On politics…and vaccines

So, normally I stay out of the political discussion.  I would consider my political views to be moderate.  I would probably vote Libertarian if I thought they could win.  I am a Christian. I am a pediatrician.  My passion is the health and safety of children.  I don’t oppose abortion or gay marriage.  I know a lot of Christians won’t agree with me on that. The reason I don’t oppose abortion (though I’m glad I was never in the situation to have to make that choice) is history. I’ve always believed that you can’t legislate morality, so even though it would not be the moral choice for me, I can’t deny that choice for others.  Historically, before abortion became legalized, many pregnant women died in back alley abortions.  Alternatively, they might have become infertile due to the procedure.  Now, some may say they deserve it for their “sin”.  I disagree.  The fact is, gay marriage and abortion are both legal now.  I think it’s time to stop arguing about both topics.  Homosexuals have been around for as long as human history.  They aren’t going away and they deserve the same rights and privileges as everyone else.

Like I said previously, I am passionate about the health and safety of children. I am a scientist.  I am a critical thinker. I am analytical.  I presumed that Trump, as a successful businessman, would surround himself with smart people.  People that are leaders in their fields.  Instead, he is surrounding himself with anti-science folks: climate change deniers, anti-vaxxers, etc.  It’s not looking too good for America.  A lot of Republicans thought Obama would be our nation’s downfall.  I’m afraid it might be Trump, if he keeps down this path he has started.

Over the weekend, Dr Daniel Neides of the Cleveland Clinic published an op-ed piece on Cleveland.com.  He expressed concerns about vaccines that are not backed by science.  Cleveland Clinic has expressed that disciplinary action will be taken against Dr Neides. Of course, this led to a public outcry by the anti-vaccine community.  The thing is, you can’t use your title at an institution and express views publicly that go against evidence-based medicine.

The anti-vaccine rhetoric continued yesterday when it was announced that Robert F Kennedy, Jr was approached by Trump to lead a council on “vaccine safety and scientific integrity”.  I would laugh if I weren’t crying.  This move would make my job, and the jobs of pediatricians all over the country, much harder.  Trump is now denying the appointment but the fact that he is even considering Mr. Kennedy for this committee shows how far from science he is.  Mr.  Kennedy is well known for subverting the truth about vaccines.

The fact is, vaccines are safe and effective.  Now, nothing is 100% safe or 100% effective.  It just doesn’t work that way.  We are always working to make vaccines better.  Vaccines, despite the rally cry of the anti-vaxxers, are actually tested more than any other pharmaceuticals. The other side would have you believe that clean water and sanitation is responsible for the decline of vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs).  If that were true, why was the last case of polio in 1979 and measles in 2016 (US)?  Clean water and sanitation can not eliminate different disease at different points in history. The fact is, we are doing a good job of eliminating VPDs in third world countries that still have no clean water or sanitation.   Another fact is that the mortality of VPDs in the US did decrease with clean water and sanitation but not the incidence of these diseases.

Rant over for the day.

Peace out.

Home sweet home…or is it?

I’ve been reading a lot about home births.  Women have been delivering babies at home for millions of years, right?  What could be more natural?

Women and babies have also been dying during home births for millions of years.

I read a blog post by a doula, Lisa Flato, where she describes her perfect home birth. Despite the fact that it ended with the death of her baby.  She justifies this as, “it was her path”.  How is it her path to die when she almost certainly would not have died had she been born in the hospital?  Ms. Flato also encourages women to eat their placenta after delivery!

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Ashley Martin’s story.  Again, the delivery is described by others as the “perfect birth experience”. This is mostly per the photographer who took pictures of a nearly dead baby.  Luckily, Ms. Martin lived just minutes from the hospital.  Her baby was able to be resuscitated and he is doing fine now.  She does NOT describe this as a perfect home delivery.  She is beating herself up over what the outcome could have been, and for following all the advice she was given that home births are perfectly safe and natural.

As a pediatrician, I have the utmost respect for women who can have natural childbirth.  I also have the utmost respect for my Neonatology and OB/GYN colleagues.  You can have it “both ways”. There are hospitals that allow water births, minimal intervention births, etc.  But you still have the back up of the hospital personnel, if, by chance, something were to go wrong.

Think about it.

Peace out.

Awake training for parents

Re: Awake Training for Parents

Dear Fellow Babies,

OK, here’s my situation. My Mommy has had me for almost 5 months. The first few months were great — I cried, she picked me up and fed me, anytime, around the clock. Then something happened. Over the last few weeks, she has been trying to STTN (sleep thru the night). At first, I thought it was just a phase, but it is only getting worse.

I’ve talked to other babies, and it seems like its pretty common after Mommies have had us for around 5-6 months. Here’s the thing: these Mommies don’t really need to sleep. It’s just a habit. Many of them have had some 30 years to sleep — they just don’t need it anymore. So I am implementing a plan. I call it the Crybaby Shuffle.

