Lillian Saleh: Why do some doctors make parents feel like idiots

WHEN it comes to your children’s health, you take no chances, right?

So I’m not sure why some doctors feel the need to treat mums – and dads – like idiots when they present to their surgery with a child who is obviously ill.

I’m a bit more relaxed now when our son gets sick as I know to monitor his temperature, fluid intake and wet nappies.

My husband, on the other hand, is a big softie and I can tell it breaks his heart to see our son not feeling 100 per cent.

There’s the sad eyes, the loss of appetite, the grumpiness, the clinginess and the lack of energy. And that’s just dad. Jokes.

media_cameraThe doctor who gave Lillian Saleh her son’s 12mth immunisations barely said a word the entire appointment. Picture: Generic photo




Recently our little boy went from his happy, chatty self to being super clingy with a snotty nose and the start of a cough, in just a few hours.

He’d cry and grimace every time he coughed, and would refuse all offers of water or food – which really worried me.

So at 6pm on our wedding anniversary we set off to the doctors.

Our regular doctor – whom we had been seeing for years pre-baby and then regularly with bub for all his milestone check-ups and immunisation – has vanished.

We can’t get a straight answer from the surgery where she works, which I find really odd.

Anyway, I figure our medical records are there so we might as well find another doctor at the same practice.

First one we saw for our son’s 12mth immunisation barely said a word to us the entire consultation and jabbed our son twice while barely batting an eyelid or showing him any compassion.

Okay strike you off the list.

Next doctor was lovely and reassuring and talked to us like adults.

But with any walk-in medical centre it’s pretty much pot luck who you get to see unless – like we did with our vanishing doctor – you build up a comfortable rapport with one.

media_cameraSome doctors need to work on their communication skills. Picture: Generic photo

But admittedly when you turn up at 6pm without an appointment you chance your luck.

The one we saw most recently was more interested in lecturing me for trying to comfort my son as he tried to take his temperature.

“Let him cry, let him cry,” he kept saying while trying to jab his thermometer in my son’s ear.

“Babies cry that’s what they do

“Don’t be so soft mum. Let him cry. He’s obviously your first”.

If it weren’t for the fact I was worried about my son and we’d already been waiting an hour I would have gotten up and left.

Instead I sat there saying “yes Doctor” as he shoved a paddle pop stick down my son’s throat.

The diagnosis was “a virus” and we were prescribed water, panadol and rest.

“He will get over it,” the doctor said as we left.

If only he’d get over himself.

So if anyone knows of a doctor good with children, please let me know.

Originally published as Why do some doctors make parents feel like idiots

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