Being your Child’s Paediatrician from Birth to Adulthood
I would be delighted to be your (well, your child’s paediatrician) from birth, right through to a bright future as a healthy young adult. The right paediatrician, from the very start, results in a lasting and supportive relationship that all value and in which children thrive.
VERY Well Qualified
I am unusual for Cayman, in that I am both a paediatrician, tending to all regular paediatric care needs, and a neonatologist (with many years experience at the highest level in one of the UK’s foremost centres, where I was also Chief of Service), important when and if there are complications around birth and the early days. I am a very senior specialist, with exceptional credentials, but my charges are absolutely standard and comparable to others. I’d be delighted to be there for your special time and thereafter as your child grows and develops.
I attend LOTS of Deliveries
I spend a great deal of time in delivery suite and the neonatal unit in George Town!
- In normal deliveries, where the parents have decided they would like a paediatrician present (and that paediatrician to be me, obviously!)
(in case of complications or for reassurance/ preference)
- In caesarean sections, where having a paediatrician present is obligatory in Cayman (see The Ultimate Question below!!)
- Pretty much all complicated scenarios or preterm births occuring in private patients
(because I am the main neonatologist for private patients and also help the Government doctors when they want or need specialist expertise)
Having a paediatrician present, where not obligated, is a choice based on preference, comfort level and cost. You’ll want to talk to your obstetrician about this and your paediatrician. I offer free antenatal appointments to discuss this from the paediatric perspective. Please just call me or complete the form below. I’d love to meet you.
My Top 10 Compelling Reasons
1. The right credentials when it matters most at birth
The majority of births go completely smoothly. Every now and then one arrives ahead of expectations and sometimes there’s an unexpected complication or even a real emergency, either at term or before. For example, in the last year alone, I have attended multiple birth asphyxias (the most severe birth complication) requiring immediate expert resuscitation and then highly specialist care, including cooling (therapeutic hypothermia – which my centre in the UK was a pioneer of), as well as numerous preterm births requiring complex neonatal care, which I specialise in (throughout my career, not brief stints in training). When something goes wrong, time and having the right skills are both critical. We have to always remember that we are an island! It’s also worth considering:
- I make myself available at the drop of hat, day and night
- I live just 5 minutes from the hospital (that can be really important in the middle of the night!)
- I have full admitting rights at George Town (where the neonatal unit is)
- I am called on by the HSA team to support their more complex babies too
2. Tertiary connections & relationships
When specialist care is required, it’s not always possible to do so within the limited resources of our island (even though our neonatal unit really is excellent). I maintain close working relationships with a number of Florida-based tertiary centres and liaise closely with them (as an equal – given my background) when necessary. This is beneficial in the following ways:
- Knowing when to transfer and when not to (and where)
- Knowing how to organise an emergency transfer (there’s lots to think about)
- Managing the safe return of your infant (and I can often support earlier returns because of my expertise)
- Ensuring you understand what another centre is doing and what happens next
- Helping you if there are difficult issues and decisions to discuss
I also maintain very close links with tertiary centres in the UK. This can be immensely useful in avoiding unnecessary trips off the island at a delicate stage. My colleagues in London are some of the world experts in neurological injuries, for instance.
3. Not scary to children!
One of the wonderful things about practising in Cayman is that it is small and I love seeing my families out and about, on the beach, in the supermarket and more. Not an uncommon occurance is to find myself in an aisle at Kirk with my dress being tugged by a child saying “Hello Dr Watkin” and wanting to tell me about their day. I love that but more importantly, the children feel able to do that. I also find children in my waiting room after their consultation because they like it and want to play with the toys. It’s important that parents like their paediatrician but even more important that children do.
4. Specialist in checks, diagnosis and developmental follow-up
Being a preterm baby doctor has an added advantage with other babies too, because we develop heightened awareness and skills in following up children and picking up things that need addressing, mostly because we are used to following up our preterm babies so closely. You’ll find that I take follow up and well-child checks very seriously and I am extremely thorough. You don’t want someone who will over-diagnose things but you definitely want someone who will pick up what needs addressing.
5. Expertise in complex medicine
We hope that every child will go through life just needing routine paediatric support. However, when things aren’t routine, it’s important to have the right skills, whether it is for on-island care of a more complex disease or helping you choose where to go for super-specialist care. I moved to Cayman directly from one of the UK’s leading centres in specialist, tertiary care, including working closely with Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. I have considerable experience in complex diseases management, respiratory diseases such as asthma and both congenital and genetic problems. Many of these require constant support and care needs that change over time. I pride myself in being there every step of the way.
