13+ Things Your Pediatrician Won’t Tell You

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1. Want to avoid the wait? Schedule your appointment for the middle of the week, and ask for the first time slot of the morning or right after lunch.

2. Even though studies show that antibiotics for ear infections are rarely better than watching and waiting for kids over age two, many of us prescribe them anyway. We want to feel like we're doing something. If I prescribe an antibiotic and a few days later your child feels better, I look like a genius.

3. Want to make vaccines less painful for your child? Ask if you can breast-feed while we give your infant his shots. Or if you have an older child, see if we can use cold spray or a numbing cream to decrease the pain.

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4. Don't ask if I'll take a "quick look" at the sibling who doesn't have an appointment. If your mom went with you to the gynecologist, would you ever say, "Doc, would you mind putting her on the table and giving her a quick look?" Every patient deserves a full evaluation.

5. Sometimes we have less than ten minutes per patient, so make the most of your time and ask about the most pressing problems first. If you have a lot of questions, request an extra-long appointment.

6. Even though I tell you to let your baby cry himself back to sleep once he's older, don't ask me if I always followed that advice with my own kids. I didn't.

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7. If you have an urgent concern and the front desk tells you there are no appointments available, ask for a nurse and explain your situation. Often she can work you in even if the schedule indicates there's no time.

8. Don't delay treating your child because you want me to see the symptoms. People do this a lot: "I didn't give him Tylenol, because I wanted you to feel the fever." "I didn't use the nebulizer, because I wanted you to hear the wheezing." Trust me, I will believe you that the child had a fever or was wheezing. Delaying the treatment only makes your child suffer.

9. As soon as you say "He doesn't like it when you look in his ears," you remind your child of the last time and set us up for another failure. Be matter-of-fact: "It's time for the doctor to look in your ears."

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10. Sure, we have a "sick" waiting room and a "well" waiting room, but no studies show it really makes a difference. Germs are everywhere, and we can't disinfect after each patient. My advice? Bring your own toys, and if your child touches anything, give him a hit of hand ssanitizer.

11. Don't tell your kid the doctor will give him a shot if he doesn't behave. I won't.

12. Insurance companies won't pay us to check complex problems at a well visit. So if your child has been complaining of headaches for months, I may tell you to make another appointment. I literally won't get paid if I investigate the headaches while you're here.

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13. Pediatricians are among the lowest-paid doctors, making half as much as many specialists. We get pooped, peed, and thrown up on — and worse. But we love helping kids, and that's why we do it.

14. Kids have figured out that “This won’t hurt” is code for “This is going to hurt,” and they get all worked up. It’s really best to not even use the word hurt. It just creates anxiety.

15. If you want to do a little Internet research in advance, go for it. But please don’t use a website to diagnose your kids and come in asking for a specific remedy.

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16. Don’t ask me medical questions about your child when you see me at the grocery store, pool, or library. When I’m out with my kids, I just want to be a mom.

17. If I prescribe a newer, more expensive medication, it may be because a drug rep just left my office. They constantly bring us presents and flatter us, and their only goal is getting us to prescribe the latest medication, which is usually no better than the older ones. In fact, the older ones have a longer safety track record and really should be the ones we prescribe first.

18. Most visits to the pediatrician, particularly for older children, are unnecessary. It may only take a phone call to find out that your child’s fever, cold, sore throat, ear infection, and even pink eye will most likely get better on its own.

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19. Do you really believe that we’d be recommending vaccines if we had any concerns about their safety? Almost all pediatricians immunize their own children.

20. Yes, you can talk to your pediatrician on the phone. Be persistent, be polite, and explain to the staff that you have a pressing, personal issue that you think would be best handled over the phone. We’ll call back as soon as we can.

21. Have a last-minute form for summer camp you need us to fill out? Show up with a smile and some homemade cookies, and we will get it done. I can name two patients off the top of my head who always bring baked goods, and everyone in the office knows and loves them.

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22. We often have no idea what a particular medicine costs. If your jaw drops at the price the pharmacy gives you, call us back and see if we can prescribe something else.

23. Stop typing on your smart phone! When I’m talking to your child, I need you to pay attention. He is not going to tell me everything I need to know.

