Last week, I fired a doctor. I cancelled a doctors appointment for my teen. In the message, I stated that we “were going to change providers.” This prompted a call from a nurse to find out why we were leaving the practice. I thought long and hard about how to respond. I had a few choices. I could ignore the phone call completely. I could call back and explain that we were about to age out of our children's hospital and it was time to find “grown-up” doctors. I could return the call and explain that we weren't satisfied and tell the truth. Or, I could send an email with the reasons and be completely honest. I chose the latter option.
Why you're getting fired.
I didn't say that in my message but when you part ways with a doctor that's what you're essentially doing. Firing them. And just like when you get fired from a job, they need to know the reasons why.
I found out last year (the hard way) that the hospital formal complaint system that runs through a patient advocate, doesn't allow you to express exactly why you're dissatisfied. You relay the complaint to them orally and then they take it to the doctor and department. It's kind of like playing telephone as a kid. Who knows what message finally winds up? The situation with this doctor wasn't like the one last year where she refused to see my daughter and I felt it necessary to let the hospital know. Still, I felt like she needed to understand where we were coming from just in case she wanted to improve her practice. So, I sent the email.
In it, I explained that my teen didn't feel like anything the doctor was recommending was working and that my husband and I were not going to continue to take Rosie to appointments if we weren't seeing results. I could've left it at that but there were a couple of things that had upset me over the years and she needed to know.
First, at every single appointment, she'd state that my teen had Amplified Pain Syndrome. We'd disagree (we've been fighting to get that out of her chart for almost two years). She'd give me a look like, “Yeah, right” and then continue on with her synopsis of my daughter's health history to the nurse or resident in the room. At the top of every visit, she put us in the position of having to challenge the diagnosis even though she knew we very clearly disagreed (and it had nothing to do with why we were seeing her). It was not only uncomfortable, it was frustrating and there was no reason for us to feel like that at an appointment.
Second, while I know she was trying to help, she suggested that my teen needed to see the eating disorder clinic last year after she lost weight after pulling a feeding tube. At the time, I blew it off not wanting to upset my teen but sitting here almost a year later, I felt she needed to know that it really disturbed me. My daughter very clearly did not have an eating disorder. She had a tiny stomach that could barely hold any food and not much appetite after not being able to eat for two months. Oh and nausea, because her EDS, POTS and migraines all cause nausea.
Both of these are good examples of a doctor not really listening to a patient and it made me feel like she didn't really believe us when we spoke or that she didn't care. I realize that with pediatrics, they have to guess a lot when patients can't really explain things for themselves, but I have a teenager. If she's stating that she doesn't have any of the symptoms of a specific condition, she knows what she's talking about at 17. Listen to her and respect her.