Another Test, Another “-Ologist”
I look at my watch, again. It has been seven minutes since he left the exam room to look at my baby’s blood work results. Seven minutes is a “blink of an eye” when I’m laying in bed after the alarm goes off. But when you are waiting to hear the results from your child’s medical test, seven minutes is an eternity and a day.
I don’t remember anything he said after “the test came back positive.” My ears went fuzzy, the baby stated to wiggle, he must have picked up on my stress and tense composure. The doctor, the bearer of crappy news, the man who urged us to get the test “just to be on the safe side” looks at me. He’s looking beyond my t-shirt with the funny saying, my cute flats and the sort-of-matching purse.
He’s looking at the scared mother who just received life-changing news. He stops talking, realizing that nothing he says is being heard, much less retained. Instead, he writes someone’s name on a piece of paper, followed by “what-ever-ologist” – matching the person’s medical expertise.
He pats me on the shoulder. That’s doctor-speak for “I would hug you, but here’s a shoulder pat instead. Call me with any questions…” and we are sent on our merry way with yet another “-ologist” in our roll-o-dex of doctors.
[bctt tweet=”A #MedicalMom shares her time-tested tips: How to find the BEST #Pediatric Specialist!” username=”MamaintheNow”]
We go home, I keep the card in my pocket for the rest of the day, in hopes, it will have healing powers – without us having to actually schedule an appointment.
We have over the years had 10 specialists for our sweet medically complex child.
Most of them we don’t need to see any longer, others are with us for the long haul. I finally feel, after 8 years that we have a team of the best doctors and specialists for our current situation. We may need to make changes in the future if situations worsen or improve – but that is a worry I tuck away – far away, for another day.
When you receive a referral to a specialist there are a lot of variables to consider. I never take someone’s referral blindly, without doing my own due diligence. What works for one patient family may not work for our specific case. I value feedback from friends, but ultimately the decision is ours after everything has been considered.
How to Find the BEST Pediatric Specialist for Your Child:
(In no particular order)
- Feed back from a medical professional. I like to know if our pediatrician or other trusted medical professional has a specific specialist they recommend.
- If I find someone on my own, I pass the name by our pediatrician since he will ultimately be working with the specialist to manage our child’s care.
- Insurance coverage. It’s a shame that insurance can dictate who treats our children, but it’s a reality we have to deal with.
- All other things being equal, I will always go with a doctor who is within our network.
- Not only does it save a lot of money, but it reduces the mountain of paperwork – and when you are dealing with medical issues, red tape and bureaucracy is the last thing you need.
- Urgency. Some of the better specialists in our area have a 3 – 4 month wait for the first consultation.
- If the child’s medical situation isn’t urgent, then I will gladly wait that long to see the best doctor for our situation.
- However, if time is of the essence, go ahead and schedule an appointment with the first available – just to start treatment and get the “medical urgency” under control.
- Then still schedule an appointment with the “rock star” specialist so he can eventually take over your child’s case.
- Feedback and referrals from friends. I value someone’s personal first-hand experience with a medical professional or facility.
- Of course, there are always variables in every case and some people, unfortunately, are never happy with any medical professional.
- However, a referral from one of my medical mom friends is truly worth its weight in gold.
- Facebook groups. I have over the years learned so much about our son’s medical conditions from various Facebook groups.
- Please do not trust everything you hear on social media, especially in Facebook groups. Remember that every patient is different, even if they share the same diagnosis on paper.
- However, joining a FB group specifically for a particular medical condition can prove invaluable. You connect with other parents who are in the trenches by your side. You can share experiences, offer support and learn from each other.
- It is from one of these groups that I have learned who the rock star doctors are that specialize in my son’s medical condition.
- Online reviews. Once I find a doctor, I check out what others have said about him online.
- However, I take most negative comments with a grain of salt, as I know there are two sides to every story.
- It is comforting if a medical specialist has a perfect score, though.
- The doctor’s CV/ resume. This is an important part of my research to find the right specialist, especially if my child’s condition is rare.
- I like to see where the doctor went to medical school, took his residency and what medical papers he has written or participated in.
- You can learn a lot about their expertise by what area they research and delve deeply into.
- The medical facility. Not only am I picky about the doctor who is about to treat my child, but also the medical facility at which they work.
- I love teaching hospitals that are attached to a university. I feel that they are active in research and they are on the forefront of the latest treatments, at least from my experience.
- I also prefer when most of our specialists can work seamlessly together and share data without delay. Therefore we keep our son’s care primarily at a university hospital, although it is not right in our backyard.
- Hi-tech vs. Old school. Once you meet the doctor, you will find out if he’s high-tech or old school, if he’s aggressive or conservative in his testing and treatment. One isn’t better than the other, it all depends on your family’s preference and your child’s specific needs.
- Personally, I like a doctor who is rather “with the times”. I like when they give you their email, which is a privilege I never abuse, but it gives me a certain level of comfort.
- These days I like a conservative approach, simply because none of our child’s medical issues are urgent (at the present time).
So much goes into finding the exact right doctor for your child’s specific case. So much that it is nearly impossible to find Dr. Perfect on your first consultation.
Never be afraid to go for a second opinion or to continue your search for the doctor you “click with.” Remember, the right doctor IS out there and your relationship should be one of mutual respect and information sharing. (It sounds a lot like dating and finding Mr. Right, I know.)
If you don’t feel that your voice or concern is being heard, then you may just not have found the right one for you. In the meantime, keep copies of all your child’s medical records and test results and trust that your due diligence will pay off.
We are eight years into our medical journey. Things have calmed down considerably and we are on “cruise control” and have been for a while now. We have had the same specialists for several years, which is comforting all in its own. But it took a strong medical quarterback, numerous specialists, determination and a lot of hours spent in medical facilities to get here.
It is my sincere hope that you find the perfect pediatric specialist for your child’s care. Please share in the comments tips for other medical parents.
I wrote a couple of posts about the early days of our medical journey. You don’t want to read these without tissues nearby.