Past Meets Present in Pediatric Care
Jody L. Mayers | Apr 20, 2012, 9:57 a.m.
Internet not always a good tool for parents
You finally get your sick child to bed and he seems to be sleeping peacefully as you watch to make sure his chest is rising and falling. Collapsing on the couch, you turn to the book you’ve been trying to get through for the past six month. However, when you finally realize you are not going to be able to read because you are worried about your child, you turn on the television to watch your guilty pleasure: The Real Housewives of fill-in-the blank, get out the laptop and feverishly type in every symptom and sign of illness your little junior is displaying.
If you have done this, you are not alone. As a mother of two, number three due in September, I admit to checking my sons’ symptoms online. Oftentimes convincing myself they had a horrible no-cure insight-disease, my pediatrician has had to talk me down from the cliff more than once.
Dr. Robert Krieger, a pediatrician at Aurora Health Care in Summit, said parents who search for medical information regarding their children on the Internet is just one of the many changes he’s seen in his 34 years of practice. “I do not find it to be helpful for the parent,” he said. “Parents will come in here confused after they’ve read something online and think they’ve diagnosed the child and we need to come up with a treatment plan based on what they have learned.”
Dr. Krieger said because parents don’t have the medical education, assumptions are made and panic sets in when it doesn’t have to. “Parents just need to follow their intuition. Those sites often cause more frustration and anxiety than need be and children pick up on that,” he said.
Dr. Krieger said sometimes the Internet has its place and he will suggest the parent look up certain conditions to become more educated about certain things such as chronic rashes. “Certain sites have the most up-to-date information and can give parents a better explanation than I will have time for in an office visit,” he said.
Besides the Internet, Dr. Krieger said vast decreases in the hospitalization rate is another major change and can be contributed to a couple factors, better outpatient care and immunizations for conditions that were once deemed serious and sometimes even life-threatening.
“Our own son was on life support for Meningitis and the vaccine came out two-weeks later,” he said. “Kids just don’t contract the diseases they used to and if they do, they can mostly be treated on an outpatient basis.”
Dr. Krieger also said certain conditions can also be improved in the home with visiting nurses.
“The biggest improvement I’ve seen as a pediatrician has been the ability to treat patients better with our health care system, resources and immunizations,” he said.
Along with changing times, Dr. Krieger said there is an increase in the changes of the overall structure of the family dynamic with divorce rates, teenage pregnancy and unwed parents. More than 1.1 million people in Wisconsin depend on Medicaid health programs. In some cases, there is abuse of such entitlement programs as well as a lack of family life skills.
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