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Who takes care of your family? MD or ND?

I'm still not savvy enough to figure out how to link through on these posts, but I recently posted a question about putting tubes in my happy baby's ears. Lots of you responded, thank you! At our first visit with the ENT a month ago, Henrik's ears definitely had fluid in them, and his hearing was down 10-15%...we knew this was not a problem we could ignore just because of his happy demeanor but I felt strongly we were not going to do tubes without trying other avenues first. So in the last month, we have had 3 visits with a chiropractor who specializes in treating babies and mamas (Dr. Amy Watson at Whole Mama, Whole Child) and we've visited with our naturopath friend (Dr. Michelle Sturm at Blue Sky Wellness) who has been checking his ears and giving us lots of other things to try like herbs, probiotics, massage and hydrotherapy to get that fluid moving. We just had our follow up visit with our ENT, and after literally months of fluid filled ears, we were thrilled to learn that Henrik's ears are now totally clear!

As a mama, I have an instinct to FIX things and when my kids are sick or in pain, I want to DO something and I believe that knowledge is power so when I dont have the answers, I go out and I LEARN something. I like our pediatrician, and I feel that she has given us sound advice on how to take care of our boys. When I wanted to take a conservative approach on administering antibiotics to Henrik, she was very supportive but she did not have anything else for us to try beyond the antibiotics and tubes surgery. When I left her office and the ENT's office, I felt pretty helpless--either wait and hope, or do the surgery. On the other hand, I left the naturopath's office with herbs, oils, lotions and some strategy and a much more empowered feeling that maybe we could DO something to give his body a little kick in the pants to heal itself. Not to mention the time that each of these doctors have spent with us...the pediatrician and ENT are pretty much 30 minute, "in-and-out" visits with talk about symptoms and medications. The chiropractor and naturopath on the other hand, both spent an hour+ with us, asking tons of questions about diet, home environment, personality, etc. and I cant help but feel that these doctors are taking a much more comprehensive approach, trying to get at the root of the matter rather than just treating the symptoms. And they bill our insurance a fraction of what our pediatrician does.

I'm convinced that it's the combination of our collective efforts that did the trick, but I'll also acknowledge that it's possible that it was simply a matter of time too. But my experiences with the naturopath and chiropractor have gotten me thinking...is it in my best interest to consult our naturopath prior to our pediatrician the next time we come down with a bug? Should I consider switching to the naturopath as our primary care physician all together? What are the benefits to staying with our pediatrician? Is it cheating if I try to maintain relationships with both?

So I'm curious, mamas...Who takes care of your family? Do you see a pediatrician? Do you see a family practice provider? Do you see a Naturopath? If you see a pediatrician, is he or she proactive about sharing alternative therapies in addition to conventional or pharmaceutical approaches? If you see a naturopath, is there anything they have not been able to help you with? We've chosen to vaccinate our kids, do naturopaths do vaccinations?

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We actually use both a MD and a ND: The MDs at Portland Family Practice and Jennifer Gibbons, ND at Natural Childbirth and Family Clinic on NE Wasco. These are the providers for our entire family - 2 adults, 2 kids.

Naturopaths can do vaccines. Our vaccine choice has been 1) to delay until age one and spreading them out; and 2) to be selective on types of vaccines and ensuring no-mercury, etc.

Our bottom-line philosophy is being fully informed of our choices. And we are lucky that both our providers are open to a complimentary approach - natural plus conventional options.

We see both a family practice physician named Dr. Michael Chen and a wonderful naturopath named Dr. Samantha LeVine.

Thankfully,both have similar philosophies to medicine that give us a wonderful complete and complimentary plan of care for of family of four.

We use both MD and ND, for ND we also see Jennifer Gibbons, ND and she is wonderful! They schedule at least an hour for your visit and we never feel rushed. As for vaccinations they do all, partial or none depending on your choice. Not sure about other ND's.
As we have Kaiser insurance we do see MD's but as a second option.

Hoffmama - does your Kaiser coverage pay for Jennifer Gibbons? We have the Added Choice plan and I see her name listed with the other PPO docs, but wonder if they'd cover it since it is naturopathic care. Would love to have another option outside of Kaiser for myself.

Our family currently alternates between Kaiser and PDX Family Practice. We've had good and bad experiences with both.

Our family also sees Dr. Chen; we've been really happy with him, and it is convenient for us since all three of us can get care in one place. I'm interested in having an ND as well, but as we've been blessed with a very healthy baby, and the last year or so has brought good luck health wise for us grown ups too, I haven't been hugely motivated...any great suggestions?

My daughter and I have an ND, Adeline Kell, at 'A Better Choice' in Sellwood. She is great. My husband has an MD. He has type 1 diabetes and his life depends on western medicine.
I am much more comfortable with eastern medicine....he is much more comfortable with western medicine.

We just met a pediatrician who seems to honor both, Dr Kevin Hatcher-Ross. His practice is in Vancouver. But he may be the answer to our dilemma!

We use an MD and a ND, too. I usually approach it this way: we go to an MD for anything acute and a ND for anything chronic. For example, if I think my daughter is getting too many colds we'll talk to her ND about doing things to boost her immune system, etc. But if she has a fever, trouble breathing, coughing when laying down, etc. then we'll go to the MD because it could be an ear infection, sinus infection or even pnemonia.

Another Kaiser patient, I am on plan B with Kaiser so the Naturapathic care has to go through Complimentary Heatlh Plan which Kiaser uses for alternative care. According to the office staff at Dr. Gibbons office it would cost me more to use complimentary Health so they give a 25% discount to Kaiser members. Not as good as the KP $10 copay but worth it to get the care we do. If interested I would give the office a call and see what the options are for coverage for you, your plan may cover all costs.

NDs are trained as primary care docs, ie they can diagnose it all and know when to treat only with naturopathic ideas and when to use them in conjunction with conventional meds. They can prescribe pharmaceuticals if needed. I have found that if conventional treatment is needed or desired with a certain problem, it ALWAYS has a better outcome if I am using naturopathic medicine to support me at the same time!! In fact my ND may suggest it, and has great referral sources to MDs and specialists in the area. She always respects my decisions. Diabetes, cancer, ear infections, pneumonia, you name it, my family has had the experience that naturopathic care is of utmost importance to our health! And if your insurance doesn't cover it, it's still worth the money....trust me.

Just to be ultra clear, there's a difference between the term naturopathic physician (ND) and naturopath. ND's have graduated from accredited schools. Oregon and a few other states license and regulate them.

That is distinct from the more all-encompassing term of naturopath, which can include people that have not had the same degree of medical education.

Here's a helpful state website. http://www.obne.state.or.us/OBNE/Aboutnaturopathy.shtml


We use both ND's and MD's. Been to several different ND's and the NCNM clinic. All helpful in different ways. We are brand new to Kaiser and I am very interested in suggestions for pediatricians (or otherwise!) on Interstate. Thanks! terebachi@yahoo.com

My NDs have moved in to a great new space at 17th and Tacoma across from Cambell Salgado Photography called Sellwood Family Medicine. Drs. Patrick and Leigh Ann Chapman are amazing, holistic and a ton of fun! They even have a Midwife and Doula sharing the space if you are planning on expanding your family.


We see an ND, Dr. Susan Allen, for all of our daughters medical needs. We have been very happy with her care and follow-up. She has also prescribed conventional meds when appropriate or when I asked. She does vaccines, although we chose not to vaccinate our daughter.

I also have a homeopathic medicine kit and I took a course in first aid homeopathic medicine from Dr. Ananda Kramer. It is wonderful to have that resource for the family and works very well at the first sign of illness.

Just FYI, even some naturopathic doctors kids I know had to have tubes put in their ears b/c the naturopathic treatment wasn't working. I am so glad it worked for the NoPo mama.

So glad it worked out Leah!

We are with most of the folks here who see Naturopathic Physicians if possible and MD's second. From what I have heard ND's have to go through the same medical trining as an MD and then go on to get ND training. From our experience the MD's want to treat the symptom while thye ND's are looking for the cause.

The best resource we have found is a book called "Smart Medicine for a Heathier Child." It's available at New Seasons. It gives lots of info and most childhood illnesses and gives details on conventional treatment, herbal treatment, homeopathic treatment, nutritional guidlines and prevention. I can't tell you how many times we've consulted that book.

Yes, a second shout out for "Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child." I have a bookshelf full of books on children's health, but that is the one we always are reaching for during the 3 a.m. coughing fit.
Also, we just switched to LifeWise insurance after doing tons of research, and will now have covered naturopathic, accupuncture, and massage. I got sick (ha) and tired of paying out of pocket to go see our naturopath, then trying to come up with our monthly premium "just in case" we need an allopathic doctor. Now our insurance will go towards what we actually use. Eureka!

I was just curious as to why the only two choices listed are ND and MD. There is a third choice and the one I choose and that is a DO.

A DO is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Like MD's we go to medical school and complete a minimum 3 year residency in a field of specialty, mine is Family Practice. We are licensed in all states and are Board Certified in our fields. DO's are taught to look at the entire patient and to look for a cause, not just symptoms.

We also get training in manipulation. Some of us treat children as well as pregnant moms. We are trained in many manipulation techniques, including cranial sacral, myofascial, counterstrain and more. We are able to prescribe medicines, order tests and more.

I have a great amount of respect for ND's and MD's as well and appreciate working with ND's for the best care for my patients. For me and my family though, I almost always choose a DO for our care. It's the best of all worlds!!

Does anyone have experience with Patricia Meyer, ND?

My daughter also has pediatrician Dr. Kevin Hatcher-Ross at the Vancouver Clinic. He's awesome! I highly recommend him. He's a vegetarian who knows the power of nutrition. He's supportive of our daughter being vegan and our decision to not do the typical vaccination regiment.

As a Naturopath in Portland I am thrilled to see so much ND support out there. It's wonderful that parents are getting their kids such fantastic care. I love the combination of MD and ND care- it makes for very educated parents that are taking their kid's health into their own hands.
:)

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Nice blog. I looked forward to the next post. When will it be?

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My kids see my chiropractor for 90% of their complaints. He is great and has good info about kids at http://backpainandpregnancy.blogspot.com/

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