As the parent of an injured child or teen, consider the fact that the most important decision you will make is who you choose as their orthopedic specialist. Your child will have to live with the outcome of your choice for the rest of their life. Your child is trusting you with their future. It is vital for you to learn how to find the best specialist for your child.
Is your child ready to begin playing sports?
CHOOSING A QUALITY PHYSICIAN FOR YOUR CHILD OR TEENAGER
Thankfully, the United States offers the highest quality health care in the world. However, in order to benefit from it, you must actively seek it out.
“Practice makes perfect.” This saying is very applicable to the field of medicine. You certainly wouldn’t want to be a cardiovascular surgeon’s first bypass patient.
It is ironic that people may spend weeks shopping for a car that they will simply sell or dispose of in a couple years, but will expend little or no effort in their search for a physician.
To ensure the best possible outcome and recovery for your child, it is crucial invest time and energy in locating a specialist in pediatric sports medicine.
Make sure a physician is board certified and not a physician extender or practitioner who practices in a variety of fields of medicine.
PEDIATRIC ORTHOPEDIC SPECIALISTS
Unlike fully-grown adults, children have growth plates, and their skeletons and muscles develop at a quicker rate. Pediatric orthopedists deal with musculoskeletal, congenital and growth-related problems that are unique to children such as growth plate injuries, scoliosis and birth defects.
It is important to find a pediatric orthopedic specialist who is qualified and understands your child and his or her unique condition. Pediatric orthopedic specialists have completed specific training and certification programs in order to become an expert in the field of treating children.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
First, board-certification in orthopedic surgery should be a minimum requirement.
Next, look for subspecialization in pediatric orthopedics. This can be seen in a physician’s specific training programs, their credentials or their practice experience. The ideal choice is an orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship-trained in pediatric orthopedics. Fellowship training is the highest level of training available to a specialized physician in the United States.
HOW TO RESEARCH ONLINE
You can conveniently search for information about specific pediatric orthopedic specialists on the Internet.
Complement this search within individual Web sites with a review of reputable sites that provide overall information about a specialty, such as the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics (AOAO). AAOS is responsible for board certification of M.D.’s. The American Osteopathic Board of Orthopedic Surgery certifies D.O. specialists. These nonbiased, informational sites should discuss various treatment options for specific problems. Compare this impartial information with the recommendations of a p darticular physician or practice that you are considering for your child.
Be aware that some Web sites appear to be informational but are, in fact, steerage devices for physicians who pay to be listed among “preferred providers.” A physician should be board-certified and not a physician extender.
A WebMD article, “Looking for Dr. Right: Shopping Tips for the Medical Marketplace,” provides some additional tips on searching for a physician
- Get background information on specific doctors including training and education. You can do this online or using a service. For example, the American Medical Association’s Web site has a “doctor finder” database by area and specialty. There are multiple other online sources for detailed information, and some even offer a complete report of a physician.
- When you have narrowed down your choices of pediatric orthopedists, ask the candidates specific questions related to how he or she plans to keep your child healthy. It is important for them to explain clearly and thoroughly the specific treatment methods they will use for your child.