You Are Your Child’s Biggest Health Advocate. Be Informed!

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Okay guys. I gotta vent.

I am SO FRUSTRATED with our pediatrician!!

Let me back up and start at the beginning…

So, this past Monday Jada decided that she was going to make a homemade glider out of a string and a piece of cardboard, and FLY off our greenhouse-in-progress.

That girl. Her ingenuity is gonna get the best of her one day! Gotta love her spirit though, right?

Anyways, the platform isn’t that high, really. About 4 ft. tall. But still, she was in full confidence as she soared off the edge…

and she BELLY FLOPPED on the ground!

Ouch. Yeah, she was hurtin’. And no, I did not see this happen. Fortunately Titus was right there, and ran to tell us that she needed help.

After she’d caught her breath, she was crying and complaining that her “insides felt like they were being squished”, and that her back hurt bad, too. Jerry, being an ex-skater and having seen ruptured spleens from falls, saw the urgency in the situation and helped me get everything together as I called the doctor to get her seen right away. Just in case.

Long story short. She was fine. The doctor gave me some symptoms to keep an eye out for, and took a urine sample. But after examining the sample, he came back into the room and explained that he noticed some white blood cells present in her urine, “a sign that she has a urinary tract infection”. He quickly scribbled out a prescription for Septra, explained that this drug works for some UTI’s, and we were sent on our way.

I knew right away that I wasn’t going to give her the antibiotics. I get UTI’s occasionally, and easily rid myself of them by drinking lots of water and doubling up on Vitamin C. Plus, she wasn’t in any pain as far as that goes, so why go to such an extreme as antibiotics?

Immediately I got her drinking tons of water. I gave her Vitamin C crushed into a spoonful of Manuka Honey. I put probiotics in her water. And we got some 100% Cranberry juice for her to drink in between water bottles.

Later on that evening, the doctor called me and said that he’d like to have Jada come in for another urine test “after the antibiotics”. I was aggrivated when he added, “I’d like to see if the Septra was an effective treatment,” as if my child was his personal little guinea pig. I didn’t tell him I wasn’t using them. I just agreed to the follow up test.

After I hung up with him, out of curiosity I looked up the side effects of Septra. Here are just some of the possible reactions…

Septra side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash;
  • the first sign of any skin rash, no matter how mild;
  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding;
  • cough, feeling short of breath;
  • diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
  • feeling restless or irritable, confusion, hallucinations, seizure;
  • slow heart rate, weak pulse, severe tingling, numbness, muscle pain or weakness;
  • nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, itching, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or
  • urinating less than usual or not at all.

Less serious Septra side effects may include:

  • painful or swollen tongue;
  • dizziness, spinning sensation;
  • ringing in your ears;
  • joint pain; or
  • sleep problems (insomnia).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

Are you kidding me?? You want me to risk any of these side effects on my child? Um. No thanks.

The poor girl. She was such a good sport about it all! For four days she followed Mommy’s prescription. I continued having Jada boost her immune system and flush it out, making sure she had a water bottle in her hand as often as possible. And then I was surprised with a phone call from the doctor’s office.

“We just wanted to let you know that Jada’s urine test came back and she does not have a urinary tract infection. You can stop the antibiotics now.”

What a minute, lady. What?! First of all, I was under the impression that her urine sample had already been confirmed. Now, I’m not a nurse or a doctor, I don’t know how these things work. But they could have at least told me that they were going to be sending in her sample for further testing to verify the doctor’s diagnosis! They could of at least waited FOUR stinking days for the results before putting my daughter on potentially damaging antibiotics that it turns out she never needed!

I couldn’t believe it. Sure, I was extremely relieved to hear that she was fine… but she might not have been had I done what he’d instructed!

Once again, my convictions have been reaffirmed. I am my family’s biggest health advocate. Nobody cares about their health like I do. Nobody has my child’s absolute best interest at heart but me.

Doctors are good people. They do amazing things every day. They save lives, and treat potentially fatal illnesses, and are a blessing to have access to. But the bottom line is they have to watch their own backs first. If they suspect something like an infection, it is safer for them to prescribe the antibiotic than wait. Unfortunately, they have to fear being sued for malpractice. It is better in their eyes to overreact than underreact.

This is why antibiotic resistant superbugs are becoming more prevalent. Antibiotics are given for everything nowadays… often times for things that can easily be treated naturally.

