Choosing a Doctor and a Hospital
After patients have spoken with their doctor and learned about their condition, the next step involves choosing a doctor and hospital. Picking the right physician and health care facility is one of the biggest determinants in the success of a patient’s treatment, which makes it vital to carefully consider all options when deciding.
The best place for most patients to find quality care is with the doctor that diagnosed them initially by asking them for recommendations. Frequently these doctors know of various disease specialists in the area that can at least give a second opinion or direct them to someone else more qualified in the treatment of mesothelioma.
While many individuals are tempted to rush the process of choosing a doctor in an effort to begin treatment earlier, especially when diagnosed with mesothelioma, it remains important to take the time to find a qualified professional with experience specific to this type of cancer. If a patient remains anxious about delaying treatment to find a specialist, he or she can inquire with the doctor who diagnosed them to determine if treatment does need to begin quickly. In addition to the treatment process, patients should bear in mind that their relationship with their doctor will likely extend past the treatment process and into recovery and follow-up care, making it even more important to choose a professional they feel comfortable with.
After a patient’s first visit, the American Cancer Society recommends patients determine their confidence and comfort with the doctor by asking themselves the following questions:
- Did the doctor give you a chance to ask questions?
- Did you feel the doctor was listening to you?
- Did the doctor seem comfortable answering your questions?
- Did the doctor talk to you in a way that you could understand?
- Did you feel the doctor respected you?
- Did the doctor ask your preferences about different kinds of treatments?
- Did you feel the doctor spent enough time with you?
If patients are not satisfied with the answers to any of these questions, they should not hesitate to seek a medical professional they feel more comfortable working with. Other considerations include the doctor’s success in treating this specific form of mesothelioma in the past, whether they are part of the patient’s health plan and if they practice at a hospital the patient wants to use.
Deciding on a doctor largely takes care of the hospital location because most of these specialists tend to work in hospitals that have the required resources for the treatment of cancer. However, patients can ask doctors and nurses for their opinions on specific facilities to better get a feel for the level of care provided. Patients should understand that if they live in smaller towns, they might need to relocate to a more populated city to find a facility with the resources and experience needed to treat their specific form of cancer, especially with mesothelioma, which is relatively rare.