Pediatrician - How Do You Know If They Are Good?

Updated on March 08, 2011
S.J. asks from Cherryville, MO
12 answers

My recent post regarding my coworker is sparking another question for me .....

How do you know, besides doing your own research, if what your doc is doing is enough or best for your kids? For example, we had a pediatrician lined up based on recommendations from hospital staff and friends. He turned out to be horrible....always had the wrong chart or didn' t bother looking when he talked to us, constantly asked if we still had the kids on meds we never had them on, jumped the gun before getting all test results back and told us our son had a very serious illness (he doesn't), sent us to the hospital in a panic because of too much weight loss as newborn (baby was fine and gaining, his scale was broken). 2 hour wait times for appts. The list goes on and on.

So, we switched docs. The new one is not impressing. He has never looked "down there" like I posted about in another post re: my coworker, (neither did the other doc). He has never mentioned Vit D supplements. Both docs have come highly recommended so I am at a loss. I really do not want to keep switching doctors!

What do you expect of your pediatrician? What questions do you ask and how to do you know what to ask?

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answers from Seattle on

I called the pediatrician office and I asked questions about doctors who had similar views as mine and with a list I was provided I went and talked to them. I found one that I liked that doesn't talk down to me and listens to my concerns. I think sometimes it is just the roll of the dice and you have to keep searching until you find someone who perfect for you.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

I will agree that it's really hard to find a good caring doctor these days. Most are in such a hurry that they can't even remember to check everything their supposed to during a wellness, so what we did to find our 2nd pedatrician was searched & went off of the other patient ratings.
I expect my pediatrician to be caring, listen to any concerns that we have, & directly answer all questions, but as far as diagnosing or treating our kids... we do our own research online, get advice from other parents, pharmactists, etc 1st & only go to the doctor when it's absolutely necessary. And after seeing over a dozen docs for my son's severe eczema I've learned to always have a list of questions ready before the visit. I've noticed that alot of doctors will better listen/follow to something in writing & not what's coming out of your mouth. I guess most our visual learners.
The questions I ask are about any health concerns I notice about my boys during physical exams at home ( & believe me I examine their whole bodies & demeanors everyday) & anything I want to know about their milestones. Our pediatrician gives out alot of info about milestones at every wellness visit though & even a questionaire at about 18 months to see how well your kid's are progressing mentally & physically.
Just keep in mind that doctors are only here to help, so you have tell them what you want done. For example... my son has severe eczema & no doctor that we've been to thus far has really put an effort into figuring out what's causing it. So I've done my own research & told his doctors what I wanted done (biopsies, blood work, cultures...etc). And thank god I did otherwise he would have been stuck on steroids & heavy creams for the rest of his life. Now he's on supplements which have greatly improved his condition.
Good Luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I expect my answers are going to be answered with respect and that my children enjoy their visit as much as possible. I've also found that there are a TON of different approaches to handling children and illnesses. You need to ask parents that have a SIMILAR parenting style as you do who they would recommend. A pediatrician that fits your parenting style is going to be the best one for YOUR family.

I switched peds when I asked the first one for a sample food pyramid for a toddler. I was told, "if she eats, she eats." That is not what I asked for. I wanted to have a guideline of the best possible nutrition for my daughter with recommended portions, even if my kid didn't eat anything on it! (Something I just received from another source 3 years later!) I also felt that she talked about her child more than she talked about mine and that the things she chose for her son were not things I would choose for my child. It didn't feel comfortable to me.

The new doctor is awesome. She answers my questions with appropriate answers based on research and expertise and first hand experience. My 3 year old runs to her pediatrician with open arms and hugs her while screaming her name in excitement. I don't think that happens often! Lol.

Good luck! Switch as many times as you need to feel comfortable. Maybe the peds have a profile on a website where you can start. I've also found that docs with children of their own seem to be a little bit better.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I think sometimes it's a crapshoot. You just have to take a chance. It is an inconvinience to change doctors, but it's completely worth it when you find a doctor you are comfortable and happy with. I would start by talking to moms who have similar views about medicine and health issues and similar styles about child rearing. You're more likely to find a ped you'll love.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Yikes! They both sound pretty dismal. When we moved here we started going to a children's clinic that has about 7 different pediatricians. Over time we have found we like a couple of them the best. This comes from having seen them and gotten to know them. It's hard to get a recommendation from someone else bc people "click" differently and everyone has such different opinions. There is another pediatrician in town who many people recommended and we saw her once when we first moved here. I could tell she was not the right ped for us - Funny how some people just love her though. advice is to see if there is a pediatrician office with multiple doctors so you can make your own decision.

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answers from Miami on

Interesting dilemma because with my first born, I went to the pediatrician that came highly recommended by numerous people and I loved him. He was our pediatrician until I had my second baby and then he and his wife retired to Alaska. I was so heartbroken...he was the BEST pediatrician I've ever experienced. This was a man who didn't wait for me to take my child out of her infant carrier. No, he unstrapped her and brought her to his chest in the most loving way. I was truly touched by the way he handled babies. And he was a father and I believe also a grandfather, so there was no doubt he loved children. Then his replacement came in and she was nice, seemed friendly. Asked me a lot of questions but she lacked that loving approach that I had been so accustomed to with my former ped. Since I live in a very remote area, my options are extremely limited. I honestly did not have a choice but to stay with the replacement. As time went on, it became clear to me (she wasn't married, had no children) that this new pediatrician just didn't have a loving heart for children. She was there to do her job and not much of anything else. When my second daughter was 3 1/2 years old, this "new" ped was not exactly thrilled when I told her that my toddler was indeed still breastfeeding...and I was pregnant with my third child at the time. Once my third child was born, the "new" ped almost right away began pushing formula on me. It was very clear that she was NOT a breastfeeding supporter. How sad. That ped sold her practice and yet again, a replacement came in. I still live in this remote area and my options are still limited and I am pregnant with my 4th child now and I am honestly considering on calling another ped in the area for a consultation appointment to basically see if I like him better than the one I have now ( and the ped I have now has since moved to a different location making my drive even longer and the parking is terrible). I have been thinking about questions to ask and some that come to mind are the following:

