4 months ago

Momma Manual: Top 10 pediatrician picking pointers

Momma Manual: Top 10 pediatrician picking pointers

Whether you have just learned you’re pregnant, or already have a few youngsters running around, one thing we can all agree on is that picking your child’s pediatrician may be the single most important health-related decision you ever make as a mom. After all, this is the individual you are entrusting to supervise your child’s health and wellness from birth to the age of 18. This person will walk with you in those precious first moments of life. He/she will make recommendations regarding vaccinations, medications and other potentially lifesaving care. He/she will nurture and care for your child during times of sickness and rejoice with you in times of good health.

But that feels like a lot of pressure, right? I mean, wow. You’ve just selected an OB/GYN, a delivery hospital, a crib, a booger sucking bulb syringe, a tummy time mat and the infamous going home the hospital outfit. And now you have to add another decision to your seemingly neverending checklist?

Have no fear. The hope with this post is to provide you a handy dandy checklist to take all the guesswork and stress out of making this call.  When making this ever-important decision, I would recommend doing a quick search to discover all of the options in your close vicinity. Jot down names of particular interest to you. Next, seek referrals from other parents. Compile a list of pediatricians receiving high marks from other moms. After you feel that you have a solid list of vetted candidates, narrow it down to the top two or three. Make an appointment with these individuals to see for yourself which one you feel is best suited for your family. All reputable pediatricians welcome “new-parent” appointments and consider them standard practice. If you call one to set up a meeting and he/she declines, that might be your first clue that they are not the one for your child!

OK. So, you’ve done your homework. You’ve picked a few candidates to research a little further. What do you do once you’ve scheduled a call or quick visit with them? Consider the criteria below as your stress-free cheatsheet guide of conversation topics to refer to during your time together (in no particular order because arguably they are all equally important):

(1) Office Hours – When is he/she available to see your child? Do they provide any after-hour appointments for working parents or parents who desire extended scheduling opportunities? A growing number of practices are open at least for a few hours on the weekends for sick visits. Some offices even offer well visit checks during certain weekend hours, which is particularly helpful for parents who are unable to step away from obligations/responsibilities during the week, but wish to attend doctor visits with their child. If the doctor is only open from 8:00-5:00 Monday through Friday, I would think about how those restrictions could potentially affect your family. Unfortunately, your precious little one’s sicknesses will not always fall within that time frame. Most doctors are offering a few appointments throughout the weekend now and even offer later hours during the week to meet the needs of a wider range of families.

(2) On-call Nurse Assistance – It never fails that the moment you need the doctor is 6:37 p.m. on a Saturday night moments after kickoff of the state’s biggest football game. Not shockingly, you won’t find many doctors chilling in their offices in those random moments. On a few occasions, my daughters have run high fevers late at night or even very early in the morning. Understandably, you probably aren’t jazzed about hanging out in the waiting room of the local children’s hospital for hours just to be told that little Junior is suffering from the common cold. And this is exactly why you will want to track down a pediatrician’s office that offers a 24-7 nurse on call. This service is outstanding because you simply call the regular office phone number at any hour of the day and you can be connected to a nurse who can answer any question you may have and even schedule an appointment if necessary. Trust me, when your child is sick – especially in those first few years of life – you will visit panic mode quite a few times. Knowing that you have a nurse waiting to offer you immediate assistance no matter the time of day is incredibly reassuring.

(3) Well Entrance vs. Sick Entrance – Imagine taking your child to the doctor for a well visit and being forced to sit next to a sneezing, coughing, snotty-nosed kid for 30 minutes while you wait to be called back. Not cool. What’s the point of taking your healthy child for a well visit if he/she leaves sick each time from sitting in the waiting room with those feeling under the weather?!? Well clinics vs. sick clinics is a huge discussion/trend amongst pediatricians. In fact, I would argue it’s becoming the industry norm. This is not a complete deal-breaker, but I would weigh the repercussions of sitting next to Flu-filled Felicia in your mind when making this important pediatrician picking decision.

