Gone are the days when we visited the family doctor for all our ailments. Parents now approach paediatricians if their children are sick. So, how do you know you've chosen the right one?
By Ram Shankar
Many Indian parents, particularly those from the rural and semi-urban areas, still consult a general practitioner for their children’s illness. Many families have a ‘family doctor’ who treats everyone in the household for their ailments. But a general practitioner’s approach to an ailment may not be suitable for a child.
A friend of mine shares her experience: “We took our nine-month-old daughter, who had a severe cough, to a general practitioner. He prescribed antibiotics for her.” Situations like this underline the importance of consulting a specialist; in this case, a paediatrician. A paediatrician would have treated the cough in a way that’s more appropriate to the age and symptoms of the child.
A paediatrician is a doctor who specialises in treating the ailments of young children. He is well-versed in the overall management of the health of children. He can also advise you on your child’s growth and development milestones, any developmental delays, nutrition, and immunisation. Usually, paediatricians have an MBBS degree with a specialisation in paediatrics leading to an MD. A few of them obtain a DNB certification after MBBS. Both these degrees are valid qualifications for practising paediatrics in India.
Any doctor who has obtained a DNB or an MD in paediatrics can become a paediatrician. But the qualities mentioned above define a great paediatrician.
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