There are few things worse than seeing your child ill and in pain - and there are few things better than getting some sound advice from your child's doctor.
But how do you know the advice is sound? Unfortunately, the initials "MD" don't necessarily stand for magnificent doctor. Here are four red flags to look for:
Apathetic or patronizing attitude"Caring and curing cannot be separated," says George LeMaitre, a surgeon and author of How to Choose a Good Doctor. In other words, your child's pediatrician may be the president of her local MENSA, but if she can't inspire trust in her patients, she'll face all kinds of roadblocks when she tries to provide good assessment and treatment. The doctor should be patient with your child's fears, give you the opportunity to ask questions, and provide clear, informative answers. If she's brusque, hurried, dismissive, or impatient, it's probably time to switch to someone else.
Listening is a huge part of assessment. If your toddler's doctor discovers strep throat but then busies himself scribbling a prescription while you tell him that your daughter's been screaming in the middle of the night, he'll completely miss her night terrors. Sure, everyone gets distracted sometimes - but if your doctor consistently fails to listen, consider it a scarlet flag.
Lack of expertise
Physicians can't have 100 percent of the answers, but most of the time, they should be able to figure out the problem and know what to do about it. This means keeping up with medical literature, being aware of medication side effects, and being able to tell you why she's making a certain diagnosis and why she's choosing a certain type of treatment. If your child's doctor consistently makes mistakes or can't explain her reasoning to you, move on.
Bad recommendationsA major advantage of living in the information age is that we have access to opinions about everything from movies to entire countries. This can come in handy when choosing a doctor - so check out a consumer review website to see what people have said. If a doctor has several bad reviews, take note. You can also contact your state medical board to see if your doctor has committed any major infractions.
- Learn three more signs of a bad doc
- Have you ever disagreed with your child's doctor? Tell us!
- Do you ever ignore the advice your child's doctor gives? Tell us!
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