This site maintained by Barry Sugarman,
Father of Alon Sugarman, Diagnosed March 6, 1998
with Ewing's Sarcoma of the Distal Femur.
**This guide has been written for educational purposes only, it cannot be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. If you have or suspect that you or your child may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Additionally, this site is not intended to provide legal advice or legal opinions. If you need legal advice or opinions, please consult your attorney.**
by Barry Sugarman, B.S.ENGR., President, and Dr. Lainie
Sugarman, Vice President
The Cure Our Children Foundation
Using the right doctor and the right hospital to treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases is critical. Every doctor is not the same, and there are substantial differences in knowledge, bedside manner, customary practices, and treatment philosophy. While it is important to get information about the doctor and the hospital, and to gain a certain comfort level, remember that time is not on your side. Questions and checks should be performed immediately, and treatment commenced right away once a confirmed diagnosis has been established. Although most pediatric hematologist-oncologists treat all cancers and leukemia, each doctor has his or her own specialty. That is, there are one or two diseases that they specialize in, and know much more about than the other diseases. It's best if you can locate a doctor that specializes in your child's particular disease, and who has treated a number of children with that disease over a long period of time.
There are many questions to ask your doctor before you agree to treatment. Some of these are:
How many patients have you treated with
this particular disease successfully?
If the treatment that you choose is unsuccessful, what resources will you utilize
to assist you?
Is there a separate pediatric ward at the hospital, and are pediatric nurses available?
What social services are available for you and your child during treatment?
Are school teachers available to the child when there are stays in the hospital for treatments?
Is there a playroom and a Child Life Specialist available, and what hours are they available?
Is there an adequate support staff of related
doctors such as pediatric surgeons, radiation
oncologists, neurologists, radiologists and others? Do these professionals have direct
experience in pediatrics?
Are the rooms private or shared? What are
the accommodations for parents staying in the
What clinical trials are available at your facility?
How will you respond if I disagree with one of your treatment choices?
Who covers you when you are not available?
Are you available by pager?
How much time do you dedicate during appointments?
Do you accept my insurance plan?
Do you accept credit cards or extended payment terms for balances due?
Ask for your own copy of a resume or curriculum vitae.
There are many possible specialists
involved in the treatment of children with cancer such as pediatricians,
pediatric hematologist-oncologists, orthopedic oncologists, pediatric
orthopedists, general surgeons and others. Knowing the background and
training of each can help you select the facility and person that is best for
your situation. It is extremely important that a facility be chosen that
has a separate pediatric ward, and separate personnel that are trained in
pediatrics. Treating children is much different than treating adults, and
requires specialized training. Additionally, there are a number of
practical needs of parents such as the need to stay overnight in the room, so
the extent to which a facility is willing to accommodate this, and even make it
easy is very important. Aside from break periods, my wife and I were
always on duty with our son Alon 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including
sleeping and eating in the room with Alon and taking care of all of his needs.
I believe that it is especially important to seek and receive a second opinion on the pathology reports from a respected pathologist at a recognized facility that regularly treats cancer. I can't stress enough that all of the treatment decisions that are being offered emanate from the diagnosis given by a pathologist when looking at slides of blood or tumor. It is advisable to request that an extra set of slides be prepared prior to the biopsy procedure. Diagnosis by slides is no easy task, and a second set of slides should always be viewed and a second opinion given. In addition to this, it is also common practice to perform a second opinion by a pediatric oncologist in life-threatening illness. The second opinion should confirm or refute the diagnosis, and the proposed treatment methods.
Remember, you are trusting this person with your life or the life of your child. Seek only those doctors and other health care professionals that are willing to work with you in a trusting, caring, respectful, professional manner. It is a perfectly acceptable practice to interview two or more doctors before deciding which one that you wish to choose; however, this process should be done quickly, as time is always of the essence when treating cancer.
Treatment methods always exist at every stage of disease including relapse. It is a good idea to discuss these numerous methods with your doctor to gauge their opinions. For instance, with chemotherapy, there are many choices such as the full traditional protocol, an abbreviated protocol, addition of immune boosting drugs, and clinical trials. For radiation, there is traditional radiation, I.M.R.T., sterotactic, proton, and neutron. For surgery, there is endoprosthesis, rotationplasty, allograft, and amputation. These are only some of the options, other options exist, and new options are being developed every day. Many treatment options are only available at particular facilities. Whether or not your doctor is open to listening to your suggestions and discussion about treatment methods available at their own facilities and at other facilities is an important consideration.
Myself and others from our foundation are available to assist you as an advocate if you need additional information, referral, or potential treatment alternatives. Our contact information is at the bottom of this page.
