A Travellerspoint blog

The Pediatrician

ugh, I had one of those misinformed mommy moments today. Apparently I didn't do enough researching. I had met a pediatrician in Kona last week, that I thought was serendipitous. I saw his office sign, then I met him in the natural food store grabbing lunch, and I thought, oh great, the new doctor for my son. I must confess here that I do not like to bring my bias as a naturopathic doctor into this blog, but sometimes it just creeps on in. I do not want to be my own child's doctor. I would like someone else to evaluate him, someone with ounces more objectivity than myself. S, I thought I had found that guy, and the appointment was today. We drive from Kona to Kealakekua (about 20 minutes), I go into the office and begin filling out the paperwork. My husband motions toward a typed letter/handout on the table. I pick it up and it outlines his policy of vaccinations. Or rather, it states that if your child is not properly vaccinated according to the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatricians, then he expects you to be 'updated'. And if you are not, then he will not allow you into his practice.

So, here I am reading this document thinking, utoh, we have differing belief systems, and I did not think to check. I tend to think that other people think like me, regarding personal freedom of choice. I tend to think that this decision is a parental choice, not a doctor choice. So my husband has a chat with the front desk staff that goes something like this:

"So...we read the letter there in the waiting room. And I am wondering, does this mean that if we are not going to have our son immunized today that we are not going to be accepted as patients?"

"Umm.... well... maybe you can speak to the doctor about this"

"well, I was going to, but apparently he made his opinion clear here, so sounds like there is not much to discuss. Is that pretty much true? Is this a nice way of saying that we will not accept patients that are not vaccinateds on a regular schedule?"

"Well, yes"

"Ok, well, thanks. We didn't know...Sorry for taking up a place in the schedule, but better not to waste both of our time"

Awkward pause. Clean up. Out the door.

So, thee I was. Shocked and surprised that I had made such a surprising oversight not to have considered a pediatrician's mindset before making an appointment. I actually appreciated his bluntness and straightforward opinion - I just wished his staff had communicated it before I got there and discovered it. But at least I didn't have to sit through an awkward visit. At first, I was embarrassed to have dealt with the awkward situation., But after we left, I felt a sense of confidence in knowing that I am able to stand up for what I feel is best for my own child, and to listen to those of others without creating conflict or backing down. I personally believe that vaccinations are a parents' choice, and although they should be accurately informed abut benefits and risks, as with all other procedures, the decisions ultimately should be their own. They are the ones who have to live with the consequences of their own actions, and feel comfortable with the health of their children. The doctors are there to facilitate and enable, but not to make these decisions for them. This is my belief, that stems from the education model of naturopathic doctors. I realize, even more today, that it can be unpopular and isolating, but I believe our society is strengthened by the concept of informed consent.

Posted by globalmomma 22:06 Tagged medicine doctor vaccination pediatrician

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