Monday, June 17, 2024

How to Decide on a Paediatrician

This is an INFORMATION page, verified by physician

Unlike many other countries in the world, if you are having a baby in Cayman, through the private sector, you will find yourself thinking of what to consider when choosing a paediatrician for your baby in advance of baby’s birth (just like you chose an OBGYN at the beginning of your pregnancy).

What to consider when choosing a paediatrician (pediatrician – no different, only the spelling between UK and USA) for the birth of your baby and for their care beyond birth is much like choosing a family doctor. In that you would want to maintain that relationship throughout your child’s childhood. And through your next pregnancies.

Given the ongoing relationship it’s not a decision taken lightly. Many parents find it one of the more stressful ones they make. We hope this guide will take some of the stress out of the decision.

It’s difficult to choose a relationship on paper or screen. So do meet one or more paediatricians in advance of your baby’s birth. You’ll get far more of a feel for which one is right for you and your baby when you are face-to-face. You’ll want to ask them a series of questions to be a bit more objective than ‘I like them’. But liking them is, important too. All private paediatricians on the island will offer you a complimentary visit to meet them before the birth of your baby.

It is worth asking other Mums and Dads too. But when doing so, remember that they are different people with different requirements. But, it’s an excellent way of finding out things like:

  • How accessible is the paediatrician?
  • Did they feel reassured by their care and advice?
  • Did they get on well with the children (which is more helpful if asking someone with similar aged children)?
  • Did they work on their own or as part of a team?
  • What are their nurses and support team like?

Besides thinking about childhood as a whole it is worth thinking about your use of a paediatrician in Cayman around birth.

A paediatrician must always be present if you are having a baby at Doctors’ Hospital.

Normal vaginal deliveries at or around term at George Town Hospital generally don’t need a paediatrician. But many parents find having one reassuring as 1 in 10 babies will unexpectedly need help at birth. If you want a paediatrician at the delivery, let the hospital and your OBGYN know.

Even if you do not expect to need a paediatrician at birth you need to have chosen one. Just in case and informed them and your OBGYN. This is so that in an emergency they can be called. Shortly after birth, baby checks need to be undertaken by a paediatrician. So you’ll want to already know who you are going to use.

Caesarean sections in Cayman need a paediatrician in case there are complications.

Multiple births are often delivered early and need a paediatrician to be present. You will want to know that the paediatrician has expertise in neonatal care and has admitting rights to the neonatal unit. Babies who likely to be born preterm. Or who are known to have underlying congenital problems (i.e. problems picked up before birth) are going to need the expertise of a neonatologist. That is a paediatrician with advance training in the care of sick newborn babies and neonatal intensive care

You need to ask yourself and the paediatricians these sorts of questions:

  • What level of qualification suits my needs or situation best?
  • Does the paediatrician have or indeed need to have (or not) admitting rights for neonatal care?
  • Does the paediatrician have or need not to have (or not) expertise in neonatal intensive care?
  • Does the paediatrician have up-to-date resuscitation skills and newborn life support training?
  • Does the paediatrician have expertise in supporting breast feeding?
  • Do they feel supportive towards both my emotional e.g. worried about a rash, and practical needs?
  • How accessible will the Paediatrician be if I have concerns about my new baby?
  • Will I be able to message them?
  • Will I be able to phone out of hours?

Don’t leave meeting a paediatrician to the last minute. You will have lots of other things on your mind or your baby may come early. A good time to set up meetings is from 30 weeks onwards. Remember if the first person you meet is not right for you can meet as many paediatricians as the island has. Keep looking until you find the best fit for you and your family.

More Advice on what to consider when choosing a paediatrician

It’s also worth checking out help, advice, and any paediatrician’s posts in our Baby Facebook Group. It allows you to ask questions, gain access to basic advice and share experiences with others facing the same new experiences. You can join here:

about the author

Dr Lisa Joels
Dr Lisa Joels
OBSTETRICIAN & GYNAECOLOGIST - Dr Lisa Joels (MB ChB, MD, FRCOG, FHEA) has 34 years’ experience in obstetrics and gynaecology including 19 years as a Consultant working in Swansea (2001-11) and subsequently at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundations Trust in the UK (2011-20). These are both University teaching hospitals, each having more than 4,000 deliveries a year and providing tertiary obstetric and neonatal services as well as gynaecological services to their local population. Dr Joels has experience in management of complex obstetric and gynaecological problems including a multi-disciplinary approach and working closely with related specialties such as midwifery, neonatology, paediatrics and anaesthetics. She believes in a woman-centred holistic approach to clinical management and is an advocate for patient choice and shared decision making.
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