Friday, January 11, 2013

Stay healthy in 2013. My "dream team" of doctors in Paris.


"When was your last eye exam?" demanded Dr. Cohn as I squinted my eyes in a futile attempt to read the minuscule words on the card in front of me. After explaining that I haven't had my eyes examined since we moved to Paris almost two years ago, he replied, "You should have an exam every year. But times flies, doesn't it?" It certainly does, especially when you're an expat trying to build a new life for yourself in a foreign country. How was I supposed to know that ophthalmologists are the rock stars of the French medical community and that it takes new patients 3-6 months to get a much-coveted appointment.

Being one who's slow to commit, I had kept my full roster of Swiss doctors on standby when we moved to Paris. After all, four hours by train didn't seem too far to travel if I was suddenly struck by some bizarre illness that required immediate attention. I always figured that I could hop on the TGV in the morning, see my doctor in the early afternoon and be home in time for dinner. That all changed when I had to go to the emergency room on my birthday last July. The French doctors completely won me over with their professional, yet compassionate, care. Plus, it's reassuring to know that they're nearby when I need them.

If you're still trying to assemble your medical team in Paris, the best place to start is at your local pharmacy. Based on feedback from their customers, they'll be able to make recommendations for the doctors in your neighborhood. If having a doctor who speaks English is a top priority, click here to see the list compiled by the American Embassy.

No matter where you live, be sure to stay on top of your medical check-ups in 2013. It's what I've been doing this week and it feels good to have almost all of my annual visits behind me!

Here's my "dream team" of doctors, each of whom I would recommend without reservation.

General practitioner: Dr. Robert Steinmetzer, 14 avenue President Wilson, 75116 Paris. Tel: 01 58 12 09 35. Dr. Steinmetzer is a Belgian who is well-versed in the American approach to medicine. He practiced at the Cleveland Clinic in the United States and currently practices at the American Hospital in Paris.

Dentist: Dr. Sophie Cohen-Allouche, 133 avenue Emile Zola, 75015 Paris. Tel: 01 45 79 97 44. After hearing negative reports about French dentists from my Canadian dental hygienist in Switzerland, who has lots of French patients who cross the border for their dental care, I doubted that I would be able to find a good dentist in Paris. Dr. Cohen-Allouche has completely changed my mind because she has done a remarkable job replacing my old fillings with inlays. She's meticulous and has small fingers, which is important when she's working on a tooth at the back of your mouth for two hours! We've only spoken French together but she also speaks English.

Ophthalmologist: Dr. Howard Cohn, 45 rue Vineuse, 75016 Paris. Tel: 01.53.65.68.10. Dr. Cohn is an American who was also an Assistant Professor at Cornell University. I figured that I better stick with an English-speaking ophthalmologist so that I wouldn't mess up the vowels while reading the eye-chart in French!

Dermatologist: Dr. Stephanie Régnier, 19 rue Molitor, 75016 Paris. Tel: 01 46 51 11 60. After being diagnosed with melanoma 2 1/2 years ago, I was very pleased to have found Dr. Régnier because she is the most meticulous dermatologist that I've ever seen. We've only spoken French together but I believe that she speaks English.

Gynecologist: Dr. Marie-Noëlle Menard, 2 Square Mignot 75116 Paris. Tel: 01 47 55 07 70. Recommended to me by the radiologist at the American Hospital and Sylvia (Finding Noon), Dr. Menard's excellent care after my visit to the emergency room in July is what convinced me to give up my doctors in Switzerland and to switch to those in Paris. After all, it's where I live!

32 comments:

  1. A clean bill of health is a great way to start the new year! But what are you doing with that ounce of prevention? I've started taking a daily garlic supplement after having a small bout of flu earlier this winter. If it wards off vampires, I expect it can ward off a cold too. And there's no smell, or so I'm told.

    And did we ever learn how to did with your month-long detox for foie gras fever?

    As the saying goes, yours in health...

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    1. I hope that the garlic supplements work, Joseph. Your bout of flu seemed to be more than a small one!

      As for other forms of prevention, I'm still in holiday mode. Although Stephane did tell me that he plans to go to the gym tonight...with the disclaimer that he'll only go if he still has the motivation when he gets home from work. Maybe I'll join him.

      But we have been juicing. I'll probably go to the market this morning to get some fresh carrots, apples, ginger, etc. And, of course, I'll get some kale.