This is why it is SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT that YOU parents are INFORMED! Please, for your child’s sake, don’t just stuff them full of the latest and greatest just ’cause the doc says so! Do your research. Know the risks. And learn the possible alternatives.


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Kendra
About Kendra 1104 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

22 Comments

  1. We dumped our pediatrician when they wouldnt circumcise my son without a vitamin K shot AND ordered a blood clotting test which was going to require he have a blood transfusion! When we got to the lab and found that out I called the pediatrician and she didnt even know that…so we left the lab and didn’t go back to the doctor! They really are humans, too, and not always so knowledgeable.

  2. Find a new doctor!

    I have found that I am unable to convince a doctor of anything…because my credentials seem to give me zero credibility.

    ..and I find their certificates to give me no peace of mind on their credibility. What if they were C students. and passed by the skin of their teeth.
    It sounds like Jada would have been a nice test subject though..but shouldn’t they PAY you for that?

    Good Luck though. I know some of my mom friends have a really hard time listening to their gut like you did.
    Girl, you are sensible and a good mom. Way to go!

  3. I think this is a case of “mostly” miscommunication. Your doctor is guilty of only poor bedside manner. It is standard practice to begin treatment of a UTI based on certain “markers” found in a urinalysis (in office, non sterile specimen of urine). They then send a sterile sample to a lab where the urine is cultured to see if/what grows. Antibiotics are usually started based on the markers and stopped if nothing grows. I’m sure after having a conversation with your pediatrician about your reservations he could easily send you home with a script next time to use only if the culture came back positive after 2 days or if symptoms became severe. UTIs CAN be dangerous, especially in the young and the old. Treating an adult is very different from treating a child… I am sure you know that already though. In general these antibiotics are not being prescribed for the doctor’s safety but for the patient’s safety. An infection can spread very quickly throughout the body. I’ve seen a UTI kill a person… granted this was an elderly person. Being informed is SO important and I don’t think your doctor did a good job of that.

    Personally I view our doctor as a “consultant”. I take what they say home, think about it, discuss it, research it and then present it back to them. Usually we do something much less invasive and aggressive than what is originally suggested. I’ve only had 2 instances where the Nurse Practitioner was a little upset with me. In general though I have found the doctor’s and nurses to be very receptive to discussing things first.

    Sorry for the long comment… this is just near and dear to my heart.

  4. I think many people are seduced by the fact that doctors are “smart” and “educated” and hey, they make a ton of money so they must know what they’re talking about. Never be afraid to question them!

    I’ve had recurring back pain for years. My doctor – an immigrant from Asia – confirmed a bulging disk and recommended pain meds (which we all know can be highly addictive).

    I did some research and found some excercises to do for disk issues. And I read on many sites that simply losing weight (and I carry a lot of belly fat) can help too.

    Now, docs in Asian countries operate differently and are more likely to blend herbalism, chiropractic, exercises, and chemical treatments into their practice. Unlike US docs who immediately jump to drugs and surgury.

    I told my doc I wasn’t taking drugs and would instead make an effort to lose weight. HE NODDED IN ENTHUSIASTIC AGREEMENT!!

    –> Which made me wonder if, as a doc practicing in America,he is OBLIGATED to push drugs when he would much rather advocate for natural treatments. If so, how many other docs out there feel pressured to push drugs over safer options???

  5. I showed your post to Hubby Dear (a FP/ER doc). He said based on the fact that Jada wasn’t having any symptoms of a UTI, he would have cultured her urine sample but NOT prescribed an antibiotic. If the culture came back positive, then he would have prescribed one. Just another doctor’s take on the situation.

    Your attitude towards antibiotics is much different than what he faces every day. Patients come into his office and demand antibiotics for viral infections. Hubby Dear knows there can be adverse reactions to antibiotics and of course they don’t work on viruses, so he sometimes gets some grumpy patients when he won’t prescribe them. Antibiotics have their place, but they are NOT to be handed out like candy.

  6. I am also glad I came across your blog. I am trying to learn new things to take care of my family and I am always one to listen to my doctor, but I know now I will be more on the look out. Thank you again.

  7. Wow! Look at that long list! I’m glad your girl is going to be okay. It’s mothers like you I love learning from! Thank you for following your convictions!

