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Things I Want to Say to Doctors

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I had a rather unfortunate run in with a doctor recently that left me shaking my head and pondering whether he learned how to use that condescending tone in medical school or if he’s just naturally a jerkface. This particular doctor is a specialist that we have to see for one of Cam’s medical issues. He is the only doctor who is familiar with Cam’s specific diagnosis and strange presentation of symptoms so we have no choice but to continue seeing him for the foreseeable future. This makes me stabby because he is, as I mentioned, a jerkface. I made a list that I really wish I could print out and hand to him to review before he comes in to examine my kid. For his own safety and all.

 

 
8 Guidelines for Doctors who Deal with Me
 
 

*I respect the fact that you did indeed go to medical school. I do value your medical opinions. Please respect the fact that you do not know my child better than I do. If we have a difference of opinion, do not act like I am a hysterical mother. I assure you, I am not.

 

 

*If you ever send a resident in to our room to dish out some bad news, you will never see my child again. And by the time I’m done with you, you will hope to all that is Holy that you never see me again either.

 

 

*Asking for a second opinion, or even a third, is not a slap in your face. This is my child. He deserves the very best advocate that I know how to be. If your ego is not strong enough to handle my requesting a second opinion please send the nurse back in, I’m sure she can help me.

 

 

*If you use that snotty condescending doctor tone to ask me how old I am, we will hit the exit door so fast that your head will be spinning. Also, my child is adopted so making snide comments about his birth history will not phase me a bit but it sure does make you look stupid for not reading his chart.

 

 

*My child has a very complex and detailed medical history in your records. I know this because I gave it to you. Please have the courtesy to at least glance over his chart before asking me basic questions. And questioning me like I’m a terrorist suspect being held in Guantanamo Bay is unnecessary. I promise I am not withholding information or being deliberately vague.

 

 

*Do not try to use guilt to talk me into a procedure that I am uncomfortable with. I am not a bad mother if I choose to try less invasive methods before resorting to something that will cause my child considerable discomfort. My child has been through more in his 9 short years than most people deal with in an entire lifetime. I will not allow you to use him as a guinea pig.

 

 

*You are not God. I know, that will come as a shock to you but you do not know everything. I will ask you questions and I will ask for statistics and percentages. That is my job.  Your job is to answer those questions. If you don’t know the answers to those questions please tell me. I don’t expect you to know everything. I do expect you to find the answers instead of treating me like a nuisance.

 

 

*I will not think any less of you if you admit that you might not be the best person to treat my child. I will be forever grateful that you did not put my child through unnecessary tests and procedures and instead referred him to a specialist. Thank you.

 

 

I don’t think I’m asking too much. I just want a compassionate, competent doctor who cares about my kid and values my opinion. I’ve known my child a long time, I know things that a doctor can not possibly discern in a 30 minute appointment. I’d prefer not to have to bring the bitchy but I can if I have to. It would be so much easier if the specialists could remember what it was like to be a real person without the inflated and engorged ego getting in the way of a treatment plan that actually benefits my child. Rant over.

 

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  • Sorry you had such a horrible experience with a doctor and I hope you continue to read him the riot act.

  • I agree with you 110 percent!!!! You should definitely print this out and share it with Dr. Jerk. Compassion should be taught in med school, because a lot of doctors out there lack it!!!!

  • AMEN! I’ve learned that NO one knows my child like me. NO ONE! I’ve learned to trust my instincts, say to know to professionals who are beyond convincing, and go with my gut! AND YES, like Ashley says above. SECOND OPINIONS, OR THIRD, OR FOURTH!

  • I have had some unfortunate doctor issues myself, though luckily with me and not my kids! I very quickly learned the value of a second opinion- and a good thing too, because it will make a huge difference in my health!

  • I hate doctors who don’t treat their patients and their families with respect.

  • Amen sister! I have a daughter who was adopted through our state foster care system who has ADHD, anxiety, and was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I have dealt with my share of everything you mentioned!!! It is so frustrating…don’t you want to invite them to take your child home for an evening and see what life is really like? It stinks that you have to work with this doctor but hopefully he will get it together the next time you see him!