      Oh, and I took a massive prescribed dose of vitamin D because my doctor said that I was severely deficient, as are most people. So be sure to take some vitamin D along with your garlic!

      I like your closing so much that I'm going to use it too...

      Yours in health!

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    2. Yey, Kale! Great antioxidant and good source of non-dairy calcium. What type(s) have you found in France and what is it/are they called in French? Seems Scots(curly)Kale is even higher in calcium than the smoother kind.

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  2. Thanks Mary Kay! This is just what I needed and all of them are in my 'hood! Happy New Year!

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    1. I'm glad that this post was helpful, Annabelle! One thing that I didn't mention in the body of the post is the fact that most people living in Paris (and other many other places, it seems) are Vitamin D deficient. You may want to check if your kids need supplements since the milk isn't fortified in France.

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  3. Please take care of yourself, because nobody else will do it. You seem to me as a person, who look first after all the people around and forget of yourself. Nothing makes fun without good health or permanent pain.

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    1. Thank you, Sanne, for the reminder to look after myself. Please do the same! As you said, women are more often geared towards caring for others. It's also very important that we make sure that our bodies stay healthy!

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  4. I always find it interesting hearing about other cultural approaches to healthcare. I also find it interesting that Americans and presumably the French and Swiss, have "their own" gynaecologist and a dermatologist. etc, as in the UK access to a specialist is via our GP (or midwife if pregnant) and the GP decides is the best person to deal with the problem in question. Which could be different each time. Whereas it sounds as if in France the patient decides what kind of specialist he/she needs and goes direct to them.
    .
    I am also interested how often you see these doctors. Do you have a regular kind of check with a gynaecologist and dermatologist, oncologist etc. whether or not you have symptoms?

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    1. Sorry that my post was a bit misleading, Denise. Most people do go through their GP when they need to see a specialist but I'm supposed to go straight to the dermatologist and ophthalmologist for regular check-ups after being diagnosed with melanoma. I've also always gone to a gynecologist for my annual check-ups so that's what I continued doing in France. In fact, my gynecologist is the one who recommended my GP - so I approached things in a backward fashion.

      Because of the melanoma, I'm supposed to see the dermatologist every six months. If there aren't any recurrences after 5 years, then I'll be able to reduce my visits to once a year. I'm supposed to see the ophthalmologist once a year because skin cancer can also occur on the eyes.

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    2. hi Denise, yes here in France your GP can refer you to a specialist. But after living in Paris for 7 years I've found it can often be more efficient to get a recommendation first from someone that has been to the specialist. This is especially the case if you want an english speaking specialist. then if a referral is needed, you can ask your GP to write the referral to that specialist. Oh, and not all disciplines require a GP referral (eg, unless I'm mistaken, gynaecology, opthamology and dermatology fall into that category).

      Plus if you have a toothache, for example, you know you need to find a dentist...If you have lady-parts concerns, you probably need to see a gynae etc. And if you've had a history, you might prefer and want to research a particular expertise (eg a gynae or dermatologist who has expertise with cancers etc).

      There are lists collated by some embassies (American, Canadian, Australian etc) and english-language schools/universities, which are good at a pinch. But they can a bit of a lottery - see Sylvia's dental experience described below, or take for example my experience with my previous opthamologist who never speaks a word of english to me

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  5. Excellent, excellent post, MK. Thank you.

    You know I drafted an email to send out to the "community" because I am currently shopping around for a lady parts doctor. Once my carte vitale comes in, I will see if I can book an appointment. I would prefer to speak English during this appointment, is that possible with Dr. Menard?

    Thank you again for this extremely helpful post.

    Also, I'm glad that you've changed your mind about a four hour commute to the emergency room in Switzerland : )

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    1. Dr. Menard is great - and we always speak English together. Even though I delivered our two children in French when we lived in Switzerland, I still don't have all the vocabulary that I need to cover certain parts of my body in any language other than English! Another thing that I like about Dr. Menard is that she also practices at the American Hospital so she has an understanding of where I'm coming from as an American.
      The only disclaimer that I would add is that it's really helpful to have a doctor whose office isn't too far from where you live.

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  6. This is a great piece of info MK. I now of many expats for whom finding a doctor they feel comfortable with, has become a big issue.
    I bet your "dream team" will be flooded with calls all of the sudden. You may have to wait even longer for an appointment next time!

    Staying healthy is, without a doubt, THE most important thing...

