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.


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 aΒ  transfer of records request today. It’s our policyΒ  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