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The Great Doctor’s Office Inquisition

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Cara and Oliver’s pediatrician back in Arkansas is the pediatrician by which we gauge all pediatricians.

Dr. Sneed is one of those doctors who actually listens to your concerns, makes you feel like your child is their favorite and talks to you like you have a modicum of intelligence.

When we moved to Alabama, I very seriously considered keeping Dr. Sneed. It’s only about five hours back to Arkansas and if I could have guaranteed that they would only need to see a doctor for well checkups then I might have kept her. But one visit to Urgent Care with two sick kids was enough to make me realize that we had to get a local pediatrician.

The Urgent Care doctor gave me a list of local docs and I looked online for doctors who had good recommendations. I wrote about Cara not liking the new pediatrician but he was competent and since I needed a doctor THEN, I would take competent.

Then we went for Ollie’s nine month appointment.

I was used to Dr. Sneed’s well checkups. She would play with the kids, carry on a conversation with us and the whole time she was observing the kids. She wasn’t overt about it but she definitely was making sure that the kids were where they were supposed to be developmentally and she asked good leading questions to make sure that I wasn’t forgetting to tell her anything.

This new pediatrician was competent. He was nice. That’s about all I can say about him.

He spent maybe one minute checking out Ollie and then he was ready to leave. I had told the nurse that Ollie had been having a really hard time with bowel movements-bad enough that he had lacerations. I watched her make a note of this. The doctor never mentioned it. I had to bring it up. Then, the guy just stood there. No questions about what I had tried. No questions about potential food alergies or if Ollie is breastfed or formula fed.

I had to tell him that I had been giving Ollie Miralax for a week. The doc didn’t ask what dosage I was giving. I had to ask if I should titrate the dosage down to a level that made things “easier” but not explosive [if you know what I mean]. I shouldn’t be the one leading the conversation when it comes to stuff like that. Basically, he gave me no additional information, advice or guidance. Nothing was gained from Ollie’s appointment other than getting Ollie’s new measurements and we could have done that at home.

When I take my kids to their doctor, I’m looking for information. Even if the kids are happy and healthy, I want to know that. I want to know what I should be looking for in the future. What’s normal for their age groups. I didn’t get any of that at this new doctor’s office.

SO, the day after Ollie’s appointment, I started searching for a new doctor for the kids.

I found an all women practice and stopped by the office to pick up the new patient paperwork. The staff was cool as hell and the receptionist even covertly recommended a pediatrician. I called yesterday and scheduled Ollie and Cara’s well checkups and was very, very proud of myself.

THEN, today I got a call from the other pediatrician’s office.

Shit.

I mean, I knew that I would have to call and cancel Ollie’s twelve month appointment. Really, I did. But that appointment wasn’t until the middle of September so I figured that I had some time to hide wait.

I could tell it was going to be a bad call from the second the woman spoke-she just had a “tone” to her voice.

Her: This is [I don’t remember her name]. I’m with [pediatrician’s office] and we received a  transfer of records request today. It’s our policy  to call and find out why our patients are leaving us.

Me: Um…OK. [I had no clue what she wanted from me.]

Her: Well, why are you leaving our practice?

Me: My daughter is more comfortable with a female pediatrician. Dr. Van Cleave is competent but Cara doesn’t seem to connect with him.

Her: We have a female doctor joining in August. She’s taking new patients. There’s no reason for you to leave. If you haven’t seen the other clinic yet then I see no reason why you shouldn’t just stay at this clinic…

Me: Thank you, but we liked the other clinic.

Her: If nothing was wrong then I don’t understand why you would want to leave.

Me: Um…thanks, but we really like the other clinic.

I WANTED to tell her that her office staff was rude. I WANTED to tell her that her tone was one of the reasons why we were leaving since it implied that they are the only game in town and that no one is better. I WANTED to tell her everything that I’ve written here. But, alas, I am a coward and just WANTED to get the hell off the phone.

I hope this new pediatrician is better than the last because I’m not sure I can do this crap again.

Image|Leo Reynolds

Comments

  1. Mary S from Twitter says:

    She had me at, “There’s no reason for you to leave. If you haven’t seen the other clinic yet, then I see no reason why you shouldn’t just stay at this clinic…” As if she has a say in the matter?

    Amy, you didn’t owe them an explanation for your change. They didn’t seem to think they owed you anything but measurements. Too bad that their “good” intentions around “exit interviews” are canceled out by attitude and lack of buy-in and training at handling that discussion. I find it so ironic that a practice like that would even have an exit interview protocol. They clearly don’t know how to benefit by it.

  2. As rude and presumptuous as she was towards you, you would have been completely within your rights to tell her EXACTLY why you were leaving the practice. I understand your hesitance though, it’s hard to be critical like that sometimes.

    I went through something similar during my first pregnancy. The PA I was seeing in the early months was awesome, but the doctor was a prick and acted as though I didn’t have a brain in my head or any control over my own body. After my first visit with him, I went out and requested my records, telling them that I’d be finding a new practitioner. When asked why, (and his receptionist was much nicer than your lady was) I simply told her that I didn’t appreciate being spoken to as if I were an illiterate teenager and that pregnancy was not an illness, so I preferred to be treated as a partner, not a patient. She wrote all of that down on my chart. It was very empowering!

    Then I saw him in the labor and delivery area while I was in early labor and I hid! As if he’d even remember who I was…
    .-= What they wrote on THEIR site… =-.

  3. That’s totally ridiculous. I can’t believe she was so rude when putting you on the spot like that. And then they wonder why people are leaving their practice? Duh.
    We went through the same thing a few years ago when we moved. I LOVED our pediatrician and I didn’t think I would ever find another doctor I would like as much. Luckily we found a wonderful doctor, and considering what we went through in the first year with Rye after we moved here, I am so thankful we did. Finding a pediatrician you trust is important, so good for you for making the switch.
    Good luck!
    .-= What they wrote on THEIR site… =-.

    • I told my mom about it today and she was beyond pissed. “Why didn’t you tell them EXACTLY what you thought about them?!” And then I admitted to her that I am a coward and just wanted to get off of the phone. :0

  4. Amy, that totally stinks. I can’t believe she called you and harassed you like that. Hopefully it goes better at the new peds office.

    xoxo
    .-= Domestic Extraordinaire´s last blog ..On My Way =-.

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