OT: Picking a pediatrician, what to look for?

Submitted by Creedence Tapes on February 16th, 2013 at 5:01 PM

My wife and I have a little Wolverine on the way due end of March and are in the process of looking into choosing a pediatrician. The question for the board is what do you guys look for in a good pediatrician? We would prefer a doctor who works exclusively with children, and has children of their own, but not sure what else we should be looking for. We both grew up in Michigan and currently live in the Bay Area. 



February 16th, 2013 at 5:56 PM ^

Ask the nurses in the maternity ward for referrals.  Nurses observe how pediatricians interact with a wide range patients on a daily basis and can be more objective than parents.


February 16th, 2013 at 6:23 PM ^

I'm going to second the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) idea somebody mentioned earlier.  Disclaimer:  I'm slightly biased because I'm an RN.  However, being "on the inside" both in school and at work has shown me the education/training of PNPs aligns much better with the usual needs in a primary care setting.  Lord willing your child will only have the "typical" healthcare needs - vaccinations if you swing that way, common colds/illnesses...you know, nothing needing hospitalization - but even so, there are still a variety of issues and concerns parents bring to the table.  Nurses and nurse practitioners are trained in a very holistic way, and accordingly are more inclined to take the time to address those concerns.  There is also a growing amount of research showing the care given by NPs is just as effective as that given by MDs, and patients are just as - if not more - satisfied.

This is certainly not to belittle or disrespect the physicians that are my fellow MGoBloggers...I just feel that in general, the medical community trains to "diagnose and cure" problems, and the focus on the patient is sometimes lost.  Hopefully, you're less likely to see this in pediatricians since they work with kids, but needless to say a practice where MDs and PNPs collaborate would offer you the best of both worlds, especially in case your needs become more complex.



February 16th, 2013 at 9:14 PM ^

many terrible things, such as all of the autism spectrum illnesses as well as vaccine induced encephelapathy.   big pharma is not your friend.   don't believe?  just pull the information sheet about your vaccines and read it - they tell you all about the problems that they create, particularly the ones with mercury.  

and if you look at the flu shots they give, they tend to kill at least as many as die when there isn't a flu shot for a new flu, so it's usually a zero sum game. 

and before you reply, i don't advocate NO vaccines, but i do advocate far, far less vaccines. 


February 17th, 2013 at 7:29 AM ^

is a virtue.  the CDC is made up of who?  former group thinkers who then got jobs on the inside.   why do you think even one of the pediatricians on this thread was in agreement about not giving junior 5 vax in a day?  maybe because they are toxic?   putting toxins in the body, particularly young bodies, should be done with extreme caution.   there is substantial evidence of the damage that vaccinations can do and sputter all you want.  i repeat - pull the product insert out of most vaccines and see what big pharma will tell you about their product.   and so silly to neg me when the position i'm taking isn't zero vaccines, but to be much more cautious about such things. 


February 17th, 2013 at 6:01 PM ^

I think they are recommending something like 32 in the first 3 months, a number of which will have no possible use to the child (if ever) for many years to come such as Hep A and various STD vaccines. 

for those that wrote strong words in complete denial of the dangers of vaccines, please try to overcome your emotional response and open your eyes.   the evidence is everywhere if you seek it - i had a doctor/parent in my office just last month who described her agonizing journey after her fully-verbal 2 1/2 yr old son was lost to the world after a 3 vaccine cocktail.  she has spent years seeking treatment for the lad to try to bring him back.  one of our own children had a sever vaccine injury.   these stories are legion. 

still others are made using cells from aborted fetuses which may coincide to the OP's practices.

study the science and contents of vaccines - many have live virus and/or mercury in them.  highly toxic substances given to children cause damage, period.   the bottom line is this:  make your own decison for your children, don't let anyone (including your ped) push vaccines on your family, study the science and delay the shots and spread them out as far as you are comfortable doing.  it's harder to think for yourself and people call you names like this thread has proven, but the life you save just might be that wonderful little wolverine you are expecting. 

Michigan Arrogance

February 18th, 2013 at 11:35 AM ^

I'm just gonna say that all this you just said boils down to the following statement:


multiple anecdotes != data


mercury has been in vaccines for decades up until the last 15-20 years when it has been phased out b/c non-mercury-based preservatives have been developed.

There have been several scientific studies that have demonstrated no causal connection b/t thiomersal and autism. The original study published in 1998 that opened the door to the jenny mccarthy autism scare in the mid 2000's was not reproducable and was subsequently redacted from the peer-reviewed journal in which it was originally published.

there are always risks of alergic reactions to almost any injection. those risks do NOT outway the alternatives, the DATA about one of which is listed below from the CDC website.



