Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I'm scared of our Pediatrician

Its true. Fortunately we haven't had to visit Dr D for anything other than Kabu's regular vaccinations in the past two years, so we didn't bother to switch to a different one. But I think it may be time to do so now.
Dr. D is quite a character. He's always dressed formally in neatly ironed slacks, shirt and a necktie and he takes his job very seriously. In fact a bit too seriously....often forgetting that there are real people that he is dealing with and not just subjects who provide him with data that he can plug into his laptop and create beautiful growth charts with. He likes things to be "in order", which typically means going down a list of questions/tests and having a check mark against each of them. There can be no room for a difference of opinion. If you present an alternative view, he would ignore it and tell you in no uncertain terms what he needs in order for things to be back in order. In his own words, he's obsessive compulsive. In my opinion, he's the equivalent of soup-nazi and an ideal character for a Seinfeld episode!
The irony is that I'm so scared of Dr. D and his strict regimen that I didn't want to take Anurag to see him until I was sure there was nothing Dr. D could find wrong with him. I was afraid that Dr. D would go ballistic just by hearing of Anurag's low birth weight and would send us off to a hospital pediatric ward until Anu's weight would finally be high enough to appear on his growth charts. So for the first three weeks I took Anu only to be seen by my midwife at Andaluz for newborn care. Finally when Anu had gained appreciable weight, I figured that the otherwise intimidating Dr. D would now be harmless and decided to pay him a visit.
Now, what kind of a pediatrician doesn't even say congratulations on seeing your newborn for the first time? Apparently doing so is not on Dr D's list of newborn to-dos! Here's how our meeting went when we took Anurag to him for the first time:
We're waiting in the examination room when Dr. D enters.
Dr D: So born at 36 weeks uh?
Me: Yes almost...35weeks and 4 days
Dr D: Birth weight of 4 lbs 13 oz?
Me: No.. 4 lbs 13 and HALF ounces
Dr D: VBAC huh? (mockingly)
Me: Yes
Dr D: And he's doing fine?
Me: I think so (I can feel my confidence waning)
Dr D: Well,we'll find out!
And then he went on for the next half hour going down his list of newborn tests and checks ....
"what, no Vit K shot yet?" (no, we declined it) "You must get it. I'll have one ordered from the pharmacy". (but...)
"No hearing test?" (no, not yet) "OK so thats an open item then"
"What about the PKU tests?" (we decided to get only one and are awaiting its results) He looks at us in disbelief but its too late to do anything about it now.
"I think his growth is sluggish. Make an appointment for next week. He needs to gain 7 ounces by then." (oh..ok)
And then what really got us into a disagreement was Dr. D's take on Anurag's bilirubin count. It must be noted that my midwife didn't need to perform any tests to tell that Anu only had mild jaundice which didn't need any treatment other than frequent nursing. Dr. D, on the other hand, first did a blood draw, freaked out when the bilirubin count was 15mg and insisted on monitoring Anu's jaundice by another blood draw. My belief is more along the lines of this article and I declined the blood draw but Dr D persisted. He sent orders to a lab for a blood draw anyway but I decided to not go to the lab. Thereafter I started getting calls from Dr D's office to ask about the blood draw and I had to stop answering the phone. Then today I got a voicemail to remind me that I have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow to check if Anu had gained 7 oz in the last week. I already didn't have the courage to face Dr D after our disagreement regarding the blood draw. I couldn't imagine what Dr. D would do to us if Anu didn't show the prescribed weight gain. So I took Anu to another place this afternoon to confirm if he had gained enough weight in order to be prepared to face Dr D. And yes, he in fact gained 8oz in the last 6 days (he's now 5 lbs 14 oz)! YAY!
Finally, to draw this long drawn tale to an end...I realize how silly all this is and how Dr D is of little use to us if I keep finding ways to avoid him or go to him only if we have no problems. So I think I'm finally going to find us a new pediatrician! But for now, my more immediate worry is to find a way to cancel tomorrow's appointment with Dr D without offending him. Else I'm afraid he'll scream like the soup-nazi "No more growth charts for you"!


Bellita said...


It is clear you need to change doctors. Not all doctors are like Dr. D and once you make the change you will tell yourself, "why didn't I do this earlier?" Listen to your gut!

Abha said... more Dr. D!

Priya said...

Funny article, even though the situation probably wasn't funny at all.