Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Up until yesterday I could say that, goody-two-shoes at heart that I am, I had never been kicked out of anywhere. That all changed yesterday, when my husband and I were summarily dismissed from...get this: a pediatrician's office! Wow, are my husband and I rebels or what?

It all started innocently enough. Due to a change in HMO, we were forced to pick a new pediatrician for our son. We love the present doctor (who also treats Zoe), but we were told we needed to change docs if we wanted the insurance company to pay for Ayden's medical care. So we reluctantly went to the new doctor's office for the initial visit yesterday.

As eager as I am to jump right into how rude and inept Dr. Personality was, I should explain something very important. Right now, my son is not yet vaccinated. I know that is something that bothers many people, but there are multiple reasons for this. First, we were concerned about autism since we already have one child with the disorder (if you already have one child with autism, your more likely to have other children with it than others), and we fear vaccines could have something to do with it. Second, we have a family history of seizures brought on by adverse reactions to vaccinations. This history includes our own daughter and several other family members. Third, we feel that it's an enormous amount of chemicals to inject into a small child, whose body may not be ready to accept them. So we decided to wait until Ayden is a bit older to begin shots. Our current doc is okay with it, and a growing number of physicians say they are becoming more accepting of patients who choose to wait.

So we get to Dr. P's office, and while we are waiting we become very aware of her behavior towards the office staff as well as other patients. It seems she was absent the day they taught bedside manner at medical school. And apparently she was never taught that it's not nice to be snippy to people who are helping you and/or working for you, i.e. your employees. We get into the exam room after Ayden was weighed by a nurse, had his finger pricked to check his blood, and provided the required urine sample. Dr. P walks into the room, doesn't introduce herself, says hello, and rudely tells me (without even looking at me BTW) that I'm about a month early to give Ayden his shots. I explain that we are delaying the vaccines and my husband starts to explain to her the reasons why, which I have listed above. This doctor yanks her stethoscope off and (cutting my husband off) tells us that she doesn't treat anybody who is not vaccinated. She then gives us some speech about how she disagrees with everything we say, all the while giving off a vibe that says, "You two have got to be the dumbest people ever! Don't you know that I'm a DOCTOR, for Christ's sake!"

My husband asked the doctor three pivotal questions. 1. Does that mean that aside from people with medically-necessary reasons for not vaccinating that you also do not treat people with religious objections (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses)? 2. It is written anywhere in this practice's procedures that you refuse to treat people with religious and medical objections to vaccines? 3. If not, would you put that in writing? The doctor then said that she does not discriminate against Jehovah Witnesses, she just doesn’t accept them as patients. She stated (with a raised voice) that her policy is not listed in the office’s procedures, and that she would not put it in writing. Then she scooped up our son’s chart, said good-bye and bolted out the door. She promptly scooted over to her phone and said that she was calling the HMO and telling them that she wanted our son transferred to a different doctor. We told her not to bother; we’ll just do that ourselves.

My husband and I kept our composure the whole time. We didn’t want to upset Ayden by arguing with the doctor, even though she had absolutely no problem going there in front of a child. Also, we expected that we might encounter some resistance to what we had to say. But this lady went apeshit on us, which was completely unprofessional and rude. Hey, if she wanted to refuse to take my son so be it. Truth be told, I’d rather crawl naked across a bed of rusty nails than take my son back to see that lady. Not because she disagrees with me, but because I refuse to be treated that way.


Lynn Barry said...

The last paragraph is priceless...the apeshit and the crawling reference. YOU GUYS ROCK! I wouldn't want my worst enemy going to that nutjob. Way to GO!!!! HUGS

Anonymous said...

Well, that was certainly a rough experience, but I would say, good riddance to such a caregiver! I hope Dr. P. doesn't plan to bill you for her 'services.'

bluerose0907 said...

As one who has been badly treated by doctors in the past, I say "Kudos to you and your husband." Your son has wonderful thinking parents.

curtissann said...

You handled a horrible experience well. Good for you to recognize abuse when you see it. I applaud your stand on the vaccines. So many are not informed about the dangers. And thanks for sharing, so that others can know how to handle these situations. Your children are blessed.

Flamenco Mom said...

Thanks for all the support everybody! Now that I've collected myself, I'm going to write letters to the state board that governs the insurance program, the state medical board, as well as the local papers. I think that more people need to be made aware that as patients we are entitled to a certain level of care. That doesn't necessarily mean that this doctor should be forced to treat us, but that this type of behavior--not doctor to patient, but human to human--is not acceptable.

Wheat Free said...

Some doctors seem to thing they should get automatic respect because they are god or something. Those days are over - when did this woman go to school, the 1940's or something? Not that it was OK to act like a jerk then... doctors need to earn respect, just like everyone else, and as far as I'm concerned, they have a little catching up to do right from the start.

Question number one: how brainwashed are they by the pharmaceuticals?

I don't get the HMO thing (we don't have it where I come from) - sounds like a major infringement of personal choice if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps your local chapter about autism can offer you names of physicians who are sensitive to parents wanting to delay vaccines and you can cross-check that list with the list from your HMO. Also, consider finding out whether your doctor has a patient's bill of rights and whether they cover your concerns.

Good job staying calm during a bad experience! And yay Flamenco Dad for asking such great questions! My mom was once yelled at in front of and the entire waiting room by the partner of my primary pediatrician because she brought me in with several red bumps all over. The doctor mistakenly assumed that I had chicken pox even though my mom told him they were an allergic reaction to FL mosquito bites, and yelled that she was infecting the other children and that it would be her fault if they get infected. We never went back there! Good riddance!

Anonymous said...


The following website summarizes 300 U.S. court cases and lawsuits affecting children of Jehovah's Witness Parents, including dozens of cases where the JWParents refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions: