I'm frequently asked by friends and colleagues to recommend a physician, and it's not always straightforward. Oftentimes, doctors feel uncomfortable recommending a colleague because some of the most important qualities of healers are hard to describe and define.
Being a great doctor is more than having encyclopedic knowledge. It's more than how your doctor performed on the board exam—a mind-numbing multiple-choice exercise that is all about facts and doesn't adequately address the ambiguities, complexities, and uncertainties of medical practice. Being a great doctor is more than being skilled. If your doctor is a neurosurgeon, it's important for him to have an accurate and steady hand, but he also needs to discern when an operation is in your best interest and how to handle unexpected complications technically as well as emotionally.