24 Feb
Paging Dr. Doobie

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I’ve finally found a pediatrician my kids like. They like him because we became friends with the good doctor and his family, so my kids see beyond the white coat now. I, too, see beyond the white coat. His white coat is stuffed with joints. He’s a big pot smoker. I don’t know if he abstains on his on call nights, but I have a feeling he doesn’t given how often I see him stoned. It’s the only pediatric practice within our town, and I’m very close with his wife. It would be problematic to switch to a new MD within his practice and they’d require a reason since the other doctors are not accepting new patients (I did check once).

Would this trip you out?

Signed,

Our Doctor Has a Doobie (or ten)

__________________________________________________________________

Dear Doc Has a Doobie,

Wow, I’m totally tripping out right now because I don’t even know how to answer this. On one hand I want to be ethical and legal. But on the other hand I’m trying to overcome my uptight ninny reputation, so I feel pressured to act like pot is no big deal. (Aren’t all the cool parents doing it?)

Of all the illegal drugs out there, pot does seem to be the least harmless – as long as you don’t hold the life of a child in your hands! I’m sorry but it looks like uptight ninny is going to win out this time. Not that I really care if someone smokes pot during off hours. But a doctor getting stoned while on call will bring out the uptight ninny every time.

If he’s high as often as you suspect, he possibly has a problem. Now we enter into the sticky realm of whether you talk to your friend or not. And now I want to get stoned. GAH! Why can’t things be simple?!

I think you need to be very honest with yourself. How much does this bother you? If your child had an emergency during off hours and he was the doctor who came to treat him/her, would you trust him? If not, you need to find a way to move to a new doctor.

If I were you, I would switch pediatricians with the excuse of needing someone who could be more objective in the event of an emergency – a close, personal friend might not have the distance needed to stay levelheaded. It sounds flimsy, but it’s all I got. Then again, if you were I, you would swear off all MDs and go with witch doctors instead. We’ve never been healthier!

Signed,

Heather, TMH

27 Responses to “Paging Dr. Doobie”

02.24.11#1

Comment by amy.

Completely agree Heather. If there is another pedi doc out there accepting new patients I would feel them out and go there.

The pot thing would bug me (when I compare it to a drunk doc) and the fact that you are close friends with his wife, also too close to home. Just too much potential to blow up in your face and leave you high and dry when you find the need..

Finding a doc accepting new patients near impossible here but managed to do so by word of mouth. Get on the HORN is my suggestion!

02.24.11#2

Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

Oh my, this is really a problem!
I totally agree with Heather, though: I wouldn’t trust a stoned MD near my kids, no matter how much they like him.
If you are very close to his wife, couldn’t you find a tactful way of talking to her and telling her that his habit is quite disturbing to you? This way it will not come as a surprise when you change pediatrician, and it might even determine him to slacken his habit a bit.

Also, I’d be honest with the other doctors and tell them the real reason why you want to change your MD: it is your right, as well as your duty, even if it’s a hard one.

Good luck! 🙂

02.24.11#3

Comment by Plano Mom.

It is one thing to be a raving pothead when off duty. It is a completely different thing to be high at work when one has a job with the responsibility for another life. And when he’s on call, he’s at work.

As a daughter of a doctor, I remember very well the long weekends when my Dad was on call, because he could not drink. He whined and complained A LOT. However, he was very firm that it was his responsibility to be as prepared as he could be for any medical emergency. He said “I probably wouldn’t make a mistake, but if I did, it might be a deadly one.”

It’s only in hindsight, after the mistake is made and the child is harmed, that social awkwardness becomes a poor reason to take action. As much as you like him as a person, and regardless of yours or his personal opinion on pot smoking (and really, mine is pretty open – viva la potheads!), he is choosing to be irresponsible in his job. If he wants to be high at work, he needs to pick different work.

JubanMama Reply:

I fully agree. As the daughter of a hardcore pothead, what used to be just a family joke/nuisance has become an issue on which I firmly put my foot down now that I am a mom. My dad can smoke all he likes – when he’s not around my kid, and he is certainly not allowed to drive my son anywhere while under the influence.

You are your children’s first line of defense. It may be socially awkward for you since this man and his wife are your friends, but remember – he’s wrong, you’re right. If he gets defensive or his wife gives you the cold shoulder over this that only means they know they’re wrong and are acting out from guilt.

02.24.11#4

Comment by Wendi.

So in his case, HMO must mean Hash, Marijuana, Opium.

Tell him you’re switching doctors because you’re tired of him always scarfing down your kids’ snacks. Also, nobody likes the black light & Hendrix music in the exam room.

Plano Mom Reply:

that is pricelessly funny.

02.24.11#5

Comment by Erin@MommyontheSpot.

Yikes! I agree with the comments that you need to switch doctors and say something. And Heather’s reason sounds good. But I wonder if you should say something to the other doctors. Because it would be sad if he messed up while he was on call.

Good luck!

02.24.11#6

Comment by ziggyzabel.

Substitute alcohol for marijuana and you’ve got your answer. Ok to drink in your free time? whatever floats your boat. OK to practice medicine drunk? Absolutely not. New doctor, pronto.

And saying something to the other doctors in his practice is the right thing to do, his behavior could bring them all down.

And saying something to his wife is also the right thing to do, his behavior could ruin their family.

02.24.11#7

Comment by hokgardner.

I agree with all the answers, but I’d go a step further. I’d report him to the medical licensing board.

Moving your child out of his practice is fine, but what about the other kids he might harm if he’s stoned while on call and there’s an emergency.

02.24.11#8

Comment by Albug.

