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Melanoma help

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive May 2006: Melanoma help
By Colette on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 04:27 pm:

My fil, 79, has just been diagnosed with melanoma in 2 spots. They just had a conference w/the dermatologist and he made an appt w/a plastic surgeon. I looked up the surgeons credentials and he is NOT board certified, has no post grad training, and he's only graduated in 1993. So I'm thinking they should find someone else, but I really don't know what exactly they should be looking for. They are both elderly and they are both scared. He is a vet. so I don't know if he would get better care at the VA hospital instead of medicare or medicaid. I need to get this info asap so if anyone can help I'd appreciate it.

By Enchens on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 06:04 pm:

Is the surgeon board certified in anything? Another area of medicine, perhaps? Because the way things were explained to me is that a dr. cannot practice if they are not board certified.
I wonder if this is universal or if it varies from state to state.

By Colette on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 06:08 pm:

He's not according to the MA Physician website. It shows he graduated from The Royal College of surgeons in Ireland in 1993 and that's it. No post grad training.

By Missmudd on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 11:48 pm:

Well I would be a bit leary. Is he a medicare provider? I would probably stear clear and try to find someone else.

By Ginny~moderator on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - 05:39 am:

I would definitely find someone else. It is critical with Melanoma to make the cuts large enough to remove all traces. As a legal secretary who worked in Medical Malpractice, I saw cases where this surgery was not done as thoroughly as necessary and the melanoma recurred and spread - and it is a nasty and fast spreader as cancers go. I would look for a board certified surgeon who has had at least 15 years experience, and the first question I would ask is "How many times have you done surgery for melanomas in the past year, and how many years have you been doing them?" Believe me, experience counts. I don't know about VA, because there are often waiting lists with the VA. Check with the hospital and ask them for the names of board certified plastic surgeons who have been practicing at the hospital for at least 10 years. See if the hospital has a website, as often the website will list brief bios of doctors who practice there or are on their staff. You want to talk to the head of the plastic surgery department or sub-department.

I am quite sure that the medical teaching in training in Ireland is excellent - but again, experience counts. And while every doctor has to gain experience, I wouldn't want one of my loved ones to be the person who is part of that learning curve.

By Kittycat_26 on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - 07:20 am:

If they really like this doctor, call the doctor and ask.

Finding out if a doctor is board certified is not always as easy as you would like to think.

It could be that he was board certified shortly after graduating but let it lapse after 10 years. It could be that he is board certified in internal medicine or emergency medicine. It could be that he is registered within the boards under another name. This happens alot with doctors from foreign countries. They tend to use a much easier version of their name for their patients and in the office; however, officially their license and boards are using their proper name.

By Colette on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - 12:05 pm:

Thanks. This is extremely frustrating. He is definetly not board certified, I called the Mass board of medicine. The dr they want to see is, but this other one, who works with the one they want to see, can see him sooner. So, do they wait a month for a certified dr or do they go in 2 weeks to an uncertified one.

By Kittycat_26 on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - 12:19 pm:

Is he board qualified?

By Colette on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - 12:30 pm:

According to his office he is board eligable. Which then makes me wonder why he hasn't taken the test or did he take it and fail it? His office profile lists more residency programs, etc, but nothing is listed on the state site, so one has to wonder why? Did he not complete the program?

By Colette on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - 12:31 pm:

eligible, sorry.

By Ginny~moderator on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - 01:05 pm:

I doubt a couple of weeks will make a significant difference in the long run. If it were me, I'd wait to see the board certified doctor.

By Colette on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - 02:04 pm:

That's what I think too.

By Hol on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 11:52 pm:

You are in New England. Some of the BEST doctors are in Boston. Call your state medical board and ask for some referrals.
Don't wait on melanoma. It can spread very quickly and can be very deadly. Your FIL is in my prayers.


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