Monday, January 14, 2008

Choosing a Pediatrician

Choosing a pediatrician is one of the hardest things I have done. I admit I have been through 5 pediatricians with my four-year-old! That's partly because we moved to a new city. But still, my husband thinks I am picky. I do think this it' partly my problem. I ask a lot of questions. A big part of pediatrics has to do with opinions. So, I always want to know a doctors opinion on different topics. Most of the docs rush me along and get annoyed. Then, I get aggravated and switch pediatricians. It's our ritual. However, I have been happy with our latest kid doctor!

This question was posed to me by a reader: (I can totally relate!)

Hi there-I am a mom of 3 year old twins (boy & girl) and I recently moved to a new city (Louisville, KY). I spent the last 10 years living near Washington DC. I had a well established network of friends, doctors, business contacts, etc, but now I feel like I am starting from scratch. I have a topic for your site -- how do moms find all the necessary providers for their kids when they move to a new town where they don't know a soul? I need a pediatrician, pediatric dentist, preschool, you name it! I am trying to meet people through various moms groups, etc, but that is a challenge too. Maybe you could start a blog for how to find the best doctors for your kids when starting from scratch? I want to find a good one from a referral, but how do I know the new people I meet are reputable and their referrals are reputable? It is so hard! Just thought that might be an interesting topic...Thanks
Jennifer LathropTeam Manager, Tastefully Simple

Call the local pediatric hospital. The nurses deal with the pediatricians and they know which ones are good. Just tell them you know they're not supposed to show preferential treatment, but you are new in town and just want information. 21st Century Parenting suggests scheduling an interview with the pediatrician before you make a decision. Find out where he/she stands on issues such as breastfeeding, vaccinations, and discipline.


Try calling local churches who don't offer preschools. They have nothing to lose and they usually know what's out there. That's how I found a good preschool in my town.


This is a tough one if you don't have a pediatrician yet. I would ask my pediatrician who they recommend.

I only found one pediatric dentist where I live and she is great! In your case, I would start with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.1-800 supposedly can find you a local dentist that specializes in treating kids. However, nothing came up when I typed in my area brought up two pediatric dentists in my area. I would bet there aren't that many to choose from. I would call the offices and ask the receptionist how long they've been there and what they think of the dentist. If they don't like the dentist, it will be easy to tell.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


Gary said...

Don't laugh but ask your previous pediatrician, dentist, etc. They may have a contact in the area, or with somebody in th wider area. Who you already deal with knows your quirks and may be able to match you up. It's how I found a vet and a family doctor.
That's the other route. Ask your own doctor? [I know it's likely you will need a pediatrician before you need a doctor yourself.]
Why have separate doctors? If you can trust them with you, trust them with your child. Advantages to a family doctor are numerous - #1 being she/he will know what's going on in your family.

Maria said...

When I moved back to Tulsa, I asked a nurse-friend, but I also asked my boss. He has two grown children, and his wife is a nurse practicioner in a pediatric practice!

Anonymous said...

That is a great point! So often we are at the mercy of our PPO and we have to just guess and then we end up going through the nightmare of selecing a doctor by the internet!

Ahmie said...

Especially when it's a breastfeeding family, try a LLL meeting. I found my fabulous family doctor through a local attachment parenting group. I second seeing a family practice doctor - ours sees not just myself, my husband, and our two small children but also my in-laws and my mother is planning to become one of her patients when her new health insurance kicks in. Another advantage if you're not done having kids, some family practice docs also do maternity care - I homebirthed my second (with a midwife who is also an RN but not a CNM) but got prenatal care with my family doctor and she did the newborn exam on the baby when he was 8 hours old (yes, I was up to leaving the house already that soon afterwards!) Not all family doctors are comfortable with homebirths (mine is rather extraordinary in many ways, I really do like her as a person as well as a doctor), and not all of them are also babycatchers, but I really like that mine is.

It helps to have a really clear idea of what you're looking for in a doctor before asking for references - for instance if you really value not being left waiting for the doctor over the relationship you have with the doctor, you would HATE my doctor because she is NOT a clock watcher, takes as long with a patient as she feels she needs to, and this generally means that if you're not her first patient of the day or first after lunch, you're going to be waiting in the waiting or exam room for a good 20-30 minutes. Another variable to take into mind is how you feel about being offered a prescription for ailments - our family generally prefers to wait to take medication until it's clearly needed instead of reaching for the tylenol at the first hint of a fevor, my 3.5yr old has never been on antibiotics, etc. And we delay/selective vaccinate. Our doctor doesn't specifically *share* our views/preferences but she *respects* them because she knows they are based upon my carefully researching and constantly reviewing health decisions based upon the latest information at my disposal. Some doctors can be very authoritative (bordering on or crossing the line into arrogance) and I do not deal with that well, whereas sometimes I think our doctor comes across to my in-laws as a bit wishy-washy (she's been my and my husband's doctor for 3.5 years but only has been seeing my in-laws for a bit over a year, so I think she's treating them based upon what she knows of my strong personality instead of their more "just tell me what you think I should do" personalities). What makes someone a great doctor varies way too much individual-to-individual to take blanket recommendations from *anyone*

Another source is - it's a free online resource by moms, for moms (sorry dads, not my decision!) and they have a searchable list of all kinds of service providers including doctors and dentists (and carpetners, floor layers, photographers...) with reviews by people from the participating online community. I'd personally trust a face-to-face recommendation from someone I've had at least a few minutes of conversation with first to determine how close we are in medical attitudes, but if you don't have that option this is a place to check out.

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