The only thing worse than having a sick child is having one that is chronically ill. It’s heart-wrenching. Nearly all parents face the grim prospect of putting their child’s life in the hands of a physician at least once in their lifetime. Now, with new research that ranks medical error as the third-leading cause of death in America, we need to ask ourselves a question: How much blind faith do we put into our pediatrician?
Consider this from The Washington Post:
“[M]edical errors” in hospitals and other health-care facilities are incredibly common and may now be the third-leading cause of death in the United States — claiming 251,000 lives every year, more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s.
Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the research, said in an interview that the category includes everything from bad doctors to more systemic issues such as communication breakdowns when patients are handed off from one department to another.
“It boils down to people dying from the care that they receive rather than the disease for which they are seeking care,” Makary said.
This fact coming to light is actually good news. Perhaps now we will stop giving the medical profession our unchecked trust and allegiance. Don’t get me wrong, there are very good doctors who deserve our trust. What I am referring to are the types of doctors who dismiss parents and require them to follow their “orders” unquestioningly.
Now it’s more important than ever to be vigilant. This study proves they are not gods. However, they are now so entangled with the government that they have an unholy power.
In the ’80s my children were young. Like most of my friends’ kids, mine were constantly going to the doctor’s office for something. Even with good insurance, doctor’s office visits soon became a major factor in our debt-to-income ratio. I don’t think things have changed much for young parents today.
Back then, I found a book written by the late Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor. That book changed not only my kids’ lives, but my life. He explained the attitudes of superiority and lack of respect for parents that are prevalent in the medical profession and the harm they do.
Most importantly, this book shows parents how to make informed decisions about their children’s health. Knowledge is power.
Shop for a doctor who views parents as partners. Find one who doesn’t discuss your child’s health with his or her hand on the door knob.
Don’t be afraid to interview and find a doctor that you feel comfortable with. Doctors are human. They will make mistakes. But if you find a doctor who will listen to you and to your concerns, and honor your decisions about your family’s health care, then you have found gold.
A skilled doctor and a set of vigilant parents, working together as partners, are the best health care team and your best defense against adding your family to the statistics.