Should You Change Pediatricians?


Should You Change Pediatricians?

Over the long period of years your child will see her pediatrician, the occasional disagreement is inevitable. When you find yourself questioning your child’s doctor — like I did when my pediatrician prescribed a topical steroid for my son's eczema, is it time to find a new one? Circle of Moms members suggest the following four tips to help you decide whether it's time to move on.

1. Do You Still Trust Her Judgment?

The first step in deciding whether you need to find a new pediatrician is to evaluate whether you still trust your current doctor’s judgment.

For instance, if this is the only disagreement you’ve had with the doctor in twelve years, the disagreement might be worth overlooking, cautions Circle of Moms member Becki E. She recommends looking at the big picture and determine whether you are overall happy and comfortable with your pediatrician. If you realize you have been disgruntled with the doctor for some time, then it might be time to “change it up.” 

“The health of your child should be [your doctor’s] main concern, not your feelings,” says a member named Julie. “Yes, doctors (especially pediatricians) should have a better bedside manner, but they can get frustrated, too. He may have been having a bad day and saw your son after his patience and being nice wore out for the day.” If you overall have fond feelings for your doctor, it might be worth bringing your disgruntled feelings to his attention and giving him another chance, she adds.

 

2. Can You Agree to Disagree?

When Mindy A. worried about the nutritional and immunization advice her doctor was prescribing, she questioned more fundamentally whether he actually was a good pediatrician.

As it turns out, several moms feel Mindy’s doctor was on target. Nevertheless, as Angie B. advises, “I always listen and then make my own decisions based on what is best for my child. . . .I think it's always wise to research any advice you are given. Personally, I think you have a good pediatrician who is concerned about the health and welfare of your child. But again, if you're uncomfortable with her, see if you can find one that works better for your family,” she says. 

Niki S. agrees. “As a mom, you’ll have lots of questions, you’ll get tons of advice, some of it not wanted. Some of it you'll use, some of it you won't.” But if you and your doctor can openly discuss alternate options if you don’t agree with the initial treatment plan, then the occasional disagreement might not be a big deal, she says. 

3. Trust Your Instincts

Throughout any doctor discussions, remember, says Niki S., that you’re the mom. “Use your brain and trust your gut,” she says. “It’s usually right.”

Jeanette R. agrees that moms should trust their instincts. Despite all the training in the world, no one will know your child better than you. “If the doctor won’t listen to you and consistently tells you to do things that don’t work, they are not a good ‘tool’ in your mom tool belt,” she says. 

 

Rebecca T. speaks from experience when she recommends moms trust their own judgment. Her doctor was told her son just had a cold even when his fever spiked to 104.3. Two days later after she demanded an X-ray, her son was diagnosed with H1N1 and pneumonia.

“Trust your gut and if you feel attention won’t be paid to your concerns then I say go for the change!” she says. “Just make sure you have [another pediatrician] lined up before you pull out your files and make sure you have some money for when your file gets transferred,” she advises, noting that some doctors charge a fee to store, copy or transfer your child’s files.

4. Consider Your Child’s Well-Being

The bottom line is that the reason you have a pediatrician is to help keep your children healthy. When Brandi S. was stressed out about being a new mom and her daughter not gaining enough weight, her doctor advised, “We only need to make sure she is happy and that she's healthy. You worry about making sure she is happy, It's my job to make sure she's healthy.” That advice has stuck.

“If your doctor doesn't have this attitude, then you definitely need to find one who does,” Brandi S. says. “Most pediatricians go into that line of medicine because they love and care about children. They expect to be woken in the middle of the night and usually are very aware of what is ‘wrong’ with a baby when something is out of the ordinary. Any doctor that doesn't seem to fit this criteria should be replaced. You and your child’s pediatrician should be part of the same team to keep your child healthy. If you don't trust each other, [then] it's time to move on.”

Image Source: DFID - UK Department for International Development via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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