How to Choose a Doctor

NEVER think that your doctor is a god, even if some doctors want you to believe that. Remember, medicine is a business. My experience with doctors is that they have glamorous lifestyles, keep mistresses, have expenses, and have lost money in the stock market. Even the noblest of physicians have a need for money. Recently, the poisonous health care system in America has taken the doctors' right to prescribe for the patient, and also denigrated their education by having gatekeepers deciding what the patient needs.

The doctor is paid to take care of you and make you feel better. The insurance company gatekeeper is paid to contain cost.  His motto is, "The hell with you!"

Never underestimate the value of a second opinion. Recently, a good friend of mine was recommended an operation that would have left him a hopeless cripple forever. Remember, everywhere you look, there's a schmuck. The trouble with medicine is that you often bet your life. The recommendation of a satisfied patient is often your safest course, presuming you have something in common with their thought process and lifestyle.

And of course, one of the great benchmarks is whether or not the doctor is Jewish. It's been proven over the millennia that Jewish doctors seem to have a better handle on medicine than others. If a Jew is not available, I would suggest going to an American-educated Indian.

Furthermore, don't be afraid to ask what a doctor's experience is. How many procedures has he done? What is his success rate? What hospital is he affiliated with? If he's affiliated with a better hospital, you can be sure that his peers wouldn't let him ruin the hospital's reputation. They would oust him before that happened.

I've never followed what a woman, a doctor, or a lawyer tells me. I follow my common sense. If it sounds wrong, it probably IS wrong. Meanwhile, the HMO executives are becoming fat with bonuses, which represent the doctors money and your medical care. The fact of the matter is that most people don't want to pay for medical care.  But someone has to pay.  Medical care is a privilege.  Not a right.  Why should the doctor have to foot the bill? Senator Cleland believes in health care for the disabled and elderly, please give him support.

Here are some question to ask to give you some insight regarding a doctor's competence:

Are his appointments realistic?  If a 2 o'clock appointment turns out to be a 4:30 situation, it might be time to start looking around.  Of course, they might always say that they had an emergency.  Emergencies happen, but if it starts to become a pattern, it could be a problem.  A doctor who cannot regulate his visits to be within 15 minutes of the appointed time could become a dangerous person to do business with.

Does he return calls?  I don't work with people who don't return calls.  It shows disrespect and it shows that the person doesn't give a crap. 

Is his office well organized?  If he is a scattered person, the wrong prescriptions could be sent to you.  You want a guy who can run his business with some kind of accuracy. 

Does he seem like he gives a damn?  If the business of running his office is distracting him, he's not giving you his full attention.  It's like going to get your hair done...  You want your hairdresser to be paying attention to what he or she does - and to some girls, going to the hairdresser is almost as important as going to the doctor's office.

To contain costs, let your doctor help you.  Many doctors have become the victim of the virulent cost cutting of the gatekeepers, and consequently have less time to see you. Help him by having your symptoms written out in a succinct manner, and he will be most appreciative and your visit will be more fruitful because you won't have to sit there and waste time rambling.  When people call me to ask me information on our products and they start rambling and repeating themselves, I get quite curt with them and explain that they can find all that out on our website.  A physician's time is just as important as mine, if not more.  So, while you're waiting for your appointment, you can jot down what it is that ails you.  Be coherent, be concise, and be quick.  If you need nurturing, visit your mother or your psychoanalyst.

Don't be afraid to discuss fees.  Everything is a negotiation but you have to be fair.  There is a myth that some believe that doctors are making money hand over fist.  This is not true.  They are working their asses off like everybody else and they have to make life or death decisions.  A minor mistake of staff or physician could cause a doctor to lose his reputation, practice, and entire life savings overnight.  It's not easy.  So, don't begrudge your doctor a new car and a nice home.  All day long he sees most of life's atrocities and he certainly deserves some luxury.  Never mind the long years of costly education and the years of struggling to build a practice.  I for one am damn glad for American medicine because at the time of this writing, some dear-souled physician is doing open heart surgery on my four-day-old grandson.

The best way to find a doctor is -horrors- NOT to look in the yellow pages.  Recommendation from friends who think like you is the best way to go.  They can advise you if the doctor would match your personality. 

Do not expect too much of modern medicine.   Jerry's Kids are still sitting around atrophying and athletes foot is still out there.  There is no magic bullet and a physician friend of mine told me the other day that if you see enough doctors, you're bound to run into one who will try a procedure on you which will make you a little worth.

