If we have a medical problem, we want to be able to consult only the doctor or doctors who can help us the most, obviously. And as medical knowledge increases and increases, that may mean that out of literally hundreds of doctors that we COULD see, only 1 in 30, or 1 in 50, perhaps even 1 in 100 or more are doctors who are the most likely to be able to help us the most. In other words there can be some doctors who are potentially 30 times, or 50 times, perhaps even 100 times or more, more likely to be helpful than others.
So how do we find the doctor or doctors who are likely to be the best ones for us to consult – it’s becoming more and more like looking for a needle in a haystack!
Fortunately there are doctors who help us with this, making it easy. They are easy to contact, almost always by having an ordinary email address, and if you send them a letter asking if helping those with your particular problem or problems is within their “areas of specialisation,” they are happy to provide you with at least a “yes” or a “no” answer, in writing. And often more.
Such doctors are likely to specialise in only 1 or 2 areas, in which they are ABSOLUTE experts – the last thing THEY want is for any one to be coming to them for help with problems in which they are not absolute experts.
The bad news, and it’s extremely bad in some ways, is that perhaps 90% of doctors are not like that. They are not particularly good at anything, and rely heavily on lots of people coming to them for help with problems in which they are not experts, let alone absolute experts. Such doctors are to be avoided like the plague, obviously.
We’ve had a fair bit of experience in sending out the sort of letters we’ve described above, and found that you probably have to send out 10 to get 1 good response. But, in a sense, who cares? – so long as you get enough good responses. But that’s how it is. And if you aren’t prepared to do the work that’s involved in what we’ve described, you’ve only got yourself to blame if the help you get is mediocre.
In this context it’s important to realise that GPs often don’t know who it’s best to refer you to. We’ve had readers tell us that GPs have referred them to doctors for help with problems, and the doctors have refused to confirm that have the necessary expertise to help them????