24. When you tell me you gave a decongestant to your toddler, I cringe. Studies show that cold medicines never work well for children under age six, and the risk of overdose and side effects far outweigh any benefit.

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25. Listen to your intuition. You know your child better than anyone, and that’s why when you tell me something “isn’t right,” my ears perk up.
Sources: Pediatricians David L. Hill, MD, in Wilmington, North Carolina; Robert Lindeman, MD, in Framingham, Massachusetts; Allison Fabian, DO, in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Amanda Moran, MD, in Charlotte, North Carolina; Roy Benaroch, MD, author of A Guide to Getting the Best Health Care for Your Child; and a pediatrician in Virginia who preferred not to be named.

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55 thoughts on “13+ Things Your Pediatrician Won’t Tell You

  1. Be also aware that a pediatrician is always looking for signs of child sexual abuse, physical abuse or neglect, and heshe has instruction from authorities to suspect such matters upon nearly anyl deviaton from a strict normality scheme in the child or by the parents.

  2. My Fiancée is a pediatrician, if the person that really said most of these things, such as #17, is a pediatrician they are not a good one.

  3. The new medical practice of doing nothing during a visit and telling you to wait it out is preparing us for government run healthcare. They are desensitizing us when it comes to getting treated, this will be the biggest crisis in healthcare in the coming decade. Scaring us about resistant this and resistant that while citing unconfirmed studies effecting .001% of the population. Be prepared everyone, find a doctor that wants to listen and is willing to treat the problem instead of a wait, see and hope approach. Northeast Pediatics in Landen Ohio has taken the do nothing and hope for the best approach, buyer beware

  4. Pediatrzy są jednymi z najgorzej opłacanych lekarzy, co najwyżej w połowie tak jak wielu specjalistów. Dostajemy w nagrodę siusiu, kupkę i wymioty, a czasem więcej.. Ale kochamy pomagać dzieciom. I dlatego to robimy.

  5. Nie mów dziecku, że jak nie będzie grzeczne to dostanie zastrzyk. Nie dam mu, nie dostanie.

  6. Nie odwlekaj leczenia dziecka tylko dlatego, że chcesz abym zobaczył objawy. Rodzice często tak robią: “I nie dałem mu Paracetamolu, bo chciałem aby Pan doktor stwierdził gorączkę.” “I nie skorzystałem z nebulizatora, bo chciałam aby lekarz stwierdził świszczący oddech.” Zaufaj mi, doświadczonemu pediatrze, ja wierzę, że dziecko ma gorączkę lub miało świszczący oddech. Opóźnienie leczenia tylko szkodzi.

  7. A couple of issues not metioned: The pediatrician is scrutinizing the parents as much as the kids, and the interaction between the parents and the kids. More than any other doctor, except perhaps psychiatrists, pediatricians are represenatives for the authorities, and are loyale towards all oblgations the authorities impose on them.

  8. FIRST OF ALL, I MYSELF WAS SEXUALLY,PHYSICALLY AND I WAS MENTALLY ABUSED BY BOTH “DOCTORS” AND “NURSES” AS A SMAALL CHILD!!1 MY MUM DELIERATELY LET THEM ABUSE ME WITH THEIR “TESTS’ AND SUCH @##$%$&!!!!!

    I MYSELF DIDN’T ALLOW THEM TO “VACCINATE” MY DAUGHTER WHILE SHE WAS ABABY,CHILD AND AS SHE GREW UP. AND THEY KNEW FULL WELL IF THEY EVEN TRIED TO HURT HER, I WOULD BOTH BEAT AND I WOULD SMACK THE @#&*%!!! RIGHT OUT OF THEM INDEED!
    @3a74f169ac857e48c314c13d3ad033c7:disqus 
    AND THEIR SO-CALLED “WELL CHECKS” ARE NOTHING BUT MONEY,MONEY,MONEY FOR THEM INDEED!!!! I WON’T SUPPORT THEIR LAVISH LIFESTYLES THAT THESE MEDICS JUST SUCK US ALL DRY OF HUH!!! AND IF “MEDICS” HAVE A PROBLEM WITH A PARENT TELLING THAT THEIR CHILD DOESN’T LIKE THEM “LOOKING IN THEIR EARS” ETC.. THEM SO @#$%&@#$$ WHAT??!!
    @fbf0b9db050198c01e9ca69e744e074b:disqus 
    IF MYSELF, MY DAUGHTER OR ANYONE DOESN’T WANT OR DISLIKES SOMETHING THAT THESE “MEDICS’ FEEL THEY “HAVE TO DO” WE CAN AN WE WILL ALWAYS,ALWAYS,ALWAYS SAY NO! NO

