Can Healthcare "Consumerism" Harm A Child's Health?

You may recall a study I posted two years ago about parents who may empty their pocketbooks by pushing for unnecessary medical procedures that do nothing to treat the real cause of their aliments. A new study of cases in which children suffered unexplained stomach pains shows how aggressive parents who demand fast answers -- meaning fast "cures" -- from their doctors may actually be harming their kids' health.

Researchers reviewed 23 cases from 1997-2001 in which children were admitted to a British hospital, complaining of severe and unexplained abdominal pains. In each instance, blood tests as well as ultrasounds and endoscopic prodcedures were done. All but eight had been seen by two doctors, and a pair of kids had been seen by seven physicians prior to being admitted into the hospital.

During their children's hospital stay, seven families asked for additional tests, although there was no evidence they were necessary. Only twice were these tests were only successful, although in neither case did the new test results change the diagnosis! And, as you might imagine, parents were pretty confrontational about the lack of results -- in 12 cases parents filed grievances -- but didn't understand how their strong emotions may have played a role in impairing the health of their children. In just as many cases, doctors also noticed a high degree of family conflict or dysfunction too.

Sad to say, only 13 of the 23 families accepted the emotional underpinnings of their child's health condition and accepted referrals for psychological help. Eventually, the health of 11 of those kids improved. Of the 10 families who refused psychological intervention, only three children got better.

Just more proof how negative emotions can greatly affect the healing process. And, another reason I routinely recommend the Emotional Freedom Technique, the safe and handy energy psychology tool you can learn at home.

Archives of Disease in Childhood April 2005, Volume 90, Number 4: 335-337.

BBC News March 22, 2005

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