We have a vaccine crisis in the this country. Not just the one caused by anti-vaxxers like Jenny McCarthy, scaring Americans away from life-saving childhood vaccines with pseudo-scientific claims about autism. Instead, I’m talking about a bigger crisis, one caused by a dangerously thin supply of vaccines. Wise parents who ignore the blatherings of people like McCarthy may soon arrive at their pediatricians’ offices prepared to vaccinate their children, only ...

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My thoughts settled on the Frank Sinatra song, "My Way," when asked about necessary resources for rural health care to survive. Seven years ago, my father and I changed office buildings.  We closed the office that Friday to allow three full days to get settled.  However, we ended up seeing sick patients in the parking lot (seriously), while the movers were loading up the truck. “All we need is a stethoscope, ...

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When our daughter Florence was born, we were shocked that a tiny, seven-pound beauty could turn our household (and our entire lives) upside down. Why was it so difficult to deal with one human being, when we often took care of a department full of ill patients? How could someone so cute induce a state of perpetual anxiety, forcing us to question every single action we took? It was disconcerting to ...

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As a pediatric resident, I have the joy of building relationships with families and watch their children grow while providing them with anticipatory guidance at every visit. From newborn visits to toddler visits to teenager visits, they come, and we all grow together. (They grow chronologically and as a family, I grow in my experience and knowledge.) The questions come in such a wide, but expected, variety: “When can I introduce ...

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Dustin Ouellete grew up a bit the other day. I had known Dustin as an infant, and his mother before that. Several years ago, the Ouellete family moved away to the big city, but last summer they came back. Dustin came in a few times with his father, and his main concern was migraines. Dustin’s father, a quiet man who seldom smiles, was concerned that the headaches were keeping his son from ...

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Recently, the CDC announced that its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to stop recommending the nasal spray flu vaccine, FluMist, for anyone. Bottom line: it doesn’t work. Though their recommendation against the use of FluMist still has to be approved by the CDC director to make it “official,” it’s pretty much a done deal. The AAP’s president has already endorsed the announcement, too. Bye, Flumist. We’ll ...

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The patient arrived in the pediatric intensive care unit one summer early in my medical training. The weather was still warm, although the unforgiving heat from earlier in the season had mercifully passed. The whole thing had been an accident: The child, a toddler, had been left in the car outside her father’s office, discovered several hours later when the father returned to retrieve a document from the back seat. ...

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This story has been on my mind for many years, but each time I have sat down to write it, the words would not fall into place. The other day, a family mentioned having their “rainbow baby” referring to a child born after a tragedy.  To me, rainbows symbolize that even after the roughest storm, things can get better.  To see a rainbow, there must be moisture, like falling rain, in ...

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As a pediatrician I come across lists of “what to ask the pediatrician” and routinely meet with inquiring parents who are in search of a pediatrician.  Occasionally they come with a list of questions but most often they are not sure what they should be asking.  I always tell my new parents that the interview visits can tell you if I’m a normal person and if you can get booked ...

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To the American Board of Pediatrics: I took and passed my recertification exam in Washington State last fall and would like to express my sincere gratitude to your organization for setting up more hoops for pediatricians to jump through under the guise of helping us stay up-to-date. The first hurdle was the exam application and the second was the testing day experience, which was one of the most humiliating of my ...

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