Out-of-work plastic surgeons a hazard

I've read that elective plastic surgery has taken a big hit during this recession, but I didn't realize that the surgeons have resorted to trolling for work in their old specialties. The problem is, they may no longer be as current as they should be. I have to have a haywire gland (a parathyroid) removed from my neck. The hospital directed me to their ear, nose and throat surgeon. But even as he was giving me the surgeon's name, the medical director said I might want to get a second opinion -- and he offered the name of a second ENT surgeon. I thought, "Whoa, that's weird."

So, I checked out the doctors on New York State's physician website, and I found that the first doctor described his practice entirely in terms of facial plastic surgery. He didn't even mention ENT work. So, I asked if he did the minimally invasive type of surgery I was looking for. He told me he did not, and then started talking on and on about the different types of scars. Again, a red flag went up for me. This guy was all about the surface.

I made some more calls and discovered that the second ENT surgeon doesn't accept my insurance. So, I ended up finding a third surgeon, one who has devoted himself to this kind of operation, both as a student and now in his specialty practice. I'm not very happy with the hospital staff who, essentially, threw me to my own resources. I'm sure there are rules and professional courtesies involved about who gets a referral, but I can't see where this process has the patient's best interests at heart.

Two days later, the first ENT called me to schedule the surgery. I told him that I had chosen someone else who offered the newer technique. For one thing, it means the difference between going under general anaesthesia or having a local pain blocker. "It's all marketing!" he practically shouted into the phone. When I argued with him, he offered to repeat what he had just explained to me, "but this time very slowly." Charming.

I have to think there was karma at work here.