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Parents! Please evaluate our recent pediatrician experience....
February 19, 2013 11:16 PM   Subscribe

We've had two, um, interesting experiences with a new pediatrician. Our son is now 22 months old, and the experiences occurred about 3 months apart. I've been advised after both troubling visits by friends that we should provide feedback to this doctor, even though we will not give them a third try. I don't know how to do this, or if it is even my place. More after the jump. Mostly, As a first time parent, I want to know if my issues with these visits are valid. Thanks in advance!

Our son had not been vaccinated, and we wanted to start his vaccine schedule. This doctor came recommended specifically for this issue, and that's why we made our initial appointment.

I'm a bit hesitant to describe my experience with the first visit in full, because while I wasn't keen on some of it, they were AWESOME about the first vaccine administration, and I appreciate that immensely. We have a new recommendation for someone else with skills in the same wheelhouse (parents who want vaccine, but have concerns in general) and I take no issue with this doctor I am asking about regarding this aspect of their treatment. .

The doctor was in a new office, possibly new to practicing on their own. Been a doctor for at least 20 years. I don't know if doctor has children of their own. They have a following.

I intially forgot this stuff from the first visit, but it is relevant to the second visit, so I will add it here:

- On the first visit there were electrical outlets without saftey plugs at my son's height, and he was at a stage where he wanted to touch them, both in the hall and in the exam room. No bueno. Doctor and staff acted surprised, I thought this "off" for a pediatrician's office with so many toddler toys around. They blamed it on the new environment.

Um, okay?

- We had to take off my son's diaper for the exam (naturally.) It was not a poopy diaper, but the doctor gave us a bag and indicated that we, "had to take the dirty diaper home to dispose of it."

Um, okay?

The office is in a dedicated medical building. Surely they have prcedures for medical waste grade refuse? It didn't strike me as totally odd at the time - just weird, if that makes sense.

But here was the second visit, I'll set the scene:

My husband and son arrive at the office first, I park the car. In the waiting room, there is also another mother with a little girl (maybe 3yrs old?) and her wee baby in a carrier. Apparently there is a slightly older child from this family (12 yrs old?) in an exam room, but I don't know this by the time I get to the office. My husband tells me of the 3rd child being examined, afterwards.

When I enter the waiting room and sit down, there is a toddler screaming from back in the exam rooms, he's blonde (not with the waiting family, I guess correctly) and I see him being moved from one exam room to another, why I don't know.

I sit down and smell a poopy diaper. I whisper to my husband about our child's diaper. He tells me it is clean, I ask him to make sure, he does - it is clean. (In fact, my husband knows it is the little girl's diaper across from us that is full because her mother had noticed and had just told her she would change it later, but I wasn't in the room for this exchange.) I assume the poopy diaper is the baby or toddler across from us, but I don't get much time to think on that.

- The doctor enters the waiting room, faintly acknowledges me and my husband, and then asks the mother with the toddler and baby if she plans to become a regular patient.

(I try to ignore this conversation taking place in front of me because it isn't my business, I do wonder WHY it is taking place in front of us, though)

- As the doctor is leaving the room, they state to us all, "It smells like someone needs a diaper change." And....

That's it. The statement is just left hanging there. No offer of facilities or a changing area, nothing. The doctor walked away back towards the exam rooms.

-----

I'm here soliciting insight because my husband comes from a totally different culture, and while in the moment he wasn't pleased with the experience, he wasn't as emotional about it as I was. I have expectations for pediatricians since my family doctor was AWESOME growing up. He doesn't have anything to compare this to. He's not easily shamed (bless him!) and he knew who had the full diaper at the time, anyway, which I did not.

----

My first question is that I wonder if I should be as appalled as I am regarding the diaper statement?

My second question is, would you give feedback if you had this experience? If I was to provide feedback to the doctor (we're not coming back because of XYZ) I'm not sure how to go about this - how is it done?

My feeling is this doctor is tone-deaf and would not care.

I'm honestly torn. I'm having trouble parsing the entire experience.

Please provide feed back and advise.

Thank you.
posted by jbenben to Health & Fitness (75 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
If I were in your shoes, I would also be looking for a new doctor. This sounds like very poor bedside manner. As for making a complaint, for a small private doctor's office I wouldn't bother, but if part of a decent-sized medical group, sure why not...the sooner doctors start treating patients as customers, the better, and if it takes complaints to move them in that direction, so be it.
posted by Dansaman at 11:27 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you don't like it for whatever reason, then find another doctor of course. But for what it's worth, I was surprised when your question ended because I still expected the egregious complaint to come.
posted by cmoj at 11:41 PM on February 19, 2013 [183 favorites]


None of this seems like a very big deal at all (I'm not even sure what the real problem is), and certainly not worth "feedback."

Of course find a new doctor if you aren't comfortable.
posted by amaire at 11:43 PM on February 19, 2013 [37 favorites]


Honestly if you send these details to that office you're not going to be able to say much beyond "cover your outlets, provide diaper change facilities, and your office management sucks." You will be blown off as "crazy neurotic first time mother lady" because that's what happens at shittily managed places, and that will be worse than the doctor simply not caring.

I'd probably write a Yelp review just to do something, but I don't think I'd take it any further than that.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:46 PM on February 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


First of all, I strongly believe that if anyone is ever even slightly less than delighted with the care their physician provides them, they ought to look for a new physician. It's such an intensely intimate relationship that the patient should be fully comfortable. We need to be able to talk about vulnerable, uncomfortable things with our doctors, and if we don't feel fully at ease doing so, then we can't get the best possible care.

As to providing feedback, I would recommend calling the office and speaking to the office manager. Give the office manager your full feedback, both on what made you uncomfortable and why it made you uncomfortable. It may not help you, but it may change the tenor of the office such that future patients don't feel uncomfortable in the future.

This is how I handled it when a former physician of mine looked at a wound on my leg and told me "well, it doesn't look infected, but I'll give you antibiotics if it'll make you feel better" - which, no, it wouldn't, because I'm a microbiologist, and I am well aware that giving antibiotics as placebos is absolutely horrific policy from a public health perspective. While I don't know that it impacted future care that physician provided, because I'm certainly unwilling to return, at least I can rest comfortably knowing that my objections were heard.

