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