Opinion: Are Kids Being Set Up for Medical Abuse?

The recent news stories about Dr. Larry Nassar allegedly molesting as many as 125 young girls demonstrate that that we can’t always trust our clinicians. Yet, we live in a society where we too often hear, “No medical professionals wake up in the morning wanting to harm their patients.”

Child abuse by medical professionals is not common, thank goodness, but it does happen. That’s just one reason why Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy (CPSEA) goes into high schools and encourages young people to open up about their experiences and talk with each other about their patient/clinician relationships. 

"This should be a relationship of trust where a young person can be treated with respect and dignity. . ."

Ilene Corina, President, PULSE Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy

By high school age, children should be prepared to visit their doctor alone. They need to share information that they may not want their parents or another adult to hear. This should be a relationship of trust where a young person can be treated with respect and dignity, can ask hard questions and disclose the most difficult concerns:  depression, sex, drugs etc.

“I had an early encounter with t­wo sisters who called their doctor ‘creepy’ during a teen discussion about medical care and preparing to see their doctor,” explains Ilene Corina, a patient safety advocate and educator for Pulse CPSEA. “This experience disclosed problems in the relationship so I started teaching patient safety to young people, with the support and guidance of qualified medical professionals.” 

Other topics Pulse CPSEA addresses with classes as early as middle school are preparing for the doctor’s visit with questions; appropriately and fully explaining symptoms for the best diagnosis; and medication safety. The presentations are fun and interactive and leave classes recognizing the importance of becoming “Informed and Involved” patients.

To learn more about Pulse CPSEA and its school programs contact Ilene Corina (516) 579-4711 or e-mail icorina@pulsecenterforpatientsafety.org

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Source: Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy