you. Sometimes it's like pulling eye teeth, because they're really sort of damned if they do & damned if they don't. It's risky & there's not much to be gained for them: if their recommendation doesn't work out will they lose you as a patient or, worse, get sued for suggesting you use them?

    Don't be afraid to insist you are desperate for a referral & not take no for an answer. You can take his referral with a grain of salt afterwards, but at least it's one extra bit of scarce info that could help you make your decision after you check out many candidate's CVs & patient reviews and you're still undecided.

    But oh boy, I don't envy you this task at all. These days, finding doctors is complicated by the fact we have to find people who take our particular kind of coverage too!

    Best of luck to you, Ms B, you are such a good daughter & so very good to your Mom. You make me feel terribly guilty! ;-)

  8. It would have never occurred to me to try UT Health Science Center but that is an excellent idea. The doctor you found also looks promising.

    Regarding ratings and anonymous evaluations I tend to agree not to put too much credence into them because we just never know who made them. For all we know it is his relatives :-)

    You make some excellent points regarding the medical school they attended and where they completed their residency.

    I was going to call and pressure her Uvalde physician but there was no need. His nurse called me with a referral and an appointment. Looked him up and we are happy with his credentials.

    Leilani, thank you so much for all the good advice imparted and I hope that it is also as helpful to other readers who might be going through the same process and do not have the benefit of a blog or the wonderful blog readers I am so very fortunate to have.

    1. Thank heavens, that's such a relief, Ms. B! Takes some of the pressure off of you, I'm sure, now that you have a way forward to get your Mom fixed up.

      Now let's hope the new doc is able to give your Mom some relief! If not, she/he'll have to answer to your blog audience! ;-)


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