Picture yourself in the emergency room of a highly respected children’s hospital. You’re worried sick for your child. Multiple doctors and nurses file in and out, making him cringe each time they thoughtlessly lay cold hands and frigid stethoscopes on his chest. No one tells you anything. You’ve done your research and, hours later, the doctors confirm your diagnosis. Based on the available literature, the most effective treatment is to ensure the child meets with no physical trauma and to monitor his blood platelet levels regularly. However, the doctors, who spin worst case scenarios like the nightly news, insist that he spend the night and be subjected to a risky IVIG treatment. Don’t want to? We will take custody of your child and do it anyway. This threat was made to my wife and I by Dr. Jill Cohen Posner of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Current and future parents need to be aware of how your child can become the victim of scams like this.
It started at 3AM on August 24th. Our son woke up with a nosebleed. Due to our panic and drowsiness it took us about 30 minutes to to stop it. The next morning we noticed what looked like a blood stain on his neck. But it was under the skin. Then we noticed petechiae (pinpoint blood spots) on his body and purpura (purplish bruises) on his knees. We took him to Sunshine Pediatrics (408 W Ridge Pike in Conshohocken, Pa) where they had satisfactorily cared for our son once before. But this time the pediatrician quickly confirmed my diagnosis, sent us 45 minutes away to Children’s Hospital and charged us $80. They washed their hands of us, perhaps because we don’t have medical insurance in the US.
I later found out that, if only Sunshine Pediatrics hadn’t abandoned us, we could have monitored our son’s platelet count for just $18 per CBC at Mercy Suburban Hospital, which was right around the corner from us in East Norriton, PA. I still don’t know how much the ER visit has cost us. Had I simply listened to my initial instinct and accepted the studies I found online, I could have saved my son the ordeal at Children’s Hospital.
Our son is better now. He had acute childhood ITP (low blood platelet count of no particular known cause with the petechiae and purpura), a condition for which there is no cure but from which 85% of children between the ages of three and five spontaneously recover in six months or less. His platelet count has risen from 7,000 on August 24th to 56,000 last week (normal is 150,000 or more). He is out of the danger zone of less than 20,000 and the pediatric hematologist (blood doctor for kids) our original pediatrician (not Sunshine Pediatrics, but the one who treated him from birth) referred us to expects our little one to make a full recovery (though there is a risk of relapse). All this without any need for threats, trips to special hospitals or exorbitant medical bills.
My wife took the little guy to one followup visit with a Dr. Wray at Children’s Hospital. She only did this out of fear they would send social workers to our house to take our boy away. It cost $384 to have Dr. Wray examine him and order a blood test (still waiting on the bill for that). Later, I received calls from someone purporting to be Dr. Wray who took an inordinate interest in our son’s wellbeing. During a discussion about medical research on ITP, she admitted she knew nothing about it! It turns out the caller was a social worker. She had lied, claiming to be a medical doctor. These people are really quite slippery. Watch out!
Why do social workers make me nervous? They are agents of the state, with the power to take your child from you and treat him against his will, as they see fit. For them, a child has no ability to reason and his opinion doesn’t count. I disagree. Throughout this odyssey, my wife and I kept our son informed. We gave him all the details, all the options and solicited his opinions. We tried to respect them where feasible, and reason with him when we disagreed. Here’s a case of social workers stealing an undocumented lady’s baby and giving him in adoption to a politically connected couple. Here’s another case in Lancaster county, PA documented by Ben Vonderheide, aka “Daddy Justice.” Here is an extensive article on social worker abuses in Florida. Here is an interesting website out of California called Kidjacked.
If I had to relive this experience, I would find another local pediatrician, one who who would perform the work we paid them to do. All we needed from Sunshine Pediatrics was regular exams and orders for CBCs. We paid them in cash and were prepared to continue doing so. But they washed their hands of us. What happened to the stalwart family pediatrician? Why must well-researched medical issues such as ITP be referred to large children’s hospitals? What does this portend for the future of children’s medical care? What chain of events has led to threats of government aggression becoming a course of treatment at American medical institutions? It is a sad day indeed when you have to factor the risk of government aggression into the medical treatment plan of your children.