Real Life Strikes Again: How NOT To Brand Yourself

My oldest is a handful.

That’s being polite.

He’s struggled with ADHD and behavioral issues since he was small. Until last year, his issues were somewhat controlled with medication, although I never felt convinced that his Psych was really conerned about his well being, and more concerned with the drug mill he was pushing people through.

I think my suspicions were confirmed today.

I’ll skip the intervening time and many personal details, but since my Mother’s death in March, my son has not been the usual cantankerous kid we’ve grown to love. He’s been more voilent, reclusive, explosive and difficult to manage. Add to that a request to return to regular school (I homeschooled last year), and it’s been a combustible year, to say the least.

A school incident got us involved with our local Community Mental Health department in an effort to get him expedted service and treatment for what is looking more and mor like it might be high functional autism or a form of Asperger’s, due to some new symptoms now presenting. So an appointment was made for a “full psych eval” to be held today.

Here’s where I scratch my head in disbelief. the exact same psychiatrist that had been seeing him once a month for 3 years walked out, called him by the wrong name (again), and ushered us into an office.

Once in the office, my oldest said “Hey, I Know you!” and the Doctor put his oot in it royally.

“No, I don’t think we’ve ever met before.”

“Oh yes, you have!” I corrected him. “You were his psych for 3 years at a different facility!”

“Oh. Well, what brings you in today?”

Other than that inane question, he listened to my tale of increasing violence and disturbing symptoms, copied down a few notes, then asked me the following EVEN MORE STUPID question

“If we could give a magic pill, what would you want it to do?”

Are you kidding me? You saw this kid for 3 years and have no recollection of him, and you want me to diagnose him?

I said, “frankly, I see medication as a last resort, and would like to find out what the underlying issues are before we stuff drugs down his throat. I mean, if he needs drugs, fine, but if the drugs end up masking what the real issue is, then that’s not fine.”

He asked my son 4 questions, handed me 2 scrips and recommended I schedule an appointment with the child psychiatrist at his next available opening.
“He has more symptoms than I feel comfortable with. I’m calling in the specialist.”

My question is, why wasn’t I seeing the child psych in the first place?

At that moment, his NP came around the corner, and my son said “Hey! I know you too!”

The NP said “No, I don’t think you do.”
“UGH! Yes you do! You work with that Doctor and he was my kid’s doc for 3 frickin’ years!”

Can you tell I wasn’t too happy?

Let us break this down so that you NEVER EVER have this happen in your business.

1. Know your client’s name. Maybe he read it wrong, but once I corrected him, the doctor STILL called my child by his last name, instead of his first name. Come on! This is common courtesy, folks.
2. Make eye contact. This sounds like a no brainer, but for the entire time we were in the office, I counted a whopping 1:22 of total eye contact, give ot take a few seconds. If he had an intensive questionnaire or computer form he needed to complete, I would have been a touch more understanding. I’ve had more compassionate, friendly service at WalMart’s self-service lane!
3. Spend time understanding your customer. You don’t diagnose in 15 minutes, when one of the 4 questions you ask is botu a magic pill! That shows you’re not trying to understand anything – you want them to do the work for you. In business, you need to make connections with your customers. In this country, medicine is very obviously a business. this guy didn’t even try to make a connection with either of us.
4. Solve the client’s problem – or get out of the way so someone else can. He knew immediately that my son didn’t belong under his care – yet instead of taking charge to ge me set up right away with the proper doctor, he pushed us out the door to seek help from the receptionist – who was conveniently not at her desk for 10 minutes. I stood in the hallway waiting patiently and silently for someone to return until that NP rounded the corner. Even HE didn’t get me any help.

Perhaps I’m just a grumbling bumbling mom. But I was sore when I realized the very doctor I took issue with for 3 years was back as co-pilot of my child’s psychiatric care.

You can bet my son’s case manager will be hearing from me.

The real life marketing lesson? Take the time to care. Even within that small 15 minute window, there were plenty of opportunitied for that Doctor – or anyone in that office – to turn that situation around. And yet, NO ONE took the time to care. Don’t let that be you. One good thing could have made this a POSTIVITE memorable experience.

Instead of a horrifyingly negative one.