7 Signs It’s Time to Fire Your Physician

You’ve felt it for a while now. Your calls go unanswered; your concerns are glossed over. You don’t seem to spend as much time together as you used to and you no longer feel like a priority. You’ve been together for so long, it’s hard to let go. Finding someone new is bound to be a hassle, so you bide your time, hoping that things will improve with time.  But they don’t.

So how do you know if it’s time to fire your doc? Here are seven signs to watch for:

  1. Medical Mistakes. A recent study revealed medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America. Your doc should regularly ask for medication updates, info on recent hospital stays or procedures, allergies, and your medical history – including your family’s medical details. Your involvement as a patient or a caregiver is crucial to preventing medical errors and any physician who doesn’t value your input in your medical care isn’t worth having on your team.
  2. You’re always waiting. Does your doctor sit down and listen intently, or does it seem like her mind is wandering? Impatient practitioners can make you feel like your health concern isn’t important or as though they’re completely inconvenienced by your presence. Whether you’re there because your toddler has a sore throat or your kid hasn’t been feeling himself lately, a good doctor sits, makes eye contact, asks questions, and above all, listens to your answers to work out a diagnosis and treatment plan.
  3. Safety.  Does your doc poke her hands in your child’s mouth sans gloves or without washing before and after? It’s a major red flag that safety and hygiene practices probably aren’t being observed in her office. Check out your surroundings: are the exam rooms clean? Do the nurses and assistants observe safety and hygiene rules? Are there covers placed over the otoscope before it’s placed in your child’s ear? When a doctor or her staff blatantly skips out on hygiene protocol, it’s time to kick her to the curb.

4. Bedside manner.  Lots of kids hate the doctor, but your child’s screams could be an indicator to more than just a fear of needles. While not every doctor has the magic touch that eases a kid’s anxiety, your child shouldn’t be overly frightened of your doctor’s presence. If the mere sight of your pediatrician causes tears, she might have a rough bedside manner that frightens your little one. And, since you definitely don’t want your kid to be afraid of medical staff, it might be time to take your leave.  

5. Poor staffing. You love your doc, but their staff? Not so much.  Doctor’s offices are busy places, but they should never forget the most important person: the patient. If your doc is notoriously hard to snag an appointment with, she keeps you waiting well past your appointment time or his staff is downright disrespectful, it might be time to check out other offices. While they’re completely necessary, doctor’s offices are still businesses and should respect patients as paying customers.

6. Second opinions are not welcome. One of the best benefits of the medical field is the tightly knit community that results in idea-sharing and referrals between docs. Unfortunately, some doctors are less-than-thrilled to bring another expert or specialist on the scene. A good doctor finds the correct diagnosis and treatment, no matter which office gets the business. But a danger doc keeps everything in-house, even if your child’s issue isn’t really her specialty.

7. Failure to diagnose or treat. While the common cold only lasts a few days, more serious issues can mean endless appointments for your little one. Pediatricians can’t cure chronic illness, but they should be able to define and treat the symptoms. If weeks of talking to your doc hasn’t yielded any results, they are unwilling to make a referral, or they order endless tests with no results, it’s time trust your parental intuition and head out the door.

Ready to make the switch? Check out our tips on how to make the transition a little smoother.

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