Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Doctor frustration

Have any of you encountered doctors that leave you feeling worse when you leave than when you came in?

Here in Orangeville, there is a serious doctor shortage. When we moved here, we submitted our names to a waiting list - and were told it might be two years before we hear anything. There is only one "walk-in" clinic in the whole town. It operates only from 5pm-8pm, Monday to Friday, and serves all of us here with no doctor. James went once and sat there for the full three hours before being seen. People start lining up at 3pm. Clearly this is not an option for little ones.

Luckily, because Caleb was born just after we moved here, my OB got him into a local doctor. It's a husband and wife team, but they said they could only take Caleb to begin with, and would see later on if they could take the rest of us. We found out last month that we could all sign up with them.

Sadly, I have been very disheartened with them. I'm not sure if there has been an outside pressure as of late, but they seem to be very concerned about the "paperwork" aspect of it all. We had to sign a form saying we would not see any other doctor. Apparently, family doctors are now charged every time one of their patients goes to a walk-in clinic or sees a doctor other than their own. Should we try to see someone else, our family doctor has the right to terminate the relationship.

Talk about pressure! But I don't think I could see someone else if I tried - I called around the other to find a doctor who would see Caleb for a "second opinion" - apparently most doctors won't do that anymore. Instead of an information-sharing community, it seems as though it's a "doctor-eat-doctor" world out there! Our instinct is that Caleb's incessant crying and projectile vomiting isn't "normal", but there doesn't seem to be anyone we can go to for help. I'm currently trying to explore some other avenues, but I feel as though I'm stumbling around in the dark, hands outstretched, praying I don't crash into anything serious.

We are also somewhat apprehensive about vaccinations and immunizations. Colin had trouble with his vaccines, and so we wanted to take things slower with Caleb, be more informed about what they are giving him, and decide for each vaccine whether or not we wanted him to get it. When we tried to discuss the matter with our doctor, out came the threats again. If we choose not to immunize completely by the age of three, she will "terminate the relationship".

Threatened, confused, worried, bullied...these are some of the adjectives which describe my feelings right now. Clearly having any doctor is better than none, because there will be ear infections, the flu, fevers and more with my kids over the years, and I'll need to be able to see someone. But I'm certainly becoming less and less impressed with the modern practice of medicine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


What a totally frustrating experience! Keep "sticking to your guns" though. If you should choose to vaccinate later than usual, you have every right to make that choice. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop the doctor from making you feel like a complete failure as a parent.

Many times I have phoned Ben in tears after a frustrating visit to the doctor with one of the kids.

The system, and unfortunately, many doctors, are far from ideal.