When a woman is expecting her first baby, there may not be anyone more important then her doctor. If you choose to go with an OB to help and assist you throughout your pregnancy and childbirth, they will probably become like a very close friend to you. It is crucial to find a doctor that you feel is educated, reliable and one that you trust.
Sometimes, we place doctors (and all medical staff) on a pedestal and assume that they all must be great, because they have the Dr. in front of their names. This is not always true. There are bad apples in every bunch. Teachers, Social workers and doctors can all be less than ideal. It may be a bit more serious when we are talking about doctors, as they have our lives and the lives of our unborn children in their hands.
Is it possible to detect a doctor that may not have the best intentions? Yes, it may not be easy but it is definitely possible. There are certain signs to look out for that will help you make an informed choice for your family. A lot of women are often embarrassed when speaking up about something not feeling right. They ignore gut feelings, because it is a doctor and they must know what they are talking about. They also assume that a doctor only wants what is best for them.
We would like all of this to be true, and don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of wonderful and amazing doctors out there. There are also bad doctors, doctors who are just in it for the money, or just don’t care about their job anymore. We’re here to help, so here are 15 signs the doctor has anything BUT the best of intentions.
15 Go With Your Gut!
There is no better advice anyone can give you than to follow your gut instincts. Listen to it, what is it telling you? If it is telling you not to trust your doctor, chances are it is right. There is no logic behind this, as it may not seem rational at the time. Gut feelings seldom do, but we are always told to trust it! This is the one warning sign that a lot of women shrug off, as they can’t verbally express one thing they do not like about the doctor.
Even the police department will tell women to trust their gut in situations that may be potentially dangerous. It is the same here. There are many doctor’s out there, so if your gut is telling you no, then it is best to walk away and find another doctor.
14 Attitude Problem!
We tend to think only kids and teenagers can have a bad attitude, the truth is everyone can have a bad attitude; even doctors. A doctor should be warm, interested and engaged in what you are talking about. They should show genuine concern and be giving you all of your attention. If they come off as cold, rude or that they don’t really care about your concerns it may be time to find a new doctor.
This can be a tricky one, I know my OB was very busy and overworked. He had a lot of patients to see and did not spend a lot of time in the room with me. It could be quite frustrating to wait so long for a 5 minute appointment. However, when I did have a concern he was genuinely interested. This can also be a situation where you have to trust your gut.
13 It’s Just A Mistake
The truth is, everyone makes mistakes, it is normal and it is OK. Even doctor’s make mistakes, and that is OK too. There is a line where a normal mistake turns into too many. We have to remember that doctor’s have our health in their hands, so their mistakes can be a little more dangerous than yours and mine. What you want to look for is a pattern of mistakes. Is their work sloppy? Does their office seem to have communication problems?
These are the type of mistakes that you want to watch out for. Small errors, like not updating records on times or not returning calls, that don’t happen often may just be shrugged off. We figure that they are busy and they will catch up with us when they get a chance. When this becomes routine is when you want to worry, and may want to consider a new doctor before his mistakes become fatal.
12 More Tests Than High School!
Medical tests are not fun for anyone, but they are really important to the health of mom and baby. No one likes the invasive ultrasounds, the gestational diabetes testing or any other pregnancy-related screening, but we do them because we need too. It can be a bad sign if a doctor orders a lot of tests, or repeat tests that just do not seem needed.
This could mean many things. It could mean that the doctor is fearful of malpractice claims, and wants to have all his bases covered. He may be inexperienced and unsure of his own decisions. This should give anyone reason to be nervous, as we only want the best doctor’s to be caring for us during this time. Bonus: it is also a red flag when a doctor appears to be offended when you question these tests.
11 Know Your Knowledge!
We are not doctors, that is why we go to them, but it is important that we do our own research when it comes to the medical care that we need when pregnant. Now, do not go and get one of those Google diploma’s, because those will not do you any good. If you are going to use Google, make sure the research is from hospital or other government websites (you want to look for .org in the web page).
If a doctor is recommending treatments that are so outdated that they are practically dusty, this is a huge red flag. It is also equally concerning when a doctor is trying to push a treatment on you that has not been fully approved for safety yet. This is why it is important to try and learn as much as you can about the current treatment and procedures for pregnant women.
10 “All I’m Asking, Is For A Little …”
RESPECT. Such a simple word, but it means so much. We all want to feel respected, and even though we are not in the white coat or have a fancy degree, we still deserve to feel respected. Do you voice your concerns to the doctor, and he constantly try to dissuade you from them or steer you in another direction? This is a large sign of disrespect.
At the end of the day, the doctor can suggest all they want, unless your life is in immediate danger, the decision is still up to you. You get the final say in what treatments and procedures you have done. If the doctor tries to use scare tactics to get you to do the treatments they want you to do, I think you should get up and leave the office right away. Don’t even look back!
9 Shhh! It’s A Secret!
Whenever a doctor orders any form of treatment or tests being done, there should be a clear reason for it to be done. Any doctor that does not take the time to go over this with you, is not a good doctor and has very bad intentions. Maybe it is to get an extra cash grab from the tests, or maybe it’s just to put up a front that he is a good and attentive doctor.
