Childhood Cancer

Your Child in the Hospital

Find a specialist

Often a hospitalized child will need a specialist to perform surgery, give anesthesia, or provide other treatment. Your choice of specialists may be limited by the hospital, location, time constraints, or insurance restrictions. Usually, your child’s pediatrician will recommend an appropriate specialist (e.g., a pediatric surgeon). Make sure that your insurance will cover the specialist you choose.

The following list may help you feel more comfortable with the recommended specialist. If you have time, make sure that your child’s specialist:

  • Is board-certified. This means that the doctor has passed rigorous written and oral tests given by a board of examiners in his or her specialty. You can call the American Board of Medical Specialties at (866) ASK-ABMS (275-2267) or visit to find out if your child’s specialist is board certified.
  • Establishes a good rapport with your child
  • Communicates clearly and compassionately
  • Answers all questions in a way that is easy to understand
  • Consults with other doctors about complex problems
  • Makes all test results available
  • Is willing to let you participate in the decision-making process
  • Respects your values

Often the specialist your child’s doctor recommends is a good match and the family finds him easy to communicate with, competent, and caring. If you don’t develop a good rapport with the first specialist recommended to you, ask for or locate another doctor.

We had a wonderful relationship with the specialist at the children’s hospital. He perfectly blended the science and art of medicine. His manner was warm, he was extremely qualified professionally, and he was very easy to talk with. He welcomed discussions with us about our daughter’s treatment. Although he was busy, we never felt rushed. I laughed when I saw that he had written in the chart, “Mother asks innumerable appropriate questions.”