About a month ago, we got a letter in the mail from our wonderful endocrinologist letting us know that she had decided to retire so that she could stay home with her children. While I admire her so much for her decision, we are also really sad to lose her as a doctor!
So, we’re now faced with the dilemma of finding a new doctor. Should we stay at the same facility with a different doctor or try to find somewhere else that doesn’t take over an hour drive to get to?
When Kaitlyn was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, finding the “right” doctor was the last thing on my mind. We were so overwhelmed trying to deal with the shock of diagnosis that I really didn’t stress about making a good choice for a doctor. We were so lucky to have my sis-in-law, Jen! She knew exactly what to do and who to call; and she already had a great endocrinologist picked out for her son, James. I didn’t even hesitate to go with the doctor they had already been seeing.
The first thing I did when I found out about our doctor retiring was to call Jen — I knew that she would have some good advice about finding a good doctor, and I was right! She gave me a lot of good advice and helped me think through what is important when looking for a doctor. I also asked our local type 1 diabetes social media group to get some good ideas about which doctors people prefer and why.
Although I haven’t made a definite decision, I’ve begun to understand what I’m looking for in a doctor as well as a facility and staff. Here is my list of things I think are important:
1. Smarts. For lack of a better term, I want Kaitlyn’s doctor to be “smart” and have good intuition. He or she should really know their stuff inside and out and have the experience to understand what really works for kids with type 1.
2. Bedside Manner. This one goes without saying. We want a doctor who will be happy to see Kaitlyn when she comes in, is kind and caring, and will take time to answer our questions and understand what will be best for her. There are few things worse than doctors who act as if they are too busy for you.
3. Modern Approaches. Some doctors are hesitant to use the most up-to-date technologies and treatment methods. It may not be for everyone, but personally, I want a doctor who will support and encourage us to use all the newest stuff. If a great new device or treatment were on the market, I would hope that Kaitlyn’s doctor would be the first to look into it and weigh in on its merits.
4. Top-Notch Facility. It’s got to be a good hospital or office with the latest technology. At the hospital where we currently go, Kaitlyn gets her A1c tested with a blood drop, and all of her pump information is downloaded and analyzed while we wait.
5. Access to Nurses, Educators, and Emergency Hotlines. At our current hospital, we have access to all the help we could ever need. I have really enjoyed being able to call our healthcare provider whenever we need a routine dosage adjustment. I also really love that we can call the hotline anytime, night or day, if we have an emergency situation.
6. Convenient Location. Yes, this is a big factor too. Currently, we drive over an hour to get to Kaitlyn’s quarterly endocrinologist appointments. It ends up being an all-day trip, and she misses a full day of school. It sure would be nice to have the best of the best right in our neighborhood.
We will miss Kaitlyn’s doctor dearly, but I’m looking forward to finding another great doctor with whom we can begin building a relationship. I haven’t found him or her yet, but at least I know what I’m looking for!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.