(4) Office Visit Wait Time – This topic can stir up all kinds of drama – but trust me when I say, this may be one of the most important factors in your decision, Momma. When your child is sick, haste is key in solving the problem and steering towards a safe solution. How much time you spend (or waste in some instances) in a waiting room is a factor worth calculating. A few questions you will want answered related to office visit wait time: How long do patients typically wait on average to see the doctor for well visits? For sick visits?  Some doctors are so popular that their waiting rooms are filled to the brim daily with overwhelmed mommas and tired toddlers. This can be a drawback if you want efficient service. Make sure to inquire with other families about appointment wait time.

First and foremost, the care of every child in the office is equally imperative. There are bound to be moments with every pediatrician where his/her timing is off due to a special need with a patient or circumstances outside of his/her control. These are instances that cannot be avoided. On the flip side, there are also habitual offenders of the “sit in the waiting room for forever” phenomenon. As a human being, I strive to respect the time of others. I may not always be early to the party, but I try really hard not to be late. Using similar logic, it’s important for medical professionals to respect the time of their patients as well. Nothing burns me up worse than hearing discussions of goat cheese appetizers going on in the hallway when my child has been vomiting in my hands for 47.5 minutes … and counting. My best advice for tackling this factor is to ask current patients. Ask them what the average wait time is for a sick visit is vs. the average wait time for a well visit. For point of reference, our pediatrician’s wait time is equal for both types of visits – which I would argue is outstanding. Especially since he has a track record of under 20 minutes for both! Once you’ve asked around with current patients, there’s no shame in the game of broaching the topic with your prospective medical professional as well – after all, you are interviewing this individual to care for your child for the next 18 years of their life.

(5) Medicine Philosophy – in a world where “organic” and “natural” have become more than just trends, how does your doctor feel about prescribing medicine? Is he/she opposed to antibiotics? Does he/she encourage to provide over-the-counter pain medication such as Tylenol if baby has a fever or allow the fever to break naturally? What are the doctor’s thoughts on vaccinations and other forms of preventative medicine? Do his / her philosophies comport with your views as the parent? Nowadays this discussion is imperative. If the plan presented does not suit you, you will want to know that ahead of time.

(6) Affiliation with a local hospital – God forbid your child ever need the assistance of emergency medical care or extended medical treatment. However, to assist you in those times of extra need, many pediatricians have relationships with local hospitals to make these instances less frustrating for the parents and physicians. I would recommend asking if they have an affiliation with a local hospital. If not, why not? If they do, inquire regarding the admission process and if you need to place a call to your pediatrician’s office prior to arriving at the hospital. You may think this is overbearing, but there are even physicians who can get you in to see a hospital doctor much quicker by simply making a call on your child’s behalf. At 4 am when you are struggling for sanity, you are going to want to have this information handy.

(7) Available network and relationships with various specialists – When my second daughter was born, she had some hearing related issues – or so we thought based on her initial hearing tests. Thankfully, our pediatrician had a connection with one of the best audiologists in town and we were seen the day she left the labor and delivery wing.  Being well connected is imperative in any profession, but particularly attractive for a pediatrician. Referrals are made daily in pediatric offices. Having an established relationship with teams of specialists in place can make the transition to more intensive medical care much less stressful for the child and the parent. Plus, answers received today are much more helpful than waiting weeks just to get in to visit with a specialist. At the very least, your pediatrician should be willing to provide you a list of several specialists in case you ever need one.

(8) Experience – No offense to Doogie Howser … I’m sure he was incredible. Experience is key. There is really no hard and fast rule regarding experience. But logic tells you that a doctor who has been practicing for several years will likely have seen an untold amount of unique illnesses and become much more targeted when delivering diagnoses. My suggestion would be to inquire about years in the field, any specialties or extra degrees, etc. Again, age is not necessarily a defining characteristic here, but I stand by the notion that experience is key.

(9) Reputation in the community – You will most likely have to rely on word-of-mouth, online reviews and accolades received for this item on the list. Google has made it easier than ever to discover whatever you want to know about perfect strangers. I suggest spending some time researching your doctor’s reputation online first. If you notice several reviews complaining about customer service, rudeness, tardiness, etc. I would weigh that heavily when making your decision. Many physicians even have public social media accounts. Take a second to give them a gander if that type of personal information is important to you as well. Second, reach out to local moms and particularly current patients of the physician for a firsthand report.

