Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How to Choose a Pediatrician


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Before Isla June was born, I freaked out about the idea of picking out a doctor for her.  I knew I was going to have to find someone who could handle my controlling and research obsessed nature and respect the fact that I was a well informed parent while offering beneficial medicaladvice as a balance.  I was looking for an east meets west kind of person and I didn't think I would find it.
But, after one mommy recommendation (yes, just one), the perfect Ped entered our life with halos around her head. And I just thought it was that easy.

And then we moved. And then it wasn't.
We've been to great Peditrician's and we've been to a terrible (for us) one.
Here's what I've learned.

  1. Get recommendations from friends/mommy's you trust.   That's how I found our first (wonderful) pediatrician, so I figured it would be the best way to find our new one.  Normally, this is a great resource, but it isn't always fool proof.  The Pediatrician Office so many of my mommy friends took their little ones too turned out to be a terrible fit for our family.  I kept asking other mommy's for their opinions, though.  My best bet was to find a mommy who had similar view points and find out her recommendations.  And then, ta da!  we found a new Doc.
  2. Call the Pediatrician's office and ask to interview the doctor. Our favorite first Pediatrician did this routinely and actually set aside time for the doctors to schedule interview appointments with new patients.  The first Peds office we visited when we moved (the one that went horribly array) told me that they wouldn't do this. Red flag #1.  Should have listened to my gut.  If the doctor doesn't want to give you his/her time to make sure that you will have a good relationship together, then s/he probably won't be very open to your mommy opinions.  And I, personally don't want a doctor who doesn't respect the fact that I know my child best (I mean, I do live with her).
  3. Spend a little bit of time talking to the nurses.  I never realized that this could really make or break a doctor's office until I was given the (extremely) cold shoulder by the nurses at the "bad experience" Ped's office.  For example, if you prefer to have your child's toe pricked  (instead of the finger) for blood samples, the nurses should comply.  What nurse would prefer a screaming toddler to a content one?  If you and the nurse disagree on an issue, she should not take that out on your child.  If the nurses seem to be without a heart, I would say find a new Ped.
  4. Go with your gut.  You know your child's temperament, medical history, likes/dislikes and overall level of contentment better than anyone else.  If the doctor's or nurses are refusing to listen to you and your concerns, it's time to find a new Ped.  If you don't feel comfortable with a procedure, stop it.  You have the right.
  5. Don't be afraid to leave. ever.  If the nurse refuses to listen to your concerns, leave.  If the doctor tries to convince you that your child has a life threatening disease whilst your toddler is running circles around the room, leave.  If the doctor says things like, "I always give antibiotics for all ear infections" or " All Vaccines are 100% safe" or "I think you're really overreacting" then by all means, leave.  It's your child and your choice. always.  You can and will find a doctor who cares and supports you.  No need to be intimidated by one who doesn't.  Find a doctor who is honest and well informed (because none of those statements are true).
  6. Do your own research.  If I had known the symptoms of Meningitis ahead of time, then I would have realized that the doctor was lying to me and attempting to intimidate me with the possible (mis)diagnosis of my child.  Not cool, doc.  Now I know.  

So, do you love your Peditrician? 
We have a great one that I am so happy with (and the nurses agree to the toe prick, too!) 
Did you ever have a bad experience with a doctor?  Or is it just me....
 
*Disclaimer- This is purely my opinion and very much meant to be helpful.  Everything I've said above has actually happened to us.  You live and you learn.

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