Modern healthcare has become more and more impersonal, so even for a senior physician such as myself, with a serious medical problem, it often feels like I'm being treated as a number or an object, instead of a real live person with real concerns, doubts and fears.
I can only imagine what it must feel like to be an ordinary patient (i.e., not a doctor) in the current healthcare system, because along with all the great advances in medicine and surgery, there has also been a dramatic decrease in the professional qualities that I believe are required for an optimal patient-physician relationship. These basic qualities are "caring, concern and compassion"--which unfortunately are slowly giving way to technology, insurance plans and modes of payment.
It's been 50 years since I entered medical school and along the way I've probably treated illnesses over a million times as both a board-certified pediatrician and a family doctor. I've also written 8 books on wellness and preventive medicine. So I know a thing or two about choosing the best physicians for myself, my family and my patients.
My search for optimal medical care generally boils down to three parts: I consider a physician's skill, training and experience; then I look for a physician who realizes that the physical, mental and spiritual resources of patients are a crucial part of any total treatment strategy--along with the best that modern medicine has to offer; then I look for the physician's ability to communicate--especially to project caring, concern and compassion.
Fortunately, even though our healthcare system is flawed, the nobility of Medicine still shines brightly in many physicians in all fields and specialties. For me, at a very scary time in my life (I woke up one day with a profound sudden hearing loss in one ear), Dr. Jack Shohet and his office staff fulfilled my considerable needs as a patient who also happens to be a doctor. Dr. Shohet offered me state of the art medical and surgical care, calmed my fears, and made me feel safe in his capable hands. In return, I want to extend my hand to Dr. Shohet's current and future patients by letting them know that they, too, are in the best of hands.
Edward A. Taub, M.D. F.A.A.P.