In this journey with my son Austin, we have worked with many doctors, therapists and other medical professionals. Most of the professionals we have come across have been outstanding. We have had and continue to have many wonderful medical professionals on my son’s team. They have helped and guided us along the way. Most are caring individuals who really took the Hippocratic Oath with sincerity and the desire to help others.
In the midst of all our fabulous medical professionals, we have had a few, so to speak, “bad apples.” I have since learned that you can always get a second opinion and if a doctor is not willing to learn about my child and see him as an individual, I can search and find one that does. I guess I always knew this but putting it into practice can be another matter. Columbia, MO is well known for it’s high quality of local medical institutions but also boasts easy access, to two major US cities, requiring just a two hour drive, who also have great pools of medical professionals. Our central location gives our residents many choices for medical care.
We recently had an unexpected experience with a doctor. We have been spoiled by such outstanding doctors that it came as quite a shock to me. This doctor seemed to not listen about my son and I felt that he put my child into a category. I really felt unheard. I left his office feeling very upset. After some reassurance from some other important professionals in our lives, I have decided to seek another opinion and have an appointment to do so. This choice to obtain another consult gave me back some empowerment and the strength to know that I need to listen to my gut. This experience left me wanting to write a little letter to health professionals and the new ones coming into the field. We can all use reminders now and then.
Please see that my child is an individual. We came to see you in search of answers. Listen carefully to what we, the parents, have to say. In listening you may solve or discover the answer or problem. Please don’t assume anything, ask us. We do know him best. The listening can really save a lot of time and enable us to ensure the best possible care for my child. My child is a person who is important. Include my child in the conversation even if he can’t talk. Be willing to look at new alternatives and try to keep an open mind. Please don’t put my child into some category of individuals – he is unique and has his own abilities and disabilities. Please investigate and listen before making any assumptions. Communication is key. We have come to see you because we need your expertise but don’t talk down to us or act superior to us. We need to be a team that works together for the good of my child. Mutual respect and concern are at the very heart of a good doctor patient-parent relationship. Thank you Doctor for all that you do.
Sincerely – A parent who is a tireless advocate for her child.
And parents, TRUST your INSTINCTS. They are a powerful guide. If you have a bad feeling about something or just know something is wrong and the medical professionals are not listening don’t give up. Listen to your gut and keep going. Go to another doctor or the ER if needed. Find and search for what your child needs. You are their greatest advocate. You are their voice. Doctors are human and can make mistakes. There is nothing wrong with seeking a second opinion! Because ultimately it is up to us to protect our children. We are the ones in the trenches.