Have we lost the balance that is vital to health in Modern Medical Pediatrics? Is modern western medicine broken? I believe the answer to this question in some areas is, yes. I think the very nature of this question is flawed. Why are there still the terms Eastern and Western medicine? Why have we not blended the best of both worlds into our practice for the benefit of our patients?
Don’t get me wrong, I love modern medicine. I trained at premier, allopathic programs and have learned so many important and life saving lessons. For an acute illness, there is nothing better on this planet than modern medicine. Drugs are fast acting and they save lives. If you have pneumonia, you need antibiotics. If you are having an anaphylactic reaction, you need epinephrine and to go to the emergency department. Modern medicine, is wonderful, beautiful, and should be the foundation of pediatric care. Unfortunately, when it comes to preventative and chronic care, I believe our clinics around the USA are falling behind the rest of the world because we are slow to incorporate complementary and alternative medicine.
Modern medicine has increasingly been compared to factory work. Is it because our training teaches us to be factory working, extremely intelligent robots, who are able to follow a flowchart with precision and grace? We are lacking the time to sit with a patient and touch their heart and truly listen to what’s going on? This is scary to me. Doctors are not trained for 10-15 years to follow a flow-chart.
We are so worried about treating and ticking off checkboxes, we forget about preventing. We are addressing symptoms as they arise, instead of asking why are these symptoms occurring. We have stopped asking ourselves an important question … WHY. For example, we should be asking, “why does this child have throat infections every few weeks” instead of reflexively sending them to the ENT. Or we should be questioning “why are you having hives for 3 weeks”, instead of telling them to take more Benadryl. When did it become the norm to have 5-10 minute visits? How can you adequately discuss preventative care in 3-5 minutes at well-child checks. The simple answer is, YOU CAN’T, and it is our children that are suffering.
I think Modern Medicine needs to encompass Eastern and Western medicine. It is time to blur the lines and just call it medicine. Why do we think about Adderall instead of yoga or meditation? Can your physician tell you who the best acupuncturist is in their neighborhood or where the closest yoga studio is? I bet they know where the local pharmacies are.
It is time to incorporate evidence-based, complementary medicine into allopathic training. I encourage every current practitioner to open their mind once more and start to take in information on any number of integrative topics. I encourage every parent to do their research and ask their physician their opinion on alternative treatments you think may benefit your child. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet, but don’t discount that there aren’t any natural remedies that can help your child. You don’t need to be an expert, but just knowing what else exists can open up a world of possibilities for your family and patients and help bring balance back to medicine.