Dear parents: We’re fighting for your children

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 — parents like you, for the most part — who have dedicated our lives to promoting the welfare of children in this country and around the world.

Every morning, we go into work, see our patients, and document each visit. We do our best to keep the office running smoothly, and to find staff members that provide a pleasant experience. We talk about nutrition, exercise, sleep, and school performance. We reassure you when you’re worried, and–trust me–we worry plenty ourselves.

We take phone calls at 3 a.m. about fevers, rashes, or the fingernail you cut too short (and wonder why the heck you were cutting fingernails at 3 a.m.). We answer questions about funny-colored poop. We make sure your child’s development is on track. And we’re there when kids get really sick to treat them or make sure they get where they need to go.

We share in your joys and your sorrows.

We love your kids.

And we love our jobs.

But that’s not all we do.

We also volunteer at your child’s school on our days off. We travel across the country to attend conferences and discuss how we can better serve your children. We advocate for policies and laws that promote children’s health.

And sometimes, we fight.

Yes, that’s right. When someone threatens children’s health, the giraffe stethoscopes come off, and the claws come out.

When politicians propose a bill that would take money from Medicaid, make it impossible for children’s hospitals to fulfill their missions, and leave millions of children without access to healthcare, we fight back.

We fight for poor kids and rich kids. Kids of all colors. Kids of immigrants. Kids with disabilities. Kids who have been abused. Kids in foster care.

We fight for kids who can’t fight for themselves.

Between patients, and in our time away from work, pediatricians have been fighting for your children. We’ve been calling our Senators and Congressmen. We written op-eds, letters to the editor, and blog posts. We’ve made videos. And we’ve been tweeting up a storm.

We don’t get paid for this. We do it because we care about kids.

Your kids.

Chad Hayes is a pediatrician who blogs at his self-titled site, Chad Hayes, MD.

Image credit: Chad Hayes

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