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Finding the right orthopedic specialist for your child

If your child’s pediatrician has referred you to see an orthopedic specialist, you may have many questions. How do you find a doctor you can trust? Do you follow the pediatrician’s recommendation or look for someone on your own? You may be facing a complicated condition, or even surgery for your child. You want to protect your child from further injury. How do you find the best doctor for your child?

Ask for a referral

Most people like to get a personal referral for everything from a restaurant to a salon, and medical care is no different. Just like with restaurants, however, people have different tastes. Be sure to ask the friend or family member about specifics that may be important to you.

Your family doctor or pediatrician may have a referral for you, and they can be a great starting point. They also may be able to give you other resources, such as medical literature by an expert on your child’s situation. That expert may also be willing to refer you to a specialist for that condition.

Do your research

Realistically, your health insurance company is going to have the most to say about what specialist they will cover in their network. You may not be able to use the doctor referred by a friend or pediatrician. The good news is, you can still research your network options to find the one right for your child.

  • Organizations. Every specialty has an organization, sometimes called a board or an academy, that oversees its members and provides information about them. For example, and orthopedic surgeon may belong to the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons or the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
  • The hospital. Most doctors associate with a local hospital. If your child is facing surgery, you will want to know which hospital the surgeon practices out of. Are you comfortable with the hospital’s quality and care record? Does the hospital have a pediatric orthopedic staff? Infection rates are a good indicator of care, and are available to the public in California.
  • Location. You may feel like location is a minor issue, but your child’s outcome may be better if you have easier access to the doctor, especially if your child will be going through rehab.
  • Asking the right questions. You should feel as though you can talk to your child’s doctor and ask them questions. Your child should feel comfortable, too. The doctor should take the time to answer your questions and make sure you understand the treatment proposed. His or her answers should be direct and honest. Don’t be afraid to ask:
    • What board certifications do you have?
    • Are you confident you can perform this treatment/procedure, or should I see someone more specialized?
    • Does this treatment/procedure have any complications I should know about?
    • May I get a second opinion?

Seeing an orthopedic specialist can be a scary thing for a parent, not to mention a child. As a parent, you want to protect your child from medical malpractice. Don’t be afraid to demand the best for your child.

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Haberkorn & Associates
2055 Woodside Rd., Suite 155
Redwood City, CA 94061

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