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What to Do When You Disagree With Your Pediatrician

Pediatricians are just as fallible as the rest of us. Researchers discovered that nearly 90% of patients who sought out a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic for a complex issue had a new or different diagnosis. However, many patients, around 70%, still do not feel comfortable getting a second opinion. This usually comes from a fear of insulting the doctor and losing their goodwill. Not pursuing a second opinion also stems from a lack of resources, such as the means to pay for multiple appointments or the ability to travel. With major complex issues, it is always wise to get a second opinion. You will want to seek other options if you are uncomfortable with your provider and their treatment plan as well. For other concerns, there are certain steps you can take to respectfully disagree with your pediatrician. 

Be Respectful

You can respect the doctor’s experience, but still be firm in your opinion. You can always suggest an alternative if you are unsure of a certain diagnosis. Holding off on treatment might be an option in cases that are not critical. For instance, you can say, “Before we start this treatment can we try changing my diet first?” or “Is there any other alternative before I decide to start taking medication?” 


Be Honest 

You will want to be honest about your concerns. Is there a particular reason or past experience that influences why you disagree with the doctor’s diagnosis? Let them know what. Is there something that just doesn’t line up? You see your child daily and will be able to pinpoint certain abnormal behaviors. Also, your knowledge of your family’s genetic history is not always something your child’s provider is privy to. If you suspect an issue could be related to some genetic cause, you will want to share that information with your provider. 

If you have been doing your own research, you can share that with the doctor, too. But first, you want to make sure you are finding the right sources from peer-reviewed sources and academic journals.  

Ask Questions

You can always ask your child’s pediatrician to explain their reasoning behind a decision. You can do your own research on his or her explanation on your time before you come to a conclusion. Think about their options seriously, but do an online investigation so you feel comfortable with a certain treatment plan. In most cases, there will be no need to rush. Most doctors want the best for your child, so remember that the parent-pediatrician relationship is a partnership and the goal is to work together. 

When to Find Someone Else

There are some instances where you might need to start looking for another pediatrician. If your child’s provider is not willing to offer insight into their decision, or they are not willing to offer alternative treatments, you will want to get a second option. Pay attention to how you and your child are being treated. Is the provider giving you the appropriate amount of time and consideration in the exam room?

Other times to seek a new pediatrician are if you notice a lack of organization around the office, if it is difficult to schedule follow-ups, if the administrative staff is unhelpful, or if he or she is rude and disrespectful. You also want to be certain your pediatrician is up-to-date on the latest in the child healthcare industry. If you suspect they are operating under outdated guidelines, you will want to move on. Remember that it is always within your rights to request your medical records. You have every right to leave a pediatrician you think is not providing effective care. Don’t discredit your judgment.

If you need to find a new doctor, you can always start by Googling a pediatrician in Columbus, a pediatrician in Loganville, a pediatrician in Alton, or wherever you’re located. If the reviews are mostly positive, it might be worth calling them up. 

Communicate from the Start

To establish a good relationship between you and your child’s pediatrician, you will want to be prepared for your visits. You want to respect the doctor’s and his or her other patients’ time as well. You must provide the most accurate information possible to try and reach the right conclusion together. Make sure you express your goals and priorities with your kid’s physician. The stronger the communication between you and the provider, the greater chance of success for your child.  

A good pediatrician will not only offer high-quality care for your kid, but they will also be an advocate for them when needed. While there are certain actions you can take to build a strong relationship, there may be times when a second opinion is warranted. Never feel guilty for wanting a second opinion or finding a new provider when you think it is necessary. 

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