6. With your child’s wellbeing and your own pocket in mind always
This is important. Children need the right care and attention – obviously not too little but also not too much. Healthcare is expensive and medications have less good effects, as well as the necessary ones. It’s important to use the tests, tools and treatments at our disposal responsibly. It’s not necessarily good care to have had every test under the Cayman sun and be given every medicine that might have an effect. You’ll find that I tend to:
- Avoid over-prescribing (it’s about knowing what is most likely to work and then adding in more later if necessary, not always from the start – my specialist training helps in this too)
- Use my specialist expertise to target my tests and diagnostics (as opposed to ‘test the heck’ out of a poor child at a delicate moment – again the specialist training helps)
- Advise when and where you can get something cheaper e.g. free vaccinations from HSA (if you choose to have me do them that’s fine but I want my parents to know all the options, not just the ones that benefit me!)
Parents are very loyal to my practice (you’ll see that on CayMums) and I think that’s because I deeply care about what happens to them and their children.
7. Protecting privacy
Cayman is a small place and it’s easy to feel that everybody knows everything. You don’t always want that and especially around healthcare. Sadly, I have already had to tackle two instances of unauthorised access of notes on the hospital system by other private paediatricians (I am sure the intentions were innocent). I just want you to know I take these things seriously on your behalf.
8. Accessibility above and beyond
This is not a small deal and especially if this is your first baby. I pride myself on being available for you. Yes, in the evenings. Yes, on a Sunday. Yes, in the middle of the night. Yes, when I am on the beach. Yes, when I am out to dinner. I frequently (pretty much daily) get calls in the evening or night from parents worried about something. Even if it turns out to be nothing, it isn’t nothing to you at the time and that’s something I always remember. I hope that no parent has ever felt they couldn’t call.
9. Neutral, open and honest
Your pregnancy lasts 9 months (hopefully)… but your child has paediatric care and follow up needs for 18+ years and sometimes the decisions at the beginining make a big difference downstream. I don’t have allegiances or affiliations to serve. I haven’t got pressures to make internal referrals. I’ll always be open, honest and try to give the very best advice and direction. I maintain excellent relationships with other specialists to ensure when they are needed, you get the best advice on where to go. Pregnancy is also full of decisions that you’ll discuss with your obstetrician but each obstetrician is also different, with different preferences and strengths. What we all have in common is wanting a wonderful, healthy child at the end of an uncomplicated pregnancy. Safety is a consideration always (I never forget that however beautiful our island is, it is an island, 560 miles from Miami). I always encourage my new parents to meet with me early and share their thoughts and ideas. I can then offer unbiased advice from a paediatric perspective. That can be very reassuring and sometime a little enlightening.
10. Here to stay
Accepting that no expat gets to stay without going through the relevent immigration processes at the right time, I moved here permanently to make it my home, in 2016. I am here with my husband (worst house-husband in history but I love him) and our son. All our worldly goods came in a container. We own our home here. I feel very part of lovely Cayman and you’ll see me in the supermarket, at restaurants, charity walks and on the beach (no cellulite comments please)! I am here to stay. In my practice, you get me and I am available when you need me. Children obviously respond well to stability and a familiar face but as parents, you naturally want someone who knows your child and their history and sees them grow and develop over time. That’s actually what I love about being a paediatrician from birth to early adulthood. It’s a privilege and one I cherish every day.
With all that in mind, I do actually suggest you meet a number of paediatricians and see who you find most suited to your needs. To meet me, you can organise it directly from the form below.
Also Important to Know
There are things you ought to know. My personal view is that honesty and integrity are of the utmost importance in a healthcare relationship. With that in mind:
- You are not obligated to use any specific paediatrician – it’s your choice (in law) so don’t be told otherwise
(and question why, if you are)
- There is little difference in the cost of different paediatricians in Grand Cayman and I utilise Cayman standard fees for all my clinic work and absolutely comparable fees for newborn services, regardless of my rather senior credentials – again, don’t be misled and always ask why someone might be doing so
The Ultimate Paediatrician-at-Birth Question?
If you are thinking about a paediatrician for your baby’s birth, ask yourself “why?”
(and therefore “what’s important?”)
Beyond birth, we are there to ensure your child grows and develops well, starting from our first checks – the newborn baby checks. However, at birth, we are there in case things go wrong. With that in mind, it is worth thinking about what makes a good paediatrician or neonatologist when you need them most?
- How much emergency newborn care experience do they have?
- Are their resuscitation skills up-to-date and do they use them regularly enough to ensure they are expert?
- What specialist skills and experience do they have, if really needed?
- What sort of newborn emergency care and resuscitation have they done in the last 12 months?
- Are they a neonatologist i.e. a newborn care specialist (or simply a paediatrician)?
I hope this page has been useful in your journey to choose a paediatrician. I hope that you will come and meet me and allow me to tell you more, including my background and how I came to our lovely island. I would be delighted if you then wanted me as your paediatrician (and neonatologist, even if we all hope this is an artea of expertise you won’t need to the full).
Come Meet Me
Free Antenatal Appointment Booking Form
Without question the best way to decide if you would like me to be your paediatrician, including at the birth. I offer free antenatal appointments, to introduce myself and to discuss things like the necessity or not for a paediatrician at the birth itself, what happens afterwards, baby checks etc. Just complete thebooking form below: