Selecting a Pediatrician

When you have a baby, you need a pediatrician. That much I knew. But then it was suggested that we needed to find a pediatrician before the baby was born. Why? Because a pediatrician examines the baby in the hospital when she is born and that might as well be her regular pediatrician instead of whoever’s on duty. Plus, babies need to be taken to the doctor every month and the first visit is at 2 weeks of age. So might as well select a pediatrician now than scramble to find one immediately after her birth.

How to choose one? Looking at the list of pediatricians in the area, it seemed like there are too many. I counted more than 50 within 5 miles of our zip code. An interesting thing was that may be about 40% of them are Indians. We do live in an area which has a large South Asian population and the central Jersey center of desi (South Asian) activity, Iselin, is close by. However, South Asians seem more concentrated in pediatrics than the other fields we usually need (primary care physician, ophthalmologist, gynecologist, etc.)

We asked friends as well as our doctors for a recommendation. They recommended a few doctors, but one doctor’s name was common in most lists. So we went to see her. I had no idea what to ask the doctor, but our baby book recommends these questions:

  • What are the office hours?
  • What is the best time to call with routine questions?
  • How soon after birth will the pediatrician see your baby?
  • When will the baby’s next exams take place?
  • When is the doctor available by phone? E-mail?
  • What hospital does the doctor prefer to use?
  • What happens if there is an emergency?
  • Who “covers” the practice when your pediatrician is unavailable?
  • How often will the pediatrician see your baby for checkups and immunizations?
  • What are the costs of care?

Author: Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer

6 thoughts on “Selecting a Pediatrician”

  1. Recommendation of a pediatrician by several doctors is a forceful point. The 10 points listed by you are also logical, however, it should be seen that the pediatrician should be a married lady who has brought up her own 2 or more children.

  2. Foreign Medical Graduates provide a large number of work force in the field of medicine to the united states. Infact last year Pakistan was on the top in terms of issuing of J1 visas to aspiring residency candidates.(its another thing that around 42% of those visas were too late to let these candidates join their programmes in time).
    GGMs working in states serve two fold purpose. they fill in the requirement of cheap workforce in states and secondly they acquire skills that are not available in their countries. They eventually take back these skills to their country and put it to good use.

  3. In my experience (I have 2 kids)…stay away from the Desi doctors. They have a tendency to chatter among the community and its not good. I know of at least 1 desi OB/GYN in R community that likes 2 chatter about her desi patients.

    Most important question is coverage when he/she is not available. Female vs. male does not matter.


    – Ali

  4. Well if Ali is right and i believe he is this is very unethical. Doctors must maintain confidentiality at every cost. This bond of trust between the doctor and his patient is the peg around which the whole relationship is centered. Doctors here in Pakistan might have some tendency like this but most of the time their patients r from lower social circle and thus chatter abt them is not what doc does.

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