Choosing a Gastroenterologist

I have had my fair share of doctors over the years. Some gastroenterologists I liked, and some not so much. Over the last few weeks, I have really thought about how wonderful my gastroenterologist is. For the purpose of privacy, I will not write anybody’s name.

When I was in the hospital for the three hundred and seventy one days, I saw the entire gastroenterology department.

And I got to know them pretty well. Some doctors came in my room and I really liked them. They were aggressive and proactive. They had great bedside manners and listened to what my concerns were. Others were very pompous, had terrible bedside manner, and felt like the “waiting game” was the way to go. I think when it comes to the stomach, you need to have a doctor that is aware of the situation, ready to make quick decisions, and like I said before, he or she listens to their patients.

I put together a few traits I look at when evaluating a gastroenterologists.

1. Good Listener

  • My stomach doctor listens to me. He always ask, “how are you feeling?” “What medications are working, or what are not?” I think this is very important, as I know my body best. Crohn’s comes in different severities, and every case is unique and different. To me, you can be the smartest doctor in the world, but if you don’t want to what to listen to what the patient to say, then whelp you’re not that great of a doctor.

2. Aggressive

  • My stomach doctor is aggressive. If he sees a problem, he wants to fix it right away. He doesn’t wait until it gets out of hand. I had many doctors while in the hospital who loved playing the waiting game. Time goes by so slowly, and a “watched pot doesn’t boil.” I can’t sit around waiting to see if the medication will work in six months. Lets try things that will fix the issue now, as we are waiting for other things to work. I dealt with that before. I might sound rude, but I hate waiting.

3. Experienced and Well Known

  • Maybe I am biased, but I like to work with stomach doctors who have been around a while. Other doctors know them, and they have the experience. I look at their qualifications. I like when I read that they studied at Cleveland Clinic, the “Mecca of Gastroenterology.” I have flown out there before, and their doctors are the “cream of the crop.”

All and all, its up to you what you prefer. Things I have listed you might be going, “Hey Paul, I know that already.” And that’s ok! Some of you are also thinking, “Hey Paul, there is a lot more I take into account when thinking about a stomach doctor.” And that’s fine too! At the end of the day, you have to work with the doctor on a daily basis. You have to feel comfortable with your doctor; it’s your stomach. If you have more questions about specific doctors, please reach out to me! The Philadelphia region is my specialty!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (4)
  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    5 months ago

    I think these are great traits and I agree with them all. Finding a good gastroenterologist can be tough, but most importantly you have to be able to trust them. If you don’t trust them and don’t get along with them, move on to the next asap!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • debn
    2 years ago

    Hey Paul,

    I have/had UC since I was 10 yrs old. I have a pouch now. I’m willing to go into more detail but my question is…How familiar are you with Madison WI? I know we have tons of docs here but after being under a surgeons care for the past year and having had no real GI for a while, I am looking for a new GI. I have met a few and been less than impressed. I’m tired of doctor shopping. My primary is helpful but we’re also dealing with Rheumatology and I don’t want to wear her out.

  • Paul Richman author
    2 years ago

    Hey Debn
    I hope this finds you doing well. I apologize for my tardiness in responding. I am not familiar at all with Madison WI. I am sorry that you are going through this out where you live. Would you ever see doctors here in Philadelphia?

  • SusanHU
    2 years ago

    Thank you for the comment debn – one question for you: have you chatted with your primary about finding specialists to add to your care team? It sounds like you have a good relationship with them and they might be a great place to start! Additionally, they may have some suggestions on in-person support groups in your area who may have suggestions because they’re more familiar with the area.

    Let us know how it goes! – Susan (InflammatoryBowelDisease.net Team Member)

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