In old movies, bad doctors are easy to identify – they work out of seedy offices and have a furtive, unkempt look. In real life, it’s not so obvious. Thanks to improvements in medical education and oversight, most doctors today are well educated and have solid credentials. “The differences between good and bad are more subtle, more personal, harder to detect but just as critical for you,” says George LeMaitre, a surgeon and author of How to Choose a Good Doctor.
San Francisco Bay Area pediatrician Laurel Schultz says so-called “bad” doctors may be overworked, bored, or burned out – or a combination of the three. Or maybe they never liked being a doctor in the first place. “Their eyes are glazed over,” says Schultz. “They’ve lost their intellectual curiosity. They really don’t care, and it shows.”