Thursday, May 17, 2007

The "Artist" and who recommends

Let me ask some very simple questions to get a point across:

1. Have you ever had any member of any lists say anything but great things about their doctor and recommended him/her highly?
2. How much do you REALLY know about your doctor who treated you for you initial prostate cancer?
3. Web sites can be very impressive - why?
4. Why would you ever listen to patients that a doctor recommended to you?

1. ANSWER: The answer to the first question is it is VERY rare to have anyone say bad things about their doctor even when they failed the treatment the doctor gave them. There is a real "hero" worship for their doctor - even yet today.
2. ANSWER: The answer to the second question is that you really know very little other than what he/she has told you and very little about the truth of his long term results.
3. ANSWER: The answer to the third question is the websites are prepared by paid professionals who know how to sell any product - if they did not they would not be in business. The website is a SELLING tool first, last and always. It is ADVERTISING and should be given credit as such.
4. ANSWER: The fourth question answer is a no-brained - you should never listen to anyone on a prepared list that any doctor would give to you. Do you think for a minute that the doctor would give you a name of his patient that was unhappy with his treatment - no way!!!

Think about the answers to numbers 1 and 2 above when a patient of a doctor recommends the doctor to you. Think about the answer to number 3 when you are perusing a doctors or clinics or University web site. This is advertising and is no different than any advertising you see when you open your newspaper and see a Macy's ad or visit a website for Ford, General Motors, etc., for example. IT IS ADVERTISING and as such can be and many times is misleading. It tells you only what they want you to know. And question number 4 - not worth a discussion - forget it!!!

Basically all four questions should leave many doubts in your mind when looking for a doctor of substance.

In my "Artist" list ( there are Urologists, Medical Oncologist, Radiation Oncologist, Color Doppler Experts, Cryo, Pathologist - all truly "Artist" by anyone's definition. They are published, they are leaders in their field, they are respected across the board for their knowledge. In some cases I have interviewed them, listened to presentations at national medical society meetings, read most all of their studies, etc. They have earned the right to be called an "Artist" for the work they have done in their medical communities AND the work they have done for their patients. They may not be all the most personable doctor there is nor have the best bed-side manners so you have to make a decision do you want expertise of bed-side manners. Personally the only thing I ever care about is the expertise of the doctor.

Let me note on thing - the writing of a book does not make one an "Artist" or an "Expert". It may be valuable information for the patient - slanted as it will always be but it is never considered when trying to add a doctor to my "Artist" list. I pay very little attention to what the doctors write in books - usually it is quite dated and almost always slanted to their view. Actually I put the books a step below good solid websites that can be updated daily.

It is these lists of "Artist" that everyone should start from and feel comfortable that you have made a wise decision if you decide they are the ones for you. It truly is your life you are playing with so spend you life wisely by making the right choices. If you have to travel - travel. If you have to dig deep in your pockets to pay - dig deep. But get the best available medical team that you can. For example my medical team was in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Detroit and I live in San Jose. This was 9 years ago when their was not a lot of information on the internet, not many groups, and little in the way of websites - none like Prostate-Help ( The study I did then (5 months of study and two file cabinets full of papers and studies) was the beginning of seeking the best "Artist" available. The study continues to this day.

Did I do the right thing with the extent of the disease that I had - which could be classified as advanced localized disease (see The answer to that question is the fact that my PSA bounces around from 0.00 to 0.05 now since treatment in 1997.

Over the years I have removed some prominent doctors from these "Artist" list. Let me assure you they were not easily removed nor were they removed because of any patients complaints. They were removed because information came to me, usually from many sources, which made me question the skills, the practice, the procedures, and/or the purported results they may have published (or not published). Their removal was not from one single thing but from a series of things that happened over a period of time (some as long as 3 years) before I was comfortable with my removal decision. Believe me it is much easier to add someone to the list than it is to remove them and admit that I made a mistake. So I am especially careful about any removal - and such removal always creates a series of inflammatory posts from the patients as per number 1 above as well as reactions from the doctors involved.

And sure their may be and probably is many "experts" out there who are not on my lists. But I would say there is none better than those on my lists - and why not go to be best! I do add "Artist" as I make a determination they should be on the list - in itself not an easy decision.

Nuff said!

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