The Nation's Health + Parenting 101

Drugs Glorious Drugs

OK kids. Let's talk drugs! I'm not talking about the naughty and highly illegal drugs, I'm talking about the drugs you can buy and the ones doctors can give. The likes of paracetomol, ibruprofen, antibiotics and inhalers. You know, the stuff you take when you're in pain or poorly. Drugs rule! Now, I'm not here to talk about the sensible people who take them. I'm not even going to discuss the idiots that don't take them. (OK, I might!) I am talking about the parents who DON'T give them to their children. The parents who 'don't believe' in paracetomol to bring down their child's temperature, the parents who won't give calpol for pain because 'they don't buy into it' and the parents who refuse their children antibiotics because 'medication isn't healthy. THESE parents. Personally, I think it's criminal and I will always fill out a vulnerable child social services referral if a parent discloses a refusal to medicate their child. I don't get it. Why would anyone want their child to suffer? How can you 'not believe' in them?! They are there to help and a proven to help. That fact is beyond reproach. A child CANNOT control their core temperature. That is what we wrap them up warm and strip them off when hot. That is why we give Calpol when they are ill.

Drugs are amazing. They make you and your child feel better. It's not something to 'buy in to'. It's something that is there to help. It is one thing to be an adult, and a stupid one at that, to refuse to medicate yourself. I've lost count of the number of people in pain who won't take pain killers for bizarre reasons like 'not wanting to mask their symptoms' but as an adult, they are free to be idiots and face the consequences and discomfort caused by their inaction's. A child is not. A child can only have what they are given, and if they aren't given, then they will suffer. Fact. These happy clappy free spirited parents who go by the ethos that drugs are evil, are quite frankly, mad. Have they never had tramodol?! That shiz is AMAZING!

"4 year old male, fitting"

Most kiddies 'fitting' turn out to be a simple febrile confusion. As I have said, before the age of 6 a child's brain isn't fully developed, especially the hypothalamus which controls the bodies temperature. Because of this, toddlers, especially males are susceptible to convulsions and seizures when they get a high temperature. This is normally kept in check by good old fashioned Calpol and if there is an infection, some antibiotics will help.

After fighting my way through the traffic I pulled into the road to be greeted with a familiar sight of frantic waving from the dad. I grabbed my bags, including my DRUGS and headed in. The dad ran up the stairs ahead of me, whilst I navigated the death trap of the stair gate! In the bedroom was the child with the mum. He was having an extremely violent seizure.

I put some oxygen straight on him and took his temperature whilst talking to the mum. 41.4 C. This is one of the highest temperatures I've seen.

"What's the history?"

"He's been unwell for 4-5 days with a temperature and saw the GP a few days ago."

"What did the GP say?"

"That he had an ear infection."

"What medication did he prescribe?"

"We don't believe in antibiotics so we didn't pick up the prescription."

I felt my blood pressure rise immeasurably. Antibiotics are not some mythical being that you 'believe in'. They are not like the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny that you only believe in as a child. They are like Father Frickin Christmas. Real as can be. (don't judge me). You can't 'not believe in them'! Anyway, now was not the time to lecture them.

"What time was his last Calpol?"

"We don't give our children calpol."

Of course you don't. You enjoy seeing your child's body convulse violently in front of you. You enjoying seeing his brain get so hot that he ends up like this. It is neglect. Plain and simple. What kind of warped principles do these people have? Where does it stem from? It is like not vaccinating your child from killer diseases and not wanting them to have blood transfusions because a book told not to. Inside I was seething. I was also desperate for the ambulance to arrive!

He'd been fitting for pushing 15 minutes now. I ripped open my drug pack and grabbed the diazepam.

"Is that totally necessary?" the mum said uncomfortably.

"Yes. 100%. He needs these drugs and he needs them now. It's the only way I may be able to stop him fitting."

She kind of nodded in acceptance, almost annoyed at me for dashing her principles on medication. I gave the diazepam as the ambulance crew walked in.

"Let's just go!" I said, giving a handover as we walked.

I picked up the still fitting boy and rushed to the ambulance. Mum followed. Without any delay, we left to the hospital. I put in a pre-alert and then just watched, hoping. Eventually the seizure slowed down and stopped. It was certainly a relief but a 20 minute seizure could well have caused real brain damage. Yet this fact seemed to escape the parents. They looked worried, like any parent would but I genuinely think they felt totally justified by their inaction.

At hospital, I handed over the waiting doctors, making sure to make it clear the parents and refused to give the antibiotics and refused to give any Calpol. Not taking into account the temperature he had, the poor boy must have had the most awful ear ache. No painkillers. It's disgusting. The doctor didn't hold back like I did! She told the mum that her son was in this way because of her. I left promptly because as much as I agreed, I hate watching people getting told off!

Why am I having to write posts like these? Why is this mentality still in existence?! I'm all for free speech and free choice. If people want to do things with their life that is their choice. However, as a parent, you have the responsibility to ensure your child is kept safe and well. They are too young to make ill conceived principled stands on something as amazing medications, and to force these warped ideals on children is just plain wrong. What do you think? Am I being harsh? Should parents be free to choose whether their child gets the medication they need? Or should there be rules in place to stop this harmful way of thinking affecting these poor little kids? You tell me. I just don't understand.

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