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Shopping For a Reliable Medical Doctor

shopping for a reliable medical doctor

… Why it’s Important and Where to Look for one in Nigeria

Coming to terms with subjecting oneself to a medical doctor can be a challenge, especially if you have moved to a new community or are seeking for a second opinion after an unsatisfactory medical care. Asking for recommendations from coworkers, neighbors, and friends is a good way to start, but ultimately you will have to decide which doctor is best suited to your individual needs and situation.

Doctor shopping is defined as seeing multiple treatment providers, either during a single illness episode or to procure prescription medications illicitly.

It is often said that there are three most important persons to whom one can entrust his life: Your medical doctor, religious leader, and legal adviser. At this, great care is required to get one.

Unlike choosing a life partner or scouting for the best institution to get a degree, choosing a primary care doctor is one of the most important life decisions one could make. This is considering the fact that living in good health is the bedrock to every other thing one would attain in life; it is said that good health starts with having the right doctor by your side.

It’s so important to find a good primary care doctor, have knowledge of what to focus on in one’s search, and where to go for the information needed in Nigeria.

Sadly, majority are of the opinion that finding one requires great effort. “Unfortunately, it’s hard to find reliable, easy-to-understand information about specific doctors or practices in Nigeria,” Segun Abegide, a banker, says, recounting unpalatable experiences he had suffered during a medical episode.

“I am not aware of any. I have never had a reason to search out,” Dr. Harrison Nwogwu, Registrar, Anaesthesia, National Hospital, FCT, Abuja, says, when asked if there is a particular doctor’s review website or directory in Nigeria one could rely on to choose from.

He however said if one tried the available sites, they would end up with foreign doctors, mostly Indians.

The question, however is, “Does one really want to find a doctor the same way one do a restaurant or plumber? Probably not!

Some would rather take the opinion of their doctor as final, irrespective of the outcome, according to Mrs. Ibekwe, a retired school principal, who frowns at shopping for a second opinion when receiving medical care.

“Decades ago, when doctors worked within a much more orthodox system, such ‘seeking for a second opinion’ would have been considered inappropriate. Your doctor’s medical opinions were considered authoritative, incontrovertible and often final. Patients who challenged them were labeled ‘difficult,’ and worried about developing a reputation that would influence their treatment,” she opined.

Still, medical practitioners maintain there are no strategies and resources that can help one find a new doctor or check up on one they already have.
“No strategy. The good doctors are usually in the teaching hospitals,” Dr. Seun Mogbope, Cardiologist and Resident Doctor, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos, says.

She explained that some of the doctors in teaching hospitals go to private hospitals. It is therefore assumed that doctors at the teaching hospitals are 99% good, and that whenever one can get them…

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