Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pediatrician Consult Questions?

Monday I have an appointment with Dr. K, a pediatrician. (Gulp!) 

Dr. K comes recommended by my OB and a personal friend with a one-year-old. I don't want the first time I meet this man to be in the hospital after delivering (I tear up just typing those words).

So, my question for you all out there who have been there and done that, what questions should I ask during this consult? I imagine I'll have around 15 minutes with him.

So, bring it on, folks? What should I ask?

~Jem

8 comments:

Mrs. Gamgee said...

I don't really have any advice to offer... our system north of the 49th parallel means that we don't see a pediatrician unless we need a referral for something serious. Ginny just sees our general practitioner.

One thing to maybe ask about... his views on vaccinations and preventative care?

Heather said...

I found this to be a bit of a time waster myself, but did do it. I think if you have strong feelings about things like vaccines or an alternate vac schedule that would be something you could ask about. If you are planning to breast feed you could find it if they are pro BFing or if they have a lactation consultant in the office. Ask about their same-day sick appointment availability. Or their on-call after hours policy. Find it whether they will be at the hospital to see the baby. Or if you'll use an on-staff ped and then take her in within the first day or so of discharge.

Good luck!

Rain Child said...

We talked to Dr. Smiles a few times before we brought Cadet home, but hadn't met him in person. However, there are a few things that I am glad I asked:

1) If you have a question after hours, who do you contact? Is s/he available to you or is there a paging service you can use? What is the doctor's holiday schedule?

2) What is the usual amount of time it takes the doctor to get back to you? Ours claims it's within 48 hours for non-emergencies, but usually it's closer to 72 hours (which can seem like an eternity with a newborn).

3) Which local hospital does s/he have rights at? Is there one that is recommended?

4) How does the doctor feel about alternative therapies or schedules?

5) Are there any local resources the doctor recommends for new moms? Breastfeeding consultants, new mommy groups, or discounts available for new moms?

Those are just the ones off the top of my head. Have a great consult.

babyinterrupted said...

Honestly, I just used my 15 minutes to see whether I liked the pediatrician (we went with a family practice doctor, actually) and felt comfortable with her. Some additional information was on the practice's website. I am glad we went with an office that has Saturday hours, which several parents recommended to us, since everything seems to happen on Saturdays! We didn't intend to veer off the vaccination schedule so I didn't ask about that.

Poppet said...

You basically have 2 choices:
Between practices: the local "big" pediatric practice. (For an example you can see the website that we use: www.somersetpeds.com). The pros are simple: multiple locations, long opening hours. Kids get sick at night is my experience. Make sure the hospital that the pediatrician uses is a) ON YOUR PLAN and b) convenient to your home and one you would go to yourself. In a big practice you have lots of doctors to choose from, but except for your regularly scheduled visits, you probably won't see the same doctor every time. In the beginning this is important - these days my kids don't care as much, since we rarely go for anything other than physicals and strep tests.

And:
2) Choose a small practice and you will get to know the physician/staff better - BUT you will probably end up in the ER much more often because small practices with fewer doctors tend to have shorter hours (and aren't usually open sat/sun).

You may also ask about how they book appointments - I spent a lot of time waiting in waiting rooms.

Finally you should ask about their opinions regarding immunizations. I'm on the "better to immunize than not" but our friend LisaP is firmly in the never vaccinate column and you can ask her why not. Many doctors will push for vaccinations. If you are uncomfortable, I'd research now, since the shots start in the hospital or within a couple of weeks of coming home.

Ask any doctor you see about scheduling appointments (how often do they want to see the baby at first) about their policies regarding well-baby visits, and how many of their doctors are board certified pediatricians. Also you may want to ask about which ENT they suggest - lots of babies get regular ear infections (mine didn't).

My kids had a lot of different doctors since we moved 4 times by the time C was 6, and changed practices a couple of times in addition to that. Some of the best doctors we've seen have been the ones "just covering" for the other doctors. Sometimes I doctor I really loved at first, turned out not to be my favorite in the end.

One last thing: you might want to stop by your local school and ask the school nurse, or stop by any random neighborhood park - the parents will LOVE to tell you what's what.

irrationalexuberance said...

We didn't do a consult but here's what's been important:
- after hours procedures: who will call you back and how long after? (is it a nursing line, your MD, MDs from th practice, etc?).
- weekend appointments for sick babies/ kids?
- how long will it take for someone call back during day? Who will it be?
- insurance plan? do not go out of network -- there are too many shots, etc that are all costly
- well child/ sick child waiting areas?
- breastfeeding support? who and when available?

Poppet said...

Irrationalexuberance:

You are totally right. Don't even consider going out of network. I'd also choose a practice that takes LOTS of policies because your job or Mr Jem's could change policies yearly and then you are SOL.

This may be a plus for larger practices - by default they can't get big if they don't take most big plans.

I'd also call your HR department, find out if they anticipate a policy change in 2012-13 and with whom they are negotiating. They might not tell you but they should give you a hint.

My Vegas said...

We talked about vax, to circumcise or not, breastfeeding, and the post delivery baby prep stuff (eye goop and vik k shot). I was happy to find that the doc's practice did their own delayed vax schedule.