Knowing myself and being open and honest about myself is very important to me, and to many others I know. But sadly, some of my relations and friends are characterized by struggle and failure in this area. And I never stop being surprised that IQ and education have nothing to do with how well somebody know themselves.
The same is true of the medical profession (and yes, the clergy). I’d like to think that people who choose to work with and serve other people would be characterized by people skills including self-awareness. But no!
So we have excellent doctors, nurses, pastors and teachers – and those we quickly sense should be doing something else.
These thoughts were recently (30 October 2013) prompted by an article taken up by a local American online newsletter, the Spencer Daily dot com. Under the title, Local Woman and Child featured in CAMC Article, the article encourages parents who are going through a rough time with a pyloric stenosis (PS) baby to consider the CAMC, the Charleston Area Medical Center. The article is in fact a promotion for one of their pediatric surgeons, but it is nevertheless honest-to-life, perceptive and helpful.
Why did I like it?
1 The article recognizes that so many parents with a PS baby are first surprised, and then progressively frustrated, angered, even outraged by the treatment they get from their medical doctor. I have often posted about this (check the “Categories” at the upper right of this page).
The article sets out step by step the sorry tale too many parents experience – until finally their baby is seriously underweight, malnourished, dehydrated, and often it seems near death.
Only then does somebody think, “PS maybe?”, order some tests, and arrange for something effective to be done.
2 The article acknowledges that it is far from unusual for parents to work out from the internet that their infant’s life-destroying condition may well be PS, well before their doctor does. While this is understandable it is surely not the way a serious and fairly common infant condition should be diagnosed. “He had every symptom – it just had to be it,” the mother said in exasperation.
3 This doctor recognizes what a traumatic and unnecessary experience all this is for the parents of a newborn baby.
4 Some of the complexities of operating on a tiny baby are well if very briefly explained.
5 The doctor’s obvious love and care for babies and his dedication to his work are clear and to be commended.
There were also some things I did not like.
1 As so much on-line and face-to-face medical information does, the article promotes surgery as the only available answer to PS and links this with the excellent training the surgeon concerned had had in laparoscopic procedures on infants with this condition. It rightly points out the benefits of a laparoscopic pyloromyotomy over the traditional open surgery procedure. And whilst we can understand that surgeons would advocate surgery, why is the medical alternative so rarely even mentioned, let alone explained and offered?
Whilst the web gives us many stories from parents who are grateful for the immediate and often remarkable recoveries after PS surgery, there seem to me to be at least as many stories from parents and ex-patients who are struggling with the long-term effects of this infant surgery. This unwanted, all-too-frequent and usually hushed up subject of complications would be largely cancelled by medical treatment.
The risks and long-term effects of treating PS medically with the drug Ranitidine are minimal, although the treatment takes longer than an hour in the OR!
2 This doctor states that the scarring from a laparoscopic pyloromyotomy is minimal: “His [three] scars are smaller than one of his fingernails,” he stated.
What is not mentioned is that a baby’s fingernail grows many times larger during its next 20 years, as will the three scars. Having three sunken adult fingernail-sized and usually deeply sunken scars is not “minimal” in the eyes of at least some people. I have seen them. As somebody observed, “It’s as if my belly has been hit by shrapnel!”
These are I believe sobering facts to consider before deciding to submit a baby to what is usually unnecessary surgery and why marking a baby for life should be avoided when it is not necessary to save its life.
This site includes many posts on everything a parent needs to know and realize before agreeing to PS surgery. Just go the “Categories” box and you’ll find the information in a way that is easy-to-follow.