  9. FIRST OF ALL, I MYSELF WAS SEXUALLY,PHYSICALLY AND I WAS MENTALLY ABUSED BY BOTH “DOCTORS” AND “NURSES” AS A SMAALL CHILD!!1 MY MUM DELIERATELY LET THEM ABUSE ME WITH THEIR “TESTS’ AND SUCH @##$%$&!!!!!

    I MYSELF DIDN’T ALLOW THEM TO “VACCINATE” MY DAUGHTER WHILE SHE WAS ABABY,CHILD AND AS SHE GREW UP. AND THEY KNEW FULL WELL IF THEY EVEN TRIED TO HURT HER, I WOULD BOTH BEAT AND I WOULD SMACK THE @#&*%!!! RIGHT OUT OF THEM INDEED!
    @3a74f169ac857e48c314c13d3ad033c7:disqus 
    AND THEIR SO-CALLED “WELL CHECKS” ARE NOTHING BUT MONEY,MONEY,MONEY FOR THEM INDEED!!!! I WON’T SUPPORT THEIR LAVISH LIFESTYLES THAT THESE MEDICS JUST SUCK US ALL DRY OF HUH!!! AND IF “MEDICS” HAVE A PROBLEM WITH A PARENT TELLING THAT THEIR CHILD DOESN’T LIKE THEM “LOOKING IN THEIR EARS” ETC.. THEM SO @#$%&@#$$ WHAT??!!
    @fbf0b9db050198c01e9ca69e744e074b:disqus 
    IF MYSELF, MY DAUGHTER OR ANYONE DOESN’T WANT OR DISLIKES SOMETHING THAT THESE “MEDICS’ FEEL THEY “HAVE TO DO” WE CAN AN WE WILL ALWAYS,ALWAYS,ALWAYS SAY NO! NO

  10. Doctors don’t give antibiotics to look like a genius when they could have waited, they give them because parents/patients often request them and suggest that they need them even after the doctor explains that it is just a viral infection. If they don’t give them to the patient- they will just find another doctor who will.

  11. Seriously…you may say you believe they had a fever, and you may say you believe we heard them wheezing. But just about every time I’ve taken my child in AFTER treating her symptoms, I’m simply sent home…with no more info at all. 

  12. I’m 65, and I still remember getting rabies shots in the stomach when I was around 2 years old! Back then the needles were bigger and truly scary to a toddler. My Mom and Dad were the ones who helped hold me down and whispered soothing words to calm me, but scream I did!  Oh, I had to take the shots because a cat of unknown origin scratched me…poor kitty, he wasn’t rabid at all!

  13. Parents looks at vaccination as a sadistic act of a physician, but they don’t realize that Inaction could lead to long term affliction and sufferings which is much more sadistic than just a few seconds of vaccination.

  14. Parents looks at vaccination as a sadistic act of a physician, but they don’t realize that Inaction could lead to long term affliction and sufferings which is much more sadistic than just a few seconds of vaccination.

  15. “Prevention is equivalent to a ton of cure”, is the phrase for the genius.  A stab on the arm practically in “seconds”, could prevent a long term sufferings.

  16. “Prevention is equivalent to a ton of cure”, is the phrase for the genius.  A stab on the arm practically in “seconds”, could prevent a long term sufferings.

  17. “Prevention is equivalent to a ton of cure”, is the phrase for the genius.  A stab on the arm practically in “seconds”, could prevent a long term sufferings.

  18. “Prevention is equivalent to a ton of cure”, is the phrase for the genius.  A stab on the arm practically in “seconds”, could prevent a long term sufferings.

