Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Where are the warm and fuzzy Pediatricians?

I have great memories of our visits to my childhood pediatrician. He was a warm, compassionate man (he actually spent quite some time doing some volunteer work in Africa), took his time to examine me, and took even more time to just sit and chat with us afterwards. We almost considered him a friend.
 I understand that doctors in the US have more of a factory approach to their patients, pawning most of the work over to their nurses, but during my pregnancy, I still had hopes of finding a warm and caring doctor for my soon-to-be-born son.

I met with a female pediatrician who was recommended to me by several of my friends. She wasn't my fantasy-come-true, but seemed ok at the time. Once the baby came though, I was greatly disappointed. As new parents, we were, of course, overwhelmed, worried, and tired. We never really saw much compassion in her, she had a very matter-of-fact approach, which might work for other parents, but definitely not for us. I know those doctors are busy people, but does it take that much time to say something positive, like "oh, what a cute baby!"
I was a little upset when my other breast feeding friends told me that they were giving their babies Vitamin D because breast milk doesn't have enough. When I asked the doctor, at the 4 months appointment, if I should have been giving A the vitamin, she nonchalently said "oh yes", well, why didn't she tell me so from the start then? There were a few other small issues we ran into, including some wrong information about the flu vaccine.
What really did it for us was A's 6 months appointment. When we told her of our struggles with A's sleep, she offered no compassion, instead told us to let him cry and proceeded to tell us how she not only let all her kids cry, but also once, was watching someone else's baby, let that baby cry, and when that baby cried so hard she threw up, she bragged to us that she just went in, changed the bed, and put the baby back in there to cry some more!
I understand that there are times when you have to let your baby cry, but there are other ways to "sell" the method to new parents.
So that was it for us. The bottom line is that you should feel good about your child's doctor and trust him/her, and we did not.

(source) My Dream Pediatrician!

 I knew that it was pointless to go on the quest for Dr Karp (although I might have considered a move to Los Angeles just to become one of his patients.. this guy seems totally awesome and if you haven't read his book, The Happiest Baby on The Block, I highly recommend it!), but I asked around and found a new pediatrician who is closer, is open Saturday and Sunday mornings and took care of most of my neighbors' kids. Is he super warm and fuzzy? Not really, but I trust him, and at least, he takes a little time to try to win A over, high-fives him and does little gestures like showing him his stethoscope before he uses it; that tells me that he approaches my son as more than "just another patient".  I might also be a little biased because I have always preferred my doctors  to be grey/white-haired men. ( Is that wierd?)

Have you been disappointed by your pediatrician? Have you ever changed pediatricians? Why?

1 comment:

  1. We're at a practice with several pediatricians, and over the years I've figured out who are the "must sees" and who are the "only if kids are bleeding out of every available orifice" options. I do find you have to "push" more than I would have thought - I figured since we have good insurance, the practice wouldn't hesitate recommend either an asthma specialist or an pediatric ENT, and both only came after I asked it if was necessary several times and finally said, can you recommend an XYZ? Luckily, I've never had a problem being pushy :)