POSTED: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 6:20pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 9:27am
HARLINGEN, TEXAS (KVEO NEWS CENTER 23) — The field is slowly growing. As of now more women are coming into the practice, but the number of pediatricians across the state, and here locally, is still too low as the pediatric population continues to rapidly grow daily.
"Primary care pediatricians, there are not enough, in certainly the upper valley areas and the lower valley and rural areas," said Primary Care Pediatrician, Stanley Fisch.
Fisch described pediatricians as often being overworked. He says the same goes for childrens’ doctors who specialize.
"The pediatric sub specialty is really acute. That's probably nationwide, but definitely much more severe here in the valley," said Dr. Fisch.
Those are the men and women who take care of the specific needs of little ones with major health issues.
"These are pediatric cardiologists, pediatric neurologists, intestinal specialists, lung specialists, cancer specialists for children, all kinds of sub specialists," stated Dr. Fisch.
Because these specialty doctors are far and few between here in the valley, it's primary care pediatricians who often are challenged with the task of treating little patients with more serious health needs. While it can create more work and more stress for a doctor...it's often the families that suffer the most Fisch says.
For children who need a pediatric specialist, traveling out of the valley is often a must; that takes time and of course money.
But there is hopefully good news on the horizon, good for both pediatric doctors and families. With the potential of a medical school coming to the valley our pediatrician shortage, as well as all physician shortages, could be alleviated.
But there a few key things must fall into place first.
"To get the med school we need to have pediatric teaching program which means we have to have some of these pediatric sub specialists among the ranks of faculty. Once we have them, we get a medical school and we can get more people to come to the area," explained Dr. Fisch.
Fisch, who is also a faculty member at the Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen, adds the core group of primary care pediatricians and pediatric specialists here in the valley are very supportive in terms of getting involved in order to make a med school happen and eventually adding highly qualified pediatric doctors to the field, right here at home.