Health & Fitness

Pediatricians are best equipped to give children the health care they deserve

Dr. Katie Copeland
Dr. Katie Copeland

Parenthood is the most awesome and the most awful job, all at the same time. It brings joy, laughter, pride, frustration and fear to all who undertake the journey of parenting. As pediatricians, we pride ourselves on helping kids and families by traveling that journey with them. We hope to help them avoid pitfalls and celebrate all the milestones and successes of being children. We are privileged to enjoy a close, long relationship with our patients. I feel strongly that we are the kid experts and provide the highest-quality medical care for children.

Pediatricians are trained to care for children from birth until about age 18. We provide advice to moms and dads about parenting, discipline, nutrition and safety. We supervise children to make sure they are growing and developing properly. We screen for mental health problems such as depression in adolescents. We provide the most updated vaccine information available to our patients and families. We offer all available vaccinations in our office. Of course, we treat acute illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throats, rashes and vomiting. We also manage chronic illnesses such as asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, headaches and many more.

The advantages of having a pediatrician are many. First, you will receive an expert opinion on your child’s health from a doctor whose patients are all children. Kids are not just small adults and have different medical problems that can present in different ways than adults. Second, a pediatrician who follows the child over time knows the medical history well, and this can affect the medical recommendations that are given at a clinic visit. If a patient consistently gets care with their own pediatrician, that doctor will know how many times the child has had an ear infection that winter and which antibiotic would be best suited to treat the infection. They would know how many times they have had asthma exacerbations.

Patients going to various urgent care centers will see a different provider, usually one with only limited pediatric experience. The recommendations from these visits are often not what the child’s pediatrician would endorse. And most pediatricians offer same-day appointments for their patients. We want to take care and see our patients, as again, we feel we do the best job taking care of them due to our training and our knowledge about the child.

The third advantage is that the child develops a trusting relationship with his/her doctor. They feel comfortable talking to him/her about problems they may face. Adolescence is often a difficult time of transition when children are becoming young adults and facing more significant life choices. A trusted pediatrician can act as an adult to provide sound, medical advice for teenagers when they do not know whom to talk to.

We all lead busy lives. We all want things to be fast and convenient. Pediatricians understand that. Most of us are working parents with busy careers and families. Pediatricians’ entire job is to be an expert on health problems for our youngsters, and our goal is to keep all kids healthy. We pride ourselves on the kind, compassionate care that we offer our patients. We are happy to accommodate our family’s schedules and make appointments available on a same-day basis, because that is what’s required. We want to be a trusted medical provider for parents and children to rely on in times of illness and to help advise them through all the stages of the child’s development.

We are lucky that we get to do this job, and we feel fortunate to care for children and that parents trust us with their children. Please allow us to optimize the quality of a child’s medical care by calling the pediatrician office first. We all want what is best for our children. Please help your pediatrician be part of that equation.

Dr. Katie Copeland is a board-certified pediatrician with Saltzer Medical Group in Meridian. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a fellow of the American Medical Association.