  19. Never never choose the first appt of the day.  Doctors are always late.

    1. But it doesn’t get any better as the day progresses, if they start out late.

    2. But it doesn’t get any better as the day progresses, if they start out late.

    3. But it doesn’t get any better as the day progresses, if they start out late.

  20. No. 13 no that’s what they go into the profession thinking …then find out it is a job and it get’s mundane and as usual their attitudes change

  21. Sometimes we have less than 10 minutes per patient  =  The more we see the more money we make.

  22. Why would any woman want to breast feed while your child gets a shot? OUCH! Do you think the jolt of the needle might make the babe bite down on a tender nipple? Yeah, I do too. Sounds like bad advice to me! 

  23. You can request to breastfeed while your baby’s getting shots, but generally you’ll get told no. I’ve even seen a head nurse throw a tantrum and storm out of the room, sending in another nurse to administer the shot, when I requested to. And this is at breastfeeding-friendly offices. (Not all are, I’ve had to change pediatricians before when they tried to push formula or weaning at 4mos in direct contradiction of AAP guidelines.)

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  25. #2. said:  “Even though studies show antibiotics for ear infections are rarely
    better than waiting for kids over age two, many of us
    prescribe them anyway. We want to feel like we’re doing something. If I
    prescribe an antibiotic and a few days later your child feels better, I
    look like a genius.”

    Which means you’re treating yourself, and not the patient. Your job description does not include either wearing a cape or being a hero. Your job is to make sound, evidence-based decisions.

    The ugly reality is, the hundreds of millions of incidents of unnecessary over-use of antibiotics and 10,000 other drugs – have resulted in monstrous patient & societal downsides. These include, among others, entire new breeds of drug-resistant cooties that never existed before; in addition to the minor detail of insurance providers having caught on to the fact that they have been raped, pillaged & plundered by undisciplined care providers for decades. So what did they do? They did what any sane business would do, when faced with dishonest over-billing: they raised their rates to the exorbitant heights we all now experience.

    It’s beyond the time to stop the over-treatment, but the ethical MD will think three times before prescribing drugs as a knee-jerk, “gee, I sure am busy” reaction.

  26. When my kids are small I didn’t let them to play or walk on the aisle, I held them until their appointment was done.

  27. The whole point of a well visit is to examine the child’s overall health and growth on an annual basis.  So if you turn up a problem,  ie. an on-going issue with headaches, who says  you can’t prescribe something for it then.  I’m sure our pediatricians did.  Or if I said I’m concerned about X they would recommend a test or whatever was necessary.   Sometimes things don’t seem too serious but when the doctor evaluates them during a well visit he may decide otherwise.  I found  that comment to be totally weird.

    1. I see a lot of parents “save up” issues when they know their child has
      an upcoming well visit. It’s right there in the name – a “well” visit.
      The child is supposed to be well at the visit. If the child is not well,
      they need a “sick” visit. The point of a well visit is usually just to
      check on physical growth, vital signs and immunizations. That can be
      done very quickly.

      Ongoing headaches in a child aren’t a small matter. If a child is having headaches, the differential diagnosis includes everything from migraines to vision problems to chronic sinusitis to brain tumors. All of these possibilities have to be ruled out. That requires a longer visit to be done correctly. If you save up these issues for a well visit you are putting your child at risk.

    2. I see a lot of parents “save up” issues when they know their child has
      an upcoming well visit. It’s right there in the name – a “well” visit.
      The child is supposed to be well at the visit. If the child is not well,
      they need a “sick” visit. The point of a well visit is usually just to
      check on physical growth, vital signs and immunizations. That can be
      done very quickly.

      Ongoing headaches in a child aren’t a small matter. If a child is having headaches, the differential diagnosis includes everything from migraines to vision problems to chronic sinusitis to brain tumors. All of these possibilities have to be ruled out. That requires a longer visit to be done correctly. If you save up these issues for a well visit you are putting your child at risk.

  28. Although some of these points are moronic, they truly did forget an important one.
    No one ever helped us understand that as physicians we would be dealing with glaring human stupidity each and every day and playing psychiatrist – which we have no interest in or else we would be a psychiatrist!!!!!

