Pushy Parents Can Cause More Harm Than Good
March 21, 2005
It may be hard to imagine, but pushy parents who don't accept the medical conclusions of their doctors may be doing more harm to their children.
A small study by researchers from the Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, found that well intentioned, but pushy parents, exercising their rights as healthcare consumers may be unknowingly harming their child's health.
The team looked at data from 23 children whose average age was 14 - all had been diagnosed with severe abdominal pain, with no obvious physical cause.
The children were put through the normal regiment of testing, in accordance with clinical guidelines.
This type of condition affects about 1 in 10 children, but there is no known physical cause, however, experts say psychological factors can make symptoms worse.
Despite the fact that doctors cannot pinpoint a physical cause for the illness, parents often refuse to accept the conclusion and believe the doctor may have missed something. They then subject their children to more unnecessary tests.
The team found that fifteen of the children had previously seen between two and seven doctors before they were seen at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Seven families had requested more tests, despite no clinical indication they were necessary, two "pushy" families were successful, but the results were the same.
Furthermore, the team reported 12 families made a formal complaint over the treatment their child received, in hopes doctors would carry out more tests.
Only 13 families accepted referral to psychological services, despite the fact that psychological factors are known to play a role in this condition.
Eleven children improved after receiving psychological support for their condition. However, of the 10 families who refused psychological support, only three children eventually improved.
Of the 10 families who refused psychological help, only three children eventually improved.
"Robust systems are needed to protect the child and perhaps his/her physician from the effects of 'healthcare consumerism," wrote the researchers in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.
Link: http://www.healthtalk.ca/pushy_parents_ ... 893921.php