The pediatrician kept on telling me that everything was fine. What could possibly be wrong? His motor skills were right on time, if not a little early.  He even had emerging problem-solving skills. He did things like push a chair up to a shelf to climb up and get what he wanted.  Three decades later, he still does clever things that make me question why he is so impaired. Unfortunately, there ...

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As a woman physician, practicing for over 31 years, I have faced many misogynistic occurrences as well as misperceptions about my career choice. This blatant devaluation of women within medicine may be similar to what other women have had or continue to face daily. At large, these experiences resulted in a journey not always easy, nor welcomed, but in the end, accepted for the maturity obtained. My hope is that by ...

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An excerpt from Mind Bubbles: Exploring mindfulness with kids. I am not a pediatrician.  My training as an OB/GYN taught me to care for mothers-to-be and bring their babies safely into the world—and then hand them over to the waiting pediatrician.  I am also a mom and mindfulness teacher, however, ...

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Running late for school in the morning.

Again.

You yell upstairs to your daughter, “Hurry up.”

While she’s slipping on her sneakers and hustling out the door, you grab her backpack from the chair in the dining room. “Wow,” you think. “That’s heavy.”

Even when she’s soaking wet, your daughter weighs all of seventy pounds. You wonder, “Is that backpack too heavy for her? Can it be damaging her ...

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From October 25 to October 29, 2019, more than 10,000 pediatricians from all over the world gathered in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, to attend the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition. As the world's largest pediatric medical education event, the AAP National Conference draws pediatricians, like me, to network with mentors and colleagues, learn about the latest clinical guidelines and policies, and be inspired to renew ...

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Do you ever see other people in their careers and think to yourself, "Maybe I could do that?" I am a board-certified pediatric physician with over 25 years of experience in private practice, and I recently decided to try my hand at acting. Much to my surprise, I was awful.  It was almost as if there were basic premises of the craft that I did not understand at all. But I suppose that ...

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Between 2011 and 2015 there were over 21,000 children killed by guns. This recent study in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, further analyzes the question; it compares pediatric firearm fatality rates among the various states and then tests for correlation between children killed and the degree of strictness or not of the state’s gun laws. There are extensive data on whole populations showing that stricter ...

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It’s Monday, I recall as I step into work; “Preparing for battle,” I say with a smirk. Surviving all weekend with a sick kid in tow, the parents’ relief as they waited to show you their child with fever, diarrhea and sneezing, the one who is too hot, too cold or is freezing, the one who forgot that a helmet is needed, the one who is eating too much, they conceded. The one who still haunts you when ...

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Start at the origin. Over two, up four. Down three, right six. Left five, up one. Keep connecting the dots. Everything will take shape. I liked graphs. Plotting coordinates — whether it be for a parabola or ellipse — was always calming for me: numbers told you exactly where you needed to be. But my numbers scared me. My 8-year-old feet would hesitantly step on the scale at the doctor’s office. I ...

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I'm a pediatrician, mom of three. And to many, this may come as a surprise, but yes, I give my kids candy on Halloween. And I don't mean the organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, no artificial colors or flavoring, good for you "treats." I'm talking about chocolate, caramel bars, gummies, and sour balls. Personally, my all-time favorite is red Twizzlers (yup, I'm admitting over the internet) Nevertheless, I have ...

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Did I ever get to thank you for helping me? I am one of the pediatric residents you see running around like a headless chicken. We first met over a year ago when I was just a wee intern. You helped me calm an anxious boy who was about to get stitches. He had sliced his arm with a box cutter, creating a gaping wound for me to close. I’m ...

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Sometimes an image captures the heart of a nation by putting a face on a human crisis.  The one of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 2-year-old daughter Valeria lying face down in the Rio Grande after drowning was powerful.  Their family had been turned away from crossing the border and decided to take their chances and swim across the river.  They were not successful. Why did this picture seize our attention?  Is it because ...

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No one I knew had food allergy, let alone peanut allergy, when I was a child. I grew up at a time when peanuts were given freely on airplanes, and there was no such thing as a peanut-free table at school. Fast forward to today and the world has changed, with food allergies taking on almost epidemic-like proportions. I am an allergist and became interested in food allergies ...

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There are limited studies regarding pediatric malpractice claims, especially for the emergency department (ED). A recent study of malpractice claims involving children highlights the role of communication and systems issues. This 10-year study is important because it focuses exclusively on children and provides data on the top specialties named as defendants, including emergency medicine. The study found communication breakdowns between patients/families, and providers contributed to 15 to ...

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Victor Frankl is an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor, who survived three years in the concentration camps of Dachau and Auschwitz. He once told a story about a woman, his patient, who called him in the middle of the night saying that she wants to commit suicide. Viktor Frankl kept her on the phone, giving her many reasons to keep on living, until she promised not to take her life. ...

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It was flu season. I was meeting the usual frustrations of trying to convince my patients to get the flu shot. The flu vaccine has such potential to save lives, yet its reputation is marred by misinformation, leading people to decline this simple, inexpensive, and effective way to limit disease and death. Day in and day out, I felt like I was beating my head against a wall. This particular day, I ...

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My wife is a teacher. Her passion is helping the Bart Simpsons of the education system. This past year the school district in the rural area where we live tasked her with the job of opening the community’s first alternative education school. Imagine taking 60 of some of the hardest kids in the area and creating a school just for them, so they have an opportunity to feel success, thrive, and ...

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During intern orientation a few months ago, they promised we would never be alone in the hospital. And they were right. Until they weren’t. It’s hard to see colors in the dark — that’s why he looks blue. That’s strange; it almost seems like his chest is not moving. I must be overreacting. Everything is fine. My right hand began flicking his foot. Yell for help. This baby is a healthy newborn. Call a code. Interns ...

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My first transgender patient was a teenager who said although he was born female, he'd protested his gender from the time he could talk. He told a story of being asked, "Well, if you are a boy, where is your penis?" and he pointed to his umbilicus (which was an "outie"). OK, no problem, we have a gender clinic I can refer you to. When he came back and asked for ...

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When children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, stimulant medications like Ritalin or Adderall are usually the first line of treatment. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines Monday upholding that central role of medications accompanied by behavioral therapy in ADHD treatment. Some experts say, however, they are disappointed the new guidelines don’t recommend behavioral treatment first for more children, as that might lead to better outcomes, recent research suggests. When ...

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