Doctor for your child

Wednesday March 7, 2012

Factors to consider when looking for the ideal paediatrician.

CHOOSING the right paediatrician is sometimes a hit-and-miss affair. Some parents and kids get on with their paediatrician from day one. Others seem to keep hopping from one doctor to the next, unable to find one that they’re happy with.

What should you look for in a paediatrician?

Some parents prefer an older doctor whom they feel is more knowledgeable and experienced. Others would like a younger doctor who will discuss the treatment with them and whom they feel is less dictatorial.

Some may opt for a male doctor and others, a female one. Some want to see how the child reacts to the doctor before deciding.

Paediatrician Dr Yong Junina Fadzil advises parents to find a paediatrician they can interact with.

“It would help if the child doesn’t scream every time he or she sees the paediatrician. Make sure that you’ve got a qualified paediatrician. I think you can go online to check and when you visit the doctor, don’t be embarrassed to ask if he or she is the doctor whose name is displayed in the clinic.

“If you think the doctor looks a bit too young, just enquire about their credentials. I don’t think it’s offensive for parents to ask, if for some peace of mind,” she says.

Whether parents choose a paediatrician in a private clinic or one in a hospital is entirely up to them. Dr Yong notes that while it depends on the patient’s comfort level, the child’s medical problems are also a factor.

“If the parents are comfortable with the doctor in a particular hospital then they should return to that doctor. However, if a child has a heart or lung disease or if the child was born prematurely, then the child may need regular follow-up visits at a particular hospital. Basically, it depends on why the parent needs to bring the child to the hospital and what the child needs follow-up visits for.

“On the other hand, even if the child has a heart problem and they can find a good specialist outside who has ties with a hospital should the child require admission, then it is okay to follow up at that particular clinic. But, the parents should be aware of whether or not the doctor they are seeing is able to cater to the child’s needs and what they should do in case of an emergency or if the child requires admission,” she says.