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Meet Pediatrics-Information for Expectant Parents

Anticipating the birth of a child is exciting, but can leave new parents feeling bewildered and apprehensive.  

Choosing the right pediatrician who will provide great care for both baby and parents is indispensable.

To help quell these fears and offer sound advice based on 20 years of experience, today we are speaking with Dr. Sara Neville, Staff Pediatrician at MIT Medical.
Meet Pediatrics-Information for Expectant Parents
Featured Speaker:
Sara Neville, MD
Sara Oh Neville MD earned a BA in English from Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT) and her MD from Tufts University School of Medicine. She completed both her internship and residency at Boston’s Floating Hospital for Infants and Children, an affiliate of Tufts New England Medical Center. In addition to having 20 years’ experience in clinical care, Dr. Neville is Board certified in Pediatrics and enjoys privileges at both Mt. Auburn Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She considers it a great joy to help children and families to grow and thrive, and is particularly interested in helping patients with special needs.

Learn more about Sara Neville, MD

Melanie Cole (Host):  Anticipating the birth of a child is so exciting but it can leave new parents feeling a little bewildered and apprehensive. Choosing the right pediatrician who will provide great care for both baby and parents is indispensable. My guest today is Sarah Oh Neville. She’s a staff pediatrician at MIT Medical. Welcome to the show, Dr. Neville. Tell us a little bit about what an expectant mother should look for when they're first beginning their search for a pediatrician?

Dr. Sarah Oh Neville (Guest):  Sure. I feel very lucky to work where I do because, really, I trust everybody I work with. We all care very sincerely about our patients and their families and we all have been trained well in our fields and we're good at what we do. So, really, you can’t pick a bad pediatrician. You can’t make a wrong decision. I think it’s like anything in life; it’s just a matter of who you connect with and in terms of picking your primary pediatrician, it’s who you communicate best with and connect with. But, in the course of your child's life, you will meet all of us. That's the nature of a group practice and I feel very fortunate to work in a place where I trust everyone; where I don’t go home going, “Oh, I hope this person doesn’t end up taking care of my patient.” So, I think it's just a matter of who you connect with.

Melanie:  How early do you start? If you're six months pregnant, do you go and meet a pediatrician? Should they meet one of you so that you can see what they're like or do you wait till it’s closer to the time?

Dr. Neville:  I think that you ask friends, you ask co-workers and so forth but we also have this great thing called “Meet Pediatrics” which is offered every other month and one of the providers will run a session at night where you can have a chance to meet them. And also, we talk about just basic things that happen in the hospital, new born issues and so forth. You can ask questions and get to know them and so forth. That runs every other month at MIT pediatrics and so that’s another way to meet us.

Melanie:  Now, what happens when they go to the hospital? How early does a pediatrician come in to meet this new little baby?

Dr. Neville:  So, we are lucky enough to meet your baby within 24 hours of birth. MIT Pediatrics and Harvard University Health Services Pediatrics, we cross-cover each other. What that means is, calls at night, we all take turns taking care of those calls at night. We also take turns rounding on the new born babies. So, you'll meet one of us within 24 hours of your child's birth and then, very likely every day after and certainly on the last day of your discharge, you will meet one of us.

Melanie:  Now, when is the pediatrics office open? We take our babies home and they've got a little cough or there's a little rash we don’t know what it is. New parents get pretty freaked out by a lot of things with newborns, Dr. Neville. So, when is MIT Pediatrics open and how do you get an appointment?

Dr. Neville:  We're open 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday and you would call our front desk and they would help to connect you either with the triage nurse or make an appointment. If you ever have a question about the baby—and, of course, this is barring any emergency question. If it’s an emergency issue, obviously, you'll be calling 911. But, for any other question, always just feel free to call us. We may be able to help you over the phone and keep you from having to come in. It might be something you can manage at home or it may be something that you need to come in for but the triage nurses here at MIT Pediatrics are very experienced and very kind and wonderful and they can help guide you. And, of course, the providers are always very happy to help as well. So, just give us a call anytime there's a question. Don’t feel like any question is a silly question. We are here to help and we're very happy to do so.

Melanie:  What kind of services are available for children at MIT Medical?