Many people just blindly go along with what a doctor says, or with the tests he orders and doesn’t even think to question him. This is because we truly want to see the best in our doctors and we think that they want the best for us. You should always ask the reasoning behind any procedure being done. The doctor should also ALWAYS explain it to you in regular English, and avoid using complicated, medical words that we would never understand anyways.
8 Bad Office Staff
We have talked a lot about traits that the actual doctor has that you want to watch out for, but we haven’t mentioned his staff. The office staff’s attitude and behaviour can show some pretty bad intentions as well. This includes any nurses, receptionist and even maintenance staff. If you notice any issues with the office staff than it may be time to run.
The first person you see and interact with at any doctor’s office is more than likely going to be the receptionist. Are they listening to your needs, and relaying messages to the doctor? If so, it is a good sign! Do they seem warm and friendly when you come in? Another good sign. They are the first line of contact for patients, so it is important that they leave a great first impression.
7 Clean Office?
Since we are on the topic of office staff other than the doctor, how is the environment? As in all healthcare environments, it should be clean. Not just Mr.Clean clean, but sterilize clean. If the office looks like it hasn’t been dusted or swept in a while, this is not a good sign. A good office is cleaned a few times a week, with a light cleaning (dusting/sweeping) every day, or at least when needed. If there is a build-up of dust then it is not a good sign.
Also, the actual doctor’s room should be a sterilized environment. This is where treatment sometimes takes place, especially in an OB’s office where women are having their cervix checked and all that. If it does not look like the room is sterilized, it may be safe to assume that the medical equipment is not either.
6 Who You Gonna Call?
Any doctor should always be reachable in an emergency, or even if you have a quick question. We know doctor’s are busy, but they should be able to step away for a few minutes to take a phone call. Even if they can not help you with the problem, they can listen to the issue and then advice you to either go to the nearest hospital, or book an appointment where you can discuss this further.
This is even more important for an OB, with pregnancy-related concerns happening at any day and time, it is even more crucial for you to be able to reach your OB at any time. Even if it is on an ‘old-schooled’ device like a pager. If your doctor seems to be unreachable, it should make you a little nervous, and you should maybe look for another one.
5 Is Bedside Manner A Thing?
Yes, yes it is. A doctor needs to have a good bedside manner in order to be efficient and well-liked. We have all watched TV shows about doctor’s (think House) and have had a good laugh at the doctor’s awful, or lack there-of bedside manner. It is not so funny when it is happening in the real world, and to us. If your doctor seems to be rude, or condescending than it is time for a change.
They may be burnt-out, or they may just hate being a doctor, but that is no excuse. Go on a vacation or change careers. When women are pregnant, we have enough anxiety and stress without our doctor adding more to our plates. The biggest hint is if they leave the room while you are still talking, or make inappropriate jokes while doing a vaginal exam.
4 Referral, Referral, Referral
Doctor’s make referrals, it is only normal. It is actually a good sign if a doctor is doing referrals for more specific testing or treatment. There does reach a point where it is too much, and completely unnecessary. If you are going in with some pretty serious symptoms and concerns, especially regarding your pregnancy, it is a good thing for them to be referring you to a specialist or to a hospital for testing.
If you come in with the common cold, and they start writing up the paperwork, this is very, very bad. This could be a large red flag that the doctor has some pretty bad intentions, and it is all around making money. Doctor’s get paid when they make referrals, and we know that they need to make money. Some doctor’s are in it for the money, and that is the kind of doctor you do not need.
3 Hospital Rights
When a pregnant woman chooses her OB, there is one question she needs to ask but often forgets too. Does the doctor have rights at the hospital she wants to deliver at? If he doesn’t but still wants and insists on being your doctor, he is most definitely there for the paycheck and not for your interests. Most OB’s work out of an office but have rights at a set hospital, and will usually spend one day there a week as part of a rotating shift.
This does not mean it is a guarantee that your doctor will deliver your baby, but if you want to have any chance at all, you better make sure. When finding an OB, make sure that they have rights at your hospital. Your best bet is to call the maternity ward of your hospital and ask them for names of doctor’s that have rights there. This will make your search quicker.
Did you know that you can ask to see your doctor’s records and certifications? Yup, you definitely can. Any doctor should be happy to show you their paperwork stating where they are certified and what they are certified in and when. You may want to take a glance at the latest trainings they have had. If a doctor refuses to show you these, it may be a large red flag.
This is not to say they are not qualified, because of course they are or they wouldn’t even be in that white coat. What you want to pay close attention too are the dates. When were they certified? If it was a while ago, you want to make sure they have had some up to date training on the new medical world. The medical world is changing almost daily, and we need to make sure our doctors are on the same page as the rest of the world.
1 All About That Body
No, I don’t mean their physical body, I mean their body language. Pay attention to how they carry themselves when you are in their office. Look for an open, warm and welcome position. This may look like open arms, leaning forward and facial expression that reflect what you are talking about. If the doctor is sitting there with his arms crossed, leaning back and seems lost in space, chances are he is not listening to you. Or worse, that he doesn’t care.
We know doctor’s have a very demanding job, but if they look like they are about to fall asleep, run, don’t walk, out of the office. Your doctor should always be there to listen to you, and show a genuine interest in what you are saying. If you are not an expert in body language reading, don’t worry, just go back to trusting your gut.
Sources: forbes.com, self.com, angieslist.com, health.usnews.com, mdmag.com