Most people rely on the recommendations of friends and relatives when trying to find a new doctor. That is a good start but it is still important to check on the doctors training, board certification, hospital appointments and disciplinary history.
Karen Hultman, DO
Specialty: Family Medicine
Location and Office HoursFamily Medical Kare
Fayetteville, WV 25840
- Carelink Health Plans
- Optimum Choice/MAMSI (UnitedHealthcare)
- Plateau Medical Center
How can I get referrals for a new doctor?
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What kind of training do primary care providers have?
Primary care physicians are trained to diagnose and treat the initial stages of disease for adult patients. They also should be trained in prevention and wellness. Pediatricians provide primary care for children. In addition, many women use Obstetrician-Gynecologists for primary care and many Ob-Gyns have given up practicing obstetrics and only practice gynecology and serve as Primary Care physicians for women. Despite this, the College of Obstetrics and Gynecology states the training programs for that specialty are not designed to train Primary Care physicians.
How can I find out if a doctor has been sued for malpractice?
Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredFinding out if a doctor has been sued for botched practicing is certainly a legitimate qualifying factor when you're shopping for a new physician or specialist. As long as the info is put into context, that is.
To find out if any malpractice lawsuits have been filed against a physician, call the county clerk's office where he or she practices, as well as the state medical licensing board and the state insurance department (you can ask the latter if any claims are on record for the doctor). You can also check your doctor's record on Web sites such as www.docboard.org.
Just remember that it's common for doctors to be sued, and many cases are dismissed or the physicians win, so the fact that a doctor has been sued for malpractice isn't necessarily a damning sign.
However, if he or she has been sued several times in the past few years and many of those suits have been settled or resulted in the award of large sums to the patient, I, as a doctor, would see that as a warning sign to move on. Lighting can indeed strike in the same spot twice, but four or five times is a little troubling.
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