so, today i had to do one of the hardest things there is to do when you are a pediatrician. call dcf. i'm on this crazy rotation in the ICN and i get a call from my continuity clinic secretary. she says there's a department of health worker on the line about a patient of mine whom she had seen in her WIC office. turns out (details spared to spare the innocent), this baby was well below the 3rd percentile for weight (formally called "failure to thrive"). this is a family that i desperately wanted to succeed. an older child had been removed from the home for a similar problem, but this time, the parents professed a great desire to be better parents. at their last visit with me, i was optimistic that they would succeed. however, you can't argue with the numbers, especially numbers like these.
so i did what i am mandated to do...i picked up the phone and called my local department of children and families and made a report. what they do with the information is up to them, but based on the family history, my money is on removal and foster care. hopefully before there's too much developmental delay from malnutrition.
it just breaks my heart to see these kids and families in such turmoil. really, if you think about it, they're set up to fail. they have no positive role-modeling. if you grow up in a family where it's normal to have babies at 15 or do the bare minimum to get through high school or huff until your brain is numb...how are you supposed to want anything different for yourself or your child? i remember this kid i had as a student once (in my former life, i wanted to be a teacher)...his dad had taught him how to huff and he did it every morning before school. it also happened that he had a visual impairment that prevented him from focusing on one point (so doing math problems, he would mix numbers up from different problems), but he'd been told his whole life that he was stupid. no one figured out that he had a learning disability until he was 16 and already addicted to toxic chemicals.
what's up with that???
it all just makes me want to scream at the tragedy of it all. it's such a waste.