Our Profession Is Under Attack! Our Children Are Under Attack!

Editor, The Florida Pediatrician

Dear Readers,

These are unprecedented times for medicine, especially pediatrics. We are under attack from outside and inside of our profession.

From the outside, legislators and the government are trying to get into our rooms with our patients. From the inside, snake oil salespeople are polluting our profession with pseudo-science and fake science. Evidence based medicine is being corrupted by “alternative facts.” If all of this sounds like slogans borrowed from politicians that is because they are. Unfortunately, science and medicine are falling victim to politics. Physicians who have sworn to do no harm are being forced by regulation to be harmful.

Vaccination, one of the most successful tools in our armory, is under attack. Anti-Vaxxers are now the ones who make recommendations, and, sadly, they are agitating against vaccines. While adults may choose not to get vaccinated, it is criminal to make it easier to allow adults not to immunize their children. While parents have rights, those rights cannot tremble on children’s rights. We are going down a dangerous path when those in power recommend against vaccination, subtly or not so subtly. Academic institutions providing cover to dangerous pseudoscientist add insult to injury.

It is not just movement against vaccinating our children that surely will hurt the physical health of children from dreaded infectious diseases. There are other dangerous actions being taken that will have major psychological and intellectual challenges as we deny children their identities and starve their minds from understanding our history better. This is what banning books from schools does and what Ray Bradbury worried about. We are making Mr. Bradbury’s fiction become reality without burning books. This is as bad as the Mongols burning the libraries in Baghdad.

When children start dying because they were not vaccinated or have psychological and intellectual damage all of society suffers not just children. Are all the “functionaries” making it possible for those in power to implement their nefarious agenda going to claim the “we were only following orders” defense? This didn’t work in the past and will not work in the future. We have to fight this battle as advocates for children. We cannot lay down and play dead. It is going to take more than pediatricians to fight this dangerous trend. It will take all good people who are concerned about our children and their future.

The traditional advocacy methods must continue. We also need to advocate for another social determinant of health – voting. We must educate parents and grandparents that, if they are concerned about the future of their children and grandchildren, they must vote. This must become part of our anticipatory guidance, just like other critical issues. Use Vot-ER or any other mechanism available. We should provide voter registration forms to parents and grandparents r in our offices and help them complete the voter registration process. Tell them to ask political candidates what their agenda for children is and to vote for child-friendly candidates. Vote out candidates whose policies and positions are dangerous for children. We should not tell them who to vote for. Families trust pediatricians and we are in the perfect position to show them what is best for children.

We are the ones the children are waiting for. Let us not fail them.