Monday, December 18, 2006

Trust Your Instincts When It Comes to Your Kids’ Medical Care

One year, I decided to take my two oldest sons to a new dentist. We had moved some distance away from their pediatric dentist, so I wanted to try someone closer to our new home. This new dentist was even recommended by our orthodontist’s receptionist. When the dentist finished examining my boys, he told me that they had two cavities each and, therefore, would need a total of four fillings. Immediately, red flags started to go up in my mind. One of my sons had had a small cavity several years before, but other than that, they had great dental health and hadn’t changed their brushing habits. Why would they suddenly have so many cavities? I decided to seek a second opinion with their former dentist. It was definitely worth the drive! The boys had NO cavities! There was no sign of decay. Obviously, the new dentist had seen an opportunity to make some extra income! (I also became suspicious when the receptionist refused to provide a discount for two children.)

Another time, I took one of my sons to a specialist because he’d had a history of sinus infections and snoring. When we got to the office, the room was just packed with people. It was a zoo, with children crawling all over the place. We had to wait an hour-and-a-half to get in, and the staff was incredibly rude. When the doctor finally showed up, he never even touched my son. He shined a light in his throat for two seconds and announced, “Yup, let’s schedule him for surgery.” When I tried to ask him questions, he treated me like I was stupid, and he answered very condescendingly. I also noticed that there were an awful lot of people being scheduled for surgery. This guy had an assembly line going on! Needless to say, I knew this was NOT the guy I wanted to perform an operation on my young son.

I tell these stories not to criticize the medical profession, but rather just to urge you to use caution when you take your children to the dentist or doctor. There are many, many wonderful professionals who will take good care of your family. But, just as in any profession, there are a few rotten eggs. If, at any time, a red flag goes up for you when you’re visiting a particular doctor, heed the voice within. Get a second opinion. Don’t be afraid to trust your judgment. It could make a major difference not only in your finances, but, most importantly, in the quality of your children’s health.

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