Are you married?
Do you have children?
Do you have grandchildren?
How long do you plan on staying in the area?
Do you support breastfeeding? And extended breastfeeding?
If my child is sick today, can I make an appointment for tomorrow? (My current ped will NOT allow me to make appointments in advance for sick children. I have to call the day of the sickness...and hope that they have an open slot.)
Do you have hospital privileges and to which hospital?
Most important question of all: Do you accept my insurance? Some doctors I have found in my experience do not take all insurance. Very frustrating indeed.

Call in advance to see if the ped offers consultation appointments. Ask if they charge for this. Use this appointment wisely ~ take a good look around at the office. Is it clean? Is the nurse friendly? How about the receptionist, is he/she friendly? Is there a sink in the exam rooms for the doctor to wash his/her hands or do you see antibacterial dispensers everywhere instead? My current ped does NOT have sinks in his exams rooms. I hate this! Instead, he uses antibacterial gel and I find this unacceptable which is another reason why I really am considering changing doctors. Is the waiting room full of children? (a good indicator that this doctor may have long wait times). Ask if they have well-child appointments available on specific days. I have found in talking to other moms that some doctors have specific days for well child visits which is very nice! It means my healthy child doesn't have to sit in a waiting room full of coughing, sneezing, and snotty nosed children. With my original pediatrician (gosh, I miss him!) when I brought my baby for a well child visit, they would take me in immediately to an exam room so that my healthy infant didn't have to sit in the waiting room with other sick children. Not all peds do this, I have found, even when you ask nicely.

And lastly, how does the ped make you feel? Sometimes first impressions are the most lasting...sometimes very deceiving. Good luck in your search for a new doctor.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think you find a good doctor for your kid the same you find one for yourself - recommendations and experience. Our pediatrician is actually one our old doctor told us about. She moved practices and we asked which of the doctors that was still around was most like her. We love her because while sometimes there's a wait, usually it's because she's taking her time and she takes just as much time with us. I don't feel rushed or talked down to or anything. I find it easier to see a new doctor for a "well visit" than to be in a panic for a problem.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

i go from references from other moms and if they miss something like an ear infection they should have caught i change docs and ask for references. the one i was refered to i used till i moved. he was thorough as he could be.he never shunned any of my questions and knew when to say I dont know i am refering you to another doc. I loved him. I moved to houston and took my son to the er for an ear infection i over heard the doc smarting off in another room about me asking for a reference to an pediatrician, ent and audiologist. he just earns a paycheck he isnt a doctor. ask other moms

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Ouch! Our pediatrician's practice was a referal from friends. Plus, they happened to be the office that did the rounds at the hospital where I delivered so it was very convenient to start the history right then and there with a newborn. I met all the doctors. Very thorough and answered questions. Extended hours at night, same day sick appointments and sometimes would call in prescriptions after hours..My DD had a eye infection which needed drops and it was a holiday. They've always had the right chart and talk to us before opening it and taking notes. Generous with the formula samples and providing good resources...never had any problems. Yikes..sorry you are experiencing this.



answers from Cleveland on

well the doctor that we take our daughter to i actually just found online looking around. i personally find that doctors who are in a medical practice with a hospital are usually better doctors and who have 3-5 doctors in that office. we take her to a family doctor but she is also a really good pedi and one of the co workers in her office is stictly pedi so if we need something urgant we go to her. just call around and see how many openings they have generally the less openings the better the docter



answers from Eugene on

I think it's worth it to switch doctors til you find one you love. It can have a huge impact on your family's health.

What I look for is a doctor who listens patiently, takes his time to understand all the symptoms and then gives a clear diagnosis and treatment plan. I"ve had a couple of doctors who would explain the more technical medical stuff and even photocopy pages from their medical books to help me understand. I have no medical background so I appreciate not being talked down to or treated like I'm too dumb to understand.

The doctor we have now does all that. He won't leave the exam room until he is sure we know what to do and that we have no more questions. Plus, he's proven to be knowledgeable and was successful in diagnosing a couple of medical problems that his partner (our former doctor) missed.

Personally, I think communication is the key. There are plenty of smart doctors out there. But if they don't listen well to your problem, they may miss something and misdiagnose. And if they can't explain what you need to do to get better, you won't have the information you need to take care of yourself or your kids.



answers from Erie on

THis is an awesome question and one i have really struggled with. Not being a dr myself how can i know if what they are suggesting is the best course of treatment. So i would really go by bedside manner.
I am stuck right now with an not so great dr but he had lots of awards and other people highly recommend him.
I would love to find a family practicioner so that my young elem age kids and I could go to the same place.
Good luck to you. It does seem awful to dr hop but if your hubby isn't fighting you then just go for it.

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