What Cancer And Second Opinions Taught Me About Personal Branding And Building Patient Confidence

3 months ago   •   1 min read

By Ernesto Gutierrez, MD
Table of contents

In 2003, at 21 years of age, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

I was referred to an amazing oncologist and his team. They had years of experience and together could treat pretty much any kind of cancer. In just a few days we had bloodwork, CAT scans, biopsies, and a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Luckily, it was a textbook case, with an excellent prognosis.

“Do you want to get a second opinion?”

My doctor asked if we wanted to get another specialist involved.

So we got an appointment at Mayo Clinic. There, we were paired with a hemato-oncologist who specialized in Hodgkin’s lymphoma in Hispanic patients (I shit you not) at the Rochester campus. As expected, he agreed 100% with the diagnosis and treatment plan.

The plan worked (yay!) but I won’t bore you with the details of that “fun” year…

So what does this have to do with branding and patient confidence?

The first group of doctors was just as skilled as the doc in Rochester.

They arguably had more “flight hours” given they all trained at and worked in the largest oncology hospital in Latin America. The hospital where they’d be treating me was not lacking anything I’d have at Mayo (or elsewhere). But I (and especially my family) needed to hear this from “the expert”.

But how did we arrive at the conclusion that the doc in Mayo was the expert?

Being known for one thing

Sure, he had years of clinical experience. He had (very likely) treated thousands of hematology patients (not just oncology). I’m sure he could treat Hodgkins and non-Hodgkins. Leukemias as well. In children, teens, adults, and the elderly.

But he was known for treating one kind of blood cancer, in patients just like me.

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In summary:
I know there are a hundred different things you can talk about. But the sider you go, the harder it is to be known for something.
What can you double down on and be known for?

Spread the word

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