by Barry and Richard
More than likely, you should have already picked a pediatrician before your baby was born. A pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in caring for children from birth to age 18. We’re going to assume you’re reading this book well ahead of actually becoming a dad so you have plenty of time to pick out a pediatrician.
As you might have guessed, we’ve got some suggestions.
First, you need to ask around of people who already have babies to see whom they would recommend. Find friends or neighbors who have already had children, and ask who they take their kids to see.
Try to find a doctor who is actually nearby. It’s not the only thing to consider, but driving for an hour or two just to get to the doctor can become a pain in the neck.
Once you’ve narrowed your list to a few good doctors, call them up and arrange to have an appointment with them. You and your partner should go in and meet the doctor, make sure you are compatible with her before deciding.
When you’re in each doctor’s office, take a little time to look around. Do you like what you see? Is the office décor modern or run-down? Is the office clean or dirty? Make sure the office just looks well run and organized. For instance, one hallmark of a well-run pediatrician’s office is that it will have one room for sick kids and one room for well kids. That way, the well kids don’t become the sick kids.
Also, most doctors are part of group practices. Sometimes, especially in emergency situations, you won’t be dealing with your doctor, but, rather, her partner. So you need to make sure the partners are also people you want treating your child.
You’re going to be spending a lot of time with the office staff, so you need to make sure there’s no one there who really rubs you the wrong way. Because, if there is, of course that’s the person with whom you ‘re going to be dealing with the most.
Here’s a list of 10 questions you need to get answered before choosing a doctor. This list is not comprehensive and you should feel free to add any of your own.
- Do you accept our insurance?
- What days do you work and is your office open on weekends?
- What are your hours?
- Can we meet your partners?
- If we call with an emergency, who will we talk to, a doctor or a nurse?
- To what hospitals do you admit patients?
- If we have to take our baby to the emergency room, will we see you or another doctor?
- How long have your been in practice?
- Are you board certified? (If they are, they have passed an exam from the American Academy of Pediatricians and they should be well-versed in the latest treatments)
- What is your appointment policy? Can we just walk in if our child is sick?
As we said, you shouldn’t go by just these questions. Again, ask your friends and neighbors what they were concerned about when they chose a pediatrician.
It’s always best to start searching for a pediatrician early on in the second trimester. That way you have plenty of time to look around and you might need plenty of time. After all, you’re looking for a doctor what will take care of your child for the next eighteen years, so you’ve got every right to be picky.
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