Last week, I wrote a post on Teddy’s blog titled “Pushing Back” about how to push back against a doctor who isn’t really holding up their end of a relationship.
This week, I wanted to write over here about leaving doctors who aren’t bringing value to a relationship.
I communicate with many parents of medically complex children on social media, and over and over again, I see parents in a relationship with a doctor who is at best a waste of time, and at worst actually harming their child. And yet they stay.
The reasons are many, and I understand (most of) them. I do.
It’s hard to leave a doctor you’ve been with for years.
It feels weird to leave one doctor on your child’s team.
It’s easier to see the doctors who are all at your child’s primary hospital.
It’s uncomfortable to fire a doctor.
You’ll still have to see this doctor if they’re on rounds while your child is inpatient.
It’s inconvenient to see another doctor (you might have to drive far or go out of state).
But this is your child’s health and well being. None of these reasons are really good enough to stick with a provider who isn’t actually providing the care that your child needs.
It’s OK to stop seeing a doctor. It’s ok to switch doctors.
You pay these people. You pay them. If your auto mechanic was consistently unable to fix your car, would you find a new mechanic? If your plumber said that they didn’t really know that the problem was, they’ve checked everything they can think of, and there’s no REASON for the water to be leaking – maybe it isn’t REALLY leaking (while looking at the leaking), would you keep giving them your money? What if your taxes came back with errors every year, and your accountant shrugged every time and said that they were only off by a few dollars, what’s the difference?
Are doctors any different?
No. They are not.
It’s OK to switch doctors. Even if that means you see MOST OF the interdisciplinary team at your hospital, except THIS ONE doctor. Even if that means driving further away. Even if that means having to see the old doctor on rounds. It’s only weird if you make it weird.
(I mean, you want weird, try putting one of the nurses in the inpatient unit on your child’s “I never want to see this nurse ever again” list and then getting stuck with her because of a sudden surge in admissions and a shortage of staff to cover them. THAT is weird. She says from experience.)
We have switched doctors I don’t even know how many times. I don’t think we’ve ever actually told the doctor in question – we’ve just canceled future appointments and scheduled with other providers. The first time, I felt a little weird telling his primary team (nephrology) that we were no longer going to see this other specialty at this hospital at all – we were seeking options outside of this hospital system because we did not feel that any of the doctors in that department were bringing anything positive to the table. But it was absolutely no big deal. They just said to be sure to have that office send the clinic notes over so they could stay current and have the new doctor call them with any questions.
It was fine. It’ll probably be fine for you, also.