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Choosing the Right Doctor

David Mittleman

“I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.”

Many of you probably recognize this famous quote as part of the English translation of the Hippocratic Oath. The ancient statement of medical ethics still forms part of the basis of the physician’s duty to his or her patient. But with so much dependent on the doctor’s ability and judgment, how do you know if your doctor makes the grade?

Unfortunately, many insurance plans limit your choice of doctors. While you still have the option to visit the doctor of your choice, out-of-pocket expenses could make your preferred doctor financially impractical. Even with this limitation, you can still take control of your health by investigating doctors before your first visit.

If you are new to a community, you can ask your neighbors and coworkers for recommendations. In Michigan, you can verify the status of a physician’s license online or by calling the Department of Community Health. You can also see whether or not your potential doctor is a member of the American Medical Association or if he or she possesses any board certifications.

Picking a doctor could be one of the most important choices you make. Protect yourself from medical malpractice by diligently considering your options and asking any and all questions that come to mind. Even though your doctor’s ability and judgment are supposed to keep you from harm, it’s up to you to pick the doctor.


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