Another aspect related to reputation is the friendliness/understanding of the staff and nurses. When you enter the office, are you greeted with a smiling face? Do you feel that the nurses are nurturing and patient with you and your child? You will spend much more time with the nurses and staff over the years, so it’s important to value each of them as a partner in your child’s health journey – and to treat them with that level of respect as well!

(10) Bedside Manner – Bedside manner will matter to you, I promise. I want my children to grow to love the doctor, develop a level of trust and never fear visiting his office. Understandably, children grow very leery of the doctor after the first round of shots or swab of the throat. A really kind doctor knows how to set a child at ease and even foster a friendship with the child over the years. Here are a few questions to consider for this category:
– Does the doctor seem warm when approached?
– Is he/she easy to talk with? Does he/she seem distracted or disinterested in your conversation?
– Does the doctor interact freely with patients?
– How does he/she treat the staff and nurses?
– Does he/she offer affirmation or even a small treat for soothing or good behavior?
– Is he/she funny or at least willing to carry on light-hearted conversation?
– Does he/she use words that are only found in textbooks?
– Does he/she seem to truly care about the health and wellness of his patients?
The goal for both the patient/patient’s family and the doctor is to develop a trusting professional partnership backed by active participation and mutual respect.

This list may seem overwhelming at first glance, but when considering the medical care provider for your child, researching these important factors beforehand will protect you fro a great deal of regret later down the road. Consider this just like you would an interview for a caretaker for your child. After all, this individual will be providing some of the most important care your child will receive outside your home.

In closing, know that even if at first you choose the wrong “fit,” you can always fix it! Your child’s health and wellness should always be a top priority, so I hope you feel empowered to make the best choice for your family.

7 mins ago

Sessions: Making Alabama’s judiciary great again

President Trump has done a tremendous job nominating smart, qualified and tough conservative judges to the federal judiciary. But there are a lot more vacancies to fill, and he needs another term to finish what he started. While Supreme Court justices receive most of the attention, federal appeals court judges are nearly as influential.

Like the justices, they are appointed for life and hear cases touching on religious freedom, free speech, gun rights, abortion, criminal law, immigration and government regulation issues. Because the Supreme Court hears only 0.1% of appeals, these are essentially the most significant federal courts in the country.


When President Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009, only one of these 13  federal appeals courts — the Ninth Circuit — was controlled by activist Democratic appointees. When he left office, nine of 13 circuits were controlled by Democratic appointees. Despite President Trump’s historic gains on the federal courts, if he is not reelected in 2020, the courts would flip back to the left — placing at risk his greatest legacy.

Most federal judges serve for several decades, and so their actions continue to impact the country long after the President who appointed them leaves office. For example, nearly half the federal circuit judges still hearing cases in Chicago were appointed by President Reagan. These numbers are the reason why some say that judicial appointments are President Reagan’s greatest legacy. And he certainly made an impact on the Supreme Court, elevating Justice Rehnquist to Chief Justice, who led the “the Rehnquist Revolution” that began to return power to the states, appointing Justice Scalia, one of the greatest jurists in our nation’s history. He also appointed 83 circuit judges, surpassing each of his four successors. But many of these judges are no longer on the bench and those who continue to serve are nearing retirement.

While President Reagan’s judicial legacy is at its twilight, President Obama’s judicial legacy has just begun to impact the country. And while President Reagan understood that our constitutional system depends on an impartial judiciary that will interpret the law as written, President Obama openly sought activist judges who would promote liberal policy preferences that Congress and the American people would not adopt. His Supreme Court nominees — Justices Sotomayor and Kagan — both of whom I opposed — are two of its younger members and over half of his appellate judges could feasibly sit on the courts for the next 40 years.

During my time as the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, I led Republicans in successfully blocking President Obama’s most extreme judicial nominees who exhibited leniency for sex offenders and violent criminals promoted radical left-wing policy agendas like “constitutional welfare rights, rejected originalism and the limited role of the judiciary, and were openly hostile towards the right to bear arms, religious liberty, private property rights (to name just a few). So when President Trump was elected, he had over 100 judicial vacancies to fill and he has delivered, nominating two outstanding Supreme Court justices and over 50 appellate judges.

