When my beloved pediatrician announced he was retiring, I was tempted to go to his house and throw myself on his front steps, begging him to reconsider. It's not just that he was that good, it's that I was terrified of what else I'd find out there. The horror stories parents have shared over the years -- from doctors who never even spoke to their kids to office staff who faked vaccination records -- left me cold.
What truly shocked me wasn't how many parents have had to "fire" their kids' pediatricians but how many parents admitted they were afraid to fire a doctor. Ladies! Gentleman! Coming from a mom who loved her baby's doctor, let me be the first one to tell you that the relationship between a parent and pediatrician has to be "just right." If it's not, it's time to give them the heave ho.
Afraid you might be over-reacting? If anything on this list applies, you're not ... feel free to say hasta la bye bye and find a new pediatrician:
1. She Doesn't Return Your Calls -- It's one thing if you can't get a doc on the phone right away; she's got patients to see. But you should at least hear back from a nurse -- or the doctor herself -- by the end of the day.
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2. He Is Too Old School -- You don't have to be a graduate of Google University medical school to know that a doc who suggests putting bourbon on your teething baby's gums needs to retire.
3. She Treats You Like the Babysitter -- Translating medical jargon to laymen's terms is one thing, but you didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday. You are a mom or dad who deserves to be treated with respect, not like you're the child.
4. He's Rude to Your Babysitter -- Sometimes parents have to send kids to the doctor with another caregiver; it happens. But a doctor who can't respect that needs to wake up.
5. You Can Never Get an Appointment -- Some doctors take on too many patients for their own good. If you're always being turfed to the ER because there are no open appointments, it's time to find someone who WILL see your child.
6. She's Mean to Your Child -- Bedside manner is everything in pediatrics; kids are already stressed going in for shots, and you need someone on your side to calm your kiddo down. If they can't handle that, it's out the door you go.
7. He Has a Dirty Office -- If the waiting room is disgusting, you can only imagine the hygiene behind the scenes!
8. She Doesn't Support Breastfeeding -- It's nice that she will give formula samples if you request it, but if you're refusing it, she needs to take your cue!
9. He Doesn't Listen to You -- You know your kid, and you know when your kid is acting differently. A doctor worth his salt will listen to your concerns and at least test your child to determine if the symptoms you're noting mean something. If not, it's time for a second opinion.
10. She Consistently Mis-Diagnoses Your Kid -- Everyone makes mistakes, but when your kid is being pumped full of antibiotics every few weeks for "ear infections" that turn out to be seasonal rhinitis, it's time switch.
Have you fired your pediatrician? What made you do it?
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