In your case specifically, speaking with the office manager is appropriate in that the office manager is the person who can address both the bedside manner issues you described as well as the structural office issues (such as the outlet) that you noticed. If you speak to the office manager, you're putting this information in the hands of the person most likely to be able to do something practical with it.
posted by amelioration at 11:52 PM on February 19, 2013


Oh I think this is a very big deal. Not having safety devices on the outlets in a pediatrician's office is incredibly dumb. Having to dispose of diapers at home? Dumb. Not directing a parent where to change a diaper? Thoughtless.
posted by Dansaman at 11:53 PM on February 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Agree with cmoj and others that I kept waiting for the terrible part to come. It sounds like the doctor has a personality and bedside manner that just doesn't jibe with your personality and what you're looking for in a doctor, which is totally fine. As for making a complaint, of course you can if you want, but it all seems a little overblown to me. And I say this as a first-time mother myself.

For what it's worth, my doctor's office also has a policy of asking parents to dispose of the diapers outside of the office. One diaper might not seem like a big deal to you, but I can imagine that a full day's worth of diapers can really accumulate, from both a waste management and an odor management problem. Taking it home and tossing it is really no big deal.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 11:55 PM on February 19, 2013 [33 favorites]


I think as with any service, you have to be happy with what they're offering you - and this is what they're offering you. If you're unhappy with that (and work from the basis that it won't change), you need to look elsewhere.
posted by heyjude at 12:18 AM on February 20, 2013


Medical waste disposal is expensive, crazy expensive, and is charged by bulk. Because a diaper probably contains human waste it has to go through that process in the doctors office even when it wouldn't in your home. Dumb I know, but that's how it goes. So asking you to take it home doesn't surprise me at all, it would get pretty expensive for the doctor otherwise.

Outlet protectors and change facilities also cost money so maybe that's the problem? It could also just be due to the newness of the practise, they haven't worked out the kinks yet. I think it is worth giving feedback on those things. Point out that their facilities aren't yet up to scratch and suggest improvements. If the doctor doesn't suck then they may be made, and if they do suck and don't care then eh, it's not like you spent a lot of time and angst on it (and I support your finding another practise, this one seems to cut corners).
posted by shelleycat at 12:30 AM on February 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


Obviously you need to be comfortable but I think you're over reacting a bit. I agree that the outlets need to be covered but the rest of it? Can you imagine how many children in diapers the office would deal with every day - the amount of waste would simply overload them. I think it's quite reasonable to ask parents to dispose of it.

Yes, the doctor could have directed you where to change the diaper, but there was probably signage there that directed you as well. Some might even say the onus was on the parent to, you know, ask a simple question, "Could you tell me where the change facilities are?" We don't know that there weren't change facilities (I'd be shocked if there weren't) but it does seem like you want your hand to held for every interaction. He's probably on a pretty tight schedule, and the office manager exists for questions like that if you're really lost.

Yet when the doctor did mention a diaper needed changing, you got offended?! You already mentioned the diaper needed to be removed for the checkup so surely it makes sense that it's clean when the time comes? He wasn't to know it wasn't your child, it was directed at the room and there's nothing embarrassing about it - it's a fact of life when you have a kid, so I can't quite grasp the outrage. I would judge the doctor on his medical competence and care of your child rather than in my mind, minor points which have nothing to do with his ability as a medical professional. You've already said their handling of the vaccinations was great, so...?
posted by Jubey at 1:26 AM on February 20, 2013 [19 favorites]


I'd be a little peeved as well, especially about the unorganized diaper situation. It sounds a bit like a car repair guy who blames his customers for bringing rust into the shop, and with no place to put the used oil. A changing station with a bin for diapers ought obviously to be there (Imagine the same scenario in an independent toy store...just saying.).

Still, what's going to count for your kid is whether he's comfortable with the doctor, and if that is so, that could be worth gold (don't ask). So I'd definitely look carefully at that bit, and if necessary swallow my pride about the other issues.

If, on the other hand, you want to change doctor and give them a list of complaints as a parting gift, make sure to edit your observations down to the bare bones. If I tell my grocery store that their eggplant, upon cutting open, was browner inside than out, I do tell them just that, and nothing more. You totally have the right to utter your personal view, even at the risk that someone else doesn't share it. (I say this mainly because of the tentative nature of your question, all the ages and hair colors, and the many "um"s.)
posted by Namlit at 1:42 AM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this seems like a shitty situation (pun intended), and I would look for a new doctor if it makes you feel better.

FWIW, years ago I worked a project for a major insurance company, that involved interviewing parents about their pediatricians, and specifically their last visit, and happiness with the care.

Given, this is just multiple choice ranging from very satisfied, to very dissatisfied, on things from cleanliness of office, appt being on time, quality of care. There was a an open ended question at the end where you could mention specifics, but in over a thousand interviews only a handful of people had anything much to say beyond minor grousing about a wait time. The people most vocal about their doctors were recent immigrants, who were very thankful that their doctor spoke their native language because there was a much greater comfort level.

This was long before Yelp or any social media of course, so there is a much more direct way to put your concerns out there than writing the company/office. I’m no apologist for HMOs or anything, just showing that even years ago, they did try – however half-heartedly and hamfistedly – to track this sort of thing.

How ever much it sticks in your craw, just find a new guy, and let it go unless someone directly asks. He might be a real ass to you, but he might be a pretty good doctor to a lot of other kids. Why screw it up for them?

I don’t have hard data, but I’m guessing overall more children leave their pediatrician’s office with a lollipop and zero chance of getting the measles, than dead from sticking their fingers in an outlet.
posted by timsteil at 1:42 AM on February 20, 2013


I'm sorry, but this honestly seems like a massive overreaction to me. Sure, change if you're not happy, that's a no-brainer. But if they know their stuff and are otherwise kind and gentle with children, they sound like good doctors to me.
posted by Salamander at 1:48 AM on February 20, 2013 [25 favorites]


I have a 23 month old son and find none of this a big deal. The open outlets are not great but that will likely be fixed. Plus I generally assume that no where other than my home will be fully child proofed.