Indeed, just a few years ago, there were many federal judicial vacancies in Alabama — vacancies that President Obama tried to fill with progressive appointees. Alabama’s federal courts — as we know them — were one election away from a dangerous transformation. But Senator Shelby and I stood together through eight grueling years of the Obama presidency and blocked all but two of his nominees to our federal bench — including one appointee to a powerful appeals court. Fortunately, a lot has changed since President Trump was elected. In less than half the time President Obama was in office, President Trump has appointed five times that many highly qualified lawyers to sit on Alabama federal courts — including the first female judge in Montgomery and the first African-American judge in Mobile. More great Alabama judges are on the way.

One of President Trump’s first appeals court nominees was Judge Kevin Newsom of Birmingham. Before his nomination, Judge Newsom was a partner at one of Alabama’s oldest law firms and served as the chief appellate lawyer for the state of Alabama, where he argued in support of the Ten Commandments and against the use of federal law to prosecute abortion protestors. This past November, President Trump nominated Judge Andrew Brasher of Montgomery to the same court. Just 38 years of age, Judge Brasher also served as Alabama’s top appellate lawyer, where he tirelessly defended Alabama laws from lawsuits brought by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. Once confirmed, Judge Brasher could sit on this court for the next 50 years. Judges Newsom and Brasher are — as President Reagan said of one of his judicial appointees — the kind of judges the American people want on the federal courts; judges who believe in the rule of law, who revere the Constitution and whose sense of fairness and justice are above reproach.

While President Trump has done great work filling judicial vacancies, whoever is elected president in 2020 will be responsible for filling even more vacancies. President Obama’s judges have upheld Obamacare, forced transgender bathrooms in public schools, struck down reasonable voter identification requirements, endlessly blocked the enforcement of our immigration laws and taken over schools and police departments. Whoever the Democrat party nominates to run against President Trump will appoint judges who are even more radical and will accelerate the left’s march to eviscerate the Constitution. With a third of the federal appellate judiciary hanging in the balance, the American people must decide whether they want more of President Trump’s originalists or President Obama’s progressives confirmed to the federal bench for life.

I promise you this — if I am so fortunate as to return to the U.S. Senate, I will continue the work I started as a leading voice in support of the President’s historic efforts to make the judiciary great again.

Jeff Sessions served as the 84th Attorney General of the United States, as Senator from Alabama, and as Ranking Member on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

13 hours ago

Nick Saban: I still consider Jalen Hurts ‘one of our players’

MOBILE — Former University of Alabama Crimson Tide star quarterback Jalen Hurts is still beloved by many in Bama nation, including head coach Nick Saban.

Saban has spoken this past year about his respect and admiration for Hurts. However, speaking to members of the media on Wednesday at the second day of Senior Bowl Week practices at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Saban made it clear he really feels that Hurts is still part of the Tide family.

To open his remarks, Saban said, “My only comment is we’re glad to be here. It’s always great to come back to Mobile for the Senior Bowl. It’s such a tradition, and I think this community really embraces this game.”

“It’s really good for the players to have the opportunity to showcase their talent, any player from any place but especially good to see our players be able to do it — and Jalen, who I still consider one of our players … always good to be here to support our players,” Saban continued.


The legendary coach then answered questions for approximately four minutes.

He discussed what NFL teams will like about both Hurts and outgoing Tide junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.


This came after Hurts this week has spoken highly of the University of Alabama football program, its fanbase and the state of Alabama.

Hurts will wear a two-sided helmet during Saturday’s Senior Bowl game; one side is a replica of his iconic No. 2 Bama helmet, and the other has the Oklahoma Sooners logo on it.

RELATED: Bama’s Jared Mayden glad to be reunited with ‘natural leader’ Jalen Hurts for Senior Bowl

Hurts recently said about Saban, “We always had a love for each other … our relationship will never die.”

Get tickets to Saturday’s Senior Bowl game here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

13 hours ago

Shelby County sheriff one of 18 officials appointed to Trump law enforcement commission

Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego on Wednesday was named by the U.S. Department of Justice as an appointee to the newly-established Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr appointed Samaniego and 17 other law enforcement officials from across the nation to the commission, which was created through executive order by President Donald Trump in late October.

The commission will explore modern issues affecting law enforcement that most impact the ability of American policing to reduce crime, according to the DoJ.

“There is no more noble and important profession than law enforcement,” Barr said in a statement. “A free and safe society requires a trusted and capable police force to safeguard our rights to life and liberty.”