It goes like this:

Night 1 — cry every 3 hours until you get fed. I know, it’s hard. It’s hard to see your Mommy upset over your crying. Just keep reminding yourself, it’s for her own good.

Night 2 — cry every 2 hours until you get fed.

Night 3 — every hour.

Most Mommies will start to respond more quickly after about 3 nights. Some Mommies are more alert, and may resist the change longer. These Mommies may stand in your doorway for hours, shhhh-ing. Don’t give in. I cannot stress this enough: CONSISTENCY IS KEY!! If you let her STTN (sleep through the night), just once, she will expect it every night. I know it’s hard! But she really does not need the sleep; she is just resisting the change.. If you have an especially alert Mommy, you can stop crying for about 10 minutes, just long enough for her to go back to bed and start to fall asleep. Then cry again. It WILL eventually work. My Mommy once stayed awake for 10 hours straight, so I know she can do it.

The other night, I cried every hour. You just have to decide to stick to it and just go for it. BE CONSISTENT! I cried for any reason I could come up with:

-My sleep sack tickled my foot.

-I felt a wrinkle under the sheet.

-My mobile made a shadow on the wall.

-I burped, and it tasted like rice cereal. I hadn’t eaten rice cereal since breakfast, what’s up with that?

-The dog said “ruff”. I should know. My Mommy reminds me of this about 20 times a day.

-Once I cried just because I liked how it sounded when it echoed on the monitor in the other room.

-Too hot, too cold, just right — doesn’t matter! Keep crying!!

-I had drooled so much my sheets were damp and I didn’t like it touching me.

-I decided I was sick of all the pink in my room so I cried.

It took awhile, but it worked. She fed me at 4am. Tomorrow night, my goal is 3:30am. You need to slowly shorten the interval between feedings in order to reset your Mommies’ internal clocks.

Sometimes my Mommy will call for reinforcements by sending in Daddy. Don’t worry Daddies are not set up for not needing sleep the way Mommies are. They can only handle a few pats and shhing before they declare defeat and send in the Mommy.

Also, be wary of the sleep sheep with rain noises. I like to give Mommy false hope that listening to the rain puts me to sleep sometimes I pretend to close my eyes and be asleep and then wait until I know Mommy is settling back to sleep to spring a surprise cry attack. If she doesn’t get to me fast enough I follow up with my fake cough and gag noise that always has her running to the crib. At some point I am positive she will start to realize that she really doesn’t really need sleep.

P.S. Don’t let those rubber things fool you, no matter how long you suck on them, no milk will come out.

Trust me.



***Totally stolen from someone else but had to share***

Times, they are a changing…

imageI was just reading my friend Rhonda Stephens’ blog about parenting.  (See “Parenting – Are We Getting a Raw Deal” on wordpress) It brought to mind how entitled young people are today.  I so agree with her.  When I was growing up, we played outdoors all day on the weekends and summers and after the home work was done.  I walked a couple of miles along the railroad tracks to the 7-11 for candy.  And car seats? We didn’t even have seatbelts in the first couple of cars I remember.

Now my son wants to play on his iPad, or Xbox One.  He wants the latest greatest video games.  He wants an iPhone.  My first cell phone was in residency, and was a big clunky thing.  Everyone has their own iPad now, or other electronic device,  and they spend more time on those than having real conversations with people.  We actually TALKED to our friends when I was growing up.  Yes, I know I’m part of the problem in that I buy my child all these electronic devices…  But I am realizing it is instilling in him values that will not help him succeed in life.

Proverbs 20:15 says, “The leech has two daughters.‘Give! Give!’ they cry.”   I don’t want to raise a leech but it seems we have raised a generation of them.  Entitlement is NOT the way.  We have to solve this problem, or there will be nothing left for future generations.

Even in the medical field, I see this happening.  People want more money for less work.  The medical students and residents today, at least most of them, take no ownership of their patients.  Duty hour restrictions have made medical training into shift work. Sure, the restrictions are good in some ways.  My duty hour restrictions were no more than 120 hours a week, and I didn’t leave early post call. Who wants to see a doctor who has been up for 36 hours and can’t see straight?  Along with the restricted duty hours, though, comes more frequent patient handoffs.  The more handoffs, the more chance of error.  I guess it comes down to whether you’d rather have someone taking care of you or a family member that is tired, but knows the patient or alert, but doesn’t.  Food for thought.

Peace out.

What is going on in the world today?

The racial divide seems to be growing.  Yesterday, I saw 2 African American women resisting arrest by a white officer.  Reinforcement finally arrived and these 2 women still resisted the 2 officers trying to restrain them.

I had been so happy to see American flags flying from multiple pick up trucks lately.  Then, today, driving through my neighborhood I see not 1, but 2 confederate flags flying from a neighbor’s porch