Help with questions to ask potential new family Dr - Appointment today, please help!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 07-03-2012, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,  I'm hoping for some advice on questions to ask a potential new family Dr.  Our current family physician is not AP friendly, is full on hostile towards a collaborative approach to health care (ie: naturopaths, chiro, accupuncture), is not very open minded about a natural family living, and a few other things have arisen that have me looking for a new family doctor.  I don't want to be in this position again, and rather than being the interviewee this time (as I was with our current family doctor as I was desperate to find one who would take us on with a two day old (it is really hard to find a Dr. here) I want to be the interviewer.  So far I have only really thought of things that have arisen due to issues with the current doctor, but want to be more fulsome in my questions.


- Ask about thoughts on a collaborative approach to health care

- Ask about breastfeeding

- Ask about AP in general


Advice is GREATLY appreciated!!



N, wife to my goofball K partners.gif and mamma to my EC grad D (July 2010) and my new little love S (May 2013).  Exploring the uncharted territory of tandem nursing with my two boys.

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#2 of 3 Old 07-03-2012, 10:30 AM
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I would look at what they do, not what they say. They may say they support extended BFing and then send you to the hospital nursery to find an LC. I'd also look at general things like years of experience and target population. I prefer doctors who treat a wide range of patients in terms of age, income, etc. because they seem to have more exposure to different ideas, cultural approaches to health and healing, and a greater variety of weird issues (because my kids and I always seem to be the oddballs who don't fit in the typical box, and trying to put us in the box has had negative health consequences).

Here are some other things I look out for:
  • Impressions of natural/herbal/Eastern techniques, acupuncture, etc. Do they have connections in the health community, like a referral list or golf dates with a naturopath as sorta "proof" that they don't just tolerate your dabbling with someone else.
  • Do they have an LC on staff or a good one they recommend?
  • What about the role of nutrition, supplements, etc? Do they have a dietician on staff/that they recommend?
  • General approach to treating sickness: "wait and see" or more proactive? How about health tests, evaluations, etc?
  • Treating the family: if your LO gets strep and then you get a wicked sore throat 3 days later, can they treat you without an office visit/copay?

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#3 of 3 Old 07-03-2012, 02:12 PM
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Quite honestly, I'd be upfront at the get-go about your feelings regarding their commentary on AP.  It really isn't any of their business how you parent.  They work for you to provide your family with health care.  That is it.  If you co-sleep, breastfeed until they are 5 or don't spank, it has nothing to do with health care.


Other than that, is the office overwhelmed with ads fro various pharma companies?  You know, a pharma's name on every chart, poster, pen and clip-board?  RED LIGHT, for me.  Our physician doesn't even allow pharma reps in his office. 


What type of magazines are in the waiting area?  That will tell you a lot about the office and their clients. 


As for an MD's approach to alternative medicine, why don't you go with a naturopath in the first place?  Saves you a lot of time.  Our doctor (MD) is in practice with his daughter (Naturopath), which is great for us.


Does it really matter if the doc is pro-breastfeeding or pro-extended breastfeeding?  You're the one nursing.  If my doctor had ever said it was time to stop or change our breastfeeding routine, I would have said thanks, and continued doing what was right for us.  Happily, he never said that and encouraged it for my breast health as much as for ds's health.  


I'd ask about their daily patient load and if they leave times available, each day, for emergency visits. 


What is their stance on vaccination (if this is a hot-topic for you)? 


If you call with a question, will the nurse be available right away (or, within a very reasonable amount of time)? 


Will the doctor return your phone calls? 


What hospital(s) are they affiliated with??


Do they have an in-office lab for routine tests?  How soon do they get test results back and how soon before they call you with those results?


And, lastly, ask them about getting copies of each visit's medical record within a couple of days of your visit.  You may have to pay for this (if you have a lot of visits!), but it is well worth it to start doing this from the very beginning!!

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