Monday, January 18, 2010

Pediatrician Search - Part 1

I’ve been asking around and doing research into the different pediatricians in our area, to be ready when the baby comes. If it wasn’t for one thing, it would be a simple decision. There is one doctor who keeps coming up with glowing recommendations, is affiliated with the only practice typically on staff at the hospital where I will be delivering, and has an office less than 5 minutes from my home. I met him and one of the nurses and they seemed likable, and explained that they would probably be seeing me anyway, because their practice checks all babies born at the hospital within the first day. I asked if they were comfortable with breastfeeding, familiar with care of uncircumcised boys, and would be comfortable with a delayed/selective vaccine schedule, and I noticed the attitude changed a little. They still tried to reassure me, but I got a lot of “well discuss that as it comes up”, instead of straight answers, which put me on guard a little.

When I got home, I checked out their website, and everything looked OK, until I found their vaccination policy, which includes all of the typical denials from the pro-vaccine crowd, as well as scare tactics about outbreaks, and blaming parents who question the vaccine schedule as being emotional and placing their children, families, and communities at risk. They further go on to say that they consider vaccinations the “single most important intervention” they perform, and that they will not deviate from the chedule (except in “limited cases”) or separate vaccines that are available in combination. Of our course, they do say they are not trying to scare or coerce parents, but then go on to say they will do everything they can to convince you to vaccinate according to the CDC schedule, and will ask you to find another doctor if you don’t agree (sounds like coercion to me). Of course, it ended with a statement to “feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your child’s provider”, but the document itself made it pretty clear that concerns would be dismissed and questions would just be answered in a way to push you towards going along with their policies, and that parents who question too much will be sent away to find another doctor.

I’m pretty disappointed, because I’d heard so many good things about this doctor and his way with kids, but I don’t feel comfortable risking my child’s health because someone has a good personality, but practices dangerous medicine. I did get one recommendation on a local parenting board for a pediatrician who is OK with delayed vax. They are 30 minutes away, but I will be setting up an appointment and interviewing them next. Hopefully this one will go better.
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