In the issue in front of you, we have what I think you’ll agree is one of the strongest “Top Doctors” features we’ve ever produced. And you’ll soon understand why the theme for the package this year is “Where the World Comes to Get Well.”
For the survey itself, we more than doubled the number of physicians polled to 5,500, and we covered a wider geographic area. And to offer an extra service to readers who are feeling under the weather while at the beach, we even conducted a smaller survey in the area around Ocean City and Rehoboth.
Thanks to input from both readers and from the physicians advising us on the survey, we also added a number of new specialties this year, from hospitalists and nuclear medicine to podiatry. And we’ve expanded the listings of highly rated docs in those specialties most in demand, especially family and internal medicine, because it’s often difficult to get an appointment in one’s lifetime at the best-known practices.
We’ve been told over the years that local physicians (who are bombarded all year long with requests to participate in various national surveys) find it more important to be on the relatively selective Baltimore “Top Doctors” list than to have their names appear on national who’s-who lists. That’s because their Baltimore colleagues, friends, and patients will see it, but also, we hope, because our list carries considerable prestige.
But while the results of our survey have always been a valuable reader resource (one major local hospital’s marketing research found it was patients’ number one source for choosing a doc), we think it’s the accompanying medical stories that will really grab you.
From among the roughly 300 docs in 86 specialties on the final list, we went in search of a few really memorable medical cases, and chose five stories we think are pretty hard to beat, ranging from mysterious and virtually unheard-of to downright heartwarming.
We also spent hours in the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center to give readers a feel for the palpable sense of urgency that drives the medical professionals in that unique hospital every minute of their long day. And we take a look at the nearly 24-7 operations of the little-known Johns Hopkins Hospital office that caters to the unique needs of patients from all over the world: It does everything from providing interpreters, transportation, and upscale housing to tracking down unusual cooking ingredients.
Of course, it’s the world-class medicine practiced at Hopkins that has made Baltimore the synonym for hope that it is to many of those suffering families.
But for these patients from very different cultures—often arriving for the first time in this strange new country where women are equals, people eat pork and wear shoes in their homes, and no one cares what tribe you’re from—the exceptional concierge service takes a lot of anxiety out of their medical emergency. We go inside that rarified world.