Time For A New Pediatrician?
NEW YORK, Jan. 10, 2004
One of the best ways to ensure your child stays healthy is to have a good pediatrician.
The Saturday Early Show‘s Dr. Mallika Marshall provided some advice on finding the right doctor for your child and deciding when it may be time to choose a new one.
After parents, your child’s doctor is one of the most important people in his or her young life. A pediatrician is the guardian of your child’s health. Marshall says there are many chronic conditions that start in childhood and if you don’t have a good doctor, these illnesses may not get detected, which could spell long-term trouble for the child. Marshall says to switch if you are in any way unhappy with your pediatrician. And when initially looking for one, be very selective.
Marshall suggests you look for the following qualities when choosing a pediatrician:
Good Talker: Your pediatrician will probably be leaving you with instructions once the exam is over. Marshall says it’s very important that your doctor speak in a way that you can easily understand and that he or she uses terms that are recognizable. The doctor’s advice will be of no use if you can’t make out what was said.
Patient Disposition: In today’s world of managed care, doctors are busier than they have ever been. That said, Marshall says you want a pediatrician who will sit and listen to your concerns and not rush you out of the examining room. Marshall advises that you make a list of topics you would like the doctor to address. The list will make you better prepared to make good use of your time with the doctor.
Strong Support Staff: Doctors rarely work alone. They are often part of a larger practice, which includes nurses, practitioners and various other staff members. Marshall says often you will spend more time with the support staff than you will with the doctor. So make sure these people are competent and that you get along with them.
Easily Accessible: Children don’t just get sick Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. You need a doctor who can tend to your child when there is an emergency over a weekend or on a holiday. This doesn’t mean your doctor will be at your beck and call. But a good pediatrician will either help you directly or refer you to another competent medical professional during these off hours.
Qualified Partners: There will be times that your child may get sick while your regular doctor is away. You want to make sure that the other doctors in the practice are just as qualified and are also as easy to deal with on a personal level. There is nothing worse than being a parent of a sick child and having to deal with an unfamiliar doctor who is not considerate of your concerns.
Marshall says to switch pediatricians as soon as you no longer feel comfortable having your child under your current doctor’s care. While it may take a little time to find a new doctor, she says it will be well worth the effort.
And she says one of the best ways to find a good pediatrician is by asking friends who can give you a first-hand account of how the doctor works. Another good person to check with is your obstetrician. And you can always get a recommendation from your hospital. Before you begin going to the new doctor, Marshall recommends scheduling a short “meet and greet,” so that everyone is on the same page.
Time For A New Pediatrician?