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Choosing a Pediatrician


Referrals are key in finding the perfect match



peds
February 2012

One of the most important decisions a parent makes is choosing a pediatrician. As are any important decisions, this does not fall under the "easy" category.

Many parents find choosing the right pediatrician for their child is more about choosing the right pediatrician for the entire family. After all, the pediatrician's bedside manner is sometimes more for the parents and not as much the children.

Dr. Laura Calili from IU Health Physicians Pediatrics at IU Health Methodist and University Hospitals, discussed how referrals are great in finding a pediatrician. She explained, "If your friends or family are happy and comfortable with their pediatrician and the atmosphere in their office, this is often a great sign you will like them, too."

Dr. Anne Kelly, medical director of St. Vincent Medical Group pediatrics, explained how referrals "are the best way to find a pediatrician." She said, "Having someone you actually know go to that doctor gives you an insight to their style of practice and personality."

Tracie Rhynearson, a stay-at-home mom, stated this was how she and her husband found their pediatrician. "If someone is willing to refer you to a specific pediatrician, this means they're happy with the treatment they've received. My son has been seeing his pediatrician since he was born three and a half years ago. I would recommend his doctor."

Karla Bledsoe, another local Indianapolis parent, believes in referrals and also believes it is important to receive information and referrals from your obstetrician.

Dr. Calili, a mother herself, understood how many parents feel hesitant to take their child to a 'young' pediatrician. As a young pediatrician herself, she discussed how her training was rigorous with all the up-to-date treatments and medicines. She stated one of the signs of a great doctor was their ability to state they may not know the answer and want to discuss it with a specialist.

Many parents may worry whether their pediatrician is a parent. While non-parent pediatricians may not experience the all-night worries when their baby will not stop crying, they have experienced the all-night worries of their patients. This is why Dr. Calili reiterated that comfort level alone speaks volumes.

Aside from the qualifications and bedside manner, some parents wonder if they should feel dissuaded when finding a pediatrician they like, yet do not share their feeding choices.

"This is a question that I get in the office quite often. Expectant mothers want to make sure that I will be willing to help with breastfeeding, that I will not push the bottle onto them. I think this is an important question. However, most pediatricians understand the importance of breastfeeding and are happy to work with parents to help them achieve this goal." Dr. Calili explained.

Many parents also wondered if they should choose a pediatrician or a family doctor. Dr. Kelly stated this was merely a personal preference. She said, "Trusting the doctor you are bringing your child to is the most important aspect in choosing a physician."

Finding a pediatrician with a limited schedule, Dr. Calili explained, could make last-minute emergencies difficult. She stressed the importance of finding a pediatrician that brought comfort, especially as this would be a professional the parents trust with their child's health. Calili wanted to convey to the parents that they should feel all their questions were answered, especially since the pediatrician's job is to ensure children grow up healthy.

Dr. Kelly explained how meet and greets assess a parent's compatibility with the doctor and how they assess the parents' compatibility with the pediatrician. If the personalities clashed, then a relationship would not work. Dr. Kelly also emphasized the importance of choosing a pediatrician early as no one wants or needs the added stress of finding a pediatrician the week of the child's birth.

Dr. Calili also explained how a pediatrician's support staff is equally important. "When you go to the pediatrician you are not just seeing one doctor, you are seeing the entire office." She wants parents to know that they should feel the nurses and office staff are just as welcoming as the pediatrician. Bledsoe agreed, pointing out several people she knew who stopped going to their doctor's office because of an unhelpful staff.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Calili, call (317) 865-6600, or visit IU Health's Web site at www.iuhealth.net. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kelly, call her office at (317) 415-8050.


Tags: In This Issue, Infant & Baby, Pediatric Health

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