How to Choose a Reputable Physician
I’m Katelyn Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.
Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.
Today’s question comes from a caller who asked us recently, “I need a good doctor, how do I go about choosing a reputable physician to treat my injuries?”
When a person is hurt in a crash or other injury incident, finding and obtaining competent medical care is crucial to making a good recovery and critical to presenting a credible claim for compensation.
As a result, some lawyers may be tempted to refer clients to physicians with whom they have developed a relationship.
Lawyer referrals to medical professionals for compensation, and medical professional referrals to lawyers for compensation, not only constitute bad practice, but in most all circumstances are unethical.
Consequently, our firm does not make physician referrals.
We do however provide a list of things to consider when selecting a physician.
First, evaluate the physician’s attitude and the attitude of his/her staff. Is the attitude you encounter compatible with your personality? Does the physician make patient communication a priority? Are patients respected? Does the physician take the time to listen to patients? Are patients encouraged to ask questions? Good communication will improve your patient/doctor relationship and help you trust the decisions you make together regarding your health care.
Second, your physician’s credentials are important to check to make sure your physician is competent to care for you. All physicians must be licensed in the state where they practice. Check your physician’s license with Indiana’s Physician Licensing Board. Is your physician board certified? The requirements for board certification are set by colleagues and peers and vary by specialty. This can include the number of years in school, fellowship programs, areas of practice, and sometimes continued education. Other questions to consider are: Where did the physician go to medical school? Where did he or she complete their residency? What is his or her age? How long has the physician been in practice? What health care facilities is the doctor affiliated with? Is the doctor covered under your health insurance plan? By doing your homework you can ensure that the physician you select to guide your medical care is responsible and will provide you with the best resources to manage your healthcare.
Third, it is important to determine your physician’s malpractice track record. Check with Indiana’s Compensation Fund to see whether your physician has any malpractice claims against him or her. Our firm has successfully sued physicians in Indiana who have breached the standard of care and compromised their patient’s safety. The goal of every person in selecting a physician is to steer clear of those who have been found guilty of malpractice. Statistically, almost all instances of malpractice are associated with a very small percentage of physicians, and involve repeat offenses.
Finally, once you select a physician, be considerate of your physician’s time, and plan ahead for your next appointment. Keep your appointments. Be on time for your appointments. Call if you must reschedule an appointment. Write down your concerns and the reasons for your visit. Identify where you are having pain, but never exaggerate a complaint. Doing these things will both ensure that each of your questions will be answered and that the physician’s record of your visit will be accurate and complete. Ask your physician to explain terms you do not understand, and be sure he/she explains the next step in your care and treatment. For example, if a test is ordered, ask who you should contact for the results. Ask about the plan of treatment. If you are anxious or afraid, explain your concerns and ask for guidance. Knowing what the plan is will ease your anxiety when dealing with complicated medical issues and treatment.
In short, many of the things to consider when selecting a physician are similar to what should be considered in selecting a lawyer. Bottom-line, you want a professional who is equipped to provide efficient and effective assistance focused on addressing your needs.
It’s that focus we at the Law Offices of David Holub take with us into every case, trial or mediation. We strive to always provide top quality legal representation, uncompromising pursuit of our client’s legal interests and being accessible and attentive to our clients during times of personal challenge.
Some lawyers have little knowledge of the trial process and have scare knowledge about lawsuits and what it takes to be successful in the courtroom. Some lawyers have never experienced filing a lawsuit for a client, let alone taking a case to trial. They prefer to settle or just don’t have the financial resources for a long drawn out trial.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.