Some doctors are very good and others are not. It pays to pick your doctors carefully, and also to do your own research. This was reinforced when we spent time with Anita's brother Prakash and his family this past July 4th holiday.
During our chats Prakash and his wife Shabnam mentioned two health-related incidents, one relating to Shabnam and the other to their son Rishi that I'd like to share.
Some time back Shabnam developed a recurrent redness in one side of the white of her eye that would last for days. A Costco optometrist advised her to get this checked out by a large and flourishing ophthalmic practice that this Costco store worked with. Over the next year till recently Shabnam went to this practice seven times and was seen by three ophthalmologists. Each of them had a different diagnosis and prescribed a different (costly) treatment. Nothing helped.
Then Prakash who is a business professor with no medical background looked up the internet and found the answer - she has occular rosacea, a common condition for people with acne, and that she now manages with simple home treatment. I typed "redness eye" without quotes in the search box of http://www.webmd.com/ and it popped up right away.
The other incident relating to their son Rishi was also ophthalmologist related, and more disturbing. Rishi was a few months old when Prakash and Shabnam noticed in the mornings that he'd have excessive mucus in one inner corner of his eye that they'd clean up. On their pediatrician's recommendation they took him to an ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist diagnosed 9 month old Rishi with a blocked tear duct and urged them to let him immediately operate on Rishi under general anesthesia. He said the procedure becomes more complicated after 12 months of age.
Prakash wanted to double check, and looked up on the internet as it existed then in 1996. He came across a Canadian website with discussions by doctors that said this blocked tear duct problem is common in infants, and frequently resolves by itself. Moreover, the doctors advised against surgery till at least 18 months of age. Prakash and Shabnam never went to that ophthalmologist again, and sure enough, Rishi's problem permanently cleared of its own by his first birthday. His parents are relieved that they didn't blindly go by the doctor's recommendations.
I've myself always relied on strong word of mouth by patients or doctor friends when choosing our doctors. I almost always end up with great doctors and recommend this practice. And as Prakash's stories show, it can help a lot to look up the internet to check on what your doctor says.