The rapid development of technology applied to the care of the high-risk newborn and regionalization of centers for the care of the critically ill neonate have created an increased need for better understanding of neonatal problems by the general pediatrician and coordination of his work with the neonatologist.
The physician who provides critical care at tertiary or secondary level centers may be a fulltime or part-time neonatologist. The neonatologist usually has a referral practice. It is the general pediatrician who makes the referrals and to whom the patient should return. Though he usually may not assume principal responsibility for the infant needing critical care, the general pediatrician must demonstrate expertise in several aspects of care of the seriously ill neonate. Because of increasing concern regarding the roles and relationships of the practicing pediatrician and the neonatologist in the neonatal intensive care unit, the Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine and the Committee on the Fetus and Newborn offer this statement.