Some things to think about before you part from your pediatrician



Breaking up is hard to do, especially when you're considering parting ways with your pediatrician.

I asked Owings Mills pediatrician Dr. Daniel Levy, who's answered a number of our Consults, to give us some things to think about when the relationship isn't working. Here's his reply:

"Most parents go to some trouble finding the 'right doctor' for their child, but as hard as they try, sometimes things just don't work out.

"There are lots of reasons why families switch the care of their kids to new pediatric practices in a community, but courtesy and humanity in going through the process will help tremendously. Regardless of your reason for leaving, remember that ... pediatricians are hard-working ... and are usually compensated well below what they charge. More importantly, doctors for kids are always about what they think is best."

Levy says that when you're weighing leaving a practice, here are a few things to consider:

* Why are you leaving? Is it a personal disappointment, or was there a medical error? Was it your doctor's lack of caring or inattention to detail, or are you feeling guilty that you didn't follow through on good advice? Make sure you're clear, sleep on it, run it by trusted advisers, then act. Never make a hasty judgment.

* Let your doctor know why you're leaving. She/he can't profit from the experience without your communication.

* Be clear about what you want in a pediatric office, and make sure your needs are realistic.

* If your pediatrician has been conscientious, affable, knowledgeable and available, maybe she/he deserves a second chance. Talk it out with her, and let her know your concerns. Some of the best professional relationships are cemented that way. We're all busy, but the best of us are never too busy to listen. Your pediatrician is ready to help 24/7, and deserves your honesty and best intentions.

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