I agree with Heather. If he were my kid’s doctor I would wonder what else he might be using. Sure, Pot is similar to alcohol but he probably has access to other drugs that you don’t see him use. Get a new doctor, report him and move on.

02.24.11#9

Comment by MommyTime.

Although I completely agree with everyone else that a stoned doctor has no business being anywhere near kids, I’d like to point out that the letter writer is ASSUMING he smokes on his on call nights because he smokes a lot on his off nights. That is a pretty big assumption, and before I trotted off to medical licensing and reporting him to his colleagues and switching doctors, I’d start with a straight-forward conversation with the man himself.

Sometime when you are all together in a social setting, I would suggest taking him aside (NOT in front of his wife or anyone else) and asking him point blank. Tell him that since you are now friends, you realize that you are now privy to information you wouldn’t have if you were just patients. Tell him what he does on his own time is his business but given how much he seems to like the weed, you just want to clarify/reassure yourself that he’s not smoking when on call. If he gets overly-defensive, that would suggest he may be smoking when he shouldn’t; if he is rational and understands the question, that would suggest (at least to me) that he gets your concern — and that he’s behaving responsibly. I think that it’s only once you know with more certainty what he’s doing that you can take action. And if the answer seems to be that he’s toking up all the time, then your answer should be: find another doctor, and don’t be afraid to explain why.

JubanMama Reply:

But that’s assuming you can trust his answers. My father is a longtime pothead and will tell us all point-blank that he no longer smokes weed…and it turns out he’s still consuming pot brownies.

02.24.11#10

Comment by shells.

Oh my! Ok, so do you know he’s stoned when he is going to take care of patients? Do none of you people smoke pot? If he is high while taking care of patients that is ridiculous! I refuse to smoke pot when I’m working. I think its a problem if you can’t distinguish between leisure time and work time. However, the effects of pot don’t last long enough that I would worry about my doctor (or teacher for that matter) being unable to take care of my child if the doc smoked an hour ago. Doctors (and teachers) deal with children and nagging parents all day long, asking stupid question after question. Shouldn’t they be allowed to destress however they see fit? After all he’s a doctor, shouldnt he know the effects of marijuana? You’d think he would have looked into it at some point with some degree of intelligence. I personally prefer that mydoctor be a pot head over being a drinker.

Desperate Dietwives Reply:

…But his very being a doctor alone should counsel him against smoking pot!!! (And no, I never smoke pot in my whole life… 😉 )

Desperate Dietwives Reply:

…But his very being a doctor should prevent him from smoking pot, as he should know it impairs his judgment!
Ziggyzabel is right, substitute pot with alcohol and you have your answer…

02.24.11#11

Comment by anon for now.

My BIL is a VET – and he abstains from everything because basically he is always on call. I know it’s not the same as treating your kids, maybe it is for some, but, seeing how traveling to the ER on call under any influence is illegal, probably not a good idea. On the flip side, I assume he has a nice family and kids and it would be a shame for him to lose his license….esp of the weed is a more of a “problem” than he may let on.

02.24.11#12

Comment by Kimberly.

Where there is a pot smoking doctor with a prescription pad, there is a doctor who is writing himself pill scripts. And guess how he is getting that pot, it is unethical as hell.

vodka tonic Reply:

Are you kidding me? Docs can’t self-prescribe, especially controlled substances.

amy Reply:

No, but they have doctor friends that can. My ex’es dad lost his license for just that reason!

Kimberly Reply:

My doctor was sanctioned and went to jail for 2 years for writing scripts to people that were really for himself.

02.24.11#13

Comment by Momof4Luds.

I think MommyTime is exactly right. Try to get to the truth of what he is doing to determine the actual risk to your children (or anyone else’s.) Also, switching to another doctor IN HIS PRACTICE won’t protect you if he does mix business with pleasure – everyone in the practice probably takes turns being on call and you can’t plan in advance when your emergencies will happen!

02.24.11#14

Comment by Mimzy Wimzy.

Look at it from the outside, if you saw on the news that a child was treated by their Dr and what should have been a “simple emergency” (if there is one) turned into loss of life. The report goes on to say it was found that the Dr had been high at the time he was called in for the emergency. Now, his name comes out as the same Dr that treats your children and you knew about his drug use. Will you be able to go the rest of your life knowing you never said anything?
Now think, what if its your child?
Would you want your child getting in a car with their friends who have been smoking pot?? Why would you let their Dr make life or death decisions while potentially high? You may lose a friendship over this but, rather a friendship than a childs life.
Just my opinion.

02.24.11#15

Comment by skrink.

I don’t think it should be up to the mom to play investigator. How would she know if he’s telling the truth anyway? No one lies like a drug user. The alarm bells are ringing for a reason. If he’s smoking that much weed and has no problem being stoned in front of a patient’s mome (family friend or not) his judgement is highly questionable, to say the least. Why mess around with this? Too much is at stake.

skrink Reply:

Er, “patient’s mom”.

02.24.11#16

Comment by The Flying Chalupa.

This is a tricky wicket, if you will. Or a tricky blunt, either one. The uptight ninny is totally right. It’s obvious you’ll feel more comfortable switching and make the situation as light as possible (I mean, he’s high, so he shouldn’t take too much offense).

As for taking it a step further and reporting him, that’s some serious accusations and it would be better if you were 100% certain of the info.

My brain hurts from all this thinking. Come to me, Mary Jane.

02.25.11#17

Comment by Poker Chick.

I think the fact that it upsets you enough to write about it is a clear sign you know what you need to do.

05.16.12#18

Comment by Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom.

Is it at least medical marijuana? Just saying’…

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