    Take care (Rather, keep taking care)
    :-)
    Sylvia S.

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    1. Thanks, Sylvia. I'll keep taking care and hope that you'll do the same! I think that we're about the same age - the age when we start to realize that staying healthy is, as you say, the most important thing. When I was younger, I just assumed that good health was a given. Now it has become much more precious!

      Take good care of yourself! : )

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  7. I went to a dentist on the list provided by the American Embassy. He gave me a root canal. WITHOUT NOVACAINE!!! I do not recommend using that list. The doctors can nominate themselves by contacting the Embassy (at least that was the case 8 years ago).
    I'd add that if you need an ER and want your secu to cover it; Salpetrière or Hôpital de Dieu in front of Notre Dame. Necker for minors.

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    1. Yikes! What an awful experience. I've never had a root canal but can't imagine having any kind of dental work without novocaine! Thanks for the cautionary tale about the list provided by the American Embassy. I thought that they were doctors who had been recommended by Americans.

      Also, thanks for the info about the ER! Other than the American Hospital, I wouldn't have known where to go.

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  8. Happy and HEALTHY New Year!
    I am a firm believer in preventative medicine and practice what I preach......It feels good to get that clean bill of health. Truer words were never spoken "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

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    1. I'm glad that you're a firm believer in preventative medicine who practices what you preach - you've got to stay healthy to look after little Brady!

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  9. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Just what we needed. A good list of doctors that have been vetted by a Swiss-American.

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  10. Can't believe my luck! I have been putting this on hold for two years now since I've moved here to Paris with my husband and son! Will call first thing tomorrow...
    Thanks for sharing!

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  11. DocChecker is a free online booking service that connects patients to doctors.
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  12. Oh, you're phenomenal! Thanks for sharing this precious information. I was looking for a dentist and i already called miss Cohen.

    Have a wonderful and healthy fall season.
    All the best,
    Beatriz

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    1. Hi Beatriz, Can you share your experience with Dr Cohen? How much the first consultation is? Thanks a lot.

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  13. Just to say thank you so much for this list. I've lived in Paris for 7 years so have a list of medical professionals too, but there are always times when we need someone of a different expertise.

    Today I've called your dermatologist to see about a possible skin cancer. But I'm still looking for a new Opthamologist since Dr Cohn is quite hard to get an appointment with!

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    1. I hope that you were able to get an appointment with Dr. Régnier. I went to see her for my bi-annual appointment on January 7. She was as vigilant as ever. You're wise to have your skin checked. Even though most abnormal moles, etc turn out to be absolutely harmless, a small percentage of them aren't. Best wishes!

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  14. Hi I'm living in Paris until July but have had a shocking time getting a carte vitale. Do you know what the approximate consultation fee was for your gynecologist?

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    1. Hi Amy, Sorry but I don't remember the consultation fee for my gynecologist. Good luck getting your carte vitale!

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  15. I've just learned that Dr Regnier has relocated to Montpellier :(
    Who are you seeing instead Mary?

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    1. Hi Janey, Yes, Dr. Regnier told me that she was planning to relocate to Montpellier the last time I saw her. The good news is that her partner, Dr Caroline Juillard, is excellent. The contact information is the same: 01 46 51 11 60

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    2. Hi Mary Kay,

      Do you know if Dr. Juillard speaks English as well?I have been struggling along with a non-English speaking Dermatologist, but it is quite difficult to manage sometimes!

      Thank you!

      Rachel

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    3. Hi Rachel, Sorry but I'm not sure if Dr. Juillard speaks English. All of my visits with her were in French. Maybe you could check with the American Hospital in Neuilly. Many of their English speaking doctors also practice at private offices in Paris. You could also check with the American Embassy or English Embassy. Good luck!

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  16. Thank God for this list! I've just discovered your blog after tapping into Google 'English-speaking doctors in Paris, France ' (am I the only one who has to specify Paris,France as opposed to Paris, Texas for results?).Had a weird experience with a French dermatologist on Monday which I won't be repeating anytime soon...unfriendly, cold, clinical...just a hint of my appointment.

    I've been living here for 5 years and am yet to compile my doc list. Just about found an English speaking GP, and a dentist but struggling with every other discipline. My lady parts ..hehe..have been ignored for 5 years...as well as my eyes...not good for an avid contact lens wearer.

    Thanks for this MaryKay. Really appreciate this post. Will be following here on.

    I wish you continued good health.

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