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When Doctors Disagree

If your child is diagnosed with a chronic condition, your pediatrician may recommend that she see a specialist. But what do you do if the doctors disagree on the course of treatment?

Understand what is being recommended. “What patient’s interpret as a difference of opinion is often a nuance,” says Joshua Fox, M.D., director of Advanced Dermatology P.C. and The Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery a skin care center with offices in Roslyn, Commack, and West Islip.

Don’t get frustrated. “The worst thing a parent can do is throw their hands up in disgust and do nothing,” says Maurice Chianese, M.D., chief of pediatrics at PRoHEALTH Care Associates, LLP in Lake Success.

“Communicate. Ask the doctors to speak to one another,” he says. “Find out why they believe what they believe.”

Know where each doctor is coming from. Pediatricians will be familiar with dynamics in a family that a specialist might not be. But a specialist may know more about the condition. “He’ll know new courses of treatments and medications and their side effects that a pediatrician may not be aware of,” says Dr. Fox.

Try another source. Get a third opinion. If you’re in an emergency situation, Dr. Chianese says, get the opinion of a doctor on staff at the hospital.

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