Monday, October 8, 2007

Doctor Pry and Nurse Snoop

How would you feel if you took a child to the pediatrician's office, and the doctor, without your knowledge or consent, grilled your child about whether or not her parents drank, how often they did so, whether they used drugs or owned guns, and whether or not "Daddy" was molesting the child?

Michael Graham is pretty annoyed with his young teenage daughter's pediatrician for doing just that. But he's even more annoyed with the American Academy of Pediatrics for recommending that these sort of interrogations be done as part of a child's routine medical exam.

I'm not all that surprised, myself, given the AAP's views on abortion, contraception, homosexual parents, gay marriage, and the like, that the AAP would consider itself the medical wing of the nanny state, whose job it is to see parents as adversaries and to insist that adolescents have the "right to privacy" during their medical checkups. Not only does this "right to privacy" make it much easier for Billy and Sally to get contraception without telling Mom and Dad (those hopeless squares!)--it also makes it much easier for Doctor Pry and Nurse Snoop to find out if the parental units engage in such corrupting behavior as indulging in the occasional sip of wine. (And heaven help you if there are--gasp!--trans fats in your home!)

Of course, sane and rational people (the handful of us that are left, anyway) think it's much more corrupting to youth to encourage them to engage in mindless and meaningless sex while they are still in the braces and pimples stage, and that it is far more harmful both physically and morally for unmarried people to participate in the marriage act at all, than it is for children to see their parents have an occasional drink. In fact, the smirking doctor with the handful of sample condoms, or the leering nurse pushing pills of the birth control variety, both with the spoken or unspoken attitude that says, "Everyone else is doing it! And we know you can't control yourself!" are, quite possibly, the most deeply corrupting influence some children will ever encounter.

We can't really blame Doctor Pry and Nurse Snoop, though. They are the unfortunate by-products of a society gone mad, a world where parents are viewed with suspicion by the doctors who hand their children scorpions, in a manner of speaking. But as maddening as this all is, imagine how much worse things could get under government-run health care?

What if the doctors we saw were required by law to ask us, and our children, about all of these things, and more? What if it no longer mattered if you chose a family physician instead of a pediatrician, for instance? What if vitamins and other supplements that help people avoid too much contact with the medical community were suddenly restricted, available only with a prescription? What if the trust between doctors and patients were eroded even further than it is now, and you knew that whatever you told your doctor would end up in a government file that might be used against you at any time?

Things are bad enough with Doctor Pry and Nurse Snoop. Do we really want them to become federal agents, as well?

UPDATE 10/16: The original Boston Herald article has been archived, so the link above in the story will only take you to the page with a teaser and the information about the archive. This website contains a copy of the article at the present time, but I don't know how long it will be available.


Tienne said...

I don't know. I think it's a good thing for doctors (who, along with teachers, are one of those adults we teach kids to trust and respect and go to if they need help) to ask these kinds of questions. Your kids obviously aren't in danger, but there's plenty of abuse out there. Have there been cases where parents who have wine with dinner are losing custody of their kids or something?

John Thayer Jensen said...

I am so glad our children are past the stage when they would be going to paediatricians. I think this is horrid.

On a very different matter:

I just sent this to a list that I belong to:

My daughter (aged 25) Adele is pregnant and has been told she is a carrier for Tay-Sachs ( I am of Jewish descent on my father's side. The father of the child (they are not married) is Jewish as well. They are going to test him. Adele wants the child - and the two of them are talking of marriage - but there will be great pressure on them to abort if he is positive - and I suppose they will test the child as well. I know of no instance of TSD in my family, but I might not it there were infantile onset. My daughter is living in the United States, in New Jersey. I would appreciate prayer.


Red Cardigan said...

Tienne, all due respect, but although I agree that child abuse is a huge problem that needs to be addressed, I think that any member of a free society should find this level of intrusion into the lives of its citizens to be repugnant. We're not talking about a doctor asking these questions because he sees suspicious bruises or notices something odd about the child's behavior; we're talking about doctors asking these questions routinely, with no probable cause, no reason to suspect abuse whatsoever. This is an appalling breakdown of trust between doctors and parents, and even between parents and their children.

John, I will be praying for your daughter and for all of your family. May our Blessed Mother be with Adele at this time.

freddy said...

Mr. Jensen, just wanted to let you know you & your family will be in my prayers. May God keep you all close in His love!

John Thayer Jensen said...

Thanks, freddy, for your prayers. I have just been reading Red's post about 'teaching the Lord His business' and it is to the point here :-) At the same time, some writers (St Josemaria is one I have in mind and to whom I go fairly regularly with requests) say 'be specific with God. Tell Him exactly what you want!'

I guess the balance is to tell God what you want - and to ask Him to make you really really want what He wants, even if it's different :-)


Anonymous said...

Isn't it against the law for a doctor or nurse in a general office setting to refuse to allow you to remain during the exam? Assuming these are minor children, of course.

Listen, with people who insist on stuff like this, you cut right to the chase, remind them that it's inappropriate for them to want to take your child into a private room without you to discuss things they're not willing to disclose to you. And then tell them that it's SO inappropriate, you feel compelled to call local authorities.

And tell them you intend to make their insurance companies aware of their inappropriate behavior.

And then hit your local town message board and leave a post about how Doctor So-And-So wants to see little Johnny "privately" away from Mommy and Daddy, so he can "examine" him alone.

That'll larn 'em. Ain't nuthin' like loss of livlihood or income to put these ejits in their place. They don't give a damn about your kid. They care about power. Being pegged as a potential pedophile has a funny way of destroying a pediatrician's life.

They're just doctors and nurses, and, like the guy who comes to clean your gutters or fix your toilet, they're merely people you pay to do something for you. Never let them forget that for one minute. And never let them forget for one minute that the person writing the check at the end of the visit is truly the person with all the power.

Red Cardigan said...

Anonymous, I like your style! :)

freddy said...

Amen, Anonymous! And if we could just remember in the case of the government folks with the same agenda -- government teachers & so forth, that we pay their wages, too...!