Monday, June 4, 2012

Doctor, not God

I think that too often people forget that doctors are human too. People far too often take what their doctors say as Gospel and take for granted the fact that doctors are NOT perfect or all-knowing. I am not saying this to say that we don't need doctors or that doctors are all bad. No, but there are bad doctors out there. Just as you could call an electrician to work on your home, you trust them, they are an expert at what they do, right? However, have we not all heard some horror story about an electrician (or plumber, handyman, or some other "expert" in whatever field it may be) making horrible mistakes to some one's home? 

Yes, doctors go through A LOT of school, but an education alone does not make you a good doctor. We've all been to school and then moved on to careers and we know we don't retain every single thing we've learned. We also know that going through school cannot possibly teach us every single thing we may encounter in our real lives. My point here, doctors don't know everything.

I think it also very important to point out, not all doctors are created equal. Just like my example before about the electrician, some experts are better than others, some doctors are better than others.  Doctors come with different educational backgrounds, different levels of experience, and even have different philosophies about how to practice medicine.  Remember, doctors are people too, with different feelings and beliefs just like everyone else.  These beliefs factor heavily into how many choose to practice medicine, some take a very medical route while others take a very holistic approach. Which are you more comfortable with?

I am not writing this post to bash doctors, I am writing it in an attempt to humanize them.  I am also writing it in hopes that some of you will stop and take a second look at you doctors.  Are you happy with them? Do you trust them? 

The search for a doctor is especially important when you are expecting.  Your OB/GYN is not only taking care of you, but also your baby.  It is SO important to be sure that your doctor has your (and your baby's) best interests at heart at all times. 

Here are just a few things that you should really think about when choosing your doctor (OB/GYN, pediatrician, nurse, midwife, doula, etc.):

1. Are they willing to listen (and take seriously) your wishes for your pregnancy and birth?

2. Do they have beliefs about medicine that are similar to yours? Are they too quick to intervene? Or maybe they aren't quick enough to intervene when it becomes necessary?

3. Do they take time with you to really explain any questions you have?

4. Most importantly, do you trust them?

Always trust your instincts! If you aren't completely comfortable with your doctor, then it's time to find a new one.  It is OK to drop your doctor! If it doesn't feel right, then it isn't. 

Another thing to keep in mind, if your ever feel unsure about something you doctor tells you, get a second opinion. Like I said before, different doctors have different experiences, philosophies, etc, so another doctor may see something the first did not. 

One more thing I want to say, I wrote this post with my focus on doctors, but the truth is it applies to every medical professional you will ever hire. There are good and bad doctors, but there are also good and bad midwives, pediatricians, chiropractors, dentists, and so on and so on. These people are there to do one of the most important jobs there is, take care of you and your family's health and well-being.  So, always be sure that you have entrusted the right person with this responsibility.

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