Doctors Don't *ALWAYS* Know Best
Let me share my story with you. There are several nurses and practitioners who work in the office of my son's pediatrician. The doctor who primarly sees my son, has prescribed him with things that he reacted horribly to. Given the information I give her about my son and my numerous concerns, she never should have made those mistakes. I was naive and ignorant, but not anymore! I blame myself more than his doctor, because each time she prescribed these things, I had nagging doubts, and I didn't do the research I should have done prior to letting her medicate him. But never again. Here's what happened:
- She stated on several occasions that my son may be autistic. She diagnosed him with ADHD and depression. For ADHD, he takes Vyvanse, and this has been the only thing that helps him during school hours. He went from doing nothing in class, to making very good grades--he made a complete 180 in a very short time. No complaints here, other than she mentioned NOTHING about therapy, and he needs therapy in addition to the meds. Meds alone won't help him long-term!
- For his depression, about 2-3 months after being prescribed Vyvanse, she prescribed him Zoloft (sertraline), which I later found out is known to be problematic in children. Here's why she should have known better: 1. We had reason to believe my son is autistic (and we now know he is). 2. She knew this medication was known to have bad side-effects, especially with children. 3. My son already complained of severe nightmares. And what do you think happened? My son started having hallucinations, increasingly severe nightmares, and he was becoming very violent. I took him off the Zoloft and scheduled an appointment, letting her know what happened. When I told her about my findings, she said, "Yes, the sertraline can have bad effects in children." But why hadn't she discussed this when I asked about the risks and side-effects? Immediately after taking him off Zoloft, the hallucinations stopped, the violent behavior stopped, and the severity of the nightmares lessened back to their normal intensity. My son didn't have depression. His little body and mind is worn out from never getting good, restful sleep. His emotions are erratic because he is never rested. He has more behavioral problems than he should, because the human body NEEDS good quality sleep to perform!
- The second instance was with clonidine. Each and every doctor's appointment, I would tell her about my son's nightmares, insomnia, and about his chronic constipation. Yet, she precribed him a medication that can cause hallucinations, insomnia, nightmares, and constipation!! Excuse my language, but what the hell is wrong with this woman?! She even wanted to 'up' his dosage to "help" him sleep.
I am floored and disgusted by the level of incompetence. Not to mention, I kept telling her about his severe and chronic nightmares, his other sleep problems... And I kept saying, "I don't want to medicate my son so heavily.", "Are there any other options?", "Can we get a referral to a specialist?", but I always got the run around, hesitation, and even rude questions.
So this is why I say, doctors do NOT always know best. They DO NOT always have the patients best interests at heart... And if you are on Medicaid, the treatment is even worse (Not to mention, statistics show minorities receive lesser quality healthcare--whether covered by Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance).
So my point and advice is that sometimes, you have to trust your gut, your instincts, and your intutions. Even a great doctor isn't infallible, and no one knows your child better than you do! If you have concerns, voice them. Don't allow yourself to be pushed into something you're uncomfortable with. Ask questions, DO YOUR RESEARCH! A good doctor will take his or her time, answer your questions, and address any concerns you may have.
It's been 3-4 nights on melatonin (NO sleep meds/clonidine), and my son is nightmare free, he sleeps through the ENTIRE night (whereas he use to get up 4 or more times a night, or just lay there awake), and he wakes up happy and alert!!!
Being a parent requires excellent multitasking skills, the cunning of Sherlock Holmes, the patience of Buddha, the nerves of the Man of Steel, and encyclopedia-like knowledge for the innumerable amount of why's," "but, why's," and "how's?" each child has stored up, then releases the moment they learn to speak.