  • Amen sister! I have a daughter who was adopted through our state foster care system who has ADHD, anxiety, and was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I have dealt with my share of everything you mentioned!!! It is so frustrating…don’t you want to invite them to take your child home for an evening and see what life is really like? It stinks that you have to work with this doctor but hopefully he will get it together the next time you see him!

  • When you find a doctor who follows everything you set down, please let the rest of us know. My two year old sliced his finger open one day. Tried what I could, but I couldn’t get it to stop. Six hours later, it was still bleeding (not heavily, but enough to have me concerned about why it wasn’t stopping), so I took him to the ER. The male nurse looked at me and said, “This is your first child isn’t it.” I could have slapped him.

  • preach it sister! as a medical professional, i see things “from the inside” too and all i can say is if you’re not your child’s advocate, who is?!! I care about all my patients but i can promise that you care about your child more than even the most caring doctor or nurse. being your own advocate (or your childs) in healthcare is (in my humble opinion) THE most important part of getting good healthcare. keep it up!!!!!!!!!

  • I don’t think there is anything wrong with advocating for your child. At the end of the day you are the one who has taken on the responsibility of protecting Cam and the other kids, so you have every right to be frustrated with doctors that treat you poorly. It’s just a pity that this particular doctor is the best in the area for Cam’s specific medical issues.

  • I could have written this post myself.
    Flippin’ doctors…

  • love this post. I don’t always go with my boys pediatrician tells me reason for this because I think that I know what’s good for my boys.

    And I agree, if the doctors don’t know the answers why even pretend like you know. Just tell the truth.

  • Here’s what I’ve learned, being on the “inside”.
    1. I’d say 50% of docs who are jerks with their patients, are just jerks in real life.
    2. The others are over-worked and have too many patients to care for along with pressure from insurance companies/hospital admin for improving “access time”.
    3. Jessica is right. I have a friend who has a child with CF and she has to walk the fine line. She knows she is working with the best specialists, but she also, knows her child best. It’s going to be a long relationship and they have to find a way to work together. She had to call the doc into a meeting to smooth things out and detail everything, so there would be no slip ups.
    4. I think any confident, competent doctor would encourage a second opinion. I know my Doc H does. If nothing else, it provides confidence in the patient (or his mother) and helps cover his arse. If the second opinion does offer another procedure or treatment plan, I think it’s fair to discuss it. Keep in mind that usually second opinions are not as familiar with your case as the first doc and there may be a solid foundational reason why Doc 1 eliminated it as a possibility. But it’s always a good conversation to have.
    5. Be sure you go in your appointments with a pen and notebook. Write things down. When they see that, they are a little more careful about what they say and how they say it.
    6. The medical system, they way docs are paid, they way they have to appease patients, hospital admin, and insurance companies is absolutely crazy and at odds with one another. The docs are in the middle, on the front lines, and in the pressure cooker.
    7. Regardless of that, he still should be professional and treat patients with respect and compassion.

    Email me if you want some help with this matter. 😉

  • While I’d like to agree that you should be able to give the doctor feedback on how he comes across, that’s not always the case. Some of their egos really are that fragile and the quality of care will plummet. Some aren’t, but if they think you’re a jerk their care of your kid might not be as good. I know someone who had to leave the practice of an excellent pediatrician because her husband acted like a jackass to him. After that the doctor (unsurprisingly) didn’t really want to spend much time with them.

  • I am so thankful for modern medicine. I am very thankful that we have access to it. But doctors can be JERKS and get away with it because they are doctors. I recently went to get a birth control refill. My normal doctor was away and I had her replacement. I’d never seen him before. With in 2 minutes of being there – before he had looked at my chart or hardly talked to me he pushed a drug on me that I didn’t need/want or feel comfortable taking without talking to my doctor that knows me. And when I told him I just wanted a refill of my current prescription he told me that just because I was married didn’t mean my husband wasn’t sleeping with other women…I was rather shocked to say the least.

  • Tell it, sister! Medical care can be so frustrating. I love your clear and concise list. I also read the story of you and your family. Beautiful!

  • There is absolutely no reason why you should not share at least some of this list with your child’s doctor.

    Patients are customers of doctors, and a better customer experience is something you and your child deserves.

  • I hate it when doctors don’t read the chart. So annoying. And so common. In fact all the issues you mention here are unfortunately things that most of us can relate to.