Pediatrician Switch?

Ped: "Jane should be getting several shots today...let's see..." [looking at computer screen chart]

Kate: "Here's the record I have of her shots." [hands the ped my little sheet of cardstock]

Ped: [Looks confused] "Oh." [Looks from the screen to the paper to the screen several times] "It looks like we don't have a record of some of these shots."

Kate: "Okay, so..."

Ped: "Let me check on something." [leaves the office, then comes back] "Yeah, it looks like Jane has already had the prevnar and the *something something something booster vaccines I forgot what they're called*. I'm glad you had that paper because we don't want to give her the wrong shots!"

She then starts doing Daniel's physical and then leaves quickly thereafter to do another patient's physical. I was there for both kids, and I think she was there in the room a total of 15 minutes. My mind was focused on the baby and keeping him from rolling off the exam table, while Jane and her friend played with the chairs (yes, I was also babysitting, and therefore had 3 under 2 with me at the pediatrician's, but it was actually not bad at all).

Much later, the nurse comes in to give baby Dan (the 4 month old) his shots. It went like this.

Kate: "So, what would have happened if I hadn't brought in my record of Jane's shots?"

Nurse: "Oh, well, we're switching from a paper system to an electronic system. It must have just not been input into the new system yet." (that didn't answer my question at all!)

Kate: [coldly] "Well, then it's a good thing I brought in my paperwork, otherwise you might have given her the wrong vaccines!"

Nurse: "I don't work here normally. I'm just here as extra help today."

Kate: [nicer] "I'm sure it's not YOUR fault. I'm just concerned that they lost the record."

-- End of discussion --

Since the main thing we use our pediatrician for is vaccines and immunizations and they made such a huge, avoidable mistake, I think we will find a new doctor. Do you think this is an overreaction? What would you do in a similar circumstance? Keep in mind that I have thought about switching ever since:

a. my friend had problems with the same pediatrician's office
b. this office filed my kids' charts/paperwork under D instead of C and took 15 minutes to find it, while I waited with cranky kids
c. the doctor herself is nice but clearly has no clue who I am or my kids are - she reads the stuff as if it's a script instead of even listening to my concerns. Dude, I know HOW to start a baby on solid foods. Hello, I have an 18 month old!? But what I want to know is WHY I should wait longer, how it will affect the younger one, and you just brush off those concerns and tell me to read the handout? Obnoxious! and finally,
d. It's so freaking expensive. Maybe somewhere else will be...not as. Yeah right.

For the record, I'm with Dr. Stabe at Texas Children's Pediatrics - Katy.

What would you do?


  1. Well, since I don't have kids you don't have to listen to me, but I would switch. Maybe do an interview with your chosen ped before actually choosing him/her. She didn't even know what a certain vaccine was called?? That can't be normal for someone who gives them on a daily basis.

  2. No no, it was ME who didn't remember what it was called. Thanks for your input though.

  3. Kate,
    We have had problems with peds since we moved here so I am feeling for ya! I switched last time do to a similar problem. I have had good ones in the past (not in Katy) so I know they exist!

  4. Switch. She sounds like an idiot. She and her staff need to learn that making those kinds of serious mistakes will lose her patients. Switching from paper to an electronic system is no excuse for losing an important record. I would also write an angry letter or file a complaint to let the management know what was going on. Maybe you could help prevent them from inoculating someone else's child twice.

  5. I would switch, and I would use a family doctor. I personally don't have any fondness for Pediatricians, especially since they don't address your health needs as a Mom, for instance I can take my baby in to my Doctor and at the same time ask about a breast infection or thrush and get that resolved.
    I'd also interview who ever you find and see if they have the same ideology about medicine that you have, it will save you a lot of grief in the future and it's a great way to check out the waiting room (where you spend the most time) and the wait time.

  6. Easy peasy. Switch! I went to a pediatrician for Wesley when we first got out to CT and a) didn't like talking to them on the phone to set up the appt in the first place, b) didn't like the feeling in the office (they had weird pushy signs up all over-- another story) c) didn't like the nurse d) didn't like the doc at ALL-- he didn't even interact with Wesley. Hello! You are a pediatrician!! He was terrible and freaked out my kid. Anyway, I'm all about if it's not a good fit there's no need to "tough it out."

    Let's bring some healthy capitalism to health care. If your doctor sucks, go to a different one. Competition drives the system, right? Not to get political-- I'm just sayin, don't ever hesitate to switch doctors if the feeling isn't right.

  7. While I'm inclined to be forgiving in general, the track record they have so far indicates that you are likely to be better served elsewhere. Having a doctor who invests personal attention to who you are is worth the time and effort it takes to find one.

    I'm inclined to say that your feelings about how this office is managed and your protectiveness of your children are big clues-- that doesn't mean you should explode, and I don't think you would-- but finding better service is probably in order.

    Also-- I think you do the office and those that continue to go there a disservice when you don't write a letter or contact the doctor-- granted, you have to decide for yourself whether you've got the time for something like that. (A letter seems best because it's least likely to start an argument, and I might write it up soon, then sit on it for a couple of months-- you'll have a bit more perspective on it then)

    Good luck, whatever you do. :)


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