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Thursday, February 15, 2007

But the magazine said he was a Super Doctor: An overdose lawsuit

The cancer doctor’s web site touts the fact that he was named in Texas Monthly as a so-called “Super Doctor" in December, 2005. But earlier that year he had lost the biggest malpractice suit in the county’s history--$600 million!--and a month later, another patient died from a chemo overdose under his care.

How does a physician become a Texas Monthly “Super Doctor?” Or for that matter, a Best Doctor for D Magazine?

“Super Doctors” is actually the trademark of Minneapolis-based Key Professional Media, which has made a business of publishing “Super” lists. Key Media is secretive about how its “Super Doctors” are chosen, and would not disclose how many doctors vote, saying that number is “proprietary.” Every voter can vote as many as ten times. Lorelei Calvert of Texas Monthly says Key basically buys a section of the magazine, labels it a “special advertising section” and sells the advertising space to doctors.

D Magazine asks “Which Dallas Doctors would you trust to send your loved ones to for medical care?” Rogers says the D survey is announced to hospital PR staffs before it is mailed to doctors. This allows them to stump for votes among their own staffs. Each surveyed doctor could cast as many as 117 votes over 39 different specialties. D says it got about 25,000 responses from 1,014 doctors, and selected 640 people as “Best Doctors.” Doctors are offered the chance to buy an ad in D Magazine to “maximize their exposure” when they’re notified they’ve been chosen as a “Best Doctor.” It is the best selling issue of the year.

Advice on finding a super doctor:
Start by checking the profile yourself, if you can. In Massachusetts, you should first look them up in the Board of Registration in Medicine’s web site.

Read the article by Byron Harris.

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