Thursday, January 1, 2009

How much do you trust doctors?

The post I did a couple of weeks ago on good doctors vs. bad doctors stirred up a lively discussion. Katy from Bird on the Street, mom to impossibly adorable Charlie (see?), had more to say on the topic, so she's today's guest poster. Happy New Year, all. I hope it's filled with happiness, health and lots and lots of progress for our kids.

I think that most of us grow up thinking that doctors are all-knowing. If we're sick, they make us better. They heal us. It's hard not to be in awe of people with that kind of power.
The truth is that most pediatricians have it easy: strep, ear infections, and childhood vaccinations are all pretty easy to handle. Things like brain damage are a totally different story. There is little black and white; brains are plastic and there's no telling what one will do.
So how much do you trust the doctors who monitor your child's brain? For me, my respect went out the window on the second day of Charlie's life. The doctor predicted that he would have "no brain wave activity." He said that he would do the EEG again in eight hours, but his prediction was that Charlie was brain-dead.
Guess what? He wasn't. Not even once. While not normal, Charlie never failed to show brain waves.
So I take what they say with a grain of salt. Doctors have to earn my respect—I'm not handing it out for free. I am a big fan of Charlie's current neurologist and I feel like she respects me and my decisions. I ask a lot of  questions, though. I spend  time considering the choices I make. I decided to hold off on vaccinations until Charlie's second birthday (which will be here before I know it) because I wanted to protect his already-assaulted brain. I decided I didn't need an MRI of Charlie's brain or a visual evoked potential test because neither could tell me much about his future or his abilities. It felt like excessive testing for the sake of testing. This is not to say that I don't trust his doctors. I do. But I am the running the show and I'm not going to let someone tell me how to take care of my child. They have lots of patients and I have only one.
So how about you guys? Do you trust your child's doctors implicitly?



  1. Well said, Katy, as usual.

    This post is as much about you as is it is about physicians. Your ability to question medical authority has given Charlie his life.

    Some parents find it more difficult. But many describe how they have developed the ability to refuse treatment, ask for a second opinion, or insist on a trial treatment.

    Thanks, Ellen, for bringing more of Katy's good writing. Barbara

  2. Well, they are only human...They just went to school like the rest of us, just harder. They looking things up in books and talk to other doctors to get opinions of there on.

    This is where your common sense should take over. If you gut says something is no right, it's likely so.

    At age 20, I was physically fit in perfect shape, did judo 2x a week... I started to have heart trouble, cole sweats after working out, sick, numb... more or less the signs of a heart attack.

    First Dr. OP. "Your out of shape!" ... um sure I am... 5'8" 135... Judo for 2x a week for the past 6 years... I am out of shape?...

    My 2nd OP got me the results I needed, and every thing was fixed. Don't always trust every thing they say.

  3. I very much trust our pediatric neurologist. I mostly trust our pediatrician. I've had less trust for some of the physical, occupational and speech therapists we've worked with, and I've learned enough to question them. But I COMPLETELY trust my gut.

    There were two older, curmudgeonly doctors who treated Max when he was born. They predicted the worst for him. I was in a very fragile state--new mom, child with serious issues--and I took what they were saying to heart. But then, there was a younger doctor who kept telling me Max was at risk but babies' brains are malleable. He really gave me hope. Another thing I've learned over the years: The brain is still somewhat of a mystery to doctors. So they can't completely predict a child's future. And another thing I've learned: Try hard not to stress about your child's future, just focus as much as you can on what he or she is doing day to day. That's actually been the hardest thing to do. But, I try.

  4. i learned my lesson the hard way on trusting doctors. milo's first pcp misinformed us, blew us off constantly, never listened, or did anything we asked....i really do not know why it took me over six months to do something about it and find a new doctor for milo, except that i think i was a little paralyzed with fear and anxiety. but now if i don't feel like i can trust a doctor, or if there is any negative vibes or bad chemistry...well, i will never wait six whole months to replace someone again.

  5. I do not trust doctors...not one bit. They are human, and they err just like we do. Thankfully we are down to ONE doctor, our pediatrician. The guy is awesome. But I don't trust him. The best part is that he knows I don't trust him, and he thinks it is great. He likes the fact that I second guess everything, I do research, I ask for second opinions, and that I generally go with my gut. I am the only patient he has (and it is a large practice) that will second guess him, or at least do it openly. We just had Victorias 6 month appointment the other day, and it made me chuckle that we are the only family in his practice that second guesses him, ask questions, among other things such as using cloth diapers, making our own baby food (although I will guess that there are others out there that do, it just never comes up in discussion) question vaccines, etc. He actually told me that he cannot believe that because he is a pediatrician and has a diploma from Yale on his wall that people do what he says. It boggles his mind. He does thing you should trust your doctor, but he also thinks people should ask questions instead of just doing as he says, because he admits to not always being right!

    Can you believe that a man admits to not always being right?!

    1. Woow what a good doctor. I wish I had at least 1 doctor like yours.

  6. Trust is a tough word and I don't think it's a black and white situation. I've learned from experience not to believe everything they say - I've also learned to know when a dr. is blowing smoke up my @#*, for lack of a better phrase.

    For example, I've had some ups and downs with my family doctor but overall would I say I trust him - yes I do - but do I believe everything he says all the time - no.

  7. I was told that my little guy would never hold his head up (then never sit up, then never bare weight on his legs, then never stand, then never walk, then never love me, then never talk...). I don't have those docs any more. I have been lucky enough to get through some crap docs and settle in with doctors that I count on to be my guides. Do I trust them? I guess I trust that they are doing their best to give me honest direction and information that I can use and suits our needs. I trust all of them to know that they are human just like us and we will all take part in the care of our family.
    I trust my gut, everything else is researchable : )

  8. My guys saw about 50 different doctors, therapists, specialists, etc in 3 years.

    They're all human with their own personal foibles, and in some cases they're absolute wingnuts (one doctor told me my son had autism because he felt "unwanted in the womb". Another had us sit in his waiting room and read a chapter of his book about ADHD then gave us 5 minutes of face time to ask any questions we had about the chapter while charging us 200.00 for a full 45 minute session).

    I find I'm more likely to trust a doctor if he listens and is willing to admit when he is stymied. We've been with our family doctor for 11 years now, and have built a good relationship.

    Do I trust him? Yes. But it took awhile to find him and build that kind of relationship. ;-)

  9. Very interesting and I like this topic. I myself have fired several doctors, because I realized I hired them...I can fire them!

  10. I trust some of our doctors implicitly. Really, only the neurologist and mostly the pediatrician. Everyone else can falter at any time. One I don't trust, but don't have a choice on.

  11. I don't trust most doctors any further than I can throw them. Since I can't even pick one up, guess it's safe to say no, no I don't. Thanks to the negligence of my birthing doctor, my son has brain damage. My world fell apart that day and 3.5 years later, I'm still picking up the pieces.

    After that incident, it is hard to trust. I find myself wanting to put faith into doctors, but it's difficult. Very difficult.

  12. Well said indeed.

    I have had to trust doctors Ricky's whole life. And later, speech and occupational therapists, teachers, and others like them. But somewhere in there I had to learn when NOT to trust them... When to ask questions and when to question authority, as it were.

    I do not trust professionals implicitly because they are only human too. It's too bad we can't trust them no matter what. Would make life a lot simpler I think.


Thanks for sharing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...