LETTER: Treatment without parents present requires thought

On Aug. 30, a front-page article in The Beachcomber reminded us of the new health center operating on our high school campus (“School health clinic opens next month, Aug. 30). Parents were encouraged to sign and return legal consent forms promptly.

Do you believe parental involvement contributes to better diagnosis and health care outcomes? Or, can your 7- or 9-year-old adequately explain the details of his upset stomach or what patterns surround her asthma attacks? Do they know the details about Aunt Lydia’s diabetes or Tio Manuel’s heart condition? Do they even speak English fluently?

Imagine a doctor meets 10-year-old Maria for the first time. She exhibits asthma symptoms. Can the doctor adequately evaluate her without parental input? What if Maria doesn’t have asthma?

Our doctor gave my son a diagnosis of exercise-induced asthma at the age of 7. Then, he tried to hand me an inhaler. I refused, saying: “My son doesn’t have asthma. This is a symptom. We need to find the real problem.”

In lieu of the standard pharmaceutical options, we chose allergy testing and corresponding changes in his diet. Within two weeks, asthma symptoms dissipated. After four months he was back to eating most foods, and the “asthma symptoms” have never returned. He’s now touring the Olympic Peninsula on his bike.

You shouldn’t be asked to make this decision during the back-to-school craziness. You can put these legal documents on the back burner and wait a few days, a couple weeks, maybe even a month or two. Do your children want to see the doctor alone while at school? Is your family medical background complex? Or, is it perfect for you? Maybe you love this idea.

Whatever your final decision, you deserve to sign on the dotted line, with confidence (or not).

— March Twisdale