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Young mother in tears as GP ‘tells her not to have more children’

(37 Posts)
terilou87 Sun 19-May-13 20:12:05
PostBellumBugsy Mon 20-May-13 17:08:42

but where do you draw the line between judgemental and advice?

For instance, teenager goes in and says they are depressed. Life feels hopeless and they don't know what to do. GP asks about life & it turns out teenager does nothing other than bunk off school wherever possible and stays at home to watch tv. GP thinks about referral to CAMHS, but realises that teen turns 18 in a few months & by the time CAMHS get around to seeing them, the teen will no longer be covered by them. GP is reluctant to start a 17 year old on ADs, so starts trying to suggest things to do. Is suggesting activities and a course of action for a teen judgemental (because you are making the middle class assumption that doing nothing is bad) or is it helpful? None of it is really medical.

5madthings Mon 20-May-13 17:01:56

Asking about contraception is fine, making judge mental comments on family size is not, there is a big difference between the two. Ditto personal questions to help establish what is going on and find out why someone is depressed is fine but making judge mental comments and assumptions is not.

PostBellumBugsy Mon 20-May-13 16:50:54

5madthings - firstly sorry to hear about your post natal psychosis.

On a more general note, when the GP is trying to find out about what is causing the depression or contributing to it, would it be ok for them to ask about family size?

GPs sometimes have to ask very personal questions to get to the bottom of problems.

If a parent is really struggling to look after their current children - is it ok for the GP to ask if they have thought about contraception, so they don't accidentally add to the burden they are struggling to cope with at that particular moment in time?

When a patient goes in and says they are depressed, but they don't know why, the GP has to try and find out if it may be hormonal, exhaustion, situational etc etc. They then have to make some kind of judgement as to whether ADs will help or CBT might be a useful solution. They also have to balance that ideal solution with the knowledge that the patient in question may not be able to access the CBT or counselling for 6 - 8 weeks and so on.

5madthings Mon 20-May-13 16:31:17

Of course depression whether caused by a hormonal imbalance or due to life circumstances is the job of a gp to deal with either with prescription medication if necessary or a referral to a councellor or CBT, whatever I deemed appropriate and then part of the gps job is to minister their patient and see that they are OK and if there is a need for further treatmemr/referral.

Gps that say its not their job are probably like the one I saw after ds4 when i had post natal psychosis, I knew I wasn't well and went back to the gp numerous times who told me I was a my of four and knew what I was doing! Helpful not, had I got early treatment I may well have not needed the inpatient treatment in a psych unit, but a go with the attitude that I should pull myself together and a HV who was useless meant I didn't get the treatment until I needed hospitalisation.

Futterby Mon 20-May-13 16:17:00

I can understand how she feels. I'm 18 and three months pregnant. I was taking the pill and we were using condoms but I still got pregnant; just one of those things. But I have had some rude comments from GP's and midwifes due to my age, like "and do you know who the father is?" Which I found shocking - I've been with my partner since I was fourteen years old and we have a rock solid relationship. I would complain if I was her.

LittleMissMedium Mon 20-May-13 15:36:10

I just really struggle with articles like this, because they are so inflammatory. This was on the Daily Fail the other day and it's just pure "let's all get outraged and angry" journalism. Yes, it's bad. Yes, that Doctor's probably a bit of a twunt. But people generally can be arseholes, and this has been investigated by the surgery, so who actually cares?

PostBellumBugsy Mon 20-May-13 15:31:15

There are things a GP should check at appointments. They should check if a woman of child bearing age is happy with her contraception and / or if it needs a review. If a woman is about to take antibiotics, then they are supposed to warn a woman on the pill that the effectiveness of the pill may be compromised and they should use alternatives. They will even have the audacity to suggest what those alternatives might be.

Sometimes GPs try to crack a joke or be light hearted. Sometimes they are abrupt and humourless. Clearly, they shouldn't be rude, go off on one or be unprofessional, but the most important thing is that they get their medical advice correct.

I'm not a GP, but I have family members and friends who are & on the whole they bust a gut for their patients. Most of them are forced to see patients in 5 minute slots with emergencies shoehorned in wherever possible. They don't just deal with medical matters but a whole host of social problems that people have no one else to go to with. Quite a few of them heartily wish they'd never become GPs, particularly now patients are trying to sue them!

LadyMedea - Feeling depressed when someone can't cope with the demands of their young children, husband and job isn't strictly speaking a medical matter either - but somehow it is the GP who ends up trying to help find the solution.

LadyMedea Mon 20-May-13 15:03:05

So many of the comments reported from GPs are totally out of line. The only question should ever be 'are you ok for contraception? Would you like to talk about it?' That seems something fine to ask when someone has a young baby as obviously the haven't needed any for nine months. Any comments on family size or 'appropriateness' of pregnancy is not a medical matter.

