Mark says it's too harsh, I'm ready to stick a stamp on it. What do you all think?
Dear Dr. A,
I called your office today to speak to someone more knowledgeable than myself about the Hand Foot and Mouth virus, assuming they would calm my mother worry and tell me what the CDC, Dr. Sears website and many other sources did. Instead I was told by what I can only assume was a nurse (nobody has ever identified themselves by name or qualification any of the times I’ve called for advice) to take my child immediately to Children’s ER. For a common childhood illness described by the CDC as “usually not serious”? When I explained to her that Anya had been exposed to it through another child and that child’s pediatrician had simply told my friend to take her daughter home and apply common remedies (like comfort, nursing, fluids, etc) she responded as though that pediatrician had acted irresponsibly and encouraged me to at least take my child to Urgent Care.
I suppose she could have been confusing Hand Foot and Mouth with foot-and-mouth disease, but that would have further demonstrated her ignorance as you and I know that is a disease that only affects cattle, sheep, and swine.
I guess the reason that I am so incensed by this exchange is because as a parent, I really don’t need one more fear regarding my children. I expect researched and competent information when I call, not the accusation that if I don’t frivolously waste county resources and precious ER space over a common childhood illness I am being an irresponsible mother. Granted, it’s never a bad idea to confirm an illness, but when we’re talking about a runny nose and tiny blisters, the ER just doesn’t make sense.
I’m an intelligent and fierce mother; I protect my children at all costs. But what the woman on the phone did to me today was irresponsible, ignorant and alarmist. I chose you as my family doctor because you don’t appear to be any of those things. I chose you because you have always approached my questions and concerns with respect and thoughtfulness. I expect the same from your staff.
Thank you for taking the time to hear my concerns. It means a lot to me that responsible doctors are available to me and my family. I would hate for another, less informed mother to be driven to unnecessary action or fear because someone didn’t do their homework. I don’t expect a reply, your time is valuable and you don’t need to spend it pacifying me. I do hope that if I call for advice in the future I am greeted on the phone by someone with a name and accurate information.