  8. It’s so tiring having to check up on everything you eat, what’s in the news, what is being taught in school and what your doctors are doing! Something similar happen to my son last week. He is 21, so if he thinks he needs to go to the doctor then I will listen. He has not been to the doctor in about 8 years. He hasn’t had any prescriptions in about 12 years. He is extremely healthy! He had a cold and cough that would not go away. We made an appointment and he came home with 4 prescriptions. One being an antibiotic for a sinus infection and 3 for the cough. I started reading the information sheets and could not understand the choices of a couple of these rx’s. I called the pharmacist for him to explain what these were for and he said “she gave him all of these?” I knew something wasn’t right just from that comment. So after talking with the pharmacist, a lengthy time, about which ones were the mildest I had to make a decision as to which one(s) needed to be elimnated! Now, if he came home without reading all of the information sheets, he would have taken all of it and probably be comatose! Not to mention him having some kind of a reaction since he hadn’t had any meds in a very long time! It’s frustrating!

  9. Perhaps he was mostly guilty of not explaining his reasoning. Urine is sent for a analysis which shows how much bacteria, blood etc… then it is grown for 2 days, only at that point can you be sure it was or wasn’t an UTI. Sometimes it is safer to treat and see what the culture shows if it is highly suspected. Not knowing what he saw, it is hard to say. I have to quit following your blog because I find it extremely irresponsible to be trashing all modern medicine for home remedies. Not treating a real UTI could lead to a kidney infection and hospitalization as well as permanent kidney damage.

    • Homemade Alaska,

      I’m sorry you feel that way. Although, I’m definitely not “trashing all modern medicine for home remedies”. After all, I did say, “Doctors are good people. They do amazing things every day. They save lives, and treat potentially fatal illnesses, and are a blessing to have access to.” I can also be quoted from a previous, similar article as saying, “Now this isn’t a post bashing the medical community. Doctors, Nurses, and Pharmacists are in incredible asset to our world, and work many miracles every day. They are undoubtedly valuable heroes to millions of sick and dying people. I am not here to discredit them. I am simply here to open your eyes to the irrefutable truth that mistakes are made, and it is imperative that we take our health into our own hands, and make wise decisions regarding the recommendations of health workers.”

      I stand firm in my belief that we have to be diligent in making sure that we are educated when it comes to the health of ourselves and our loved ones. I’m sorry you disagree.

  10. One other item to consider, though I don’t feel Kendra is at all bashing modern medicine – rather using her judgement to question potentially unnessecary antibiotic use (and since over use of antibiotics when not necessary can caus bacteria to become resistent it is something that should only be used when proven necessary) –

    The FDA warnings on all medications from your basic Tylenol to FDA certified control substances come with lengthy warnings; this is because drug interactions are complex things and the FDA is responsible for giving the perscribers and recipients as much informatin as possible, the extreme interactions are often the result of the drug interacting with another medication or with a particular disease so if your child is generally healthy, not prone to a lot of allergies, and not diagnosis with an illness or disease the scary interactions are unlikely. The common side effects should be thought of the way your body fights of viruses and bacteria naturally when it is able – fevers, nausea, etc. are often caused by the body working overtime to get healthy again.

    Homemade Alaska is correct that an untreated UTI can cause serious health issues depending on the bacteria that is causing the infection (PLEASE folks don’t ignore symptoms ever, even if you’re doubtful of modern medicine) – however since Jada was not exhibiting additional signs like pain, fever, nausea and the doctor was not up front about his reasons for the perscription there was reasonable doubt as to their necesscity.

    Though to the folks who won’t administer antibiotics for wisdom teeth removal – please remember that it is a type of surgery and you are left with open wounds in your mouth until they heal even though they’ve been stitched up, though the administration of antibiotics should be discussed if you have serious reservations to learn about additional steps you can take to help prevent infection instead of antibiotic use.

  11. Not all doctors are like this. My brother is an ER physician and he is very careful with antibiotics. Also, our family physician would rather err on the side of waiting than over prescribing. I would suggest you explain your position to your doctor and if he doesn’t respond to your liking, find a new doctor.

  12. Kendra, great call. I wish I had the convictions you have when my children were young. I’m in the medical profession and you’re absolutely right – doctor’s are covering their backsides. I very seldom go to the doctor and the only thing I take is a water pill for my blood pressure and I only started taking that after researching it, trying natural methods and the doctor and my kids pushing it. It does work and I do feel a lot better but I also am working on other ways to reduce my blood pressure. Keep up the good work and you are a wonderful Mom.

