Had a very interesting communication from a BMJ Case Reports author who was contacted by a patient’s family because the patient was suffering from a similar condition to that which the author had just published.
This raises interesting points about the role of the medical literature and the increasing ability of patients and their relatives to research the professional credibility of doctors. This is the modern world but it is it new? Before the Internet patients and relatives would contact by telephone or fax and before the telephone they would probably have written a letter. They always travel if they think the doctor has particular expertise.
There is a limitation of course since you may very well find a doctor with expertise but they may be in another continent and your selective research may have missed a world authority in your local hospital.
Another aspect of this is the networking between the authors themselves. Finding others with similar clinical interests and in publishing their work could lead to the exchange of information and collaboration.