When Should You Call the Doctor?
Oftentimes, parents are concerned about when to call or when not to call the doctor. Let us start by saying that we welcome your call at anytime. If you are concerned enough to consider calling your doctor, then pick up the phone and do so. A mother/father’s instinct is frequently right on target. When you call us, please try to describe in as much detail as possible what is going on with your child. The more information we have, the better our advice will be for your child. The following information is meant to help you understand the signs and symptoms of illness in children. Use this as a guide for when you should always call us, but again, if you are concerned or unsure, give us a call. We would rather receive many calls which turn out to be false alarms than to have a parent not call because he/she doesn’t want to bother us and have a child end up in the hospital with a serious illness.
- Rectal temperature over 100.4ºF
- Irritability-unable to calm down
- Refusing to take a bottle or nurse
- Difficult to wake up, not waking to feed
- Repeated vomiting or vomiting becoming increasingly projectile
- Decreased number of wet diapers and/or AM diaper not very wet
- Any rash
- Redness around the umbilical stump (newborns)
- No urine for 24 hours (especially with new circumcisions)
- Oral/Rectal temperature greater than 102ºF
- Irritability-unable to calm down
- Refusing to eat/drink
- Repeated vomiting
- Persistant crying and or inactivity
- Diarrhea-frequent loose, watery stools or if any blood or mucus
- Any rash
There is always a pediatrician on call for emergencies. When the office is closed, the phones will be answered by our skilled answering service which will triage your phone calls and contact the physician on call. Please use our after hours service only for urgent or emergency situations regarding your children. If you are calling for prescription refills, appointments, or minor concerns, try to wait until office hours. Sometimes, referring to our website may answer many of your minor concerns.
When you call after hours, make sure you provide the answering service with your name, your child’s name, your child’s date of birth, the problem or concern that you are having, and a working phone number where you can be reached. If you have not heard back from the physician within 10 minutes, please call our office number again and let the answering service know that you have not received a call. Please stay by the phone until you receive a call back. If your child’s condition is worsening, and you feel that he/she needs immediate attention, call 911 or take your child to the emergency room.
While waiting for a call back, make sure that you have a pen and paper, your pharmacy phone number (or 24 hr. pharmacy if yours is closed), your child’s current temperature, and a list of current medications that your child is taking.
Emergency Room or Hospital Visits
Please be sure to call your pediatrician or our answering service prior to taking your child to the emergency room. We may be able to help answer questions over the phone or even to see your child and save you a trip to the emergency room and a long wait. If your child is seriously ill, and you feel that he/she needs to be seen at the emergency room, call us once your child has arrived to let us know that you are at the hospital. We prefer that you go to a hospital with a pediatric emergency room so that your child will receive the best care possible. We prefer to admit to Brandon Regional Hospital, when possible. Many times, we will make the effort to meet you and your child in the emergency room when admitting him/her is necessary. A list of local hospital phone numbers is included on the front cover of this booklet for your reference.
To avoid being charged for the entire visit, make sure that the hospital that you are taking your child to accepts your insurance policy. Of course, as always, if your child is severely ill and requires immediate attention, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 and worry about insurance later.
Labs and X-rays
Most of our labs are sent to local laboratories, however, we do perform hemoglobin levels, accuchecks (blood glucose), rapid group-A strep, rapid pregnancy tests, and urinalysis in our office. Labs which are sent out generally take 24 hours to obtain results. Cultures have to grow on special plates and take 48-72 hours to grow in most cases. You will always receive a phone call from our office for any abnormal lab results or any positive cultures. We will make every effort to call you with negative results as well, but sometimes, if the office is very busy, we may not be able to call all negative results. You may feel free to call the office anytime you are concerned and want to know the results of your lab work.
We handle all of our billing in the office and bill electronically with the insurance companies. Co-payment is due at the time of your office visit prior to being seen by the physician. It is your responsibility to make sure that our physicians are covered by your insurance company. Our office staff will try to confirm this information prior to your visit. Please visit our website for a complete, up-to-date list of insurance plans for which our physicians are providers.
Appointments are always scheduled based on need and availability. On most days, we will have a few open slots for same-day appointments. If there is an emergency, we will always try to work you in. When you call to schedule an appointment, remember to let our staff know the purpose of your visit (well child check-up, sick visit, follow-up, conference, or expectant mother interview.)
You will receive a reminder phone call the day prior to your visit. If you need to cancel your appointment, you will be given the opportunity to do so at this time. Please try to cancel appointments at least 24 hours prior to the visit to allow us to schedule other children at that time. We need to work together to ensure that we are able to see everyone in the most efficient fashion.
Questions during office hours
Phone calls will be answered by our office staff and a message will be taken for the nurse or physician. You will always receive a call back the same day, and if you do not, please let us know so that we may correct the problem. Calls will be returned in order of importance.
If you are calling for advice or for a prescription refill, please give our staff the following information so that we may best serve you: child’s name and date of birth, any known allergies, pharmacy name and phone number, child’s temperature if ill, your name, and a phone number where you can be reached for most of the day. Make sure you have pencil and paper ready when we call you back.
If you are calling for lab or x-ray results, please provide our staff with the child’s name, child’s date of birth, the type of study/labs that you are looking for, when the test was performed, and who the physician was that your child saw. One of our nurses or the physician will call you back with the results.
To return your call in a timely manner, we often have the nurse call you back while the physician is seeing patients. If you would still like to speak directly with the physician, let the nurse know, and she will pass the message along to the physician. Many times, the physicians will return the majority of the calls at noon and at the end of the day. Please bear with us if we are extremely busy and it takes us a while to return your call. As always, if there is any problem, or if your child is getting worse, call us again and update our staff.