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