How to Break Up With Your Pediatrician

pediatrician officeAs parents, and especially new ones, we tend to rely on pediatricians to tell us and help us properly care for our children. Between initial infant appointments and general growing checkups, they become our reliable confidantes, educated professionals, and the people we trust to prescribe our children the best and healthiest remedies. But what happens when you just can't stand your doctor and need to switch?

Sometimes it's a matter of location, change of insurance, disagreeing about an issue (to vaccinate or not to vaccinate), not seeing eye-to-eye about how to care for a child, or just not connecting with the doctor. All of these are valid reasons. Simply, you just totally want to dump them.


There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, we asked moms to tell us why they parted ways with their pediatricians and that's exactly what we heard. But now what should you do? To find out, we went to Stephen Hersey, M.D., a primary care pediatrician at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio to weigh in on the topic.

In many ways, leaving a pediatrician is much like leaving a romantic relationship. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to maneuver the messy breakup:

  1. Identify the problem. Do you genuinely dislike the doc and don't want him or her attending to your child? If so, then you're right to start looking around. "As a pediatrician, I say to parents that if they are not happy with the care they're receiving, I encourage them to seek a pediatrician elsewhere, " says Dr. Hersey.
  2. Ask to see another doctor in the practice.  Maybe it's just one specific doctor that's giving you troubles. Dr. Hersey recommends moving to another pediatrician in the same clinic before you start thinking about leaving altogether.
  3. If it's amicable, have a conversation. If you still want to leave, and if you especially want to leave on friendly terms, have a conversation with the doctor and discuss why you'll be moving your children to another practitioner. You might be surprised, though. Maybe your doctor will explain to you their practices and you'll leave being more understanding. "Part of being a pediatrician is forming those relationships," says Dr. Hersey. "I would appreciate to have that conversation is the parent wants."
  4. Sign the medical release forms. You, or your child's guardian, must sign the medical release forms to have your child's records transferred to another doctor. If you want another doctor to take over with all medical concerns, they will have an easier time addressing a chronic issue if they have your child's medical history.
  5. Away you go.  "We know every relationship is not perfect," Dr. Hersey says. "And as doctors, we say that 'mom knows best,' so we're very respectful of a parent's decision to go elsewhere."

Have you ever broken up with a pediatrician? If so, why, and how did it go?


Image via Kevin/Flickr

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