Pa. physician honored to be a top doc

July 01, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Dr. David Brill admits that the first time he was named to a national list of top doctors, he didn't think it was a big deal.

But when he realized he was included because a jury of his colleagues said he was among the most skilled in his field, Brill said that meant something.

Brill, a radiologist specializing in nuclear medicine at Chambersburg Hospital, said he was recently named to the latest list compiled by Best Doctors Inc.


Every other year, the company establishes a new list of the top 30,000 doctors in the country by surveying thousands of other doctors.

The question they are asked? "If you or a member of your family needed the services you provide, which of your colleagues would you send them to?"

When the process is done, only 30,000 doctors in the United States, about 4 percent, are selected as outstanding doctors.

"In essence, you have to be heard of," Brill said.

He said it's usually the doctors who spend a lot of time lecturing and writing papers that are the best known, not doctors practicing at community hospitals in south-central Pennsylvania.

But he speculates it was the years he spent working with professional organizations, including serving as president of the American College of Nuclear Physicians and the Pennsylvania Radiological Society, that earned him widespread recognition among his peers in nuclear medicine.

Best Doctors aims to link the public with the top doctors in the specialty they need help in.

Brill said he has been included in the list three or four times since it was first compiled in 1992.

"The organization started as patient advocacy to single out physicians so that patients, if they had a particular concern or condition, knew who the best people to go to are," he said.

Brill said his inclusion in the list is an honor on two levels.

"Professionally, it's an affirmation of what I try to be as a physician. Personally, it's an affirmation as well that enough peers think enough of me to name me," he said. "Your peers are your toughest critic."

Brill, 60, came to Chambersburg two years ago after spending 28 years at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa., as director of nuclear medicine.

He holds the same title at Chambersburg Hospital, but he said nuclear medicine is a relatively small service and he spends a lot of time reading emergency room X-rays.

Brill said he got into nuclear medicine when it was on the cutting edge.

"It fascinated me you could use a radioactive tracer to ferret out disease and line it up with the anatomy," he said.

Nuclear medicine can be used to determine thyroid problems, cardiac damage and even tumors much earlier than an X-ray, he said.

Even Brill's favorite hobby - bird watching - mimics his medicine.

"Bird watching is pattern recognition. It's exactly what I do in nuclear medicine," Brill said. "But instead of looking at images in a view box, I'm standing in water up to my ankles."

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