Unfortunately today, with most doctors being in a financial bind, they are more interested in themselves than you.  Be nice to them, and get to the point.  It is not their fault that you are sick, and that medicine is expensive.  I am not a racist, but for communication purposes (communication is what it's all about), I would suggest staying with a physician that shares your ethnic and social background.  I hesitate to deal with third world people because they may not understand my problem due to the language barrier, and they may not have the same values as I do. 

Of course, some of the finest physicians in the world are of Indian, Japanese, and even Venezuelan descent.  Just be sure you can communicate well with them.   I am not condemning foreign doctors, but if I am going to turn my hide over to someone, I want to know that we are on the same page.  I believe that Jews have a proclivity towards being good doctors.  Furthermore, if you are going to a foreign doctor, I recommend going to an Indian.

Today's medicine is severely limited in its ability to prescribe the proper procedures for what ails you.  The educated person knows that modern medicine is very limited in quick fixes - don't expect miracles.  Remember, everyone is practicing medicine, and I want to see a doctor who is a specialist.  Check the proficiency of your doctor, and don't be afraid to ask them directly how familiar they are with your particular medical problem. Furthermore, many states have numbers to call where you can check the experience and references of your particular doctor. Even though medicine is advancing, it still has a long way to go and there is a lot of art to it.

The bottom line is that protecting, enjoying, and enhancing one's life is what it is all about.  For a number of years I have subscribed to several medical bulletins from marvelous teaching institutions: Harvard, Mayo, and Tufts.  I am not obsessed with my health, but if I don't care, who will. I want to remain on the cutting edge of medicine my whole life.  We have all heard of the phrase "executive burnout".  Pity the poor physician who is dealing with 300 patients.  Make his job easier by helping him anyway you can.  Give your physician a break.

You can't beat experience if you are buying jewelry or picking a doctor.  Experience is the most important factor in choosing a physician.  Of course, if he has a passion for his profession and is committed to it, that won't hurt either. Furthermore, choose a doctor with experience in your area.  If you have cancer, see an experienced oncologist.  I prefer doctors who made their bones learning in "teaching hospitals" such as the Mayo clinic and Mount Sinai.  If they are that and Jewish, great!!

Here is something that I learned recently: When you are getting your blood pressure taken, such things as having your legs crossed or drinking some coffee before the test can increase your BP. Pity the poor schmucks that are on drugs to lower blood pressure for no reason. On the subject of drugs, be very, very cautious when using supplements. After my stroke, a well-wishing friend suggested that I take a supplement called Ginkgo. I checked with my physician, and he told me it could kill me, as it could thin your blood, and I was already on plenty of blood-thinning agents. Trust me, there are no panaceas, I have investigated most of them - from human growth hormone to DHEA. Good nutrition and exercise is where it is at. Get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, and get well.

Dear friend-

I hope that some of my philosophy and hints for living are a help to you in your daily life. If not, I at least hope that you have found this amusing and were not bored. We have gotten enough calls, and letters to validate these passages. If you have read enough and are ready to move on, that is ok. Get your checkbook and click here to visit our main menu. Hopefully by now you have realized that we are a different kind of company.

My very best regards,

Carl Kenneth Marcus

PS. Remember, proper nutrition, get plenty of sleep, exercise, drink lots of water, and spend some money on your self! Remember, life is not a dress rehearsal.


Now, after a great deal of introspection and after substantial exposure to physicians, hospitals and the like, I must say this: God bless the human being that chooses medicine as an avocation. It is a thankless, morbid job.

First of all, you are meeting humans, one after another, at their worst! And, as we all know, there is very little that anybody can cure, that won't cure itself eventually. So day after day, you see these same wretched souls, and you have to give them some hope that only comes from deep in your kishkas, when you know nothing can help. Oh, that's terrible... visiting with those patients that are terminal or in an otherwise state of disintegration which makes you the only hope they have. You are the only one that can ease their troubled mind. How can you keep this up, week after week, without losing something inside yourself!?!

Oh it's a miserable, horrible job. Don't they need a nice car? And a nice home? And a nice wife? And a little bit of Jewelry? And to add insult to injury everyday after spending more than two decades of learning, they have to put up with some miserable, piece of shit gatekeeper, who would be inept cleaning bed pans, making medical decisions based on the bottom line. And when it comes to getting some money to pay their overhead, they have to wait for those rapacious insurance companies to send them the little share they justly deserve!

Wait! Wait! It's not over yet! In every move they make, they are under lifelong scrutiny from the shit of the earth, civil service employers, Medicare, Medicaid, red tape, paperwork, only idiots to talk to... Oh these angels that we call doctors deserve the highest accolades. Without them, think about it... They are the ushers to assist us as we sullenly plod on to our graves.