Whooping couch (pertussis)

Since the early 1980s, reported pertussis cases have been increasing, with peaks every 3-5 years; however, the number of reported cases remains much lower than levels seen in the pre-vaccine era. Compared with pertussis cases in other age groups, infants who are 6 months old or younger with pertussis experience the highest rate of hospitalization, pneumonia, seizures, encephalopathy (a degenerative disease of the brain) and death. From 2000 through 2008, 181 persons died from pertussis; 166 of these were less than six months old.


February 17th, 2013 at 7:57 AM ^

Haha I'm glad you're assuming my reasoning and think I support your "toxicity" theory. Not even close but thanks for playing.

Also, vaccines don't cause autism, at all. Read the research (and if you think it's a government conspiracy it must be worldwide because the research from every country agrees with ours)

Michigan Arrogance

February 17th, 2013 at 7:37 AM ^

this is an incredibly dangerous comment to make in a large public forum. the scientific literacy of the media and the general public is terrible.


Slow down on vaccines if you wish. There is probably no need to vaccinate against 5-7 diseases at the same appointment, other than convienience.


but lets be clear about four things: vaccines DO NOT cause more disease than they prevent. In addition, Global climate change exits and is caused by man made greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere over the past 150 years. Finally, the theories of gravity and evolution by natural selection are absoulutely among the strongest (that means the most supported by objective, verifyable and repeatable evidence) theories ever proposed my mankind.

MMB 82

February 16th, 2013 at 6:55 PM ^

-look for full board certification; you will also find most training info as well as possible board actions/disciplines.

-definitely ask the OBs, they would have a handle on that, as well as the nurses.

-don't fault a doctor for being busy, that is a good sign. Personally, I like smaller groups as the service tends to be more personalized. Also, many doctors are under a lot of pressure from the recent changes (and further coming changes coming) to the health care system, please keep that in mind (no political content intended). 

- beware, the "Top Doctor" awards are a misnomer- kind of like the USA Today Coaches poll in football. In my area I know a doctor who was disciplined by the state medical board for self-prescribing narcotics, but still received a "top doc" award.

-interview the physician if possible; sometimes they can be a great doc, but not a good fit for you.

-nothing wrong with a Nurse Practioner; not quite the same training as a physician, but many are very/extremely good and you may prefer them. Please ignore the stereotype of doctors vs nurses; people are people and especially pediatricians tend to be the caring type vs other specialties (sorry, Wolverine Quaker).

-discuss vaccinations with you pediatrician; there seems to be a trend toward limiting or not vaccinating, but I understand (I am not a ped so I can't immediately cite a source) there has also been a significant increase in the diseases that vaccinations try to prevent.

-congrats on your soon-to-arrive addition to your family! Teach him/her to say "Go Blue!" as soon as they start talking! 


February 16th, 2013 at 7:13 PM ^

Find a good practice. Ask friends or coworkers. We love our Pediatrician, but he isn't always on when the kids are sick. The good thing is every Doctor at the practice is awesome. On call nurses too.


February 16th, 2013 at 7:17 PM ^

I suggest one that has multiple pediatric specialties and does labs in the office. That makes things easier if your kid needs to see a specialist. Also, one that has walkin sick hours, so you don't have to wait a couple of days for an appointment when your kid is sick

I also suggest one that has at least day where they are open late. That way you can schedule routine stuff wothout talking off from work. Te other benefit with a larger practice is that you get multiple viewpoints for your baby.

Good luck and get all vaccines. Google or. The research that said they are linked to autism was fabricated. The guy admitted so a few years back.


February 16th, 2013 at 7:25 PM ^

As a pediatric subspecialist I would add the following:


I agree with the above - a prenatal interview is the most important.


You should also be comfortable with the whole practice, as if your kid gets sick, they' may not see their regular doctor as an add-on


I would not use internet reviews - those things could be done by anybody, the doctor themselves, their mother, or roll damn tide


February 16th, 2013 at 7:30 PM ^

Besides the vaccine advice mentioned above (and I do encourage reading up on this as much as possible to make an informed decision - the US government doesn't know everything and is affected by lobbying etc...), I would aim for a smaller practice.


We started out in a larger practice and experienced long waits in the waiting room for appointments (not easy with babies), long long delays in people calling us back when we had questions and seeing different doctors each visit.


We switched to a practice that had 2 pediatricians and experienced short waits, super fast responses when we had questions and saw 1 of 2 doctors every time.


Feat of Clay

February 17th, 2013 at 2:00 PM ^

Fwiw some doctors might advise a different vaccine schedule; in other words be supportive of vaccines but have different opinions about timing given their experience or your kids context.

My kid is fully vaccinated now but thanks to my doctor's advice we declined one (which ended up being yanked off the market later, good call doc) and postponed varicella -- which was also useful because in the interim they changed their estimate of effectiveness and the vaccine protocol.


February 16th, 2013 at 7:41 PM ^

Get Baby 411 and what to expect when expecting. These books saved us quite a few calls to doctor and also helped calm the nerves when our first child had something going on.


