“I am so sorry,” I said. I was sorry for many more things than I could say. This is one moment I wish could be erased from my memory and done again, though differently. Ideally, I would greet the mother and child with a warm smile, take an extensive history, perform a thorough physical exam, discuss a list of possible diagnoses with mom, and send blood tests accordingly. I would reassure this mother we would properly evaluate her concerns.
Many families have brought their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to us for more than 40 years. We have seen them through the darkest moments of their lives, at their most vulnerable, and brought them into the light. Now, our patients must guide me through unimaginable heartache and grief.
Washington State Law allows vaccine exemptions on the basis of religious, philosophical, or personal reasons; therefore, immunizations rates are considerably lower (85%) compared to states where exemptions rules are tighter. Immunization rates are directly proportional to the narrow scope of state vaccine exemptions laws. Immunization rates are used to “rate” the primary care physician despite the fact we have little influence on the outcome according to scientific studies.
While childhood injuries will continue to be a rite of passage, pediatricians have the opportunity to reduce those with long-term consequences, such as skull fractures and intracranial bleeds. Educating parents will go a long way toward ensuring the next generation grows up to make their own mark on the world in the future.