If you think you know who your doctor is, think again. Many patients have no idea who is in charge of their medical care. While it’s true that there are many great doctors out there, unfortunately (due to multiple factors) more and more are losing control over patient care. That’s bad for patients and health care. Real bad. If in doubt, read this article by NBC News detailing the nightmare a woman went through when her brain abscess was mismanaged. The patient’s brain CT was interpreted (correctly) by a radiologist living overseas in Hong Kong. People are often completely unaware that their medical care is being outsourced to foreign doctors and facilities. Many hospitals no longer have Radiologists (doctors who read xrays and other diagnostic tests such as CTs and MRIs) on site and instead “ship” the images to offsite readers in the US and overseas. And it’s not a trivial thing. Radiologists are one of the most essential professionals involved in your medical care but most patients are completely unaware of this. When you go to see your doctor, typically an internist, he or she provides you with the results from an xray, CT or MRI but your internist is not the doctor who read that study (unless they are also a board certified radiologist). The internist gives you the results provided by the radiologist. And here’s where it gets tricky– often its the Radiology reading that “makes or breaks” the diagnosis. Take mammography for example. Your doctor gets the results of your mammogram and gives them to you. How many people actually ask, “Who read my mammogram?” The answer is practically none. And it really is a question you need to start asking. The days of blindly trusting medical information are over. Patients need to advocate for themselves and starts asking questions. They need the ask their doctors “who, where and what are their credentials” when receiving results. And this doesn’t only apply to Radiology. Errors happen in other fields as well, most notably in Patholology where the error rate can be as high as 20% (See this article by Kevin MD ). Patients need to take control of their medical care. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated. Seek out second (or even multiple) opinions whenever in doubt.