February 16th, 2013 at 7:41 PM ^

I'm sorry but this is a ridiculous topic to post on MGoBlog.  Marking a post as "Off Topic" usually means the discussion will center on, say, the NHL lockout or NFL playoffs.  What shall we discuss next, which refrigerator to buy?  Does anyone know of a good private school in Tulsa?  What type of fish is in fish tacos? 

Really chief, do you really want a bunch of beer-guzzling college undergrads giving you advice?  And what's all this hullaballoo about "selecting" a pediatrician?  Just pick the one that is close to you.  It's not like GPs (or GPs for little kids) really do anything anyways, they just take their cut and refer you on up the doctor pay scale.  Helicopter parents drive me nuts.



February 16th, 2013 at 8:17 PM ^

I've been a nurse for 30 years. Get referrals from friends with young children but also make some appts with physicians. Any good doc will meet with you before you decide.


February 16th, 2013 at 9:05 PM ^

Not much else to say that hasn't been said... I'm also a pediatrician (UM '01), like several posters above.  I think getting referrals from friends with kids is the place to start, and then meeting with and interviewing the prosepctive candidates.  Unlike what someone said above, as far as I know, we all meet with prospective families for an interview for free.  



February 16th, 2013 at 9:29 PM ^

Also good to know what happens when your kid gets sick, I mean sick enough to be admitted to the hospital. Does your pediatrician attend there or will you be meeting someone new who will be taking care of your child?

Hopefully it never comes up but it is worth considering.


February 16th, 2013 at 10:15 PM ^

Dr wright on California street in SF. She is awesome. If you want a male, i have heard good things about her partner Bernstein. We saw him once when our son was sick.

If you want specifics of why her I can tell later when not on my phone. If you aren't in SF, my recommendation obviously doesn't help you.


February 16th, 2013 at 10:26 PM ^

Join Golden Gate Mother's Group (just search the Internet). Can't remember if that is just for SF or more of the Bay Are (so again if you aren't in SF this might not help, but I think there is an east bay mothers group and something in the South Bay- has a Spanish name that I am drawing a blank on now). Tons of great advice on there, lots of forums with every question you'll have already asked and answered or if you ask one lots of people will respond.


February 16th, 2013 at 10:27 PM ^

We used one through the UNC system - I don't know how it works in Cailfornia and obviously it won't be UNC out there, but the university systems are generally good.  If you don't like them you can always switch.  I shop doctors, not for ones who give me pills, cause I don't take any, but for those who don't immediately triage everything with the lowest common denominator easy button.  If I'm sick I want to know what the root cause is, not be given a pill to shut up.  I'm the same way with my kids peds.


February 16th, 2013 at 11:18 PM ^

... but I don't know where in the Bay Area you're looking. So, yes, one with multiple pediatric specialties including any family history might lead you to think will be important (I have asthma, for example); doctors you like and can work with, hours that are flexible since kids don't get sick at convenient times, coverage for off hours, and later a support staff that can crank out school forms in their sleep.

Congratulations and good luck!


February 17th, 2013 at 5:04 AM ^

Go to a local playground. Talk to new mommies. They love to tell labor and delivery stories. Try to look interested. You'll get referrals.

After that, go to Refrigerators 'R Us. The one in Tulsa next to Taco Del Mar. Tell em Herm sent ya.


February 17th, 2013 at 8:48 AM ^

It depends what kind of pediatrician you are looking for - for general health - most pediatricians are good - board certification is good - but remember the most important is someone you can trust and have a good relationship with. If yo went to one school vs another - some of the best doctors didn't go to Harvard or UCSF.

If your child will have some special needs - university hospitals have some of the better doctors with pediatric subspecialties such in eye, ENT, gastroenterology, nephrology, oncology, neurology, etc. So if you know a pediatrician affiliated with a university setting it may be easier to get a referral or see some very well known doctors - on the othe side - you may see a resident or fellow prior to seeing the attending doctor.

Usually vaccination schedule are determined not by the doctor but recommended guidelines set by the CDC guidelines.

You want the doctor who is also more current on the updated medical llterature.

Feat of Clay

February 17th, 2013 at 1:51 PM ^

I love having a family practice doc. Guy sees our whole family, has context for everything going on. He has been seeing my son since he was a zygote since I never had to bother finding an ob-gyn either. My doc has been able handle all of our routine medical needs and a fair number of the non-routine ones.


February 18th, 2013 at 10:39 AM ^

Still don't know what part of the bay area you're in.  If it's the east bay, we LOVED Ben King at Berkeley Pediatrics.  Even if you're not in the east bay, I would also look into the Berkeley Parents Network.  They have a lot of recommendations.  While it's focused on the Berkeley area, I think I remember there being some from other bay area locations as well.