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In the last few years I have noticed Urgent Care Centers popping up in every town and city. These places are supposed to be an alternative to an Emergency Room visit: quick, easy and cheap (for the insurance companies). Insurance companies are promoting these places because an ER visit will cost 5 times more than an office visit, and if the insurance company can save thousands of dollars for one visit, they are all for it. It also is an alternative to a visit to our pediatric office because it offers “no waiting” and evening hours. Why wait 3 hours when your child can be seen now?

These days we do not lose our children to infectious diseases in the United States. Other third world countries do, but not us. Right?

Sneezing man"Why should I get the flu shot? I never get the flu."

"The flu shot gets you sick!"

"Only sick people die from the flu."

I see a number of parents with children in the office who refuse to give their child a flu shot. The most common reason is "He's never had the shot before, and he never has had the flu."

InternetboyIn my youth, exposure to pornography was limited to pictures in hidden Playboy magazines. Now, with a few clicks your son can visit websites of torture, rape, and further humiliation of women. Nowadays, a boy can stream videos in the privacy of his own room.

salk-newspaper2My Irish grandmother from Staten Island, NY told me three stories in my childhood that influence my practice of pediatrics and position on vaccines. The first story was how her only brother died at 4 years of age from an ear infection (perhaps pneumococcus bacteria). The second story involved a boy down the street from her, in 1953?, who was healthy on a Tuesday and in an iron lung machine on a Thursday, eventually dying from paralysis due to polio. The last story was the day her mother gathered her 4 daughters around her to tell them the news of the Salk vaccine breakthrough, and they danced and cried tears of joy.