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Parents Must Be Advocates for Sick Children

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A sick child is a parent’s concern. Sometimes, a hospital’s determination that a child is well enough to go home, while initially a relief, may not be the right call and it may not be made for the right medical reasons. In such instances, a parent has no choice but to fight for their child, and demand additional evaluations by a doctor.

Such was the tragic experience of a parent in Australia. In that case, the parent brough a 5 year old child to the hospital – twice – only to be sent back home. The child was actually suffering from a severe disease and slipped into a coma and died while at home.

The grief stricken father lamented trusting the medical system over his own judgment that his son was not acting right. He trusted the medical personnel when he knew something was wrong with his son.

Bringing the point home, a parent knows their child better than anyone else. When a cursory or perfunctory examination results in a diagnosis that the parent is not buying, the parent needs to advocate for the child and question the symptoms, the examination, and the conclusion. Blindly accepting a conclusion that the parent internally doubts may have tragic consequences. While it is difficult to challenge one’s doctor, and might necessitate finding another doctor for future treatment, no parent would ever want to experience what this father in Australia went through.