Report on Complementary And Alternative Medicine
With the increasing lack of access to good doctors and the high cost of medical care, parents are turning more and more to non-traditional and alternative ways to try and keep their children healthy. Even if good medical care is available, many parents and adults try alternative medical care that has no real hope of doing any good. I can remember the father of a patient with Duchenne dystrophy who was having his son treated with light therapy and magnets. Unfortunately, he was so sure this would cure the eight-year-old that he didn't do what would have made a difference, ie. stretching the contractures and keeping the boy as active as possible with swimming or other exercise.
Another mother had her daughter taking twenty-two herbal medicines and vitamins that filled the teenager up so much that she started losing more and more weight. Once all these herbs and vitamins were stopped and the girl was given a good diet, she began to be much healthier and happier.
A report on alternative and complementary medicine in the AAP December News summarized how these are being used in children. It is interesting that thirty percent of healthy children and about fifty percent of children with chronic conditions are being treated with non-traditional medical practices. I disagree with the statement in the report that this is not due to dissatisfaction with doctors, but is just because parents want to keep their children as healthy as possible.
To some extent this is true, but a large percent of parents are so dissatisfied with their pediatricians and family doctors that they are trying other ways to keep their kids healthy.
I was remarking last week at a holiday party how wonderful my patients' parents were when I was in private pediatric practice because they rarely called me in the middle of the night. The parents knew I would see their child immediatrely if they were concerned. A woman remarked "There are no doctors you can call at night these days." I replied that if that was her experience she definity needed to change doctors. Many doctors do simply refer children to the ER and don't get out of bed. This is a very bad practice because ER doctors are not trained in the care of kids except for accidents and injuries.
The author of this story Dr. Charlotte Thompson blogs at drthompsonsbooks.typepad.com/