The diaper thing is not an issue at all and is pretty common in smaller offices not located inside a larger medical facility like a hospital. Change doctors if you like but no "feedback" seems required at all. I was expecting a much more dramatic issue in the question.
posted by saradarlin at 1:49 AM on February 20, 2013 [9 favorites]


Re: the diaper statement - why were you 'appalled'? It wasn't rude, it was a statement of fact. Someone needed a diaper change: presumably, the doctor needed to get back to his patient, which is why he left you (plural: the patients in the waiting room) to a) figure out who, and b) ask the receptionist where to do it, if you didn't know.
posted by Salamander at 1:52 AM on February 20, 2013 [8 favorites]


I agree that the uncovered electrical outlets are an issue in a pediatrician's office and I'd point that out to the staff as well as the doctor, and it would make me wonder how a safety detail like that could go unnoticed. The diaper thing wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me. That being said, I don't think you have a great rapport with this provider and frankly, that's quite important when you enter that type of long term provider/patient relationship. You'd prefer a doctor and office with a different style and manner, which is completely ok. Get your son's records and move on to another provider that you feel more comfortable with.
posted by hollygoheavy at 1:59 AM on February 20, 2013


I would recommend changing doctors because your requirements for customer service at a pediatrician are very high and this place won't meet them. There's nothing wrong about wanting a different style of practice, just be aware that you need to shop around to find a place that suits because you have specific high needs for customer service.

My kid goes to an assigned pediatrician at a very busy hospital, and the changing room is chaotic with clean functional bathrooms. What you've described wouldn't even register with me as something to note let alone as a significant drawback.

Very few parents I know would share your concerns, but I do know a couple of people who have the same requirements and ended up with doctors who could provide that level of care and are now happy with them.
posted by viggorlijah at 2:05 AM on February 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


None of those things on their own are a big deal, but together they do give the impression of a pediatrician's surgery that is - ironically - not very family-friendly (electrical sockets not covered, no changing facilities). If there's not a suitable alternative to try you might just have to "deal with it" - none of what you said has any impact on the pediatrician's medical abilities for example.

So it's kind of like a restaurant with no changing facilities and no highchairs and no kiddy meals - none of that means the food is bad, but you might want to go elsewhere since it will be a hassle taking the kids there.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:24 AM on February 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


I agree that this sounds like a pretty massive over-reaction, and this jumped out at me: "Our son had not been vaccinated, and we wanted to start his vaccine schedule. This doctor came recommended specifically for this issue, and that's why we made our initial appointment."

Were you originally going to an anti-vax or otherwise "alternative" doctor? If so, it's possible that any mainstream doctor is going to strike you as cold or strange. Alt-med practitioners (in this I include specialist 'alternative' MDs) are really focused on customer service, and strive to keep customers happy. It's basically a business strategy: the population that wants that kind of 'care' for their children is small, and they need to keep as many people as possible on their rolls. They also use time and special facilities as a selling point, often taking the line that " 'Allopathic' doctors don't care, but we do - look at all the time we spend chatting and complementing you! Look at all the toys in our office!" etc. Of course, these doctors' waiting rooms, despite the nice pillows, are way more dangerous than any uncovered sockets, since they are likely to have large numbers of sick and unvaxed kids in them! In other words, keep your eyes on the sockets, but you've already gone way up the scale of safety for your child.

I'd raise the diaper-changing issue with reception ("Hey, it wasn't clear where to take toddler jbenben for poopy diapers in the office last time, can you let me know what's up this time?"), and bring some diaper sacks in your purse. I agree, though, that all of these issues sound like new-practice growing pains around decoration and med waste disposal and are likely to improve.
posted by Wylla at 2:42 AM on February 20, 2013 [32 favorites]


Our son had not been vaccinated, and we wanted to start his vaccine schedule. This doctor came recommended specifically for this issue, and that's why we made our initial appointment.

Honestly? I think you'll find that until your son is caught up, you are going to get an earful from any self-respecting doctor who wants to practice good medicine. It may be unfair. You're doing the right thing now, but this poor decision making may lead to more uncomfortable experiences for you in dealing with your children's care providers.

On the first visit there were electrical outlets without saftey plugs at my son's height, and he was at a stage where he wanted to touch them, both in the hall and in the exam room. No bueno. Doctor and staff acted surprised, I thought this "off" for a pediatrician's office with so many toddler toys around. They blamed it on the new environment.

My doctors office doesn't have safety plug on the electrical outlets. I have never batted an eye at it. This is a really weird and petty concern for an examination.

It was not a poopy diaper, but the doctor gave us a bag and indicated that we, "had to take the dirty diaper home to dispose of it."

This, on the other hand, is very odd. I'd be annoyed by this inconvenience as well.

The doctor enters the waiting room, faintly acknowledges me and my husband, and then asks the mother with the toddler and baby if she plans to become a regular patient.


This would also make me a little uncomfortable, but if it was a simple, "Will we be seeing you again?" type conversation without case details, I might not be upset by it. The actual words and tone of the discussion would have mattered.

As the doctor is leaving the room, they state to us all, "It smells like someone needs a diaper change." And....

That's it. The statement is just left hanging there. No offer of facilities or a changing area, nothing. The doctor walked away back towards the exam rooms.


Again, yes, a bit weird.

My first question is that I wonder if I should be as appalled as I am regarding the diaper statement?

No, probably not --- it may be in fact it was a new office without a diaper genie or whatever they want patients to use to dispose of diapers. I'd mention this to the office staff, of course, but I wouldn't let THIS hinge on decisions to change doctors.

My second question is, would you give feedback if you had this experience? If I was to provide feedback to the doctor (we're not coming back because of XYZ) I'm not sure how to go about this - how is it done?

You call and speak to the practice manager or other non-medical staff who answers the phone and list exactly what you said here, or you can write a letter detailing your experience and mail it.

My feeling is this doctor is tone-deaf and would not care.

He might be.

I'm honestly torn. I'm having trouble parsing the entire experience.

You're overreacting on some things in my opinion and being more than reasonable on others. If you're not comfortable with this practice, then you should switch. If you think it was just a weird visit or two, you can choose to give them one more chance or, well, not. It's your decision. There's nothing wrong with changing doctors just because you don't like them.

And you may try family medicine vs. pediatricians. We've found family medicine practitioners to be a much better fit for us than pediatricians.
posted by zizzle at 2:54 AM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm having to exercise my imagination to guess what you were so offended about.

Sure, it would be nice if you didn't have to haul a dirty diaper home, but if they would have to be disposed of in a 'potentially contaminated medical waste' sort of way then I can totally see why the office might want to economize by avoiding that. I don't think there's an insurance billing code for diaper disposal.

You apparently felt shamed by the comment about "somebody" needing a diaper change, but it sounds to me as if the doctor phrased it that way specifically to *avoid* shaming anyone. What did you expect him to do, scold the other mother and hold you up as a shining example?

Finally, it's pretty difficult for a kid to hurt themselves with an electrical outlet without some having some sort of object to stick into it. Even very small fingers don't fit in the little slots. Only one of the three holes in a given outlet is hot, and to get shocked by it you have to reach in there with something conductive to touch it while also touching a ground of some sort. Also, there are tamper-resistant outlets that don't require the little plastic covers and don't look much different from standard outlets. Would you recognize one if you saw it, without getting your face down at knee level for a close examination?
posted by jon1270 at 3:22 AM on February 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I think all newly installed outlets are the child proof kind that jon1270 linked to. At least, that's what was available when my husband replaced some outlets not too long ago.

To answer your question, i can't figure out why you were appalled by the diaper statement. But if you're not comfortable with this doc, by all means find another.
posted by amro at 3:42 AM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would not expect covered outlets. There probably aren't great ways to make a room simultaneously baby-proof and a great place for a doctor to work. Nobody's leaving toddlers alone in these rooms, so who cares about the outlets?

The diaper complaint is odd. I don't understand why there'd be an expectation of hand-holding there.

As an aside, I found

We had to take off my son's diaper for the exam (naturally.)

to be common for USA parents taking tots to doctors (and then describing the experience on-line), but I and most other non-USA parents were mystified: why would you need to remove diaper/underwear? No, we don't do that here unless the parent states there's an issue, etc. That was the only part of your experience that I would have found strange and possibly objectionable.
posted by kmennie at 4:25 AM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


My daughter was born prematurely so we've had quite a few different doctors' appointments over the last five months, from pediatric physiotherapy to outpatient clinics to meetings with our local maternal & child health nurse. At all of them I have to take her nappy off for examinations and at all of them I have to take the dirty nappy with me.
posted by Wantok at 4:32 AM on February 20, 2013


Outlets in newer buildings may be child-proof though they are not covered (that is, the openings cannot have something pushed inside unless they are simultaneously entered - hard to explain, but essentially their apprarance and use is typical, but a butter knife or other single-prong implement could not be used unsafely with it). Perhaps the office has those types of outlets?
posted by dreamphone at 4:41 AM on February 20, 2013


I'm surprised that everyone else seems to think this is normal, this is not the level of professionalism that my peds offices have displayed, nor would I find it acceptable. I've never had to cart my own dirty diaper off, and I wouldn't feel safe with uncovered outlets (or I would at the very least expect signage to either warn me or let me know if they are child proof).

But at the end of the day, the issue is you aren't comfortable with it, so change to a new ped.
posted by cestmoi15 at 5:27 AM on February 20, 2013


FWIW, we were also at the pediatricians office yesterday and ours has a little sign that says, "Due to OSHA regulations please do not dispose of diapers in the trashcan. The receptionist can provide you with a bag." Its above every trashcan and I never think twice about it because we use cloth so I'm carrying around diapers all the time anyway.

why would you need to remove diaper/underwear?

I asked the doctor the same thing, he told me he had to check Baby Jungles hip sockets and it was easier to do without a diaper. He also said that after about 9 months it wouldn't be necessary because most baby hip issues present in the first 9 months and as long as there isn't a crawling issue to check the diaper would stay on. I'm sure he'll be glad when Baby Jungle hits 9 months because she's wet his tie twice!
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 5:33 AM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


All doctors' offices where I have taken my kids had "do not dispose of diapers" signs over their trash. I hadn't thought about medical waste issue, but that makes sense.

Doctors remove the diaper in the US to check for hip dysplasia, as well as making sure the genital area appears healthy.
posted by instamatic at 5:33 AM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


The very well regarded and generally very well liked pediatrics practice to which we take our son requires that parents take home all diapers removed during a changing. This was surprising to learn during our first visit (which was not that long ago), but given the level of hyperbolic outrage on the various parent's listservs to which we belong, seems like standard practice. (Since we have never heard a peep about it.) I imagine that medical waste disposal is a non-incidental cost of doing business as a doctor's office, and that poopy diapers would quickly multiply that cost.
posted by OmieWise at 5:33 AM on February 20, 2013


Our toddler goes to a specific pediatric practice in our county that only sees foster children, and I'm actually really disappointed that the baby I'm pregnant with won't be able to go there too. The outlets are the anti-tamper ones mentioned above but still fascinating for our kid, and at my last visit the pediatrician actually apologized to me that they were even in her reach - apparently the doctors had requested that the outlets be installed above waist-height and for some reason it wasn't done that way. So on that count, our doctors seem to recognize that yes, outlets are a significant thing to consider. They also have two garbage bins in each exam room (behind cupboard doors, with swinging flaps to put stuff through), one of which is clearly labeled for biohazard stuff "including bandages and diapers". After our daughter was placed with us we spent an awful lot of time in those offices dealing with a particular issue, and I would have been very annoyed with having to cart home diapers from every visit, especially as I usually dropped her at daycare and headed to work without going home first.

I do think it sounds like you have high expectations, which is totally okay. If I were you I'd be shopping around for a new doctor too. My husband, like yours, would have agreed that it wasn't ideal, but wouldn't be bothered enough to switch practices. But if this has put a bad taste in your mouth and you're expecting more of the same, absolutely start looking elsewhere.
posted by SeedStitch at 5:58 AM on February 20, 2013


Parent of one, and I don't think any of these would really register as problems for me. Outlets at a dr.'s office in a big building would need to beused by assorted cleaning people, repair personnel, etc., some after hours when nobody's around, and outlet covers can be fiddly and non- intuitive to use if you're not used to them. Rather than making their power supply inaccessible to many of the people who might need it, it makes sense that they'd just trust parents to supervise their kids, especially since it's pretty hard to hurt yourself with an outlet unless you've got a fork or unbent paperclip handy.

The diaperchange thing actually seems pretty well-handled to me- a doctor mentioning a poopy diaper PLUS specific changing-room info would read to me like they were saying the diaper was a problem and specifically instructing me to change it ASAP, which if you've got other rambunctious kids may be tough to coordinate. The approach they did use conveys the information, but leaves the solution in the parent's court, which seems respectful and less-stressy.

