Who is the Breast Specialist?

This afternoon, a female patient with a bloody nipple discharge came to my clinic after a referral from an obstetrician-gynecologist.

After I examined the patient, she asked, “who should I see for my breast problem, the OB-GYN or you, the general surgeon or the breast specialist?”  I discovered the trigger for her question was that she was told to see the OB-GYN first when she asked the hospital information desk staff which specialist should she consult for her breast concern.  After being seen by the OB-GYN, she was referred right away to me (by the OB-GYN), a general surgeon and a breast specialist.  Her concern was the two waiting times and two consultation fees she spent.

A lesson learned here is, to avoid two waiting times and two consultation fees, a patient with a breast concern should go directly to the breast specialist right way.  A breast specialist is a general surgeon, and not an obstetrician-gynecologist.   The public should know who is the breast specialist.  He/she is a general surgeon whose training includes the breast.  An obstetrician-gynecologist is not a breast specialist by training, at least in the Philippines.

The other lesson learned here is, that the hospital information desk staff should undergo training in helping patients go to the correct medical specialists, when asked.  Oftentimes, in the Philippines setting, walk-in patients would ask the hospital information desk staff which medical specialists to go to.   It would be a value-added service if the hospital information desk staff would give the right advice.


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