Breaking up is hard to do, including breaking up with your current pediatrician.
Alas, it is sometimes very necessary. Your pediatrician should be someone you trust, respect, and understand. Even first-time mothers can figure that one out. But it's easy to forget that you, as the parent of the patient, also deserve those same things from your child’s pediatrician.
Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician at the Seattle Children’s Hospital, pointed out, “You want to feel comfortable asking your pediatrician questions, and you want to trust the answers. If you don’t, it’s time to find a new doc.
A good working relationship between any doctor and patient involves genuine respect for one another. If your pediatrician seems to consistently blow off your questions or brush aside your concerns, it might be time to choose a new pediatrician.
Jennifer Aaronson, a mother in Manhattan, came to this conclusion after her son ended up in the ER when his doctor had told Jennifer it was a common cough.
She was told, "He's fine, it's just a cough," during an appointment for her nine-month-old son who had been chronically coughing.
When Jennifer took her son’s doctor the X-rays from the ER he told her, “I don’t think it’s pneumonia.”
Jennifer’s son ended up in the ER again and got a second diagnosis of pneumonia. Jennifer says of the experience, “He kept brushing us off as first-time parents, but two different emergency rooms told us he had pneumonia, so we said, enough with that.”
Your suspicions about your child suffering from pediatric asthma or childhood allergies or whatever may or may not be valid, but that is irrelevant. What is important is that your pediatrician listens to you and respects you enough to look into it.
Baby Center advises that it might be worthwhile to first approach your doctor about the issues you have with him or her before switching pediatricians, saying, “As uncomfortable as it may feel, if the problem can't be resolved or your worries aren't addressed, don't hesitate to change doctors."
Your child and your own peace of mind are worth the inconvenience of switching doctors. But how do you go about switching once you’ve made that decision?
Baby Center recommends getting referrals from co-workers, friends, and family. Local hospitals are also a great place to get a referral. Of course the American Academy of Pediatrics is another reliable source for finding a board certified pediatrician.
Making sure your health insurance is accepted in an important step when considering potential candidates. And perhaps the most important part of choosing a pediatrician is interviewing a prospective doctor. It is a job interview in a sense, and you are the one doing the hiring.
Dr. Swanson recommends making an appointment with a new prospective doctor to resolve a specific health issue. That way you can see the comparison in the way your concerns are handled.
Dr. Swanson’s number one tip in choosing a new pediatrician is, “Don’t be shy.”
Ask a lot of questions, and be very open about what your expectations are. After all, this is your new chance for great pediatric care.
Many people stress and feel anxiety about telling their old doctor about the switch, but Dr. Swanson puts those worries to rest by saying that, “All doctors have had a patient leave them at one time or another. We don’t need an apology.”
Whether you’re choosing a pediatrician for the first time, or making a necessary change, remember to be as upfront and honest as possible with the potential doctor. An open line of communication will be the key to your satisfaction and will increase your doctor’s ability to help your child best.
To learn more about pediatric care options, find a pediatrician near you.
Babycenter.com. “Choosing a Doctor For Your Baby”. Web. July 2010. http://www.babycenter.com/0_choosing-a-doctor-for-your-baby_320.bc
CNN Health. “How to Break Up With Your Pediatrician”. Web. January 16, 2012. http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/16/health/break-up-pediatrician-parenting/index.html
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.