As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Oklahoma, Michael Coffey, MD, Pediatrician at Bethany Children’s Health Center, advises parents to maintain their children’s well visit schedule. “One of the most fundamental aspects of pediatric care is preventative medicine. Children are ever-changing individuals, whether during infancy or adolescence. For this reason, healthcare providers need to monitor children routinely at well visits to ensure they are staying healthy,” Dr. Coffey explains. “During the pandemic, practicing isolation measures and social distancing is of the utmost importance, but delaying or avoiding preventative health visits absolutely increases the risk of developing preventable problems.”
Dr. Coffey, a finalist for Best Pediatrician in The Oklahoman’s 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards, treats patients at the outpatient Pediatric Clinic at Bethany Children’s Health Center. The clinic serves over 2,300 patients from the local community annually, providing comprehensive treatments ranging from general pediatrics to advanced medical care.
Routine pediatric visits include developmental screening, along with monitoring height and weight. Dr. Coffey and his staff also monitor vision with a state-of-the-art vision screener. Another important part of pediatric visits is discussion with parents about behavior, eating and sleep habits, safety measures and more. These visits give parents the opportunity to have questions about their child’s health and development answered.
Vaccinations are another key element of well visits for children. “One of the biggest health concerns for children that has been raised during the pandemic has been immunizations being delayed or missed and increasing risk for vaccine-preventable diseases recurring while we focus our efforts on reducing COVID-19,” says Dr. Coffey.
For parents of children with chronic health conditions, regular pediatric care is important to keep their children at their best health and reduce the risk of developing illnesses. “Children with complex medical needs often require more frequent visits to closely monitor growth and development, and to more diligently evaluate underlying conditions to reduce risk for preventable adverse health outcomes,” explains Dr. Coffey.
During this challenging time for families, pediatric health care providers are ready to offer guidance and support. Dr. Coffey expressed these feelings, “I am blessed to work at Bethany Children’s Health Center, and the wonderful clinic staff all provide an essential support system for children and their families, from a medical standpoint and beyond. At the hospital, we are uniquely positioned to serve the children of Oklahoma to reach their maximum potential, now more than ever.”