I was recently talking to a mom who had been unhappy with her pediatrician for some time but had had trouble 86ing her because she wasn't sure her reasons were valid. Personally, I think if you want to switch doctors you should just do it, but I kind of understood her feelings since I seem to have trouble switching toothpaste brands unless I have proof that another brand is going to be that much better. But this mom did make the change and she ended up being a lot happier. So if you are one of those people who is not feeling your current pediatrician but unsure if you have a good reason to jump ship, here are 5 valid reasons to dump your pediatrician.
1. They don't take your concerns seriously
I had to leave a pediatric GI (well I had a ton of reasons and later found out he'd been sued multiple times) because every time I brought my growth challenged 4-month-old Sadie in to see him complaining that she wasn't eating and explaining her symptoms, he told me that she was gaining weight (barely an ounce or two between visits!) and therefore I was wrong. He also told me that he could do an endoscopy but that he knew he wouldn't find anything (but he did!) and that the reason Sadie wasn't eating was because she was being obstinate (a 4-month-old! Was he for real?). It seems like a no-brainer to get away from this guy, and I did but, he came highly recommended (but by a doctor who'd never seen him in action).
2. They are alarmists
This might seem like a good thing (especially if you've dealt with the above concern) but most moms are neurotic enough to begin with, so we don't need someone freaking us out unnecessarily. If you call and give your kid's symptoms and they tell you to bring your child right in, that's not alarmist. But if your kid has a rash and you think it's Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, it's best if your doc says, "That's probably not the case but let's have a look anyway," and not, "Oh no, everyone put on a mask!"
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3. They don't call you back in a timely fashion
There's just no excuse for a doctor who doesn't return your call the same day when you leave a message during business hours. I don't care how many patients they have, they need to call you back by the end of the day unless you've specified that it's not a huge deal and they can call you back whenever they have time (but if that's the case, why are you calling? Go ask a friend or check with Web MD. Geez). This goes double if you've emergency paged the doctor after-hours and he or she is supposed to call back within the hour and they don't. If this happens to you more than once, change doctors.
4. They don't treat you with respect
I almost left my pediatrician's practice when my twins were little due to a inconsiderate doctor. One of my twins, at about 6 months old, had an ear infection, which got diagnosed after I'd brought her in with a cold. A day or two after that twin started meds, the other twin was having similar symptoms, so I ran her in too. A doctor who wasn't our doctor saw me in the office and asked why I was there, and when I told him he smirked -smirked !- and said that ear infections aren't contagious and it would be the biggest coincidence in the world if my other twin had an ear infection too. Well, guess what folks, she had an ear infection-a horrible one at that. I could barely hide my disdain for this dude on every subsequent visit, but since he wasn't my doctor I just made sure we never ever had to see him if my doc wasn't available.
5. They aren't up on the latest studies/technology/research
I'm sure your doctor is up on things, but there are lots of new procedures and machines that you should be privy to. There are hearing tests that are brand new, modern medications that work better than older ones, and vision tests that can tell whether your kids' eyes are working in sync or something like that. Don't quote me on any of this. I'm not a pediatrician. At least I don't have a license, you know, if you're a stickler for that sort of thing. But I am really cheap.
So I hope I've inspired you to get on the phone and get rid of your bad doctors OR…appreciate the one you have even more!
-By Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
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