Pediatrician Interview

I know I just posted something quite lengthy earlier this morning, but cleaning the house takes a LOT of energy, especially when your hands and fingers are super super sore (again, LOVING this new carpel tunnel thing…grrr). Plus, the rain is making me feel laaazzzyyy 🙂

One of my “to do” items for the day was to schedule an interview with our potential pediatrician. This is an important decision when one is working with a birth center, because many of the tests that the hospital usually takes care of have to be done the following day in a pediatrician’s office (brought in by the father, of course… I’m supposed to be on 3 days of strict bed rest afterwards). If the pediatrician doesn’t see midwifery/birth centers as a legitimate and safe way to deliver a baby…well, let’s just say I’ve heard stories of babies who have been hospitalized on principal, even if there’s nothing wrong, just because they were delivered by a midwife. That, my friends, is the type of hospital bill I would like to avoid. A pediatrician who values the work done by midwives, however, will only hospitalize the baby if something is wrong and they need medical intervention (usually irregular breathing, jaundice, etc.).

There is a small, select list of pediatricians that the birth center gave me, compiled by moms who have given birth at the center and wanted to recommend their pediatrician. Out of those 10-15 doctors, only 2-3 are covered by my Aetna health insurance through UD. Since we will most likely be adding Gregory onto my plan (just $700 for the year!), I decided to search through mine instead of Jesse’s. The list might be greater with his plan, but I might need treatment for myself as well, and it would be easier to kill two birds with one stone.

I wish there was a better analogy for that sort of thing. Killing birds, in the same paragraph as my baby and I. Hmmm….

Making the consultation appt. was super easy, and the receptionist was very kind. Check. Check.

But I still wanted to ask a general question to some of the moms out there. What kind of questions should I be prepared to ask at this appt.? The birth center and my birthing class gave some ideas, but I wanted to know what my friends think.

Some of the questions that have already made the list:

1. How do I go about making morning-of emergency illness appts.?

2. What constitutes an emergency appt.?

3. How many days/weeks will it be once I make an appt.?

4. What do you recommend for a vaccine schedule? Why? (This last one is LOADED with debate, I know).

Send me your input! What were important things you asked/wanted to ask?

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  • Becks

    Do you separate sick patient from well patients? How? (Our first pediatircian didn’t – when James was 5 days old we were stuck in the waiting room with about 30 sick kids for almost 45 minutes, and James came home with a cold. I WAS SO MAD. A sick newborn is just miserable. Our current pediatrician doesn’t over-schedule, and she puts sick patients in rooms immediately instead of making them wait in the waiting room).

    Are you willing work with me on a slower vaccine schedule? Do you vaccinate when babies are sick? (We are doing Dr. Sears vaccine schedule, only getting 4 at a time, and only when the baby is well. I love that my pediatrician is willing to work with me on this).

    Can I reach you after hours, or in an emergency? How? If not, who do I contact after hours or in an emergency?

    What is your position on breast-feeding vs. formula?

    The other thing (not really a question I guess) is to pay attention to how they treat their other patients, and how they treat YOU (the mom). Is their waiting room packed? Is it clean? Is the receptionist helpful and on top of things? My first pediatrician overbooked herself and only scheduled 10 minutes per patient, so she was always running behind. It was typical for me to wait up to an hour after my appointment time. She never remembered me or James – even if she only saw us 7 days apart, every time she saw us was like the first time.

    She was also very patronizing about James’ GERD – I think she just didn’t believe me when I said he was crying for upwards of 12 hours a day, and after she did diagnose him, she prescribed chamomile tea with honey as treatment. When that didn’t work, she under-medicated him with a medication that didn’t work for almost 4 months, and she refused to prescribe the stronger medication that all the moms on my message boards were using. In my opinion, she made the whole thing drag out way longer than it needed to, and put James through more pain and suffering than was necessary.

    When I switched to my current pediatrician, it was like night and day. She listened to my carefully, treated me like an intelligent human being, and even told me I was doing a great job managing James’ GERD and milk/soy allergy (which I was, though my other pedi couldn’t see it). She is always on time, and always schedules enough time to go over everything we need to during visits. She took James’ GERD seriously, prescribed him the right medication at the right dosage (which made a HUGE difference in James’ pain level and happiness), and referred us to a pediatric GI specialist (which HELLO? our other doctor should have). Finally, at our first visit she noticed that James had an inguinal hernia that needed surgery: our other pedi hadn’t ever even taken off his diaper or checked.

    Ok, I just wrote a TON. Hope that helps 🙂

  • Kelly

    Super helpful! I’ve had the same experience with Doctors…it all comes down to who you have. For me, emergencies are when I get to see whether I like working with someone– do they understand that this couldn’t have been scheduled? Are they going to treat me like I just ruined their “system”? Likewise, if they don’t take the time to listen in a non-emergency situation, you feel helpless and at their mercy, since they’re the only ones that can write prescriptions.

    I really hope I like her…not too many others on the list!