With that said, if you don't like the place, it's cool not to go back, obvs. FWIW, don't assume that you need to find a specifically anti-vax doc in order to follow a nonstandard vaccination schedule. We're not anti-v per se, but did do a modified schedule with some omissions, and neither of the generic big-box, multi-doc practices we've attended batted an eye- as long as it seemed like we'd done the research (and god, did we ever) and had a plan, everyone's been happy to dispense vaccinations pretty much on demand, with a minimum of fuss. I think vax concerns are common enough today that many doctors will be accustomed to accommodating them, and if anybody gets preachy it's easy enough to explain that you've done extensive research and aren't looking to reevaluate the decision at this time.
posted by Bardolph at 6:13 AM on February 20, 2013


My primary thought: there are lots and lots and LOTS of pediatricians, especially if you're in an urban area. And most of 'em are the sweetest, gentlest, most awesome people ever. If you're not diggin' your pediatrician's office, for whatever reason, by all means, find another one. Finding a doc is a little like dating - and, as with dating, you can end things at any time, for any reason, so that you can continue to search for a partner who's just right. (As far as the specifics go: the outlet thing would probably concern me, too. The diaper thing is fairly common, I believe.)
posted by julthumbscrew at 6:30 AM on February 20, 2013


I don't think tone deaf people really hear this kind of feedback. If it will make you feel better, give it, but it won't change things when you leave.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:40 AM on February 20, 2013


Does the pediatricians office have a restroom? Does that restroom have a changing station? If so, then I think you're overreacting, since the doctor would have assumed you know that the changing station is located in the same place that it is located in any other building (in the US, at least).
posted by BurntHombre at 6:44 AM on February 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


None of the things in your question sounded particularly weird to me, but if you don't like that doctor's office, don't go there anymore. I would go to a doctor for their medical care, and think that the care of my children's diapers and not wanting them to touch electrical sockets was my responsibility, not the pediatrician's.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:47 AM on February 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


Parent of two. I am trying very hard to find out the big deal here.

Regarding the electrical outlets, as others have mentioned, it is possible that they were child-resistant but not obvious as such to you. Even if they weren't, I still would not have batted an eye. People have outlet covers in their home because toddlers roam and are not within the parent's view every second. In a doctor's office, a toddler is never going to roam and will be the sight of several adults in any given moment. The danger with a socket, btw, is not that the child will stick his finger inside. The finger of a newborn infant would not fit inside those slots. The danger is that they will grab something conductive and stick it inside. That is not going to happen at the doctor's office for the reasons I just described. Having your child unvaccinated posed a much larger danger to himself and other children than an electrical socket.

I think you've receive enough answers regarding why the doctor's office will not accept a diaper worn by your child for disposal.

I don't see what the problem with "someone needs a diaper change" is. Someone did need a diaper change. In a pediatrician's waiting room, there is probably someone who needs a diaper change from dawn til dusk. It's not like you were accusing of farting at a cocktail party.

What I think it hanging over this is your "wheelhouse" of "parents who want vaccine, but have concerns in general". I don't understand what that means. Concerns about what? My suspicion is that you are carrying over some baggage from the two years where you didn't vaccinate. That sort of "alt" type view is much more concerned with customer service experiences than actual, useful medicine. The best example that comes to my mind is the concern with making childbirth about giving the mother some sort of "birthing experience". No, the purpose of childbirth is to delivery a healthy baby. Whether the mother experiences some sort of rite of passage is incidental.

So no, I do not think your concerns are valid. Of course, you can choose whatever doctor you wish. However, I think you are likely to bristle in some way about most medical doctors.
posted by Tanizaki at 6:58 AM on February 20, 2013 [30 favorites]


My pediatrician's office has signs on the exam room trash cans that say, "Smelly diapers make smelly rooms! Please do not dispose of dirty diaper in this can" or something along those lines. It's true--even beyond the medical waste issue, the fact remains that a dirty diaper in the trash will sit there all day long, until the cleaning crew empties it after hours. So a stinky poop diaper (or several) would be in there all day. Why should everyone who uses the room, patients, parents, or medical care providers, have to smell that?

Honestly, of all the things to worry about regarding your child's medical treatment (and believe me, I've analyzed everything my peds have done every time my kid has been sick) your concerns seem really trivial. Change doctors if you're uncomfortable, of course, but do keep in mind the whole point of a good pediatrician is to keep your child healthy, not to keep your feelings from being hurt.
posted by Jemstar at 7:37 AM on February 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think these issues are rather minor, but its OK for you to go somewhere else. Having read quite a few of your posts and comments on AskMe, I think you may just have a different perspective than other folks. So find a pediatrician who makes you comfortable.
posted by Happydaz at 7:47 AM on February 20, 2013


I'm not seeing much of a problem with what you discussed (maybe I'm just not imagining everything in the same way you experienced it), but you should not hesitate changing your doctor if you have any worries. This is someone you are going to be seeing a lot of through your child's life, and you want to find someone you really like. We had to see several different doctors before we found one who we connected with, and we're very happy we did. The previous doctors weren't bad, they just didn't answer our questions the way we wanted, or didn't understand how to talk to adults like adults. People switch doctors all the time for a million different reasons, don't feel bad about doing it.
posted by markblasco at 7:48 AM on February 20, 2013


One more vote for I don't see what the problem is here. Your comment about "shame" related to a dirty diaper stands out as especially odd: babies sometimes have dirty diapers. That's just a thing about babies, it's nothing to be ashamed about.

Of course this is coming from a parent who never bothered to put safety covers on the outlets in his own house, and for whom talk of poopy diapers and other things baby is about as notable as talk about the weather. (My wife will never live down the moment when she, from habit, referred to her "tushie" in an adult conversation. Not that kind of adult conversation. But still.) if you feel differently then by all means you should find another doctor more in tune with your thinking, but I don't think you need to be concerned too much about giving feedback to the current doctor.
posted by ook at 8:12 AM on February 20, 2013


At one point, I had 3 under 3 years old, all in diapers. We would go through 20 diapers a day. I cannot imagine what a Doctor's office would smell like after or do with all the diapers they must have changed in their office. As for the comment about somebody had a poopy diaper, I would have actually appreciated it. Sometimes with 3 shitting in their pants, you become immune to the smell. I would not have taken it personally unless I had just farted myself. THe electrical outlets seems like something they should childproof if for no other reason than insurance purposes, but I never noticed outlets anywhere outside my own home. Quite frankly, I would not let my kids wander around in the doctor's office especially not to the walls. I would even try to avoid the play areas because it strikes me as the area with the most germs, but it is hard to stop a child from wanting to play with the toys. It is why the toys are there after all.


To me, I would and did view these sorts of things from the point of view of why I am there. I would out for the best doctor I could find. Everyone defines "best" their own way. Most of what you wrote would not be a hindrance to me, but I get that it could make others uncomfortable. Maybe it is because it is hard to remember what it was like with just one and the first one at that. Our second came so fast that it is a blur. I just remember sitting there the first night we had our first child home thinking, "These things really should come with operating instructions."

If part of what you want to consider about a pediatrician's office is how efficient and well run it is, then this one does not sound up to snuff. It is like going out to a restaurant. Some people only care about the food and others care about the decor and atmosphere as well.

If there is one thing I have learned in life, it is that life is too short to deal with a service professional with which you are not satisfied. Regardless of the reason. Flag it and move on.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:17 AM on February 20, 2013


Just a note about dirty diapers. I have had 2 different pediatricians. They both ask to take your diapers.
posted by beccaj at 8:20 AM on February 20, 2013


It's common for pediatricians to ask parents to dispose of their own soiled diapers because of the smell and high cost of medical waste disposal, especially small practices where that sort of expense can really be a big part of costs.

Outlets in an office where there are kids should be childproofed. One of the practices in the building where I work got cited in their most recent inspection for having missed a couple. On the other hand in a new practice I could see how they could be overlooked, especially if they were taking over a non pediatric space. It was good that you mentioned it.

On the whole, though, it sounds like this doctor's interpersonal style just doesn't work for you and you shouldn't have any qualms about switching regardless.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 8:20 AM on February 20, 2013


My pediatrician's office requires me to take diapers home and dispose of them, and they're a big clinic associated with the local university hospital. I think that's pretty normal.
posted by KathrynT at 8:24 AM on February 20, 2013


Our pediatrician has awful Yelp rating. It's all for similar reasons that you cite as your points of unease: his office is messy (i.e. filled with books and medical journals), he is always in a rush, he doesn't take time to chit-chat, and does not goo and gaa over babies.

However. Our doctor also has admitting privileges to the best children's hospital in the area. When our son had bronchiolitis, we came in to see him three times during the week, spoke with him every morning, and every medical decision he took was explained to us. He is also sure and fast with giving shots and has extensive background in behavioral medicine. These are the things that are important to me, and I know that I am not there to have my son cuddled. I want a doctor whom I trust not to screw up diagnosing appendicitis or mononucleosis. The administrative staff at his office fill the "what cute baby!!" quota more than enough and help in figuring out where to change the diaper, etc.

Sounds like you need to figure out what is important to you and interview some pediatricians holding those needs in mind. Maybe you would be more comfortable taking your son to a practice where there is a PA who can spend a long time with you. Good luck!
posted by Shusha at 8:49 AM on February 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not seeing too much to be upset or complaining about. A doctor's office - even a pediatrician's - is not a home setting where it might be reasonable to expect unsupervised toddlers. Having toys to entertain waiting kids isn't the same as child-proofing an entire set of offices.

Our family doctor's office (general practice, sees lots of kids) also asks that we take used diapers home to dispose of them. One pee diaper in a trash can at the beginning of the day can make a room stink of urine for hours. Even if it's bagged. Poop is even worse.

And "someone needs a diaper change" is a nice, general way of saying "wow, someone stinks" without trying to figure out who it is who, in fact, stinks. It's not the doctor's job to go around sniffing butts. You knew your child's diaper wasn't dirty. The other mom was aware her child's diaper was dirty. Perhaps she was waiting until she had to remove the diaper for exam before changing it (I've done that, if I've discovered that I only had one spare diaper with me). I'm not sure how it's relevant that she had an older child in an exam room, or that another crying child was being moved from one exam room to another. I've moved my own crying (post-vax, for example) from an exam room that was needed to a vacant space so that I could nurse/console/re-dress said child.

All that said, if you're not comfortable with the doctor, find another. I will say that I've much preferred our experience with a general family practice to the tales I've heard from friends about their experiences with pediatricians. You might consider that as well.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 8:52 AM on February 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Agree with everyone above that the things you're having trouble with would not have even pinged my radar. Also, this:

they were AWESOME about the first vaccine administration, and I appreciate that immensely

would, in my evaluation of a pediatrician, be weighted much more heavily than any type of housekeeping things. The doctor is, after all, being paid to make sure your child's health is taken care of. You are still parenting your child while he is at the doctor's office, so taking care of diapers and making sure he is not endangering himself (or others) is still your responsibility.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:06 AM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


With regard to the outlets: is it possible that a doctor who is okay with your ideas about delaying vaccinations is just not overly concerned about safety?
posted by amro at 9:46 AM on February 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


Like KathrynT, my ped's office requires that we dispose of diapers at home. It's a large bustling practice with like 10 doctors, one of the two main ped's in town.

Nthing overreaction.
posted by kestrel251 at 9:47 AM on February 20, 2013


We've been to our fair share of different pediatricians at different offices. A couple of the things you've mentioned are really non-issues, but yeah, you should switch it up if you're feeling uncomfortable. That said, you'll probably run into a couple of the things you've mentioned at other offices, and you may need to adjust your expectations:

The diaper thing is pretty standard. Every office we've been to asks for the kid to be examined in a clean diaper, and they request the diaper to be disposed by us. This is pretty normal.

The outlets at most pediatrician offices are the type that are already child-proof, even without appearing so. Kind of like these. We've asked all our pediatricians about this, because our kid is quite fond of playing with them. You should ask. Lots of parents do.

And as far as kids freaking out in exam rooms? This is pretty common too....some kids really don't like the doctors office, and those kids, sometimes lose their shit. This has happened to our kid a couple times, and has happened to other kids at visits we've been to at least a half dozen times.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:59 AM on February 20, 2013


I kind of feel where you're coming from. I also had an amazing childhood doctor who was able to provide stunning customer service. I think it's natural to be disappointed when you're not able to provide for your kid the same kind of experience you had as a child.

However, one thing that I have noticed over the years is that very few doctor's offices do operate the way we remember them now. I'm not sure if it's due to operating costs or health insurance offices nickel-and-diming, but either way, the days of bright, sunny, awesome waiting rooms with cheerful receptionists who had plenty of time to talk and doctors who could talk about kid's emotional health as well as physical, are (mostly) over.

You are right that it was bad customer service. Refusing to take diapers and making you take it home is terrible - ESPECIALLY for a place that advertises that it is looking for children. Sure, medical waste might be expensive, but then add it to the cost you bill the insurance. Don't force parents to take dirty diapers with them. What's so hard about having a unisex bathroom with a changing station?
posted by corb at 10:02 AM on February 20, 2013


Parent of two here. If you don't click with your pediatrician, by all means find one who suits you better.

