Jun 27, 2012
It is not unusual for your young children to be under the care of a pediatrician, but what type of specialist should you take your child to considering that there are specialists for both children and adults? The medication prescribed by a pediatrician for an adult may not be the same medication a specialist would prescribe for a child. Children are growing all the time and they have special needs for growth and development; their psychological needs are different from those of adults. You have to take into account the age and development of the child and whether you want a pediatrician or a specialist. A pediatrician does not have the same length of training as a specialist, but this does not mean that he is not a good pediatrician. Still, his knowledge gives him an edge.
Differentiating between pediatricians and pediatric specialists
A pediatrician can go just so far; a specialist deals primarily with children and it would be his diagnosis that would be sought in the event of illness. These specialists in pediatrics, in addition to their training in general pediatrics have additional training in their specialty. To make it clearer, a pediatric Gastroenterologist after medical school has trained for three years in a pediatric residency program and completed an additional three years of training in Pediatric Gastroenterology.
Conversely, an adult Gastroenterologist trains for the same amount of time, but cares mostly for adult patients. If your child is taken to hospital in an emergency and is attended to by the doctor on hand, the doctor might be the child’s pediatrician, but the pediatrician does not necessarily have the same length of pediatric training. In the same way, not all pediatric specialists, with all their training are pediatricians.
Take for example the case in the July 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus which found that almost 20 percent of toddlers were misdiagnosed and prescribed glasses when they saw an Optometrist or General Ophthalmologist. It probably happened because they applied adult standards to children.
Choosing a doctor or a specialist
All of the above indicates that the best specialist for your child is not always the one who has additional pediatric training. Consider the doctor’s level of experience. Find out more about pediatricians and pediatric specialists in your area. A General Surgeon has lots of experience treating children who have appendicitis, but may not have enough experience to treat an infant with pyloric stenosis. It is crucial when choosing a pediatrician who is not a specialist, to know how many kids he has taken care of and if he has treated many children with the same condition.
Types of services
Services in pediatrics include: Pediatric abuse evaluations, Pediatric allergy and immunology, Pediatric cancer, cardiovascular program, dermatology, emergency medicine, endocrinology, feeding and swallowing, gastroenterology, genetic testing for children, Hospital program, infectious diseases, Neonatal intensive care unit, whole body cooling, kidney care, neuroscience program, orthopedic oncology, orthopedics, intermediate care, psychiatry, pulmonary services, radiation oncology, radiology, rheumatology, sedation services, surgery and urology. Your pediatrician is your best source of information if you are looking for a pediatric specialist.