Who is Treating You?

Lee S. Goldsmith, M.D., LLB

When was the last time you checked on the credentials of a physician?

Do you know anything about that person who is making or going to make life and death decisions for your life?

Governments of all states have extensive websites that provide information about all licensed practitioners.They may also include extensive profiles which should be, but are not necessarily, updated by the licensee. 

In New Jersey:medical-board-license-lookup.com/new-new-jersey.  Also: www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/bme

In New York: www.nysed.gov/content/license-verification or health.ny.gov/health_care/consumer_information/physician_profile/ 

After medical school training, physicians usually obtain specialty training and, with that training, the physician can become Board Certified in a specialty and may have subspeciality training. For example, a physician may be trained in internal medicine but have a subspeciality in cardiology or pulmonology, etc. These credentials can be checked on the site for the American Board of Medical Specialities (www.ABMS.org). If an individual has had speciality training and is not Board Certified, it is reasonable to find out why.  Or if a physician is recommending treatment for which he has not had training, it is reasonable to find out why.

Check the physician’s website and do not hesitate to do a web search to obtain comments from other patients. Negative comments should not be a reason not to see a particular physician, but could alert you to potential problems. 

Websites are advertising. They are often professionally done and contain only glowing information and, at times, misinformation. Compare the training done with the services offered. Plastic surgeons do plastic surgery, not family practitioners. Yet we know an example of a family practitioner who advertises such skills.  General surgeons do not do invasive radiology with embolizations. We know of a general surgeon who advertises such skills. He has had at least 7 malpractice suits brought against him. In both cases, we know of patients who have had devastating injuries relying on the information in a website.

Has the physician had the training to provide the care advertised? 

REMEMBER: We can always represent you, but would rather you be healthy.