Frequently Asked Questions
How do I submit a medical questions phone call or email to my child's pediatrician?
Most questions are best handled during regular office hours when your child’s chart is available. All calls regarding routine childrearing or school issues should be made during hours when your primary physician is in the office. Phone calls during office hours are returned in the order received. If you have a call of an urgent nature, please state this clearly to the receptionist when you call and your call will be handled separately. When you call, you will be asked for the child’s name, date of birth and the name of the responsible adult (a.k.a. “billing name”). This helps us identify the proper chart, as there may be several patients in the practice with the same name.
You will also be asked for a phone number where you can be reached. If convenient, you may leave multiple phone numbers along with the times up until 4:30 p.m., when you will be at each number.
Have paper and pencil handy to make notes, and have ready the phone number of the pharmacy you use. If you have not heard back within three hours of placing your call, please call the office back to make sure that we have the correct phone number or that we have not had other trouble reaching you.
How do I contact a pediatrician when the office is closed
After-hours (when the office is closed) calls are reserved for acute, serious illnesses, injuries and emergencies. In the case of life-threatening emergencies, call 911 or go directly to the Emergency Room. The physicians of SLPA admit pediatric patients to St. Luke’s Hospital, Mercy Medical Center, Missouri Baptist Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Request that the Emergency Room physician call the on-call doctor once the child has been seen.
For an urgent call, please call our medical exchange. One of our pediatricians or a registered nurse from St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Answer Line will return your call within one hour. (If you feel it is not medically safe to wait an hour for a call back, proceed to the ER.) Please stay by the phone to receive the call and keep your line clear. If you prefer not to speak with a nurse from Children’s Hospital, please tell the operator on the Exchange and the on-call doctor will be paged. If your call has not been returned within one hour, please call back. There may have been a problem reaching you.
After regular office hours, neither the exchange nor the on-call doctor can schedule appointments. In order to keep the lines open for true emergencies, please do not call after hours for non-urgent issues. Have paper and pencil ready to take notes and have ready the number of a pharmacy that is open at the time you have called. If a prescription needs to be called in, it is your responsibility to know which pharmacy in your area is open. If you pharmacy is closed, a prescription cannot be called in.
How do I request a refill for my child's medication?
Refills of prescription medications should only be requested during regular hours when charts are available. Do not wait until you are out of medication to call. When it is time for a refill, call the office at least one week before you need the prescription. Federal law generally only allows a one month supply of controlled substance medications to be dispensed and prohibits refills of these medications if they are lost or stolen.
Will my child always be seen by their primary pediatrician?
Each patient in our practice has his/her own primary physician. Because we value continuity of care, your own physician will see your child for check-ups and sick visits. If your child is sick on a day that your physician is out of the office, your phone call/appointment will be with one of the other physicians. To reduce confusion and to promote continuity, we do not allow patients to switch from one physician in the practice to another. The only exception to this rule is when an older child wishes to change to a doctor of the same gender. In this case, the office will help you select an appropriate physician.
Are vaccines safe?
The simple answer is YES. Vaccines contain either pieces of bacteria or viruses or weakened versions. They trick your body into thinking it is seeing an illness and alerts the immune system. This creates a memory of that illness, so should you come across the real organism, your body’s immune system can fight it off more effectively. Vaccines are carefully tested and given to millions of children and adults worldwide each year. Vaccines do not cause autism – they prevent diseases and save lives.
Will an antibiotic help my child's cold?
The majority of colds, or upper respiratory infections (URI’s) are caused by viruses. They can have symptoms like a cough, fever, nasal congestion, nasal drainage or sore throat. Antibiotics are medications that can kill bacteria, not viruses. Therefore most colds will not respond to an antibiotic. Ask your doctor about ways to help the symptoms.
What is considered a fever?
A temperature of 100.4 or greater taken orally, under the arm, or rectally. Fever is the body's way of fighting off a bacteria/virus. It is important to consider the child's symptoms along with the temperature.