Photo: Courtesy of NYP/Lower Manhattan Hospital
Photo: Courtesy of NYP/Lower Manhattan Hospital

RX for Your Health is back! With help from our friends over at NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital, we will be bringing you different tips/advice from health experts right in your backyard! This week, we spoke to David Listman, MD, the Director of Pediatric Emergency Services, about finding the right care and services for your child; ranging from immunizations to choosing the right pediatrician. Check out his responses to our questions below:

David Listman, Director of Emergency Pediatric Services. Photo: Courtesy of NYP/Lower Manhattan hospital
David Listman, Director of Emergency Pediatric Services. Photo: Courtesy of NYP/Lower Manhattan hospital

Where is the best source of advice for medications for my child?

Despite the myriad of sources available on the Internet, it is important to discuss any new medications with your child’s pediatrician.  There are medications that are crucial to your child’s health and others that might simply relieve some symptoms.  Some medications can be taken just as needed for symptoms, while others need to be taken regularly even if symptoms are not present.  Your pediatrician can help you decide what is in your child’s best interest.  It is also important to talk to your child’s pediatrician if you are using any complementary supplements to make sure that they are safe and will not interact with other treatments.

What are the best guidelines for child immunizations?

Parents should follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  These vaccines begin at 2 months and continue through childhood and adolescence.  Vaccines are safe and effective against many childhood and lifelong infectious diseases.  Many people are worried about the side effects of vaccines, but the concern that vaccines are linked to Autistic Spectrum Disorder is without any scientific basis and indeed studies have ruled out any such link.

We are lucky to no longer see diseases such as polio, measles, rubella and tetanus, as well as haemophilus influenzae type b and much less disease from streptococcus pneumonia (pneumococcus).  When there are outbreaks of measles in unvaccinated populations, there are often terrible outcomes, including death, from these preventable illnesses.  Please speak to your pediatrician about the recommended vaccine schedule and any questions that you have about vaccinations.

Where can I go for early intervention advice on childhood disabilities?

​Your pediatrician screens your child regularly for normal development in the areas of fine motor, gross motor, language and social skills.  If you or your pediatrician have concerns about whether your child is achieving these developmental milestones appropriately, further evaluation can be done by a number of professionals including a pediatrician who specializes in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, a psychologist or psychiatrist specializing in the field.  Your child’s school can also refer you to a professional to do further testing if there are any concerns.  You can also formally request (in writing) an evaluation by the public school system and they are required to respond and address your concerns.

What are the best tips for picking a pediatrician?

You should choose a pediatrician who can provide high quality healthcare and meshes well with your personality and your overall approach to health.  Ask your friends and neighbors about their pediatricians.  If you are expecting your first child, call and ask if the pediatrician will do a pre-natal visit so you can meet them before your child is born and make sure it is a good match.  Ask about their attitudes and support for breast-feeding, or any other issues that are important to you.

All pediatricians should vaccinate on the same schedule.  If you are interested in complementary and alternative medical practices, ask about their approach to these issues.  Inquire about both routine office hours and sick visit hours and how the office handles after hours calls about illnesses and injuries.

Most practices are affiliated with a hospital system.  Find out if you have a preference about where they would refer your child should they need emergency or sub-specialty care, although there is no requirement to go to the hospital that your pediatrician is affiliated with.

Tell us about the NYP/LMH Pediatric ER and why it’s important to the neighborhood.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital opened a unique and separate area in the Emergency Department that specializes in pediatric care.  There are specialists in pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine who staff this area 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  This area provides all types of comprehensive emergency care to infants, children and adolescents.

The approach to care provided by pediatric specialists differs greatly from that provided by general (adult) emergency doctors in urgent care or other non-pediatric specific settings.  The Pediatric Emergency Department at NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan is backed up by the full spectrum of pediatric specialists at the Komansky Center for Children’s Health at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, should the need arise. The Pediatric Emergency Department is an important asset to the residents of lower Manhattan, as well as the many visitors to the area to have this resource right in the neighborhood.

 

by Jackie Hart