I am always concerned about unnecessary medical interventions and do my best to avoid them.
When I first read Worried Sick: A Prescription for Health in an Overtreated America by Nortin Hadler, MD, I felt an amazing sense of relief. I realized many of the condition I was worried about were created by the medical industrial complex and are nothing to worry about.
I also felt the same sense of relief regarding screening for cancer when I read Should I Be Tested for Cancer? Maybe Not and Here's Why by H. Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH.
But these books focus on adult patients. I wondered if there was a book that explained excessive diagnosis and treatment for childhood diseases. Well, I finally found that book!
How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor: One of America's Leading Pediatricians Puts Parents Back in Control of Their Children's Health by pediatrician Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD, is indeed the book that brings sanity to the treatment of many childhood conditions, some of which need no treatment at all.
In fact, he clearly explains when you should see a doctor and when you should avoid one because sometimes doing nothing but rest, fluid, and a cool mist humidifier is the best treatment.
For example, I grew up on frequent doses of antibiotics for the strep throat. Practically all winter long I was sick. Regarding treating the strep throat Dr. Mendelsohn writes,” ...although the use of penicillin may shorten the course of the strep throat by three or four days, it may also cause the recurrence of the infection all winter long. Antibiotics, while knocking out the strep bacilli, also prevent the development of antibodies that are the body’s natural defense against disease. If the strep infection is not treated but is allowed to run its course, the body will produce antibodies to fight it that can continue to protect the child against reinfection during the remainder of the winter season.” Considering most colds and sore throats are not as severe as a strep infection, this insight alone is quite important.
Or how about those growth charts? Ignore them since they are based on one set of the population and does not apply to most children. So, your healthy, thriving child can be labeled in the 60th percentile, while in fact, she is absolutely normal. Or if your three- or four-year-old fail a vision test (sees 20/40) that’s because until age five most children do not see 20/20. No glasses needed. He has a very sensible discussion on vaccines as well.
I highly recommend reading How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor: One of America's Leading Pediatricians Puts Parents Back in Control of Their Children's Health to protect your children. Here's a case of a mother with two children and how the information in this book protected her seconds baby.
As a baby, she had a blocked tear duct and so did her first baby. Her first child was facing possible surgery for it. After many months of massaging the area eventually, the tear duct opened and the toddler avoided surgery. Fortunately a few weeks before the birth of her second child she read Dr. Mendelsohn's book and learned that a blocked tear duct is a side effect of silver nitrate drops put in the eyes of a newborn at birth. These drops are prescribed with the assumption that the mother has gonorrhea and can cause a blocked tear duct in 30 percent of babies. Knowing why this is done, she refused the eye drops for her second baby and he did not develop a blocked tear duct.
Thank you, Dr. Mendelsohn!
Stay informed. Stay well!
Author, Speaker, Rapid Recovery Coach