Our whole family is in the market for a doctor--I haven't had a PCP in years because I've been going to student health, hubby's PCP changed practices, and of course the new addition will need one! I'd like to find a family practice doc who can see all three of us, and so I've asked around a bit for recommendations.
I called the office of one I'm interested in seeing and found out that she doesn't do informational interviews, so I would have to do an establishing-care appointment and then change practices if I really didn't like her or agree with her philosophies. Is this unusual for family practice doctors? Everyone seems to say that pediatricians will always sit down and meet with you first but I don't know if this holds for family practice docs.
Also, though we'll be able to take the baby to her from the time we get her home from the hospital, this doc doesn't do hospital visits and so our baby would be discharged by the pediatrician at the hospital. Is this really a big deal? Will the hospital pediatrician make our lives suck if we've refused a couple of their interventions (I don't want the eye goop or the Hep B shot, and haven't decided on vitamin K yet)? It seems to be this huge thing that you HAVE to have a pediatrician before the baby is born so they can examine baby in the hospital, but is that really true?
It shouldn't be the end of the world if you don't have a pediatrician before your LO is born. I dropped the ball before my DD was born and hadn't found a pediatrician. I wasn't very worried about it because I was planning a homebirth and my midwife does the initial newborn checkup. I ended up transferring to the hospital and the on-call pediatrician had to release DD before we could leave (well, we could have left AMA). A lot will depend on the hospital. Most have standard declination forms for hepB, vit K, etc. Ask about it when you do the hospital tour. That should give you a good feel for things. Good luck!
Just to follow up on this thread for anybody who runs across it down the line, I ended up getting a family practice doc for me and baby (and I really like her). The hospital perinatologist examined baby on both days of my stay. I didn't get any grief at all about refusing the shots and eye ointment (my hospital in general was very good about that). The thing that did surprise me, though, was the requirement that we had to take baby to the nursery to be examined, and that we weren't allowed IN the nursery because of privacy issues. This caught me off guard because during our hospital tour they told us that parents are allowed in the nursery but only if if they have a matching band to a baby who is in there. I guess that having her there only temporarily did not qualify us to get in. The first day I kicked up a fit and we were allowed to go stand with her on the opposite side of the nursery from the other babies, and the doctor examined her with us right there. The second day the doc refused to allow us in the nursery at all (our nurse asked). I didn't feel like fighting at that point because I really just wanted to get out of there and go home, so we watched through the window, and we could see her the whole time except when she passed out of our line of vision getting wheeled back towards the door, and the only thing they did that we hadn't known they'd do was just put a little tag on her bassinet saying she had been examined, which is certainly more than reasonable. Not being allowed in the nursery didn't ruin my hospital stay or anything but it is something I wasn't prepared for and it did kind of bum me out. If I'd gotten a pediatrician who came to the hospital, s/he probably would have come to the room because likely s/he would not have had many patients on the floor.
With both of our children, we absolutely refused to let them be taken to the hospital nursery, and requested that the ped. come to our room to examine the babies. At the first hospital, the nurses balked a little, but we insisted. At the second one, nobody even asked -- they just assumed the baby wasn't leaving our room. This is a good thing to include in your birth plan if you are planning a hospital birth (or even if you're planning a HB -- our first was a HB transfer).
I did push back against the "We have to take her to the nursery to do X" business, which cropped up a couple times in addition to this. They wanted to take her for a PKU and weight, and also for a hearing test. I had a fit and ultimately they did the PKU at the bedside and deferred the weight until a little later in the day when there were fewer other babies in the nursery and let us come in then. We did get the audiologist to let us come with her for the hearing test. She (the audiologist) was very nice and willing to work with us, and said something like "Obviously I think that hearing tests are very important, and if the only reason you don't want one is because you don't want to be separated from her, that's not really a good enough reason"... i.e. it was enough of a priority to her to make sure my child got tested that she would make sure it happened. By the second morning, though, I was tired and ready to go home and really just didn't feel like a knock-down-drag-out fight over it, which it looked like it was going to be, because a different doc was on and she wouldn't accept the solution that the doc the previous day had. I was sort of worried that if I waited for another doc to come on service then it would take us longer to get discharged, so I kind of just opted to go with it so we could get a move on.
In general I thought my experience with this hospital was really good and this was a comparatively minor frustrating portion.
As a healthcare provider myself, I get a little resentful of some of the "The doctor is God" kind of stuff that seems to be floating around. Sometimes it feels like heaven FORBID you bother a doctor about something or DARE question the way that they want to do something, even if it's some minor procedural thing that doesn't make a particular difference either way. (More so for some doctors than others, of course.) As a provider, I still have to maintain a working relationship with these people, so I have to work within this culture. As a patient, I feel like I have a little more latitude to question it and not put up with it. Which I kind of enjoy.