In this age of the internet, a patient recently diagnosed with MS will usually go online and type in a search for “Top MS Doctor”, “Best MS Doctor”, or something similar. And as is the case with most internet searches, you will come up with something like 1,480,355 search results found. Not really helpful is it? Anyone can make a list, and in this modern age of electronics, it seems like almost everyone does.
Your search will come up with results like:
- Top 10 best rated Doctors in MS by Specialty
- Best MS doctors in Jackson, MS
- Find the top MS doctors in US – US news Top doctors
- Dr. C____ L____ (name intentionally left out) is one of the best MS doctors in Alabama
- Top MS doctors |Awards and Accolades |About Us| University of …
And the list goes on ten at a time with similar results for the next 667,432 pages. So how helpful is that? For most people it is not helpful at all.
So how do you go about finding one of the top MS doctors in your area?
Doctors are, without a doubt, some of the most important and helpful members of our communities. They take oaths to be honest and to do no harm. They are given awards and are the recipients of unending admiration. But how do you know if they are worthy of this adulation, and more importantly worthy enough to entrust your life and future to?
First you should know that the best doctor in any specialty will not have to take out an internet or other advertisement to keep patients coming into the practice. So skip the search and start talking with other patients in a support group or similar gathering. Talk to folks at the local MS Society Chapter. The good ones usually have more patients than they can reasonably handle and sometimes aren’t even taking new patients. They get most of their patients through word of mouth – the best advertising of all. When a top MS doctor treats his or her patients right, those patients just have to talk about them to others who may need similar help. We all do it. But how often would you refer someone in need to a service where you experienced poor treatment? Referrals and word of mouth is probably the best way to find the MS doctors worth going to in your area.
What makes a doctor a great doctor?
Multiple Sclerosis is a complex disease and is seldom predictable. The patient needs a doctor to talk with them and not at them. The best MS doctors will listen until he understands your problems and then become an educator. He shares his knowledge and opinions with you and backs it up with his own experience, which he also shares while protecting the privacy of those he is sharing about with you.
A good doctor is at least willing to consider that he may be wrong, and the top MS doctors will admit they may be wrong without embarrassment. To doubt his thinking is to expand the possibility for him to learn. And you will be the beneficiary. You will know that he continues to research and learn to be able to help you because he will tell you about things he has recently learned. And you shouldn’t take this admission of learning something new as a negative. He is learning more because he wants to be able to help you more.
You will know you’ve found one of the best MS doctors when he asks a lot of open-ended questions. He is trying to figure your case out with these questions. He will feel comfortable enough to tell you he is not sure, but on your next visit he has the answer. Finding a doctor of this caliber is not an easy task. But look for these characteristics in your physician. And when you’ve found a good one – be sure to pass it on.