Top Docs 2008 Part V: Advice from Top M.D.s

On being prepared


• Become informed about the illness or procedure you are facing. Researching a topic beforehand tells the doctor that you are a serious individual, and she or he will treat you accordingly. —Dr. Ralph Morton Bolman III, thoracic surgeon, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

• Two heads are better than one for any visit in which recommendations or results from tests might be given. It’s hard to take in all the information that’s transmitted in office visits, so take a friend or spouse with you. —Dr. Glenn Bubley, oncologist, Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center

• Keep your own copies of important x-rays, pathology reports, lab tests, or surgical reports. Don’t assume that information in your local doctor’s office or a hospital record will be there forever. —Dr. Anne Klibanski, endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital
• Bring your pills with you on appointments. What doctors think that you are taking and what you are actually taking may be quite different. —Dr. Louis R. Caplan, neurology, Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center

• Since many patients in the Boston area see a number of different doctors, often from different institutions, it’s in everyone’s best interest to have a short list of their diagnoses, medications, allergies, and recent procedures. While we all try to share information, since different doctors have different record systems, it doesn’t always happen fully. There are now online programs to help patients keep track, and the information can even be downloaded onto a memory stick or just as a printout. It helps the doctor and, in an emergency, it could be lifesaving. —Dr. Richard Gliklich, otolaryngology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary