Tuesday, May 1, 2007

On bad bedside manner

Manther had her two year check-up yesterday and I had a special problem I wanted to point out to the doctor. Manther has an intermittent lazy eye that she inherited from my husband's side of the family. I first noticed it a few months ago and immediately went to the internet because I wanted to confirm that some latent virus had not gone beserk and attacked her neurological system. I did research and more or less excluded this possibility and also found intermittent lazy eyes do not usually affect sight, especially at 2 years old. Based on this, I decided to wait until her two year check up to point it out to the doctor and proceed with treatment.
During the appointment yesterday, the doctor asked if I noticed anything unusual and I mentioned the eye.

Her reply, "I'm SO glad you brought that up. That's SO important." I started to reply and was cut off.

"That HAS to be looked at. If this is not treated while she if young, the brain could shut down in that area. Do you know what that means?" I start to reply and I am cut off.

"She could go BLIND in that eye. If the brain shuts down in that area, she'll be BLIND in one eye. Now, I know you can live with one eye, but do you want that for her?" I stop trying to reply and start suppressing a smirk. The doctor sees that I am trying not to laugh at her because I am thinking of 'A Christmas Story' and 'you'll poke your eye out' and she takes it down a notch.

"I know losing sight at this age is not likely, but if this goes untreated that could happen."

Can someone tell me at what point in time during this appointment I denied that my child had a medical condition or refused treatment? Here's a word of advice to the pediatricians out there: it's a bit upsetting for parents to be told their children are going blind, so maybe that shouldn't be EM-PHA-SIZED unless necessary. If you enjoy watching a mother weeping and clutching her chest in the examination room while begging for immediate surgery to save her poor baby's eye, then this is definitely the approach you want to take. However, if you would like everyone to remain sane during the appointment, how about responding with, "I'm glad you brought that up. I'm going to give you a referral to ophthalmology and they can tell you how to proceed." Jeesh!


Toni said...

OMG! If my son dr acted like that I would have to slap him. For real.

Thanks for visiting me! :)

girl said...

I 2nd that. I tell ya, gah!

lifeinsuburbia said...

Man! I would be so pissed!

Roz said...

Oh boy, sounds like an over eager possibly new to 'practising' doctor!

Firstly, I had a lazy eye when younger and I certainly ain't blind in that eye. It still is lazy but you only notice that when I'm tired.

Secondly, hubby is a Paediatrician and he isn't like that with patients - maybe it's just the way that particular doctor is. Hopefully when loads of people insist on NOT seeing the doctor, the message will eventually get through that her doctor-patient communication skills need some serious work!