Part 3 Kids’ Healthcare: Avoiding the 5 Worst Comments You Could Say to a Specialist
Understanding Expectations for Pediatric Specialist Visits
Specialists in a particular field of medicine have taken additional training to become really good at managing a special area of the body. If your child has been referred to a specialty physician, it means the problem your child is facing has not responded well to initial management by the pediatrician. A referral means it is time for someone who works in this specific area, every single day, to meet your child and determine what the next course of therapy should be.
When you arrive with your child to meet the specialist, you will need to share the details of the problem This history includes all medications that have been used and any procedures, blood work or xrays that have been done. This information is vital for specialists to avoid repeating what has already been done.
Many times when a pediatrician makes a referral, there are several options for the next course of treatment. Parents should not assume that a surgery or procedure or test will be recommended on that visit.
Specialists understand that many parents are frustrated with the lack of improvement in their child’s medical problem. However, specialists must still take the time to make their own assessment before a recommendation is made.
Despite your anxiety, you need to avoid saying any of these 5 things to your specialist:
- I don’t know why I am here. The pediatrician just recommended a specialist check out my child. Just no. This is never the case
- I don’t know my child’s medical history. My pediatrician puts all the notes in the computer. Can’t you just look at the notes online? Medical records are confidential and physicians cannot access the records without your written permission. If your pediatrician and specialist are part of the same large hospital network, they will be share the same medical record system. In this situation, the specialist can access the pediatric notes. However, if the pediatrician or the specialist are in private practice or work for different hospital system, you will need a copy of the medical records to send or carry with you to the office. Or, know the history.
- Why are we discussing this information? I have been working with the pediatrician already. I am only here to schedule surgery. The actual reason for your initial visit is to have a consultation with the specialist. Specialists process information differently and may interpret results differently as well. You must allow the specialist the opportunity to understand what has been done and then decide if surgery is indicated.
- The only reason I want my child to have surgery is because I don’t want to give my child medications any more. Some surgeries result in the ability to stop all medications. Other surgeries may improve the problem so that medications may now control the disease. During your consultation, the specialist will let you know what to expect after surgery.
- I do not want my child to have surgery. I am only here because my pediatrician recommended it. No matter what you say, I am not agreeing to do it. Again, this is a consultation. Surgery has not even been recommended! There is not a good reason to become confrontational with the surgeon before the history is obtained, an examination is done and a recommendation is given. You always have the right to refuse surgery or additional medications. However, if you made the effort to come to the specialist’s office, please all the visit to proceed before you announce your final plans.
This post concludes my 3 part healthcare series which describes a broad overview of the types of medical care and types of physician visits your child may need. I am hopeful that some of this information will allow parents to have better experiences when they have sick children who need medical care.