You may not be able to find that perfect pediatrician who ticks all your boxes, though, and you might want to really clarify what your priorities are: I am guessing that being able to throw away a poopy diaper in the office is probably not actually the most important criteria for you.
posted by ambrosia at 10:13 AM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mom to a 1 year old here. We take her to a fairly large pediatric practice associated with a large hospital in our area, but in its own building (10+ doctors, PAs, and nurses. Many examination rooms.) They also ask that you bring the dirty diapers home with you. I suspect the real reason is to reduce stench and maximize space in the exam rooms (in addition to reducing overhead - I doubt they can directly charge the insurance companies for "diaper disposal"). They see a lot of kids every day. I can see how quickly dirty diapers would get out of control. It doesn't bother me at all, but we use cloth diapers so I'd take them with me anyway.

Regarding the dirty diaper comment ... my take on it is that was one stinky stinky diaper and he was stating the obvious, but passive-aggressively indicating that someone needed to change the diaper.

The outlets - I've never noticed the outlets at our pediatrician's office. Given the emphasis that they put on child safety I'd be very surprised to find non-childproofed outlets and would ask about it.

But it does trouble me that he asked another patient's parent about whether or not they'd be regular patients in front of you. That's the most problematic thing about the whole encounter. That's not a waiting room conversation at all.

It's always good to provide feedback to care providers.

I think you've picked up on an odd vibe about the place that doesn't sit well with you. I agree with others that you should determine what your most important criteria are for a pediatrician or family doctor and go from there. Also, there are plenty of mainstream doctors who are fine with modified vaccination schedules - you don't have to limit yourself to doctors who advertise themselves as such.
posted by stowaway at 10:43 AM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wish I had checked back here sooner to clarify some things.

- I did not necessarily mind taking the diaper home. Good to know that it's not uncommon. It only seemed weird because of what happened during the second visit. I thought maybe it was related somehow? But now I don't think that.

-I did very much mind that the doctor made an obnoxious observation/comment about a child requiring a diaper change without offering a changing area.

- I was unhappy to witness what I feel should have been a private conversation appropriate for an exam room or receptionists desk area taking place directly in front of me.

- I'm not upset about the child who was crying in the back. I did wonder why the doctor chose that precise moment to come to the waiting room to talk to the other mother seated next to us. My first thought was, "That child doesn't belong to this mom, does he? What is the doctor doing out here right now??"

As I write this out, the doctor comes off as a bit disorganized and put out, if nothing else.

I'm going to read all of the answers now. Thank so much everyone who wrote about this and their own experiences. As a first-time parent, it's difficult to evaluate what's going on when you have no prior experience to weigh things against, so thanks again.

I noticed someone commented about the outlets possibly being fancy "safety outlets."

Nope. Regular old dangerous-type outlets, I'm afraid. Some of the outlets had safety covers, but not all, especially this one particular outlet in a common area frequented by toddlers.
posted by jbenben at 11:03 AM on February 20, 2013


I'm not upset about the child who was crying in the back. I did wonder why the doctor chose that precise moment to come to the waiting room to talk to the other mother seated next to us. My first thought was, "That child doesn't belong to this mom, does he? What is the doctor doing out here right now??"

It is not the doctor's job to comfort a crying child, it is the parent's job.
posted by amro at 11:06 AM on February 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you don't feel good about your doctor, switch. But as long as you're polling, I would not blink an eye.

- Taking diapers home -- not standard everywhere, but fairly common.

- Regarding offering a changing room -- maybe he didn't want to imply that the diaper change had to happen right now. Different parents have standards about that.

- Private conversation -- No health data was discussed, so I wouldn't even notice it. Was he standing next to her? He may not have expected you to eavesdrop, but either way, I wouldn't consider it a big deal.

- Crying in the back -- why wouldn't he leave? Every time my kid gets a shot, she cries. What she wants is for Mommy to comfort her. The mean doctor who just made her hurt isn't going to help.

- Safety outlets -- I personally don't use them in my house, but I understand why you'd want them. I imagine the standard covers are going to get a ton of attrition based on the toddlers I know, and it definitely means someone isn't on top of things if some are missing. I'd mention that for sure. I wouldn't leave a practice for it, though.
posted by snickerdoodle at 11:14 AM on February 20, 2013


My kid used to cry from the moment we walked in the back of the doctors office until we walked out, even for well visits with no shots. I'm not sure what you think the doctor should be doing in that case.
posted by chiababe at 11:16 AM on February 20, 2013


I'm only halfway through, but let me make this clear:

I personally don't want to provide feedback. I'm unhappy enough not to want to go back to this doctor again. Friends I have related this story to felt (one pretty strongly) that I should provide feedback to the doctor.

It's a single practice, not a group practice. My biggest complaint was rudeness, and like I said, the doctor seems pretty tone-deaf.

The situation isn't worthy of feedback, which was what I was here to determine. Whew!
posted by jbenben at 11:16 AM on February 20, 2013


I'm confused myself. Why is the doctor asking if a family will be continuing as patients with the office a private question that shouldn't be asked in the waiting room? It is not personal health information. It seems like an innocent question that he probably needed the answer to for administrative reasons. If it turned out he was asking because they were unhappy with the care they were receiving then yes, that would be weird to discuss in front of other patients... But we do not know why he was asking.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:19 AM on February 20, 2013


I don't understand why it's some huge faux pas that the doctor didn't offer a place to change the baby. Presumably parents will know where the bathroom is or can ask if they don't.
posted by chiababe at 11:20 AM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I did very much mind that the doctor made an obnoxious observation/comment about a child requiring a diaper change without offering a changing area.

This seems silly to me. The doctor isn't going to inspect your child while they have a poopy butt.

As far as the changing table, to very much mind that the doctor didn't point out where it was after noting that you need to change your toddler seems really silly. He lacks tact. Meh. If that's one of your primary cares when choosing a doctor for your son go ahead and look for a new one. But really, how hard is it to ask where the changing table is? Why is it so upsetting that you were forced to ask?

