Breaking Up With Your Pediatrician

You only want the best for your baby. Before birth, you may have interviewed doctors and thought you had chosen the perfect provider. But now that you’re seeing this pediatrician regularly, you’re having second thoughts. The first step is to raise your concerns. If you feel like you’re being rushed through your appointments or if the office staff is unsupportive, a simple statement to the doctor such as, “I feel my last appointment was hurried” can open the door for discussion. Your baby’s doctor will appreciate the feedback about how their office functions.

If your problems are on a more philosophical level – your doctor is condescending about your breastfeeding issues and suggests formula again and again, for example – it can be hard to open a conversation. Be polite, and refrain from any judgmental language. Ask questions so you can fully understand the doctor’s recommendations. If you still can’t reach consensus and continue to feel maltreated, do not hesitate to look for another provider.

Changing doctors is an emotional thing – you have put your trust in this one. You’re unsure not only how to go about firing him or her, but also how you can find another doctor to rely on.

You may want to fire your baby’s doctor if:

  • He or she is behind the times on best-practice for infants and children
  • The doctor disregards your wishes or doesn’t fully answer your questions
  • He or she is rude, condescending or paternalistic
  • The office staff is disorganized or unfriendly
  • The doctor or nurse is unreachable for simple questions
  • You just don’t feel comfortable with this provider

You’ll likely want to have a new doctor lined up before you fire your old one. Ask friends, relatives, and co-workers for their opinions and recommendations for doctors in your area.

Once you’ve selected someone, be sure you check whether they are enrolling new patients, and if they accept your insurance. Then meet with them so you can decide if they are right for you and your baby.

When you interview a new doctor:

  • Ask about their philosophies for vaccination and breastfeeding, if these are important to you. A great resource for questions to help find a breastfeeding friendly pediatric practice can be found through the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Ask what the policy is for phone calls and emails. Is there a nurse or other staff member in the office who can answer routine questions?
  • What are their policies regarding scheduling well-visits and sick-visits? Is there a walk-in clinic, or do you need an appointment?
  • Where did the physician(s) go to school? What professional societies do they belong to? Do they regularly keep up with conferences or continuing education opportunities?
  • Most importantly, ask yourself if you feel comfortable with this doctor after the interview.

Be sure to request your records be transferred to the new doctor you have chosen, and let the doctor know why you’re leaving his or her practice, if appropriate. Most of all, trust your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable with your baby’s current provider, don’t be afraid to make a change.

Have you ever had to fire your doctor? What advice can you add?

Written by Michelle, childbirth instructor, lactation consultant, and mother to 4 busy kids

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice.  All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.