“But as criminal threats and social conditions have changed the responsibilities and roles of police officers, there is a need for a modern study of how law enforcement can best protect and serve American communities,” he continued. “This is why the President instructed me to establish this critical Commission, whose members truly reflect the best there is in law enforcement. Together, we will examine, discuss, and debate how justice is administered in the United States and uncover opportunities for progress, improvement, and innovation.”

Read more about the commission here.

This comes after Samaniego was recently named as the winner of the 2019 Crime Stopper of the Year Award by Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama.

On Monday, he was one of eight Alabama sheriffs to publicly endorse former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ 2020 bid to return to the Senate.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

14 hours ago

Etowah County mega-site to receive $2.7M in improvements

The Etowah County-located Little Canoe Creek mega-site is to receive $2.7-million in improvements as part of an effort to make it a more attractive location to potential industry.

The site is composed of around 1,100 acres just off of I-59 southwest of the city of Gadsden. The funding for the improvements comes from a donation by the Norfolk Southern Corporation.

According to a release sent to Yellowhammer News, the improvements “will include grading a portion of the over 1,000-acre property to create a pad-ready rail-served site sufficient to accommodate a large industry. Natural gas lines will be relocated near the edge of the property, and a new railroad crossing will be added to the industrial access road off U.S. Highway 11.”


“The mega-site has many location advantages for industrial recruitment and this project will improve upon its assets and greatly increase our overall competitiveness,” said Marilyn Lott, economic development director for Etowah County.

Etowah County began buying the land that now composes the Little Canoe Creek site in 2008. In addition to bordering the local interstate, the site is also adjacent to U.S. Highway 11 and a Norfolk Southern mainline.

Little Canoe Creek was designated an “Alabama AdvantageSite” in 2018. Being labeled an “AdvantageSite” amounts to a guarantee from the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama “that the site is ready for major industrial use.”

According to local leaders, a key factor in the improvements announced on Wednesday is the Growing Alabama Tax Credit. A credit “is equal to 100% of the donating taxpayer’s contributions to the economic development opportunity during the taxable year for which the credit is claimed and may offset up to 50% of the taxpayer’s income tax liability.”

“We truly appreciate this funding made possible by Norfolk Southern and the state,” said Jeffery Washington, president of the Etowah County Commission.

“This infrastructure improvement project at the Little Canoe Creek Mega-Site perfectly illustrates how we can use the Growing Alabama Credit as a tool to facilitate growth and expand employment,” added Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

14 hours ago

Steve Marshall travels to D.C. to urge Senate to reject Trump impeachment articles

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Wednesday traveled to Washington, D.C. to file a blistering 14-page “friend of the Senate” letter urging the upper chamber to reject the two articles of impeachment filed against President Donald J. Trump.

The Senate on Tuesday began the impeachment trial of Trumps, and Marshall joined 20 of his Republican attorneys general from across the nation in signing the letter.

However, Marshall was only one of six of the attorneys general invited to the U.S. Capitol to attend a press conference Wednesday commenting on their letter and the impeachment trial.

Of the letter, Marshall remarked, “It is thorough. It is a full examination of both the facts and the law that the Senate has to apply. But despite that significant analysis, fundamentally what that letter is about is the idea of fairness — or maybe better said, the lack of fairness.”


“As a prosecutor for 20 years, what I’ve seen is an unfair process brings about an unjust result,” Marshall advised. “And that is what the Senate now has an opportunity to stop.”

“I also find it remarkable, as somebody who has stood before juries and judges, whose brought charging instruments against defendants, to now hear the House say that they are not prepared. And that they are not ready. What that simply shows is not that they are not prepared but that they have no case,” he continued. “Our letter demonstrates the various reasons why the Senate should reject this effort, and we need to return the president back to the work of this country…”


In a tweet referencing the letter, Marshall called the articles of impeachment passed by House Democrats against Trump “unfounded and fundamentally flawed.”

The letter states, “If not expressly repudiated by the Senate, the theories animating both Articles will set a precedent that is entirely contrary to the Framers’ design and ruinous to the most important governmental structure protections contained in our Constitution: the separation of powers.”

Read the letter below:

State AG letter to Senate o… by Fox News on Scribd

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn