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.