In many industries, there are guidelines as to how long you must go without drinking before you are able to perform your job. For instance, commercial airplane pilots must abide by the “bottle to throttle” rule. This rule prevents pilots from flying within eight hours of their last drink. Unfortunately, there are no such comparable guidelines for doctors and surgeons.
In a recent study surgeons were instructed to drink until they felt intoxicated. The following day they were asked to perform simulated operations using a virtual reality program. Before the simulated surgery, the surgeons were breathalyzed. Most had no alcohol in their system, and only one surgeon was over the legal limit to drive. It was determined that the surgeons made more errors as late as 1 p.m. the day following drinking than when performing the same simulated surgery before drinking. A partner study, which used surgeons in training, had similar results. The surgeons in training did significantly worse than those who abstained from drinking and from their results the previous day. (http://archsurg.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/146/4/419.) This can, understandably, lead you to be cautious when choosing your next doctor.
How Do I Check a Surgeon’s Credentials?
If you are looking for a new doctor and want to see where they went to school, and what they are licensed to practice you can do a few things. Since the take-off of social media, most doctors will have their credentials listed on their website. Social media has given patients the ability to fact-check their doctor’s credentials. By using the Federation of State Medical Boards website, you have the ability to check your doctor’s credentials and find out their educational background, any certifications they have, active licenses, and any actions taken against them.
How Do I Look Up a Doctor’s Record?
As in any other profession, doctors can get reprimanded. The difference is that medical reprimands are made public. Physician misconduct is dealt with by the medical board of the state in which the misconduct took place. You can check a doctor’s record to see if they have been reprimanded by the board of their state using the state-specific department of state webpage. For doctors practicing in Pennsylvania, you can go to this website: https://www.pals.pa.gov/#/page/search.
How Do I Find the Best Doctors in a Field? How Do I Choose a Good Surgeon?
A tried and true method of finding a reputable doctor is by word of mouth. Ask your friends if they have any good doctors they would recommend, and then research the doctors they have recommended using the methods discussed above. There are also multiple websites that you can use to find doctors in your area that provide customer ratings.