Friday, April 10, 2009

Doctor Decision Day

It has been a busy week full of baby decisions and today was no exception. We had our last scheduled pre-natal pediatrician consultation today. This week, we met with four different pediatric practices and each had pros and cons. To start the search, I asked anyone in the area with kids who they use/like/don't like in the world of pediatrics and narrowed down that way. Of the four that we met with, I had an idea from the start of the one that I would like the most...and I didn' all. Overall though, each had pros and cons and at first, I went with my gut, then I doubted myself, then I went with my big topic, then I doubted can see where this is going. So, just now...I made a chart. I plotted out each of the points that I asked about and gave each practice a plus, a minus, or an equal for topics which the answers were virtually identical. With that handy chart, I counted up the pluses, and ranked the docs. Certainly not a scientific method, but one that was slightly more encompassing than my thinking of just one topic and its sole importance. For, if that were truly the case, I would have only had to ask one question and as any of these doctors (and my husband) can tell you, that was not the case. So, rather than dwell on those that didn't make the cut, let me tell you about the practice that we chose and why.

Margiotti and Kroll Pediatrics got pluses from us in all of the following categories: distance, website/brochure, specialties, evening and weekend hours, same day sick apps, well visit scheduling flexibility, response time after hours, parenting techniques, office and waiting room cleanliness and aesthetics, wait time, staff, friendliness and communication, and parking. Margiotti and Kroll would have been too far for us even recently, but they have added an office in Warrington that is both convenient, and as a new office, not too trafficked with other patients. As it is a new office, it's aesthetically nice and clean. On staff, they have 4 doctors, 2 nurse practitioners, and 2 physicians assistants, as well as a lactation consultant, educational pyschologist, and a nutritionist. They offer ample evening and weekend hours, and this was the only office where we heard that you could schedule well visits with as little as 24 hours notice. Now, knowing myself - that's highly unlikely, but still - good to know. Also, a highly accessible, interactive, and informative website make the practice all the more appealing. In this technological age, it was surprising to me how many practices don't have operating websites and interfaces for parents who will likely end up at an online source that may not be trusted by their pediatrician in a panic.

Now, you may be wondering about my "big topic." Vaccinations. Tricky business. I am an advocate for spacing out vaccinations in an alternative schedule than that which is endorsed by the AAP. I am not indicating that I plan to not vaccinate. Much to the contrary, I plan to get all the same vaccinations, just a little more spread out so that 5 aren't being administered in one day. Now, I know that there is evidence to support this practice and to indicate that there is no harm. But, what's the harm in spreading them out a little? Each shot gives a little bit of that sickness and when you're getting 5 at a time, that's a lot. I'm more than willing to come in more often in order to achieve this goal. Two of the practices we visited were happy and willing to accommodate this, and one was not at all flexible on the point. M and K were supportive of the AAP schedule, but recognize that ultimately parents make the decision. While I don't want to be seen as "that mom" this is an area that I feel pretty strongly about due to both my background working with children and families with their own stories that claim to have been affected by vaccines and my own research and reading. I am not a doctor, and I recognize that. I understand why doctors feel strongly in the way that they do, and I respect that.

If you are interested in more of the nitty gritty details, or are conducting your own search of pediatricians, and would like some of the leg-work, post a comment or email - I'm more than happy to share what I can to make anyone's life a little easier.

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