The Day That Pediatricians Quit

Once upon a time, there was a land where parents were anxious, information was pervasive, and trust was hard to come by. Misinformed celebrities with impressive influence (despite minimal education) were spouting ideas that provided concrete solutions to poorly understood situations, and parents were clinging to them as if their (child’s) life depended upon it.

Pediatricians everywhere were scratching their heads, wondering, what has happened? Why are our patients doubting us? We are not the enemy. The enemy is Dr. Google, social media, the ability for ill-informed people to spread their misplaced agendas by feeding on parents’ fears; incentivized by the number of Facebook likes and shares.

We found ourselves exasperated and powerless against this Dr. Google, who had access to all information, but no reputable filter to weed out what was useful, scientific data versus that which was was inflammatory and unproven.

Every time a parent presented us with an article from a doula’s blog citing “evidence” of the toxins in vaccines or a link to Autism, we would smile tight-lipped, hold their hand, and review the proven evidence-based data stating these claims were actually false. Then we would bang our heads against the wall during our lunch break knowing our own research articles would likely end up in the trash.

We were reciting mantras like “the flu vaccine does not cause the flu” in our dreams to the point where our spouses threatened to smother us in our sleep.

We mocked Jenny McCarthy for her ill-conceived ideas about Autism while crying at night for our infant patient – too young for vaccines – who died after contracting whooping cough or measles from an unvaccinated child at the local amusement park.

We would make jokes about Dr. Google, a feeble attempt at lightheartedness while spending our precious free weekends visiting our immunocompromised patients in the PICU fighting for their lives after catching influenza from an unvaccinated peer at school.

We high-fived when California passed a law stating students could no longer use “religious” reasons as an excuse not to be vaccinated, and were shocked when friends actually moved out of the state because of this.

When we noticed this indisputable trend of kids falling ill and even dying unnecessarily due to the inconceivable influence of Dr. Google and these ignorant celebrities, pediatricians everywhere got angry. How can people ignore what is happening here? And to be honest, our feelings were hurt. We have nothing but our patients’ best interests at heart; why are people continuing to doubt us? Fed up, we spent countless hours wondering, “Why are our voices falling on deaf ears?”

And then one day, just like that, Pediatricians everywhere were silent.

Because they all decided to quit.

And here’s what happened:

Pediatricians had a full night’s sleep. No more pages, no more on-call texts, no sleepless nights worrying about patients.

Pediatricians spent time with their families, exercised and read a book.

Pediatricians saw their own primary care doctors and had their teeth cleaned.
And pediatricians missed their patients. Terribly.

Because patient care is the most appealing part of our job. It’s why we do what we do. To see a child healthy again, fight off a cold, prevent an illness, catch something early, support and reassure a parent. Watching your children grow from little babies to almost-adults, heading off to college and into the world, this is why we do our job.

We are not the enemy.

Meanwhile, our true foe – Dr. Google and social media – spread misinformation like wildfire, confusing well-intended parents and placing doubt in their minds. Don’t trust your doctor, trust me. I have all the information you need.

Home schools popped up around the country to avoid the vaccination laws.

The rates of influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, pertussis and influenza soared to all-time highs.  Kids fell ill, parents frightened.

They felt lost, uncertain where to turn. Dr. Google was not returning their phone calls at night, advising on how to manage that fever or reassuring them that their child did not need antibiotics.

He didn’t present you with objective, scientifically-backed information to help guide your decisions.

He didn’t do a thorough exam of your child to help determine the cause of their pain, the best treatment approach for their stomach ache or sore throat.

He didn’t sit with you in moments of sadness or pain.

He didn’t help you decide, together, what is the best treatment option for your individual child.

So the next time you have questions, doubts or fears, don’t turn to Dr. Google. Ask your pediatrician. That’s why we are here, to help your child stay healthy, as best we can. Trust us when we say that not only do we bring thousands of hours of knowledge and experience to the table, but we also care, deeply, about each and every one of your children.

This is not a battle; it’s not about taking sides. It’s about our kids’ health. And trust us, that is our number one priority.

