Pediatricians Should Be Allowed to "Fire" Patients

doctor handVaccinations are a tricky issue for many new parents. Despite all of the scientific evidence out there, there still seems to be some anecdotal evidence -- friend-of-a-friend kinds of stories -- that leave many parents panicked about allowing their babies and toddlers to be vaccinated.

But it seems that those parents who are refusing to allow their child to be vaccinated against potentially life-threatening diseases are now getting some push-back from their pediatricians. In fact, according to studies published last year, more and more doctors are starting to "fire" patients for refusing vaccinations. Obviously this raises some ethical issues: Should a doctor be allowed to say "see ya" to a patient who doesn't agree with him or her? In my opinion, hell yeah! But, hear me out ...


It's a doctor's job to protect your child against illness, not just to heal your baby after he gets sick. If you're not willing to heed his advice or recommendations, especially when that decision could not only harm your child but, potentially, put any other baby or child he comes into contact with at risk, then how can the doctor do his or her job?

But, you're the parent and you're the one who really has your child's best interests in mind. Whether or not you choose to get your child vaccinated is really your decision and, ultimately, yours alone. You have to do what feels right for you. Hey, I'll be honest, vaccinations make me uncomfortable, they do. I know better, and yet, I worry about those shots overwhelming their tiny immune systems. So, we stagger vaccinations and my little guys only get one shot a month.

I respect my pediatrician though and I trust him. It could be because he was my childhood pediatrician, so we have a history. But mostly, it's because he's a little "old school" and a little "new school." He's totally fine with the fact that I formula-feed now, but encouraged me to breastfeed for as long as I could, ideally at least three months (and I did until my already-meager milk supply started to diminish). He thinks dirt and germs boost a babies' immune system, but he recommends organic, all-natural products to soothe teething and gas pain. He advised us not to introduce solids until our babies were at least 6 months, and then encouraged us to only buy organic baby food and to start with veggies first. He believes in sleep training, but not until your baby is a certain age or weight.

Point being, Doc and I are on the same page! We're in agreement on the best way to care for my babies, and when I disagree, he's willing to listen and talk to me about my concerns. It's a healthy, trusting, working relationship. If you don't have that with your doctor, then I say, dump the guy (or girl) before he dumps you! You shouldn't have to sit there arguing with the person you rely on for your child's health and well-being -- parenting is hard enough as it is without having to defend your choices to your doctor. Just find a pediatrician you do click with. End of story. There are plenty of fish in the sea. The best ones aren't taken. You deserve to be with The One. Okay, enough relationship metaphors.

So, yes, I understand and agree with pediatricians "firing" patients who won't heed their advice because it frees up parents to go find a doctor that they do click with. I will say that I think new parents could avoid all of that drama though if they interview pediatricians when they're still pregnant, and ask those doctors how they feel about breastfeeding vs. formula-feeding, vaccinations, and other issues. I met with a few doctors before having my babies -- a couple that I really liked, one that I hated -- and ultimately decided that my own pediatrician was the guy whose philosophies best matched mine. That way, I knew ahead of time where my doctor stood on important health issues, so that we can work together to take the best possible care of my babies.

Have you had to break up with your pediatrician? Have you been "dumped" by one?

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