Time to use the classic line... 'Would you be able to put that commemt in writing for me...?'

cazboldy Mon 20-May-13 11:17:24

well my doctor is the opposite...... I was talking to her about my pcos (which had disappeared and I had a baby, then had reappeared) and she joked and said, well you could always see if you could have another baby!

5madthings Mon 20-May-13 11:12:39

I have had crappy comments esp when I had ds1 and ds2. And surprised health care professionals saying 'how well we were coping given how young we were' or did I know about college courses so I could still get qualifications despite being a young mum...I had just graduated from university with a 2:1.

Have also has 'do they all have the same dad' amd when in had to take dd (no 5) for a check up the go said 'you do know you can use contraception and not have so many children'... He wanted to know why we had a fifth, I said 'well we had one more space in the car and figured we may as well use it up' he looked at me like shock and clearly didn't get the sarcasm...

DoYouWannaDance Mon 20-May-13 11:10:29

That's nothing, when I was a teenager I had an abortion and at a check up my (female) gp asked me if I'd thought about sterilization! I was 18.

Breezy1985 Mon 20-May-13 11:10:12

I had my 2nd at 20, at his 6 week check my gp said to me, shall we sort some contraception out, another baby now would be a disaster! shock I'd had the implant in the day before but no it wouldn't have been a disaster. I'm not planning a dc3 but that's up to us to decide!

MamaMary Mon 20-May-13 11:01:58

The GP was way out of order and I can understand why the woman was upset. Why it's national news, I'm not so sure.

The mother is a travel agent on maternity leave (her baby is 7 months) and her partner is a courier. One comment in the DT said 'tell her to stop having kids so she can go back to work and her partner can have a rest'. Oh, okay, so who'll look after the kids and how will they afford wrap-around childcare?? The ignorance of some people to the realities of life astounds me.

Lydia161290 Mon 20-May-13 10:48:22

I would have told him to stfu and stormed out. Cheeky sod.

MoominsYonisAreScary Mon 20-May-13 10:24:52

"mop up the mess people make of their lives" if you don't want to help people don't become a gp!

MoominsYonisAreScary Mon 20-May-13 10:13:39

When pregnant with ds4 the registrar informed me that I could be steralised during my elcs, I was 33 so not young. I've had lots of contraception advice from the gp over the last 2 years. (3 pg in 2 years) including "you will be ok using nothing for a few weeks as your breast feeding" I won't be listening to that advice!

PostBellumBugsy Mon 20-May-13 10:10:24

Sounds like the GP was having a shit day. Yes, inappropriate comments but they seem more of a general rant than a personal attack on the patient.
Maybe if GPs didn't have to mop up the mess that people make of their lives day in and day out and had more than 5 minutes per patient, they would be all sunshine and smiles and full of positive comments for everyone!

i had two children at 21, 4 years later ive just had my third, im treated so differently now, until i mention ds and dd1.

oh and shock horror they all have the same dad and we have a rock solid relationship. Hate this kind of crappy judgements.

bamboostalks Mon 20-May-13 10:03:20

He should have been talking to her about her BMI. That's what my GP normally yaps onto me about.

curiousgeorgie Mon 20-May-13 09:57:41

The GP was unbelievably rude but tbf she is quite young to have two children blush

Perhaps it was a contraception talk gone wrong.

ChunkyPickle Mon 20-May-13 09:51:03

Five years old but news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7071611.stm says that the average family only has 1.8 children.

We're stopping at 2 because I can't imagine coping with more (despite both DP and I being from large families)

If the average family only has 1.8, there's plenty of room for families with 3 (or more) kids before we even bring the average up to maintain our population - and that'll need to be the younger mothers because if most people are starting late they'll just not have time to fit more than one or two in.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 20-May-13 09:46:09

I can believe it.

When I was 22, unmarried and pregnant my GP gave me a lecture on how I should get married to DP as it would increase the chances of us staying together.

One memorable line was "you'll get lots of presents like a dinenr set and someone may even buy you a washing machine" shock

Both myself and dp had good jobs, owned our home and I had a perfectly fine washing machine as well as a Denby dinner set. I complained about that old witch.

Cookethenook Mon 20-May-13 09:41:43

I personally think that people should be more responsible about the number of children they have. We're certainly stopping at two.
However, i would never ever dictate my views to anyone else- it's a personal choice that we've made. And saying we should adopt China's one child policy is just flipping nuts.
This GP had no right to spout his personal views to this woman, and i do agree he wouldn't have said it if she was slightly older (i had my first in my teens, so i know how people think it's ok to talk down to you and tell you how you should be parenting). I'm glad she's kicking up a stink and i hope the GP is reprimanded for his actions.

JogOnKitty Mon 20-May-13 06:34:46

This sounds like something my previous gp would have said. At dc3 6week check, he asked me if all my children had the same father? hmm When I told him yes, he said he was surprised. shock

Branleuse Mon 20-May-13 06:07:05

I dont get why this is news

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