Tuesday, October 29

What to Look for in a Pediatrican

Your child's pediatrician: what to look for/expect.   This is a subject so close for me.  First of all, my sister is expecting her first baby this spring, so I've briefly mentioned the baby's doctor search.  Second, it's scary- you have to find someone to trust with your baby, during the normal and the sick times.  I work in medicine, so I often try to view my own patient care from the parent's perspective.  And I want to know that I'm treating patients as someone's baby, not just a patient.  Lastly, we've been all around with our little girl, and I, myself, am struggling to find the "right" pediatrician for her.

So a little background.  A little over a year ago, Molly got her first dose of an antibiotic called amoxicillin- a very commonplace choice, as it has great pediatric coverage, it's palatable and well tolerated, and it's cheap.  As a midlevel practitioner, I understand the consequences of even the most commonly used antibiotics, so I was hesitant to start one.  But just before her first birthday, she developed a fever and infection, and her pediatrician chose to start one.  Two days after she finished the antibiotic, she developed a rash on her left thigh.  Initially, I didn't think much of it, but as it continued to spread literally before my eyes, I started some benadryl and took her to the local pharmacy for suggestions.  The rash continued to spread within minutes-hours, and soon included localized swelling of her face, lips, ears, hands and feet.  We took her to the local emergency department, and after a long and confusing visit with conflicting diagnoses (which appeared to be more of "educated guesses" than definitive diagnoses, with no regard to our own history/information)  we requested a different pediatrician who transferred us directly to the nearest Children's Hospital for evaluation.  There we were comforted, evaluated and reassured.  She had a severe allergy to the antibiotic, which was misdiagnosed initially.  She was properly treated and improved slowly over the next few days-weeks.

It was a scary experience.  But the moral of the story:  I was not happy with our first pediatrician, but found the right care by the new pediatrician.  It's unfortunate our switch had to happen during a stressful time, but it was the right change for us.

And here's why, and some things to look for in a Pediatrician:

// Communication.  Your child's pediatrician needs to listen to you, and you need to be able to tell him all pertinent information.  Even at a routine visit, you need to feel comfortable talking, asking questions and with the responses given.  If you don't feel comfortable talking, even about diet, pottying, immunizations, medications, behavior- you're not in the right office.

//Trust.  You need to trust that even in the sickest or uncertain of times, your child's pediatrician is making the best decision for the health of your child.  And likewise, your child's pediatrician needs to portray trust in you, as a parent.

//Approachability.  You need to be able to discuss even intimate details, and you need to not feel a barrier to discuss them.  Likewise, the pediatrician needs to be able to approach you, the parent, with details/concerns that may be disappointing.   If they are tossing those difficult responsibilities onto other staff or hiding information, that's not right.

//Professionalism.  Obviously, the pediatrician is well trained and educated, but they should always show it in a professional manor.  If you ever get the vibe that the pediatrician is inappropriate-- wrong office.

//Respect.  Ultimately, you are the child's primary caregiver, the parent.  You know your child better than anyone.  What you say/concerns you have about your child need to be taken with respect.  Your pediatrician should respect you and your child, while providing the best care possible.

Honestly, I made this list for myself.  Our favorite pediatrician was recently relocated, and now we're in search of another.  And I hate to be picky, but I need to be comfortable with my daughter's doctor.  This list is not all-inclusive, it's just the main points my husband and I were discussing.  At the end of the day, it just needs to feel right- the doctor, the office, the location, the staff.  And don't be afraid to change, if you're just not comfortable.

And don't be afraid to ask questions.  I always tell parents, over and over, the same thing:  If you're not going to be an advocate for your child, who is?

This is your child.  You need to be comfortable and secure with the doctor providing his/her care.

I hope this information helped someone a little,
I know its been helpful to me in our own search.



1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing!! I need to start with the searching of a great pediatrician.