  29. Although some of these points are moronic, they truly did forget an important one.
    No one ever helped us understand that as physicians we would be dealing with glaring human stupidity each and every day and playing psychiatrist – which we have no interest in or else we would be a psychiatrist!!!!!

    1. Obviously you have no concept of how doctors get paid. They bill insurance companies per visit, and then the overhead of running the office comes out of that. They don’t get paid hourly. Sure, they may be able to bill $190 for a fifteen minute visit, but they probably only see 20 – 30 % of that, depending on how they practice and the arrangement they have with the practice. Plus, many doctors who have been in practice less than 10 – 15 years are still paying their school loans. I’m a nurse at a large outpatient practice, and I drive a nicer car than any of the doctors I work with.

  30. HAHAHHAHA!!!! prescribe antibiotics for no reason!!!! ruin my childs immune system!!!….I love it

  31. I really like #12. The way the doctor I did my externship with explained it to patients was: If you take your car to a mechanic for a tune-up and he finds something else that needs to be done you  have to pay more to have that problem fixed as it isn’t included in the cost of the tune-up. This is the same for physicals.

  32. As a pediatrician, I get asked to see siblings all the time and it totally throws off my whole schedule.  Being nice to one parent and seeing their other child means that my next ten will be annoyed because they had to wait.  In addition, when they receive a bill for the sibling, I get the “but he didn’t even have an appointment!  Why should I have to pay?!”.  Sometimes being nice does not pay off.

  33. #5 Requesting a longer appointment doesn’t matter if the doctor overbooks himself. I’ll be lucky to see the doctor at all even if I have an appointment.

    1.  If your that unhappy with your current doctor, it’s simple just switch. 

    2. A lot of doctors overbook because many inconsiderate patients often don’t show up for their appointments (loss of income) so they take that into account when scheduling. If everybody does show up then they may run behind schedule. Think from their (our) perspective. Sometimes people forget we are running a business.

  34. #3 I’ve NEVER had a doctor offer anything comforting for a vaccine! If there is a better way, why not practice it? So sadistic to just stab a kid and move on to the next patient.
     

    1.  Come on, you can avoid having your child vaccinated period and just wait for your child to catch the dreaded disease or just put up with a 10 second pinch.  You choose!  Baby boys get circumcised, girls get horrible cramps, women go into labor – none of it lasts forever.  What are we raising, a bunch of whimps???

      1. My Son didn’t get circumcised, only 32% of American boys are these days. And  circumcision DOES last forever. And it’s unnecessary. And it kills 116 baby boys per year.

    2. If you are willing to wait around 20 minutes for the numbing cream to take effect and to pay the extra cost, then probably all you have to do is ask for it.   The cold spray is nothing more than a placebo effect, but again, if it makes you feel better about your child being sadistically stabbed, just ask.  More to the point, educate yourself about vaccines because it really sounds like you don’t get it.

    3. One of the most common numbing creams we use in the hospital is Emla cream. If it’s left on for longer than 30 minutes, it can cause burning – literally. Numbing sprays, cold creams, numbing creams – they’re all generally medications which also have side effects. If your child has sensitive skin or a skin condition, they can make it worse or cause a flair up. There is also the small chance they can be allergic to it. Something non-pharmacological like ice is can also be used, but then your child has the discomfort of something that cold on them for the 5 minutes it takes to actually numb the area effectively. Ice can’t be used in newborns or really young infants because they don’t regulate their temperatures well. If you’re wanting this done before something like an IV start, in my experience as a pediatric nurse, these creams cause the IVs to be much harder to start than when they were not used – leading to more sticks than may have been necessary to start with.

      You’re best bet, is to give the child some Tylenol (if the pediatrician agrees) before the vaccination and to just get it over with. Children are amazingly resilient little people. I also don’t recommend that you tell small children they are going to get a shot until immediately before the time. The anxiety is often worse than the actual shot.

      AND PLEASE: Never use threaten a child with a shot to get them to behave. It makes it so much harder for nurses and medical staff to do their jobs to make your child better when they actually need one. They learn to be scared of us. We’re not here to punish but to help.

  35. A doctor who prescribes antibiotics just to “look like a genius” is at best utterly unethical.

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