Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tracking Down a Medical Expert: The Process and the Cost

By Kate Rope

It was time to track down an expert on autoimmune disease and pregnancy. My mystery chest pain (which first reared its ugly head during my pregnancy) had returned when my daughter was 3 months old, and my rheumatologist wanted me to consider going on a drug I couldn’t use while breast-feeding. That was a deal killer for me. I actually liked breast-feeding and was good at it. I was nowhere near ready to abandon it.
So without consulting my doctor, I went looking for another. I live in one of the medical capitals of the world, New York City, and I am a health journalist who works at a health website. So, I had a leg up on finding an expert on autoimmune disease and pregnancy. I asked my colleagues if they had interviewed any over the years, and one of our veteran health reporters immediately emailed back with two names. At the same time, a friend who is a prominent immunologist recommended one of the same two doctors and gave me her email. Bingo. I had an entrée to the upper echelons of rheumatology.
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