I often get calls from parents asking how to find a good pediatrician for either a newborn or in moving to a new community. I have put together a list of questions for parents to ask when interviewing a new doctor. I think it is important to talk with a doctor you might want to use for a child to see how you are treated by the office staff and how you relate to the physician. Most pediatricians enjoy children and parents, but there are some who would rather be out on their boat or on the golf course.
One of the most important questions on my list is: Does the doctor see all of his or her patients or does he allow a nurse practitioner or physician assistant to see some of the patients? if he does, then that is a doctor I would not use. Children can become ill very quickly and if a diagnosis is missed, such as meningitis, it can become fatal very quickly. A second most important question is: Does the doctor meet you in the ER or his or her office after hours or send you and your child to the ER? ER doctors often have minimal pediatric training. They are fine for trauma, but may miss an ear infection or another important diagnosis. A third question to ask is: Can you can speak with the physician if you need to ordoes a nurse answer all the calls? (One nurse told a mother that the doctor would not tell her anything she couldn't! The mother quickly changed doctors.) A fourth question Is: Does the doctor prescribe antibiotics by phone or always insist on seeing the child? Antibiotics prescribed by telephone is bad medicine because an important diagnosis may be missed.