Dr. Neville:  In our practice, we're all general pediatricians. In the building there are some specialty services:  allergy, audiology, dental, dermatology, eye, ENT and so forth but often times we will have to refer out to one of the specialists in one of the Boston hospitals. And we're so fortunate to be in Boston because, as you know, there are so many wonderful medical specialists. So, it depends on the issue.

Melanie:  Well if they need something like ear checks, x-rays, any of those kinds of things, be a little more specific, Dr. Neville?

Dr. Neville:  Sure. So, if it’s an ear check we're very happy to do that. X-rays, some x-rays can be done here. We don’t do ultrasounds here for kids and it depends on the type of x-ray that needs to be done but MIT Medical does have lab services and x-rays and lots of experience working with kids.

Melanie:  What happens if somebody has a medical need after hours?

Dr. Neville:  Always call during the day or after hours. It’s best to call and not just walk-in or present to the building because sometimes you need to go to the emergency room directly, sometimes it's something you didn’t even need to come in for, so always give us a call. When you call after-hours, you will be transferred to the night nurse, which is a triage service where very experienced people will help guide you through your issues or concerns. There’s always one of us, one of the pediatricians available to help if there's something that they can’t answer for you or what not. So, just give us a call and you'll automatically be connected to the right person to talk to.

Melanie:  Dr. Neville, tell the listeners what they can expect from their initial visits with you with their baby as far as routine physicals and vaccines and immunizations? What are they getting right at the beginning and how do you speak to them about those things?

Dr. Neville:  You will be seen within one to three days after being discharged from the hospital--and please don’t feel you need to memorize this—but, assuming everything is going well, you'll be seen for a 1 month visit, 2 month, 4 month, 6 month, 9 month, 12 month, 16 month, 18 month, 2 year, and then we start seeing you yearly. So, you're going to get to know us really well and we're going to get to know you really well. Your first immunization, more often than not, occurs in the hospital shortly after birth and that’s the Hepatitis-B vaccine. Then, your next set of full vaccines occurs, usually around two months old and we will be talking with you about it and giving you information and so forth at “Meet Pediatrics,” the session the occurs every other month at night. We also talk about vaccines and so forth but, here at MIT, we do believe in vaccinations and the power that they play to keep babies safe and so forth.

Melanie:  And as far as health forms, as kids gets a bit older and they are still with MIT Pediatrics, they need health forms for schools, athletics and pre-participation evaluation forms, so how do parents get those, too? Do you have some? Do they send them to you and you guys will sign them? Do they have to come see you for these?

Dr. Neville:  We can only fill out a health form if we've only done a well-child check, obviously. And, at the time of the well-child check, we're happy to give you a form that says that your child is cleared for camp or school or what not. If you bring in health forms—and, usually, honestly, that’s sufficient enough for most camps. On a rare occasion that a camp requires a specific form to be filled out, if you drop it off and fax it to us, we can try to get it to you. It may not be that day but, hopefully, by the next day or the day after. So, we're happy to help with those things.

Melanie:  In just the last few minutes, Dr. Neville, answer the question about Urgent Care. Do we bring our children to Urgent Care? Do they need to make an appointment? Is it a walk-in situation? And why patients should feel comfortable coming to MIT Medical Pediatrics to meet you?

Dr. Neville:  So, Urgent Care is wonderful. Urgent Care doesn’t always have someone who can see a pediatric patient. So, if there's anything that you take home from this, it's always call. Always call us, always call Urgent Care before you come in with your child because they may or may not have someone who sees pediatrics. Also, it may or may not be an issue that you won't have to come in at all for it may be an issue that you need to go straight to the emergency room. So, you don’t need to be wasting your time and energy coming to urgent care. So, always give us a call before you come so that you're sure you are going to the right place. And then, in terms of why people should feel comfortable coming to MIT Pediatrics, I think because we all really care about your children and we all are good at what we do. We have been well-trained and are experienced and are good at what we do and we really care--all of us. There's not any one of us who wouldn’t just go that extra mile for your child and the families and we are all really love taking care of children and their families. So, I think that you should feel very comfortable and happy coming to us when your child's healthy and when your child's ill, feel comfortable and happy coming to us. I don’t know how else to answer that question.

Melanie:  No, that was great. Thank you so much. You’re listening to conversations with MIT Medical and for more information on MIT Medical Pediatrics, you can go to That's Thanks so much for listening. This is Melanie Cole. Have a great day.