In fact I probably wouldn't have asked and would have just thrown down the baby changing mat that I always carry in the diaper bag and done it right there. Faster, no searching around, doctor doesn't have time to leave the room to attend to other patients.
posted by Quack at 11:43 AM on February 20, 2013


Sorry, there's nothing about this doctor that's tone deaf, from the evidence you have written here.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:52 AM on February 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


The request for you to carry the dirty diaper with you is pretty standard for pediatricians, at least in my area of the country. It surprised me the first time I heard about it, but most pediatricians offices I've been into in the last few years have had signs posted to that effect.
posted by BrianJ at 12:41 PM on February 20, 2013


Yeah, nothing in that story would even raise an eyebrow for me.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:45 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am also someone who wouldn't have found any of the things you mentioned particularly eyebrow-raising, except for the privacy thing. But I've also seen full medical information interviews taking place in public areas, so I'm becoming less surprised about that type of thing all the time.

Having said that, I took my daughter for a check-up with a new doctor when she was a (very well-mannered, mellow, not particularly adventurous, my hand to god) toddler and while the doctor and I were talking, she stood next to me and ran her hands along the wall. The doctor kind of freaked that my daughter was going to wreck the paint (with her tiny baby hands!) and, as a result, we never went back there again. There are lots of doctors, no need to stay with one you don't like. (And actually, in our case, there was a total doctor shortage and we were without a family physician for years, but I still never went back to the mean doctor lady who was afraid of baby hand prints on her walls.)
posted by looli at 1:05 PM on February 20, 2013


Yeah, I dumped my daughter's first pediatrician because she gave my 9-month-old daughter a lollipop without even asking me first. But no covers on the outlets wouldn't bother me at all - I'd be there with the kid every moment of the visit so I'm not sure how they'd constitute a safety issue.
posted by dawkins_7 at 1:34 PM on February 20, 2013


My experiences with doctors were all very... clinical, so none of this raises an eyebrow for me. But to a large degree, the days of the nurturing home-like pediatrician's office are over. Doctors in private practice are looking to maximize patient throughput and minimize overhead.

Look into a concierge medicine pediatric practice which will be better able to offer the kind of boutique service you're looking for.
posted by deanc at 2:13 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


A pediatrician without proper safety in the office is setting a terrible example. Any health care provider having a confidential discussion in an open, populated area is not okay. You're a new parent; you're emotional. The weirdness around diapers, like taking a diaper home, is weird, but it's the other stuff that would send me to another office.
posted by theora55 at 2:26 PM on February 20, 2013


One more vote for there being nothing remotely weird about the diaper situation, and there being nothing dangerous about the outlets. Every child in a waiting room should have an adult directly looking after them, it's not like some sort of semi-unsupervised school or daycare situation.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 2:42 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're usually so.... unruffled here on Ask Metafilter. Something about your question makes me think that you're uncomfortable with the doctor for some reason, and have zeroed in on these situations to justify your feelings. Maybe it's healthcare in general? Maybe you felt the doctor was being racist but didn't say so? Maybe you felt he had terrible bedside manner and that's a deal-killer for you? Maybe you feel out of control with regards to your daughter and her health -- being a mama can do that -- and are placing your anxieties unfairly on this doctor? Or who knows, maybe your sixth sense is picking up on some kind of bad vibes but it doesn't seem rational, so you're looking for egregious errors in order to give voice to your fears?

If you don't want to raise these issues with the doctor, so what if a friend told you to? Just move on. This is not the hill you want to die on.
posted by barnone at 4:23 PM on February 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


All of the situations you describe sound pretty off-putting, TBH. The outlet thing is ridiculous; how hard is it to buy enough outlet covers and put them on? (and if the answer is "we can't afford it / we're too busy / don't have enough staff, then these are all valid reasons to leave that practice and discourage others from trying them out). If they are struggling with that basic, visible safety detail it makes you wonder where else they are cutting corners.

And I hear you on the bringing the diaper home thing, maybe I am wrong but I work in an adult care facility and we do not consider used briefs biohazardous waste... And the doctor commenting on "someone needing a diaper change?" and not offering a changing area? wtf? And speaking to another patient about their care in front of you? wtf? I feel like I'm reading a different question than everyone else, but I think you are totally justified in leaving a negative review on Yelp; I also think you should let the practice know why you are leaving.
posted by pintapicasso at 4:31 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


According to the CDC WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, in 2010 there was one child age 0–4 who died of "Exposure to unspecified electric current."

Just one child in a whole year.

In the last year, 18 people DIED of pertussis, and at least half of them were infants younger than 3 months.

There has been a big increase in epidemics of almost-eradicated diseases such as measles and whooping cough. Much of this is due to parents who avoid or delay vaccination of their children.

OP, your pediatrician doesn't seem very conscientious. The outlet issue is one thing, but the fact that he lets unvaccinated toddlers share a waiting room with vulnerable babies is MUCH WORSE. Now that your kid is vaccinated you should take him to a doctor who cares more about your kid's safety.


Find a new doctor. Now.
posted by grouse at 4:52 PM on February 20, 2013 [8 favorites]


Our son had not been vaccinated, and we wanted to start his vaccine schedule. This doctor came recommended specifically for this issue, and that's why we made our initial appointment.

One of the things I get from your question is that you're confused about how all of this could happen, when you were expecting a different experience. Remember what I said about how so many doctors are all about "maximize patient throughput/minimize overhead"? The sort of mainstream doctor who is going to accept unvaccinated children without a fuss is the sort of doctor who will take anyone off the street into his practice to have more warm bodies running through the system. That explains a lot about the lack of "small touches" that make parents more comfortable (no childproofing of the outlets, no big, welcoming sign by the waiting room directing parents to the changing area, screaming children within earshot, disorganized administrative staff, etc.).

Many pediatricians really don't like dealing with parents who won't vaccinate or ask for alternate vaccine schedules and will tell the parents to find another doctor, because they don't want to participate in what they believe is irresponsible medicine. Then there are certain doctors who accept parents who have concerns about vaccines because that's their "hook" as a doctor-- he's the one who's going to guide parents through the vaccination process to allay their concerns, and he's the doctor who's known for that, and word-of-mouth will lead parents to him as the "nurturing doctor who works with parents who have vaccine concerns." Finally, there are other doctors who simply want as many patients as possible, and if someone has issues with vaccines, they'll take them as patients because, ultimately, they're never going to turn away a paying customer who needs medical services and aren't going to get all sentimental about the issue. I think you ended up with the last type, when you were looking for the second type.
posted by deanc at 5:14 PM on February 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


our pediatrician's office also makes us take soiled diapers and dispose of them, outside the office, doesn't bother me.
posted by amitai at 1:27 PM on February 23, 2013


I don't know where you are, but in Seattle it's the law that you have to bring your dirty diapers home.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:04 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


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