How do I find a good doctor?
December 8, 2009 5:53 PM   Subscribe

How do I find a good doctor to look at my wrist?

My right wrist has been undergoing various minor traumas over the last few months. Basically a small puncture wound became a problem when I landed on my wrist playing frisbee and pulled something. A few weeks went by and it seemed to be healing, but then I re-injured it working in my yard. It's been about 2 months since the frisbee incident, and the actual area of interest has moved a little, getting closer to my wrist, ceased to make progress, and has become a small puffy area, red and bruised, about an inch in length. Maybe there is some sort of infection going on, I am not sure.

I can do just about everything I need to with my wrist, which is why I haven't sought out medical attention yet, but I have somewhat limited range of motion, and something like rock-climbing is completely out of the question.

Anyway: I just moved from WA state to Hawaii and don't know of any good doctors out here, and it looks like anyone near by isn't covered directly by my health insurance. I still have 60% coverage for non-covered doctors though, but I want to make sure I visit someone worthwhile if I am going to be spending a lot out of my pocket. I think what I want is an "osteopathic surgeon", but I am not sure.

I really want my wrist to heal. How do I find a good doctor?
posted by Jsn7821 to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
In Boston, at least, Yelp is pretty reliable for everything-- including doctors.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:14 PM on December 8, 2009

IANA/YD but sounds like you may want an orthopedist? Does the University of Hawaii have an associated sportsmedicine clinic (or family/general clinic) near where you live? Because that would be my first choice. That range-of-motion part bothers me - did it stiffen up when you fell on it, in addition to the puncture? because that sounds like a classic broken wrist scenario.

I like the family/general/sports clinics for the major universities I've lived near because they seem both accessible to the public and rigorous and responsive to even demanding (ie rich or professional athlete) patients. YMMV.
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:15 PM on December 8, 2009

You should specifically look for a hand/wrist specialist, and not just an orthopedist in general.
posted by grouse at 7:23 PM on December 8, 2009

Seconding hand specialist. I've battled issues with my left wrist forever, and wasted a ton of time seeing the wrong people. You want a hand specialist.
posted by swngnmonk at 8:23 PM on December 8, 2009

Many insurance companies around the country have spent a lot of time over the past year adding quality information about doctors to their member-oriented Web sites. Oregon's insurers all are either providing detailed doctor searches now, or are in the process of implementing them. Not sure is this movement has reached Hawaii, but you might as well give it a try.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:55 PM on December 8, 2009

A hand surgeon is the type of specialist that you are looking for (full disclosure: I am one). Despite the name, we evaluate and treat all problems of the hand (typically up to the elbow and even shoulder, but that varies per doctor) and don't actually do surgery on most patients.

Hand surgeons can, by background, be orthopaedic, plastic, or general surgeons. Prevalence is probably 80/15/5%, in that order. They've subsequently had further specialty training in the hand and upper extremity.

You can look for one in your area through the web site of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.
posted by Dr. Sam at 5:24 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

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