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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

This question & answer column is for people living with chronic health challenges and their family caregivers, who want to learn to increase the odds of improving their health by learning to live with mastery & wellbeing.

I invite you to post your questions in the comments box below. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are interviews—mostly video. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

Here is this week’s question:

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION:  Regarding second opinions, what’s the best way to find the top experts in the country?

ANSWER:   If you have an equivocal diagnosis, search for your particular cluster of symptoms and you will come up with possible diagnoses. Sometimes, your particular symptoms will line up with a particular diagnosis, in which case, you can then find a specialist who is known for that diagnosis.

Stay away from anything that reads like an ad or any kind of publicity. The top specialists will usually be found at an academic or other tertiary care center.

If you have a clear, unequivocal diagnosis, your job will be much easier. If your primary care doctor isn’t able to get that name for you, go to the website for the academic medical center ot the  largest tertiary care center in your region. Find the list of doctors working in that specialty and see where they did their residencies and fellowships.

For example, if you are looking for an ophthalmologist and one of the listed doctors trained at Bascom Palmer, Wills Eye, Wilmer Eye, Mass Eye & Ear, or Jules Stein Eye, make an appointment with that doctor.

If you’re looking for a neurologist, pick the doctor who trained at Hopkins, Mayo (Minnesota), New York Presbyterian, Mass General, or UCSF.

For other specialties, see which medical centers are rated highest by US News and World Report for that specialty.

Another way is to contact the patient support organization for your particular diagnosis because they will know the names of the specialists most knowledgeable about that diagnosis.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health?

Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box. I will post a reply to your comment, but your specific question may not appear in this column.

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