When the pediatrician woke me at midnight to get a blood test from my three-month-old son, I knew things were serious. I should have known this already. Four weeks prior, my four-year-old daughter passed along a respiratory virus to my husband, me, and her brother. Her brother’s low oxygen level and inability to keep down milk brought him to the emergency room, where an oxygen mask was promptly fastened around his mouth, ...

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Part of your job as a parent is to teach your children, and there's no way for a child to learn anything without making a few mistakes. Actually, a lot of mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes can be infuriating. They might be self-destructive mistakes. They might be mistakes that can cause harm to their siblings or classmates. They might be mistakes that happen over and over again. They might ...

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I fear that I’m not doing the right thing. You’re trusting me with your life. I hear you telling me that you don’t want me to do what I am about to do. I see it in your eyes, the resentment as you look toward your family. And hatred for me, your physician. You trust me to care for you as you enter the unit. I tell you I will. You ...

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Ten years ago, I was professionally and personally burned out. I was disinterested in the revolving door of primary care pediatrics and exhausted from the merry-go-round of home and work. I had lived most of my adult life with chronic pain and chronic fatigue syndrome. My personal relationships were draining me. One day, while clearing out my spam folder, I noticed an email ...

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During a casual scroll through social media, I often hear the voice of my friend and fellow pediatrician warning, “Do not engage!” Generally speaking, this is almost always the correct advice. The rise of various social media platforms, the ability to rapidly share information and disinformation, the growing culture of doing one’s own “research,” and the apparent difficulty in separating reputable from non-reputable sources online has created the perfect storm. In ...

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I had very difficult experiences breastfeeding both of my children.  I had constant pain, recurrent plugged ducts, and a lot of latch problems.  There were many times when I considered quitting, but I persevered because it meant a lot to me, and I would have felt like I was failing had I stopped.  Does this sound familiar? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  There has been a huge pushback ...

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We have dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, and its disruptions to our lives, for a year. And all the news reports, the dire warnings, and the messages of doom and gloom reinforce a feeling of despair as we face yet another week of virtual school, along with time away from the activities and the people we love. We have hit a collective pandemic wall of hopelessness. It is easy to ...

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"Being a neonatologist and a mother is living with the knowledge that the question 'What would you do?' could so easily become real, not hypothetical.  And so what would I do? I don’t know, heartbroken mama. Because I feel too much, but I don’t feel enough. Because I know too well, but ...

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"As the mother of a child born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, besides going through four open-heart surgeries and coding, my son has also had eight abdominal surgeries, including a Ladd’s procedure and resection of his colon. William also functions without his appendix, spleen, and gall bladder. In addition to every ...

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"But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." – George Orwell The “difficult” family At 2 a.m., on my first night shift as a pediatric resident, a patient, Casey, transferred from another hospital. She had a rare, progressive chronic illness, was medically complex, and was currently receiving treatment for an acute systemic infection. Shortly after she arrived, she became difficult to arouse. When I asked her mother questions, I was ...

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“Your child should always sleep on the back, by themselves, in their crib, bassinet, or pack and play with no stuffed toys or loose blankets.” These words are ringing in my ears as I put my newborn baby in the bassinet for the millionth time, only to get a shrill cry in return.  She screams and screams as tears roll down my exhausted face, just hoping to get an hour of ...

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An excerpt from Medical Myths: A Sceptic's Journey. It may be a long while since you’ve heard of a very small infant being found dead in the crib. As a young doctor, I recall the encounters on cold February nights with devastated ...

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Our clinic is a place rich in diversity and culture. Many of our patients are recent immigrants, coming from over 50 different countries. While they bring a zest for opportunities living within the United States, they often face many barriers in seizing them. Most notably, the language barrier is very present and one that has been exacerbated during the COVID pandemic. COVID has changed many things, and one most visible to ...

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I have been a general pediatrician for over a decade.  I chose pediatrics because I saw the children as our future.  The only way to make the future bigger and brighter is to give them the best.  So with all of my academic accolades through high school, college and medical school, I knowingly chose the lowest paying field in medicine.  I love my patients, but a pandemic has ...

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"It has been over a month since I started this new hobby. I told my middle-school-aged daughter tonight, 'I am going to write a post about how ocean plastic picking has made me a better pediatrician.' She replied, 'You mean better than other pediatricians?' 'No, I mean a better pediatrician than I was ...

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Pandemic. COVID-19. Quarantine. The words will forever be etched in our memories. While for all the pandemic has been a challenge, it has also meant more time with family, time to learn a new hobby, and the flexibility of working from home.  Its memory is one of loss of income, home, and loss of life for others. For me, the memory seared into my heart is that of me staring into a ...

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"Growing up in Puerto Rico, 'babas' (bottles: biberón/botellas) and 'bobos' (pacifiers:  chupetes/chupón) were very common among the families and children of the island.  I still remember our Abuelita giving us milk in our “babas,” so my younger sister and I were sure to fall asleep better.  From the time of our births, ...

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I was lucky to do my pediatric residency training in Brooklyn. I connected seamlessly with the city and its people as if I lived there all my life. One evening in the hot summer of 2009, I counted hours on my last shift as a pediatric resident in the emergency room. I sat on a desk reflecting on my residency training, which I enjoyed very much, not because the work-life ...

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In Finland, lawmakers recently voted to make an existing ban on female genital mutilation more explicit by outlining punishments for such manipulation under the Finnish criminal law. This bill's passage was widely applauded as it furthers the global efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM). While the bill received majority support in the parliament, a contentious debate ensued around an amendment in the ...

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Sleep is suffering across the world amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The reasons for this disruption are many, but notable contributors include: 1) stress-related to potential illness and decreased job security; 2) less daytime sunlight exposure with the advent of physical distancing and home confinement; and, 3) altered daily routines that tend to push back bedtimes and waketimes. We hear ...

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