Jan Gambino Jan Gambino's Blog

How to Locate a Gastroenterologist: Finding Dr. Mc Dreamy

My teens are fans of the TV drama Gray’s Anatomy and they are always talking about Dr Mc Dreamy. If you have never watched the show, I will give you the highlights: Dr. McDreamy is a talented surgeon and passionate about helping his patients. Oh yes, he also has dreamy good looks and his eyes sparkle when he speaks. I guess that is the Hollywood version of a good doctor.

Well, I didn’t exactly find Dr. McDreamy on my first attempt to locate a pediatric gastroenterologist for my daughter Rebecca. Our working relationship was a disaster from the beginning. I would have to see the resident first and explain everything again to the attending doctor. The doctor was rushed and didn’t seem to think that my daughter’s problems were as severe as I did. I felt dismissed. And worst yet, I didn’t have a treatment plan for home care. I waited weeks to get an appointment and left feeling defeated and lost. Now what? I went home and spent a few weeks doing what I had done before: worrying about my daughter’s health and trying my best to help her with the tools I had at home. I also did some networking and talked to other reflux moms in my area. One mom in particular helped me so much. She started with Dr. Not McDreamy first (the doctor I had consulted). Then she switched to Dr. Mc Dreamy (another doctor in our area). I got off the phone and called the new doctor right away. What a difference! The first appointment took an entire hour. Most of the time was spent reviewing the medical history and answering a long list of questions from the doctor. Then we started on my long list of questions. I came out of that appointment feeling so much better because the doctor had a clear picture of the problem and I left with a treatment plan. My daughter has been treated by the same gastroenterologist for the over 10 years and he has made such a positive impact on her care.

When I am searching for my version of Dr. McDreamy, I look for: cutting edge knowledge of medicine, a problem solver and a good teacher. I really value a doctor who is current on research and new ideas since medicine is constantly changing. It is also important to have a doctor who can solve difficult problems since my daughter mostly has atypical health issues! A doctor who can teach me a bit about the problem and explain the treatment in plain English is also very important to me. I think my personality and the doctor’s personality and style are important factors too. I have heard a parent say something derogatory about a particular doctor and another parent talk about the same doctor in glowing terms. It all depends on our expectations.

I always tell parents to keep in mind that the doctor’s primary role is to provide medical care for their child. It is not the main role of the doctor to support caregivers/parents. This may seem kind of cold and callous. The reality is that modern medicine is fast paced and there is deceasing direct contact with patients. It is in your child’s best interest to make the most of the limited face to face contact you have with the doctor to assess the problem and develop a treatment plan. Some parents are lucky to have a doctor who provides duel care to the child and the parents. So if you feel that the doctor is not supportive of you but he/she is providing excellent care for your child, you may need to seek support elsewhere such as a parent support group.

As you search for a doctor for your child, it may help to consult with your child’s primary care doctor, friends and relatives. There are also physician finders on the web.

Find a Pediatric Gastroenterologist:


Find a Gastroenterologist:



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