 

 

27 thoughts on “The Day That Pediatricians Quit

  1. Genevieve Dullum says:

    Oh my gosh I LOVE this- you have such a great perspective. It’s so true and I know I’m guilty of it too. I hope a lot people read this and realize doctors are there to help (which is such an obvious statement, except that people seem to have forgotten)!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathleen says:

    This is a perfect write up that is much needed for many people. Problem is those I know who need to read and understand this information will not do so. They scare me and I am scared for their children and those they may expose to something because of their inability to believe in the power of vaccines. They will say the author of this is part of the problem, that they are being brainwashed or duped with incorrect information or even worse a part of the conspiracy. It is all kinds of crazy to think pediatricians are that stupid and gullible but I know people who feel that way. I love our pediatrician and I love vaccines. Please keep trying. Maybe some doubters will listen, one can only hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mary redman says:

    We get it….but many parents don’t so how can we operate to keep their children healthy, safe and on a path of learning to care for themselves to become content, reliable adult citizens?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jacquie Kush says:

    This makes me appreciate our pediatrician even more. I always forget how thankless the job can be. Side note – I actually won’t spend time with people and their kids if I know they aren’t vaccinated. At first I worried about being rude, then I remembered that they are actually the rude party.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary McCarthy says:

    Trend to devalue science and facts is pervasive in our society. Childbirth education is another example of people using Dr. Google or have the mindset “I want an epidural.” Nationwide class attendance is down while infant and maternal morbidity and mortality increase. We do not have the best healthcare in the world, probably the most expensive. Distrust is a factor, look at the epi-pen pharma greedy maneuvers. Do what you can to promote trust and accurate knowledge, Mary McCarthy, RN

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Patel Sarahpatel_sarah@yahoo.com says:

    I agree with every word of this article. In google you can only get general, basic information which doesn’t have to be allways true. You cannot heal any body especially a child with out consulting your phisician or pedititricianand everybody should be aware about it!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yaddey says:

    The real reason that parents are fed if is the corruption and corporate greed on steroids. Why aren’t MDs opposing this. In 2015 the flu vaccine was only 11% effective, yet you were still forcing people to take this. You promote 33 vaccinations for infants, up from about 11 and some of you do not even question any of this. Parents cannot trust the science and research because of this corruption driven by greed and they are showing their outrage by looking for alternatives. Some MDs are afraid to push bak because they are being threatened with loosing there medical license for non compliance to the status quo. The public, want to trust you and partner with you, but they don’t see you standing up for their medical interest. Just sharing the reason they turn to Dr Google in th first place.

    Liked by 1 person

      • antakie says:

        Why this stupid comment on a valid question? Maybe this type of behaviour is exactly why people do not trust the MD after your name anymore? Maybe a better bedside manner and trying to understand why people are doubting MD’s will help pediatritians to have the empathy they feel for the children for the parents as well. You get nowhere by treating people as if you are better and smarter than them.

        Like

    • Audrey says:

      Vaccines are not highly profitable. We don’t make money spending extra time with people showing them the evidence. If a child gets hospitalized with pneumonia because they had the flu and the flu led to pneumonia, THAT is when the pharmaceutical companies make a lot of money…IV antibiotics, IV fluid, oxygen…Thee flu vaccine is more effective than 11%. Check the CDC website. It is an authoritative souce.

      Like

  8. rfestag says:

    To be fair, influenza mutates very quickly, which is why the vaccine has to be modified each year (to target the predicted most common strains). In 2015, their predictions were wrong. In general though, it is closer to 50-60% effective. That is also why it is so important for everyone to get the vaccine. If 85-95% of the population received the vaccine, you would effectively achieve herd immunity (meaning those who can’t receive the vaccine are protected because it is so much harder for it to spread)

    Also, while children are vaccinated against more diseases now, they are actually exposed to fewer antigens (samples of the actual bug you are training your immune system against) than we were even in the 1980s, and with fewer preservatives (which you could react to). This means we are being more efficient than before (vaccinating against more with lower risk).

    I’m not saying there isn’t bad science out there (the guy linking vaccines to autism is actually a fantastic example of that), and it is hard to find ground truth with so many contradictory explanations and agendas. But your pediatrician is more likely to understand the research and what it means than you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Genevieve Dullum says:

      While knowledge isn’t necessarily measured in hours, you would be hard pressed so say that the doctors who have poured over countless textbooks and then gained wisdom by seeing real patients during their internships, residencies, etc. lack these qualities. They only received their knowledge from proven sources and real life experiences, while anyone can write anything they want on the internet. And if you’re going to reference literature to try to demonstrate your intelligence, be sure to get the name of the main character right (John Galt). I was confused about why you thought this had to do with clay until I got to the Ayn Rand part. I guess you didn’t have the wisdom to fact check yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Tom Bowers says:

    Not only is Dr. Google the frustration but hysteria is passed at our baseball diamonds, churches, supermarket tabloids, schools etc. We question everything and doubt valid science and fact checking….My deceased brother was a pediatrician and was frustrated by all the mis-information

    Like

  10. reissd says:

    Thank you. It’s a much needed reminder of how much time, care and effort our pediatricians give to our children, and why listening to scary sites over the people whose job is to care for our children is an error.

    Like

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