It's well worth the wait, doctors say Sitting room set aside for healthy patients

February 28, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Parents entering the Carroll Children's Center in Hampstead must make an immediate decision. The door to the left bears a prominent sign: SICK ROOM. The door to the right identifies the WELL ROOM.

The layout of this newest pediatric center in Carroll County, which was opened in November by two partners, Dr. Michael J. Scobie and Dr. Charles M. Ashburn, distinguishes it from the offices of many family practitioners and hospital-style clinics, where some patients are reluctant to seek routine examinations because they dislike sitting in the waiting room among the sick.

"It makes so much sense, but so few doctors have sufficient space to be able to give their patients an option between sick and well waiting areas," Dr. Scobie said.

Visitors to the Hampstead center also will notice that there are no toys or books in the waiting rooms. Germs can spread rapidly when the youngest patients put toys and books into their mouths.

Soon, Dr. Scobie said, televisions will be placed in the waiting areas with children's programming to entertain and occupy the younger, less-patient patients.

Dr. Scobie, 43, first opened a pediatric office about 10 years ago in Finksburg. A blossoming practice and a need for more space led him and Dr. Ashburn to Westminster, where they joined Dr. Karl Green, who had begun his pediatric practice 32 years before.

"Four years ago, we needed additional space and moved into the new building," Dr. Scobie said, referring to the Washington Heights Medical Center.

Dr. Green also founded the Carroll County Children's Fund, a charitable organization that sought donations so that children without health insurance or with insufficient coverage could get high-quality medical care, Dr. Scobie said.

Dr. Green retired in June, but not before Dr. Scobie, Dr. Ashburn and Dr. Jennifer Wehberg had forged an alliance with Dr. Jose Gonzalez in Eldersburg and Dr. Michael Rosner in Taneytown.

"We all share taking weekend duty and working evening hours so parents with sick children will have 24-hour pediatric service," Dr. Scobie said.

The Hampstead office, at Black Rock Road and Route 88 in the Cedarbrook Center, is beginning to lure new patients as word spreads through the northern part of the county, Dr. Scobie said.

"We haven't yet had a life-or-death emergency walk in the door for help here, but we have seen some bad asthma cases that could have become much worse if the patient hadn't sought immediate attention," he said.

The most troublesome illness this winter has been respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Dr. Scobie said. "It's a specific virus that infects the lungs and causes severe wheezing," he said.

Adults routinely fight off RSV, the doctor said, but children with limited exposure to it, such as 9-month-old fraternal twins Matthew and Kent Baughman, it can be troublesome, Dr. Scobie said.

Jackie and Butch Baughman, the twins' parents, used to visit the center in Westminster, but they were happy to bring Matthew and Kent to Hampstead, a much shorter trip from their home in Manchester.

"We selected Dr. Scobie as a pediatrician after hearing about him from two friends who both have daughters he has treated," Mrs. Baughman said. "He's so good with the boys."

Dr. Scobie, president of the Carroll County Chapter of the American Diabetes Association, specializes in treating diabetic children and teen-agers.

As the Hampstead practice grows, Dr. Scobie and Dr. Ashburn want to add team members, such as a physical therapist, a psychiatrist and an ear, nose and throat specialist.

"We already are involved in behavioral pediatrics, ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] and well care," Dr. Scobie said.

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