“I think my friend has attempted suicide” an 11-year-old child haltingly admitted after I introduced myself as a crisis counselor with a national hotline and asked how I could help.*  Over the next half hour I learned that this child and her friend had been facing ongoing cyber- and face-to-face bullying at school that was such a common occurrence the caller sounded nonchalant. The caller’s friend, however, had already attempted suicide at least ...

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I sit in my living room at the end of a long day. I open my laptop to complete the day’s clinic notes. I look up to see my daughter busy painting (she’s two years old, so less than half the paint is going on the coloring book and most is being smeared over her hands and feet). I hear the distant clatter of dishes as my husband loads the ...

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Even after all this time, the phone calls aren't always easy to make. “Hi, Mrs. Smith, this is Dr. Kass at camp, don’t worry, everything is OK.” I usually get that out in one breath, then immediately transition to concrete details. "It's a finger. It might be broken." It doesn't matter if I'm calling about a cough, a fever or a bite from the camp pet pig -- I know that ...

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In the spirit of World Breastfeeding Week, I want to highlight all we can about breastfeeding; why it’s great for you and your baby, some ways to make it easier, and how to manage common challenges. But one challenge that often gets ignored in the offices of doctors and lactation consultants is the issue revolving around the ethics of breastfeeding. That is, addressing uncomfortable questions like these:

I just wanted to let you know that we’re fighting for your kids. Because, whether you realize it or not, they are in danger. You usually see us in the office, or maybe making rounds in the hospital. We decorate our offices with bright colors and sea creatures, and we give your kids stickers when they’re cooperative (and even when they aren’t). In general, we’re a pretty friendly bunch. We’re people -- ...

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My wife and I married in our mid-thirties. Over the next five years, we had three sons. When our boys were young, we had no real desire to go anywhere or do anything unless it involved our family. Traveling and entertainment were a low priority unless it involved a Disney character, the Power Rangers and the like. My serious passions such as hunting and fishing were put on hold until ...

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When a child is diagnosed with cancer, overwhelmed parents and patients are often laser-focused on the path to cure. Even though parents do not welcome pain or discomfort for their child, they may feel that symptoms are a necessary cost of curative care. Likewise, it is easy for us, as pediatric oncologists, to accept symptoms and side effects of treatment as normal. Important new research challenges this assumption and challenges ...

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As a pediatrician, I work to keep children healthy so they can grow up and achieve their dreams. Occasionally, my naïve optimism has gotten the better of me. I especially have a soft spot for angry, defiant children. These children are given my undivided attention and respect, and I expect the same in return. I never call them names, insult them, or label them. On the contrary, I have high ...

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We were brand new to the clinic, looking for a new doctor after our beloved pediatrician had retired. Our three living children are healthy as galloping horses -- a simple fact made astonishing after the deaths of their two sick sisters. But they still need well-checks and vaccines and strep tests and a place to call about rashes and fevers and flu. So here I was, hugely pregnant, waddling in the ...

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An excerpt from Looking Out for Number Two: A Slightly Irreverent Guide to Poo, Gas, and Other Things That Come Out of Your Baby. Early bowel patterns | What's normal As we learned, the poo patterns of new babies don’t settle in until a week or two after birth. And ...

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