Can Someone Please Hack the Clinic Day?

hack (verb): to create a usually innovative solution to a computer hardware or programming problem or limitation

This past weekend I again had the opportunity to attend the excellent Medicine X conference. Despite the conference focus on the convergence of medicine and emerging technologies, the main message I left with had nothing to do with technology. It had to do with listening. Continue reading

What To Tell Kids When Bad Things Happen

This has been a very tough week. Scary and sad, for so many reasons. Terrible events are very upsetting for everyone. But these events, and subsequent media coverage, are particularly difficult for kids to process. Here are some of the best articles I’ve found regarding how to talk with children about tragedies. We’ve had all too frequent need of them lately. Continue reading

Kids In The Car: Essential Safety Tips

Many parents clearly remember that first car ride home with their newborn. I certainly do. Car seat buckles double and triple checked. Driving slowly, cautiously out of the parking lot. The weight of our new precious cargo heavy on our minds.

As time passes that anxiety fades a bit but still, three years later, I often have jolts of the weight of it. To sit behind the wheel of a car brings great responsibility, made even heavier when a child is riding with you. There are a number of things we can do as parent-drivers to make the ride safer for kids. Continue reading

A Few Thoughts on “Modern Parenthood”

The Pew Research Center‘s report entitled, “Modern Parenthood” recently came through my twitter feed. Amidst so much recent talk about women and our professional lives and “balance”, I loved reading this treasure trove of data about how moms and dads are spending our time, how that has changed over the last few decades, and how we feel about it. First, let me say that if you’re not following Pew’s work (including that of the fabulous Susannah Fox) you really must check it out. Here are a few things that stood out for me. Continue reading

Open For Comment: The Risks and Rewards of Writing in an Open Space

I recently co-authored an op-ed on gun violence that was picked up by The Huffington Post. As topics go, this is about as controversial as a pediatrician can get. Anticipating strong feelings on all sides of the issue, I was forced to really look at my feelings about writing in open spaces and exposing myself to criticism. This is an interesting vulnerability for a physician. Ever trying to avoid mistakes and often trained to steer clear of controversy, we avoid a public role as a rule. But, recent reflection has made me realize how much my perspective on all of this has shifted and been clarified over the last few years. Continue reading

Atopic Dermatitis in Children: Information and Resources for Parents

eczemaAtopic dermatitis (also called eczema) is right up there with diaper rash as one of the most common skin conditions I see in clinic. This post will answer some of the most common questions parents have about atopic dermatitis (AD), as well as describe the types of treatment your child’s health care provider may recommend. As with all topics, please consult with your child’s physician if you have specific questions about your child. Continue reading

It Is The System, Not The Patient, That Is Difficult

As a pediatrician at a busy county clinic with close proximity to pediatric specialists, I care for a significant number of children with special health care needs. Instead of colds and ear infections (though there are those too), my days are often filled thinking about gastrostomy tubes, tracheostomies, and ventriculo-peritoneal shunts. I sign orders for specialty formulas and nebulizer machines. Many of my patients have thick charts and diagnoses like hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, chronic renal failure, and achondroplasia. And, I wouldn’t have it any other way. These kids and their families have taught me more than I can possibly put into writing. About medicine. About life.

But, all too often these families are labeled “difficult”. Continue reading

After Newtown: From Emotion to Action

It is clear that so many of us have been deeply impacted by the horrific school shooting in Newtown. My social media channels have been flooded by this event in a way I can’t remember happening before. Countless expressions of deep, deep sadness. Now, as the days pass many have started asking how to turn this deep emotion into positive change. How can we better protect our children? Continue reading

Sometimes the Best Medicine Is None At All

When I’m working in pediatric urgent care parents often bring their children in for acute illnesses hoping that I can “do something”. Worried, weary of illness, and sleep-deprived, they just want it all to be over. Sometimes, they relate a past episode during which the first doctor they saw “did nothing”, and, frustrated, they sought a second opinion where they were given antibiotics. See, they say, my child really was sick.

As a parent, I understand the misery of a sick child and the desire to do something. Even a common cold can be the cause of a pretty unpleasant week. As a pediatrician, I certainly don’t want my patients walking away from a visit feeling that their time was wasted. But, as I often explain to parents, it may be that the first doctor above was actually providing better care for their child.

Why? Continue reading

Social Media Makes Me A Better Pediatrician

Almost two years ago I started writing more regularly- reflections on being a new mom, thoughts on my changing perspective as a pediatrician. I kept a notebook that quickly filled with thoughts that occurred to me during clinic, questions parents asked, things that came up with my son. I started reading more- both on-line and off. I realized that friends who were parents had the same kinds of questions I did. They too were googling questions and looking for credible sources of information. So, one year ago I started sharing the things I was writing about. My Two Hats was born. What I didn’t know then was that this little blog would open a new world to me. That it would start to shift the way I think about medicine and make me a better doctor. Here’s how. Continue reading