Children’s Health Threatened by Lack of Pediatricians

Posted on December 22, 2010. Filed under: General, Medical Malpractice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

By John Cooper, Eastern Shore Injury Attorney

If you’re a parent in Accomac, Belle Haven, Cape Charles, Chincoteague, Eastville, Exmore, Onancock Tangier Island or Wachapeague, the following news probably won’t surprise you.

A census of pediatricians and family care practitioners in the United States published December 20, 2010, on the Pediatrics website revealed that the United States has more child doctors than it strictly needs. The problem is that an overwhelming number of the doctors and nurses who specialize in taking care of sick babies, toddlers, adolescents and teens practice in and near large cities. This means parents living in rural towns like those on the Eastern Shore of Virginia have few places to take their kids when they get sick or hurt.

My law firm colleague Emily Mapp Brannon wrote last summer about how the general lack of nearby hospitals, clinics and doctors’ office leave Eastern Shore residents with no option but to drive long distances — often north into Maryland (MD) or south into Virginia Beach or Norfolk — to receive medical care. Even the lone hospital, Shore Memorial Hospital in Nassawadox, can be too far away to ensure that drivers and passengers injured in car or truck accidents receive lifesaving care in a timely manner.

Pediatricians play essential roles in keeping kids healthy and parents sane. Having ready access to a health care provider specifically trained to recognize the difference between simple illnesses and serious diseases in youngsters, someone who knows how to prescribe and dose medications for little ones, and a doctor or nurse who can gently work with often scared and confused children can be priceless. While pediatricians and family medicine practitioners sometimes make mistakes, they are still the best health resources for kids and the adults who care for them.

The authors of the Pediatrics article called for steering kids’ health care providers to rural areas by using a mix of financial incentives and professional perks. That sounds like a good plan to me. If such efforts succeed and fewer children on the Eastern Shore go without proper diagnoses and treatments because of simple lack of access to doctors and nurse, then everyone will benefit.

EJL

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a Virginia injury law firm handling Eastern Shore VA injury accident law and we have handled thousands of car and truck accident cases, including many on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Check out our case results. We are familiar with people who drive Route 13, including those from Accomack, Onancock, Chincoteauge, Wachapreague, and Cape Charles, Bloxom, Eastville, Exmore, Greenbackville, Machipongo, Mappsville, Melfa, Nassawadox, Onley, Tangier, Temperanceville, Wachapreague, and Wallops Island. We provide free injury case consultations, so call us toll free at 1-800-752-0042. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube. Rick Shapiro and James Lewis were included among the “Best Lawyers in America” for 2010, and they and their fellow attorney John M. Cooper were named 2010 Virginia “Super Lawyers” for Personal Injury Law. Fewer than 5 percent of outstanding lawyers receive this distinction. Our firm also includes attorneys selected by the National Million Dollar Advocates Forum. In addition, we were the first injury law firm in Virginia to join Primerus, a select group of highly ethical, respected law firms. We provide this blog as a pro bono public service.

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