Following Up on Bad Doctor Visits

It has been some time since I wrote a letter giving negative feedback to somewhere before. I don’t like to do it, but I have just had it with these doctors who make moms feel bad for no reason. This is ridiculous – they do not have a right to put us down. Here is my follow up with last week’s frustrating visit.


Dear (Pediatrician):


I am writing in regards to my recent well-child visit on 5/24/17 for my two-year-old daughter, Surrey T. This was my first visit to your practice ever, and I think the visit went terribly. I will describe to you the three main things that caused me to feel so emotional and frustrated, and I do expect to have some sort of acknowledgement on these.


The beginning of the visit was fine, and the nurses who attended for vitals and performed the lead/iron blood check were very friendly and positive. However, for the weight, the nurse wrote the number down incorrectly and the honest mistake caused a huge misunderstanding later in the visit with Dr. Dudek.


When Dr. Dudek came in, she went over a review of our medical history, and went on to ask about Surrey’s eating and play habits. Surrey is very healthy and there are no issues, so I thought this was a little intrusive, not being “medical” advice. Dr. Dudek told me the reason she was asking was because “Surrey is huge.” She said that my daughter is abnormally large for her age. At first, I felt a little proud, but Dr. Dudek said I shouldn’t be. Maybe Surrey was “genetically pre-dispositioned to be a large girl,” but the fact was, she was “greater than the 99th percentile” on weight and BMI charts. It was literally off the charts on how huge my daughter was. Dr. Dudek lectured me about managing Surrey’s diet and portion control – for a two year old. When I explained that she eats only lean meats, veggies, and fruits—no sweets or processed foods—Dr. Dudek explained that while that was good, she was still abnormally large for her age. I don’t even think she believed me when I said my daughter only eats clean and whole foods.


Here’s the rub: The nurse who recorded the weight wrote down the wrong number and had my daughter weighing TEN pounds more, an enormous amount for a toddler. It’s almost as if Dr. Dudek has not seen very many two-year-old children because she couldn’t determine just by looking at Surrey that she was not, in fact, the largest two-year-old she had ever seen… that it was glaringly obvious that Surrey was not heavier than 99% of every other two-year-olds out there. How could Dr. Dudek not look at her and tell something was wrong with the paperwork? When I had the nurse correct the number, it scored Surrey in the 56th percentile. Right smack in the middle. Dr. Dudek ignored the very average PERSON in the room, and instead read the number on the paper, recited the information she had in her head, and moved along.


If I didn’t have them correct it, your doctor would have accused me of STARVING Surrey at our next visit.


The next thing she asked was about sleep. Why are doctors asking about sleep in perfectly healthy children? This is NOT a medical issue, and when I interviewed this office, I was assured that such questions wouldn’t even be brought up, because these are lifestyle choices. (Again, that was the phrase used by your doctors.) My daughter sleeps FINE and normal, but my more specific answer did not satisfy Dr. Dudek, who encouraged me to do something other than what we are, in addition to weaning my daughter overnight. This intrusive piece of information comes from inaccurate data on whether or not breast milk causes cavities.


I’m not going to argue this point with you, except to say that there is an abundance of research that points out breastmilk and night nursing does not cause cavities, and your office apparently doesn’t listen to your own IBCLC when advising about breastfeeding habits. The ADA advises against overnight feeding as a blanket statement because they do not make a distinction between babies who feed at the breast and the actual function of how a breast is different than a bottle. They are not experts on human lactation. And neither are pediatricians. But an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant actually is an expert on human lactation and the properties of breastmilk, and every single IBCLC I have spoken to about this issue has pointed out the extensive research on this very subject—that breastmilk does not cause cavities and actually helps prevent tooth decay. Bottles cause cavities and tooth decay. Milk from the breast does not leak and does not pool on the teeth like bottles do.


And this is a discussion we have had with the dentist, who agrees that what we are doing will not cause cavities. And it’s not for Dr. Dudek to advise us on this, particularly since I informed her that Surrey had a dentist appointment the following week. Furthermore, it’s terrible breastfeeding support; it goes against what the recommendations are for fostering healthy attachment relationships with children; and lastly – isn’t even a problem for us. Surrey has no cavities, no tooth decay, sees her dentist regularly, and that’s all you should be concerned about. But I know you are telling other mothers this outdated misinformation. I feel like your office needs to be educated more on the function of human lactation and the properties of breastmilk, at a minimum.


The last thing was how Dr. Dudek asked about Surrey’s social habits  and evaluating other motor skills. She then advised me to “make sure to start reading to her at least once a day to help her with her words and pronunciations.” I was floored. She did not ask me what we were already doing, but told me what we needed to begin doing. Dr. Dudek has never met Surrey before. She does not know who we are or what our habits are or the fact that we not only read to our daughter several times a day, but that she pretends to read back to us! She has more books than most adults we know, and in fact, when Dr. Dudek walked into the room, I was reading a book to Surrey. What did Dr. Dudek not know, and not ask? Surrey says well over 200 words and repeats almost everything she hears. She knows her entire alphabet – in and out of order, numbers 1-10, all her shapes and several colors. She carries on full conversations. She says bless-you, please, thank you, and you’re-welcome, in context, all the time. Once again, this doctor looked at something on her paper and recited data to me that had absolutely nothing to do with the PERSON sitting in front of her.


Dr. Dudek then recorded an “Abnormal” on the 24-month Ages and Stages questionnaire – even though when I checked on that after we got home by repeating the test (same test is available online to download in PDF)  and reviewing the scoring- Surrey did not score abnormally on ANY category. She is, in fact, a very average two year old.


We are insulted. I came to this practice because I was assured that I would have proper breastfeeding support, and would not be advised on things that were considered lifestyle choices, like sleep and discipline. That is not what I go to the doctor for. I am a college-educated woman, and will not stand to be condescended to by doctors who can’t even be bothered to question odd numbers on papers when healthy children are standing right in front of them. Needless to say, we won’t be returning to see Dr. Dudek.


This is absolutely crossing lines here, to make parents feel like they are making mistakes and lecturing them on fixing problems that do not exist.


I expect a call back from someone at this office to discuss a resolution on this matter. I also expect my daughter’s medical record to be CORRECTED to reflect that she is not, in fact, scoring abnormally on that Ages and Stages questionnaire. Given the fact that the doctor screwed up the weight so terribly, I’m positive she recorded the questionnaire incorrectly also. I can be reached in the mornings BEFORE noon and afternoons AFTER 3pm at ***-***-****.


Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.



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