rainbow pediatrics

Dr. Thomas Dierkes gives Gaddiel Delgado Ramos 11, of Wildwood, a check-up. Rainbow Pediatrics 4011 Route 9 South, Suite 203 in Rio Grande.

Dale Gerhard

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — First-time parents spend several days in a hospital with their newborn, with round-the-clock attention of nurses and doctors easing an often anxious time of parenthood.

Then they go home, alone, with a baby.

“The first night you went home is completely different than in the hospital. You probably didn’t sleep at all,” said Dr. Thomas Dierkes, a pediatrician and an owner of Rainbow Pediatrics.

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The practice recommends parents bring in their babies within five days after being discharged from the hospital, he said.

“We want them in rather quickly. ... There are a lot of questions in a couple days,” said Dierkes, 45, of Avalon.

Routine visits in the first year are also important to check for certain illnesses and to deliver immunizations.

“Because of these vaccines, there are actually fewer admissions into a hospital. That is down considerably (over the years),” he said.

Rainbow Pediatrics was started in 1994 by Dr. Jeffrey Flick, and the practice now has locations in the Clermont section of Dennis Township, Egg Harbor Township and, starting last year, in the Rio Grande section of Middle Township.

The expansion was in part due to catering to patients in the southern part of Cape May County.

“One of the reasons we opened down here is about 60 percent of our patients were driving up there, you’re asking them to drive 20 minutes,” he said. “When your child is sick, it’s a little bit tough.”

The offices treat patients from newborns to teenagers and even older, and answering the various questions of parents is part of this medical field.

The office employs a lactation consultant to assist new mothers with breastfeeding and has a doctor who specializes in sports medicine — an area drawing increased attention from schools and parents as awareness of concussions grows among professional and amateur sports alike.

“Children are not small adults. It’s actually worse for a child who has a concussion to get another concussion,” Dierkes said. “It’s very important you adequately recover from a concussion.”

The practice also recently hired a Spanish-speaking medical interpreter to cater to a large Spanish-speaking population, particularly in Rio Grande and the Wildwoods, he said.

The interpreter, Anita LaPlaca, of Cape May Point, said the role requires knowledge of medical terminology and relating it in understandable terms.

“Patients don’t know what the word biopsy means sometimes … so then you need to explain it,” she said.

Like others, the pediatrician’s office includes two separate waiting areas — one for children who are sick, another for those who are well.

As a pediatrician with Rainbow Pediatrics since 1997, Dierkes has seen babies of all sizes.

“I can remember premature babies that weighed under 2 pounds, that I took care of from the beginning, who are now 15 years old,” he said.

Rainbow Pediatrics

Locations: 4011 Route 9 S. Suite 203 in Rio Grande, Middle Township; 2041 Route 9 South in Clermont, Dennis Township; 2500 Black Horse Pike Suit 901, Egg Harbor Township

Owners: Drs. Jeffrey Flick, Thomas Dierkes, William Freund and Ajit Mathur

Started: 1994

Employees: 48

Revenue: Not disclosed

Phone: 609-624-9003


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