Would you trust your accountant to change the brakes on your mini-van? Probably not. And so too shouldn't trust your child to an adult gastroenterologist. Here's why: They're not trained to treat children. Children are remarkably different creatures from adults and the effect of digestive disease on growth, nutrition and development requires specific training.
So what if there isn't a pediatric gastroenterologist available? If you live in a part of the country where there are no children's digestive doctors you may be forced to seek the input of an adult specialist. Recognize that this should only be considered as a temporary situation. Keep in mind that in many cases a well-trained pediatrician in phone consultation with a remotely located pediatric gastroenterologist may serve your child's needs better than that of an adult gastroenterologist. Make your wishes known to your pediatrician and remember that you are your child's only advocate.
Some of my adult colleagues have taken offense to my militant position on adult doctors and kids. But when I ask if they'd be comfortable with my management of their mother's malignant polyps, they become quiet pretty quickly.
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Published On: April 28, 2008