...Barry and Lainie Sugarman
Check for Medical Board Certification:
· American Board of Medical Specialties, Phone: 1-866-ASK-ABMS, 847-491-9091, Fax: 847-328-3596
Private Services to Check on Doctors:
· Choicetrust.com, Phone: 1-800-342-5339
· U.S. Information Search, Phone: 800-596-4327, Fax: 914-931-1735
· At Health.com, Mental Health Practitioners, Phone: 1-888-284-3258 or 360-668-3808, Fax: 360-668-2216
· Physicians-Background.com, Phone: 850-862-5075
· Healthgrades.com, Phone: 303-716-0041
· Investigate Your Doctor.com, Phone: 818 745-1212, Fax: 818-745-1260
· National Practitioner Databank, Phone: 800-767-6732 or 703-802-9380; TT/TDD: 703-802-9395
· Doctor Quality.com, Phone: 877-633-3923 or 610-828-9955; Fax: 610-828-9966
· Best Doctors.com, Phone: 888-362-8677, Fax: 617-426-8595
· American Medical Association Physician Select, Phone: 800-621-8335
Check on Your Hospital:
· Healthgrades.com, Phone: 303-716-0041
· U.S. News Hospital Ratings Search Engine, Phone: 202-955-2000, Fax: 202-955-2685
· Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, Phone: 630-792-5000, Fax: 630-792-5005
· American Hospital Association, at Hospital Connect, Phone: 312-422-3000
· National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), Phone: 888-275-7585
· Health Care Choices.com, Phone: 212-724-9395, Fax: 212-724-9577
· Health Scope.org, Phone: 415-281-8660, Fax: 415-281-0960
· Quality Counts.org, Phone: 608-276-6620, Fax: 608-276-6626
State Medical Boards and Medical Associations:
· American Medical Association, Phone: 800-621-8335
· Federation of State Medical Boards, Phone: 817-868-4000, Fax: 817-868-4099
· Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 334-242-4116, Fax: 334-242-4155
· Alaska State Medical Board, Phone: 907-269-8163, Fax: 907-269-8196
· Arizona Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 480-551-2700, 877-255-2212
· Arizona Board of Osteopathic Examiners in Medicine and Surgery, Phone: 480-657-7703
· Arkansas State Medical Board, Phone: 501-296-1802, Fax: 501-296-1805
· California--Medical Board of California, Phone: 800-633-2322, 916-263-2389, Fax: 916-263-2387
· California--Osteopathic Medical Board of California, Phone: 916-263-3100, Fax 916-263-3117
· Colorado Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 303-894-7690, Fax: 303-894-7692
· Connecticut Medical Examining Board, Phone: 860-509-7648, Fax: 860-509-7553
· Delaware Board of Medical Practice, Phone: 302-744-4507, Fax: 302-739-2711
· District of Columbia Board of Medicine, Phone: 202-442-4777, Fax: 202-442-9431
· Florida Board of Medicine, Phone: 850-245-4131, Fax: 850-488-9325
· Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine, Phone: 850-245-4161, Fax: 850-487-9874
· Georgia Composite State Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 404-656-3913, Fax: 404-656-9723
· Guam Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 011-671-475-0251, Fax: 011-671-477-4733
· Hawaii Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 808-586-3000, Fax: 808-586-2874
· Idaho State Board of Medicine, Phone: 208-327-7000, Fax: 208-327-7005
· Illinois Department of Professional Regulation Discipline Phone: 312-814-4500, Fax: 312-814-1837
Licensure Phone: 217-785-0800, Fax: 217-524-2169
· Indiana Health Professions Bureau, Phone: 317-232-2960, Fax: 317-233-4236
· Iowa State Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 515-281-5171, Fax: 515-242-5908
· Kansas Board of Healing Arts, Phone: 785-296-7413, Fax: 785-296-0852
· Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, Phone: 502-429-8046, Fax: 502-429-9923
· Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 800-296-7549, Fax: 504-568-8893
· Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine, Phone: 207-287-3601, Fax: 207-287-6590
· Maine Board of Osteopathic Licensure, Phone: 207-287-2480, Fax: 207-287-3015
· Maryland Board of Physician Quality Assurance, Phone: 800-492-6836, 410-764-4777, Fax: 410-358-2252
· Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, Phone: 800-377-0550, 617-654-9800, Fax: 617-451-9568
· Michigan Board of Medicine, Phone: 517-373-6873, Fax: 517-373-2179
· Michigan Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, Phone: 517-373-6873, Fax: 517-373-2179
· Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, Phone: 612-617-2130, Fax: 612-617-2166, Hearing impaired 1-800-627-3529
· Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure, Phone: 601-987-3079, Fax: 601-987-4159
· Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, Phone: 573-751-0098, Fax: 573-751-3166
· Montana Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 406-841-2300, Fax: 406-841-2363
· Nebraska Health and Human Services, Regulation and Licensure Credentialing Division, Phone: 402-471-2115, Fax: 402-471-3577
· Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 775-688-2559, Fax: 775-688-2321
· Nevada State Board of Osteopathic Medicine, Phone: 702-732-2147, Fax: 702-732-2079
· New Hampshire Board of Medicine, Phone: 603-271-1203, Fax: 603-271-6702, Complaints Phone: 800-780-4757l
· New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 609-826-7100, Fax: 609-826-7117
· New Mexico State Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 800-945-5845, 502-827-5022, Fax: 505-827-7377
· New Mexico Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, Phone: 505-476-7120, Fax: 505-476-7095
· New York State Board for Medicine (Licensure), Phone: 518-474-3817, Fax: 518-486-4846
· New York State Board for Professional Medical Conduct (Discipline), Phone: 518-402-0855, Fax: 518-402-0866
· North Carolina Medical Board, Phone: 919-326-1100, Fax: 919-326-1130
· North Dakota State Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 701-328-6500, Fax: 701-328-6505
· State Medical Board of Ohio, Phone: 800-554-7717, 614-466-3934, Fax: 614-728-5946
· Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision, Phone: 800-381-4519, 405-848-6841, Fax: 405-848-8240
· Oklahoma State Board of Osteopathic Examiners, Phone: 405-528-8625, Fax: 405-557-0653
· Oregon Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 503-229-5770, 877-254-6263, Fax: 503-229-6543
· Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine, Phone: 717-783-1400, Fax: 717-787-7769
· Pennsylvania State Board of Osteopathic Medicine, Phone: 717-783-4858, Fax: 717-787-7769
· Board of Medical Examiners of Puerto Rico, Phone: 787-782-8949, Fax: 787-792-4436
· Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline, Phone: 401-222-3855, Fax: 401-222-2158
· South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 803-896-4500, Fax: 803-896-4515
· South Dakota State Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners, Phone: 605-336-1965, Fax: 605-336-0270
· Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 615-532-4384, Fax: 615-532-5369
· Tennessee Board of Osteopathic Examiners, Phone: 888-310-4650, 615-532-4384, Fax: 615-532-5369
· Texas State Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 512-305-7010, 800-248-4062 (TX only), Fax: 512-463-9416,
Consumer Complaint Hotline Phone: 800-201-9353
· Utah Department of Commerce, Div. of Occupational & Professional Licensure, Phone: 801-530-6628, Fax: 801-530-6511
· Utah Department of Commerce, Div. of Occupational & Professional Licensure, Osteopathic Physician Board, Phone: 801-530-6628, Fax: 801-530-6511
· Vermont Board of Medical Practice, Phone: 802-657-4220, Fax: 802-657-4227
· Vermont Board of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, Phone: 802-828-2373, Fax: 802-828-2465
· Virgin Islands Board of Medical Examiners, Phone: 340-774-0117, Fax: 340-777-4001
· Virginia Board of Medicine, Phone: 804-662-9908, Fax: 804-662-9517
· Washington Medical Quality Assurance Commission, Phone: 360-236-4788, Fax: 360-586-4573
· Washington State Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, Phone: 360-236-4943, Fax: 360-236-2406
· West Virginia Board of Medicine, Phone: 304-558-2921, Fax: 304-558-2084
· West Virginia Board of Osteopathy, Phone: 304-723-4638, Fax: 304-723-6723
· Wisconsin Medical Examining Board, Dept. of Regulation and Licensing, Phone: 608-266-2112, Fax: 608-261-7083
· Wyoming Board of Medicine, Phone: 307-778-7053, Fax: 307-778-2069
Search Mailing Lists, News Boards, and Chat Support Groups
for Information on Doctors and Hospitals:
· Search Yahoo Groups for Mailing Lists, Phone: 408-349-3300, FAX 408-349-3301
· Search ListServ Mailing Lists, Phone 301-731-0440, Fax: 301-731-6302
· Topica, Search for Mailing Lists, Phone: 415-344-0800, 415-344-0900
· Usenet Info Center Launch Pad, Phone: 919-962-1621 or 919-962-0658, FAX: 919-962-5604
· Search Discussion Groups on Google Groups, Phone: 650-330-0100, Fax: 650-618-1499
This site last updated on December 27, 2003.