  13. I agree with Molly. Antibiotics are necessary for certain bacterial infections (and unfortunately, they all come with lists of side effects), but you need to let your doctor know that you are not the kind of parent who wants an antibiotic for every little thing. A lot of doctors are used to this and just get tired of dealing with those kinds of parents, so get into the routine of prescribing them more easily just to avoid the “fights” with parents. My doctor has always been one to wait on lab results, etc. He may go ahead and hand me the written prescription while I’m there for convenience’s sake, but also tells me not to fill it until I speak to the nurse the next day and get lab results. This has resulted in them telling me many times to just shred the paper prescription rather than fill it, when lab results show it’s not necessary. Also, since the doctor knows I’m not one these parents who demand an antibiotic for every little thing, he also tends to take my concerns more seriously when I do bring one of the kids in for something. If I didn’t feel that my doctor and I were on the same page on things like this that are important to me, I would be working on trying to find a new doctor. Glad Jada’s okay! πŸ™‚

  14. Kudos to you! I am not a fan of taking the kids to the doctor’s office at all. Sure, we go for yearly physicals and any injuries that might happen. The kids have to be pretty ill before we go. My oldest at 16 just had her wisdom teeth out and had to have an antibiotic for a week. I was nervous for the whole week she took it and she got sick one day from it. The side effects and the whole “taking the medicines with food” makes wonder what is really in them!

    I think antibiotics are meant for good, but doctors are way too quick to prescribe them. And some parents are way too insistent on getting them for their kids. They don’t seem to care that the next time the meds might not work!

  15. Good for you!

    That is some bad doctoring – I do understand their reasoning (with lawsuits etc) but it is sad that we have come to this place.

    You are right that your daughter might have become terribly ill if you had given her that antibiotic.

    Thank you for sharing this!

    Deanna

  16. Well said, Kendra! I wish I had had the wisdom you have when I was younger. It’s always a good idea to listen to your gut. Doctors are human, and most times, Momma knows best!

  17. I agree w/ Molly W. you should sit down w/ your doctor and let him know your convictions. I think if you did that then he might not be so quick to give out things you don’t see a need for. Mind you he could very well scoff at you, but you might be surprised. My co-worker talked to his son’s doctor and got an alternative vaccination schedule.

  18. I am not surprised at all.. terribly annoying isn’t it? We live in times where we need to follow our own intuition about what our family needs, and not necessarily blindly follow what the doctor says. They do have a lot of the answers, but they most definitely do NOT have all of them.

  19. Though I don’t like your doctors attitude towards the use of the antibiotics without a concrete diagnosis (i.e. I think you made the right call to treat it with home remedies), I would just like to say that Septra (Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole) can be a highly effective antibiotic and we often use the injectible version as a precaution for patients whose immune systems are compromised due to various diseases, like various forms of childhood cancer. However, as quoted from the drug index “Prescribing SEPTRA (trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole) in the absence of a proven or strongly suspected bacterial infection or a prophylactic indication is unlikely to provide benefit to the patient and increases the risk of the development of drug-resistant bacteria.”

    The discovery of antibiotics is a gift to modern medicine and allow us to stop infections from progressing to a serious if not fatal level.

    That being said, I think you need a serious sit down with your pediatrician and let them know that you demand to know exactly why they wish to perscribe anything and let them know your reservations about the over use of antibiotics – tell him/her that unless your children are showing other signs of a potential serious infection that you prefer to wait until lab work is completed and don’t be afraid to demand patient drug index information and even the chance to go through the longer drug indexes before agreeing to the prescriptions.

  20. I am speechless. But not suprised… I feel like calling up your pediatrician and giving him a piece of my mind, and it’s not even my kid, ha! πŸ™‚ People think antibiotics cure all evils, but they don’t.

    You are absolutely correct about us being our family’s biggest health advocates. I really had that point driven home to me the last couple of months after my conventional dentist “diagnosed” me with a bunch of cavities, but was absolutely clueless when I asked him for more info, etc. I’ve since started researching natural approaches to healing tooth decay, etc, and let me just say it feels SO empowering to be learning the info for yourself.

    But a HUGE kudos for you for thinking for yourself. If only more parents were like that! Jada is very lucky to have a mama like you. πŸ˜‰

  21. I am totally with you! I raised 4 children and 2 of them never had an antibiotic. Even when they got their wisdom teeth pulled, I didn’t give them antibiotics. They should only be given in life threatening situations because they are very dangerous. The book I always referred to was “How to Have Healthy Children In Spite of Your Doctor” written by a pediatrician of 30 years…Great book!

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