Help me to evaluate a neurologist
August 29, 2006 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Help me to evaluate a neurologist

Earlier I asked if these symptoms were to be expected from a head injury. Thanks for the replies.

Mom was able to press the nurse enough (who first said she wasn't going to send my dad to a neurologist for a headache) to finally get my dad an appointment with a neurologist.

She's given me the name of the doctor they'll be visiting, and wants to know if I can find out anything about him. e.g. is he good? I would like to find resources for evaluating doctors so they can know more about the neurologist they will be seeing.
posted by bleary to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Please, please help us understand why in the f@@k a nurse is making decisions regarding your father's health care? It would seem that the first order of business would be to actually have a real, live, functioning physician to care for your Dad. The fact that you actually have to present a 'case' for any of this is beyond absurd. Is this nurse in a remote call center working for the HMO? In that case the doctor needs to intervene. If she's a real, live person that you have to confront in order to get necessary assistance with his medical care you need to tell her to get the fuck out of the way and assist with your Dad's care instead of being a speed bump.
posted by docpops at 8:42 AM on August 29, 2006

What comes up when you plug his name into Google? If it's a bunch of scholarly articles, you may have your answer. If it's a bunch of quotes in the newspaper with him saying "It's not my fault", again, you have your answer.

This guy is a neurologist, right, not a neurosurgeon? He's not going to be operating on your dad, right? If he is, your evaluation process may be different, as you'd want to speak to past patients and such. If this guy's examining him but not cracking his skull open, I think a good Google search, and perhaps a run through Lexis-Nexis to see how many lawsuits have been brought against him should be good enough.
posted by Not in my backyard at 8:49 AM on August 29, 2006

Can you actually attend the visit?
posted by docpops at 8:52 AM on August 29, 2006

Best answer: The most obvious thing is whether a doctor is board certified. I'm sure there are many good doctors who are not, but it's a distinction that sets some of the better ones apart. Ikkyu2 had a nice explanation of what that means. He also had a good comment about how to choose a doctor, including how to look up their certifications and training.

From my own experience, board-certification and medical schools have been decent indicators of what I'm getting. I'm not normally a school snob, but I've started to rely on that to choose among doctors -- the neurologist I just saw who went to Harvard Medical and then did her residency at Stanford, and was board-certified, was miles away a better advocate for my health than the one who went to a school I didn't recognize.
posted by occhiblu at 8:55 AM on August 29, 2006

The best recommendations come from other doctors. They know who is good and who is not.
posted by caddis at 9:13 AM on August 29, 2006

Response by poster: docpops, this injury occured at work and my parents have to get everything approved for workman's comp.
posted by bleary at 10:04 AM on August 29, 2006

Response by poster: Not in my backyard: Yes, a neurologist. He hasn't seen one (omfg. I didn't know about that until quizzing my mom after she told me about the feeling of "pressure" in his head) since the accident. While in the hospital, he was seen by a neurosurgeon. No neurologist since then.

docpops: I can't go. They're in Texas, I'm in Illinois.
posted by bleary at 10:07 AM on August 29, 2006

Best answer: One thing I would add, seeing as you are really at somewhat of a loss to control events here (my heart goes out to you - I have a fierce disgust and hatred toward the Workmen's Comp industry. Eliot Spitzer could devote a lifetime to their bullshit), and ikkyu2 could add more detail, but I have seen at least a dozen patients over the years with modest concussions, not necessarily the severity of your Dad's, and what was impressive was how symptomatic they were afterward - difficulty concentrating, irritable, headaches, etc. Every one of them fully recovered. The Neurologists were reassuring, did the MRI, etc., but ultimately what happens is it takes 6-24 months and then bit by bit they do as well as ever.

So try not to worry. If he's reasonably healthy he should do fine, but it may take a lot longer than anyone expects, and dealing with the asshats at WC won't make it better.
posted by docpops at 10:22 AM on August 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Is there some reason why the neurosurgeon who saw him initially has not ordered any followup care? I had brain surgery four months ago and my neurosurgeon has been rigorous with post-op care, including ordering immediate CT scans when I was having headaches. And I didn't have pain nearly as severe as what you describe your father suffering.

Like docpops, I also do not understand why a nurse is the only person your parents can appeal to regarding his care (or lack thereof). Does your father have a primary care doctor who could intervene on his behalf?

To answer your question, the neurologist should read the MRI results, then provide your dad with a clear explanation for his symptoms and give him options for pain management. Even if these symptoms are considered to be "normal" during the healing process, your dad needs to know that his fracture and hematoma are not getting worse. Hopefully that's what the MRI will show.
posted by naomi at 10:42 AM on August 29, 2006

Best answer: If they're in Texas, the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners license verification page is a good place to start. You can check up on the doctor's license and some other information that the board tracks (including education and training and foreign language ability).
posted by dilettante at 1:36 PM on August 29, 2006

Would it be possible to go outside the Worker's Comp system (get your own physician/neurologist etc.) and if it is determined that your father has recieved insufficient care so far, to get the proper care and then bill Worker's Comp for it later and/or sue Worker's Comp? As it stands, it seems like the system is preventing you from even getting any kind of second opinion, and that's just not right.
posted by Marla Singer at 2:10 PM on August 29, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies, everyone. I've followed the links and the doctor they will visit has a board certification in neurology and has no criminal or malpractice records on file.
posted by bleary at 5:48 PM on August 29, 2006

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