Deciding when to take a sick kid to the doctor is one of the biggest problems I have with parenting. I can never tell if the doctor thinks I’m a total hypochondriac or a miserable failure. I always thought this paranoia about judgy doctors was in my head – but thanks to this totally condescending post written by a pediatrician regarding dads – I realize my paranoia is justified.
The story is titled, Doctors to Dads: You’re Doing it Wrong. Great. I’m not a dad, but I’m totally doing it wrong, too:
As you can imagine, there is little that I find more professionally frustrating than when patients are brought to appointments by people who have no idea what’s going on with them. I’m sorry to say that by far the most consistent culprits are dads.
Whatever, guy. If I knew what was wrong with my kid, I’d probably be whipping up a home remedy to cure what ails him, as I hate taking him to the doctor. But I, unlike yourself, am not a pediatrician. This is where your knowledge comes in.
In addition to totally validating my idea that my kid’s pediatrician thinks I’m an idiot – this post is also pretty infuriating and condescending to fathers in general. He makes stereotypical claims of clueless fathers being “dragooned” into taking their children to the doctor by frantic, worried mothers. He implies that we all know that keeping up with the health of children is woman’s work – but makes sure to add that some moms are clueless, too:
“I’m not sure. My wife usually handles those details” is a response I get far more often than I should. To be fair, I’ve certainly encountered my fair share of mothers who have lost track of some aspect of their children’s healthcare or another, and it bears repeating that most dads are on top of things. But insofar as the task of shepherding the children through the medical system has been assumed by only one parent, the clear majority of the time it is the mother.
There’s nothing more stressful than dealing with a sick child. I can’t be bothered with worrying about whether my pediatrician thinks I’m competent. I really can’t. I also don’t think that perpetuating the myth that fathers don’t know what’s going on with the health of their kids is doing anyone any favors.
I’ll do my part and really try to explain as best I can what is going on with my kid. But as a doctor, you have to do your part and realize that your over a decade worth of schooling makes you a superior choice in diagnosing my child, right? Are there really parents who go to the pediatrician, dump their kids in their lap and say, I dunno or I have no answers? I find that hard to believe.