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February 18, 2003

Other

Question from Kentucky, USA:

At the time of diagnosis of diabetes, about two months ago, my son was flown to a University hospital where the care was good, but now we are having trouble with his doctor. My son had a seizure about a week ago and stayed spent overnight in the local hospital. I called his doctor's office and left a message on the voice mail for three days, but got no response. So, I called the emergency pager number and, boy, did he yell at me for doing this, even after I told him I called his office and left three messages. Is this normal? It makes me feel that he doesn't have time to be my son's doctor. I decreased my son's insulin dose by 10 units,and I as the simple question I wanted to ask his doctor was whether or not I did the right thing. I'm really new at this, and I really don't want to do anything that would put him in any harm. Since I changed his dose, he hasn't had another seizure.

Answer:

Well, “yelling” is not “normal.” Maybe I am splitting hairs, but perhaps your doctor was (in fact) “scolding” you some. I was not clear if the doctor who was curt was your general pediatrician or family practice doctor, or in fact a pediatric diabetes specialist. At the risk of sounding like I am defending this doctor (and I am not), people are people and perhaps your doctor was having a particularly stressful day and you received some of the general fall out.

I would suggest that now that there is no acute issue at hand, call your doctor and ask to have a conversation (by phone should be reasonable but if you prefer, a face-to-face) and explain your frustration about that night and that you felt he was upset. Everyone has your child’s best interest at heart. Maybe your doctor thought that he had already explained well what he expected of you — but in fact did not. Maybe you would benefit from some additional diabetes education classes, and your doctor can arrange for them. Maybe your doctor is insensitive, and you need another doctor. But have a dialogue first.

DS