Your Child Is Sick And You Are Not Happy With The Doctor
It used to be that parents only got a second opinion when their child had a very serious illness or was facing major surgery. Nowadays, most parents can get a lot of medical information on the internet and want to take a more active role in their child’s medical care. You are your child’s best advocate and it is important for you to be involved and closely monitor the quality of care it is receiving.
Often when your child has been given a diagnosis from your pediatrician that requires more care than he or she is qualified to give, he or she will refer you to a specialist to determine the next course of action for your child. This is called a second opinion. For example, if your child has been suffering from chronic ear infections, your pediatrician will recommend you see a doctor specializing in ear, nose and throat illnesses (an ENT). In this case the ENT will give the second opinion, which may be to have tubes put in the ears, a procedure your pediatrician cannot do himself.
There may come a time when you are not happy with your child’s pediatrician. Perhaps there is a trust issue because you don’t believe the doctor is taking your concerns seriously. You may disagree with the method of treatment the pediatrician has prescribed, or you may feel that he is not up to date on the latest medical advances relevant to your child’s illness. Sometimes you just may have a gut instinct that the care your child has been getting is just not right. If you have any doubts at all about your pediatrician, it is time to seek a second opinion. This is called a self-referral.
When getting a second opinion for your child’s illness, sometimes the diagnosis may be the same but the doctor favors another approach to treat. For example, in the case of the ear infections, one doctor may recommend treating them with a series of antibiotics, while another may want tubes inserted. In the end, you will have the final say as to which doctor you want your child to see and what recommended treatment will be done.
Beware of getting into the habit of relying too much on a second opinion diagnosis for all of your child’s ailments. If your child has a rash on his bottom, he probably doesn’t need to see a dermatologist. Sometimes a diaper rash is just a diaper rash.
Regardless of whether you like the doctor or not, you should not go behind his back for the second opinion. Be honest and up front about your concerns and let him know the outcome. And if you have concerns about the quality of care and you find that you are relying on the second opinions for your child’s care, then it may be time to find another pediatrician who has the same philosophies as you do about the quality of care for your child.