How to choose a pediatrician

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:45 pm
No two pediatricians are exactly the same. Different pediatricians have different approaches, so you may want to interview several before selecting the one who best suits your family's particular preferences and needs. You may want one who's an advisor and gives very specific and detailed information. You may want an older, more-established type or someone close to your own age. You may prefer one gender to the other. The doctor should please both you and the child, making sure not to ignore the child or address you as if the child isn't there. A good place to start is by asking your O-B-G-Y-N for a referral, or friends who've had success. If possible, get the names of several physicians and arrange a personal interview with each. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions, and make sure you agree with the doctor's policies and philosophy of child rearing. Find out when the doctor is available by phone and what happens if there's an emergency. Who covers the practice when he or she isn't available? And, of course, find out the fee structure for office visits, as well as for after-hour visits, home visits, and such things as immunizations. You also should feel comfortable with the staff and the general atmosphere of the office. Even after you begin treatment, if the doctor or a staff member doesn't satisfy you, talk to the pediatrician directly. Remember, if he or she can't, or won't, change, it's your privilege to change doctors.

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