Are Our Kids Safe With Their Doctors and Dentists?
Have you ever been asked to stay in the waiting room while your child sees their doctor or dentist? Most of us have. But there are some disturbing reasons to consider why you should not leave your child’s side at the doctor. We are going to look at a few stories today that remind us that as parents, we must be careful who we trust. We must protect our children because no one else will. As always, we are not sharing these stories to scare you, we share them because we care and we want to be aware of the dangers that threaten our kids.
What is the deal with parents being asked to stay in the waiting room?
Often the reason it is suggested that a parent does not come with the child is the idea that parents project their fears onto their children. Many doctors think that patients will behave better if their parents are not in the room. While this may be true, it seems that we live in a world where this is not always a safe option. Far too many practitioners have abused children behind closed doors where their parents could not help them.
Ask why the doctor is requesting this and voice that you’d like to stay with your child. While not all doctors who allow or ask parents to stay in the waiting room are threatening, a parent should never be entirely closed off from their children. You need to be able to hear them or be close enough to see what is going on. Russell Saunders, a pediatrician in New England, shared his viewpoint in an opinion post on The Daily Beast. He stated that if parents have an actual phobia and cannot be present, “A clear protocol must be in place to assure parents and patients alike that there is no potential for abuse.”
Saunders further stated that he would never have a young patient behind a closed door without a parent or another professional present. His reasoning goes beyond protecting the child – it is to protect himself and to reassure his patients. He explains, “The presence of another grown-up offers some indemnity against future accusations of impropriety.”
The only time Saunders would consider having a child separated from a parent is if he was concerned about domestic abuse. “Getting a vulnerable patient away from someone inflicting harm on them is often a necessary step in getting them to safety, and medical providers must always be cognizant of the importance of recognizing those situations when such a separation is in order. But even then, I would be sure to have other personnel involved for everyone’s protection.”
A closer look at what has been happening:
Here are a couple cases to show you what has been going on and why we are concerned.
Dentist Dr. Schneider Accused of Pulling Kids’ Teeth Unnecessarily, Hitting and Choking Them:
According to Inquisitr.com, Dr. Howard Schneider from Florida has had dozens of lawsuits filed against him for unnecessarily pulling teeth and abusing his young patients. A former employee shared, “It was horrible. Him putting his hand over the children’s mouth(s), yelling at them, getting close to their ear, telling them they better shut up. He didn’t like for you to be nurturing and make them feel at ease. He wanted you to be rough. He would get angry when you would try to calm them down.”
CNN shared the story of a little girl’s traumatic experience. “The little girl went in for a procedure, and three hours later, she had to be rushed to the hospital. The doctor had pulled seven of the child’s teeth out. The young girl told her mother that the dentist hit her and choked her — and that caused her mom to call the police.” Apparently the charges did not go very far, so the mother posted the photos on Facebook. The Inquisitr shared “As the pictures started circulating, other parents started doing the same thing, all having one thing in common: a previous appointment with Dr. Schneider.”
As if this story is not bad enough, it is said that Schneider has been making money off of his maltreatment – a lot of money. “Since he is mainly paid by Medicaid, the work that he does is covered, warranted or not. Reports indicate that he has collected nearly $4 million over the past five years — much of that money is believed to have come from unnecessary procedures such as tooth extraction.”
Pediatrician Earl Bradley Charged with Molestation of 103 Children:
Pediatrician Dr. Earl Bradley is the manifestation of a parent’s worst nightmare. ABC News shared, “Bradley was initially charged with 33 felony counts, including rape and sexual exploitation of a child, but the number of victims has now more than tripled.” His Delaware practice called BayBees Pediatrics is where he allegedly videotaped sex acts between him and his young patients (some just a couple months old). The children’s parents were in another room. His indictment was 160 pages long and describes what happened during 1998 and 2009.
ABC News reports “Some of the children were allegedly molested continuously over a series of days or months. One victim was allegedly raped by Bradley from June 2007 until February 2009, and another was molested ‘continuously’ between November 2008 until November 2009.” The article further explains, “A search of Bradley’s medical practice late  lead to the analysis of more than 13 hours of video files, computers, and hard drives and more than 7,000 patient files.”
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden stated, “The thing that makes this case so troubling and horrific is the alleged abuse of trust in this matter. These are highly specialized cases where no one in the community could believe someone could do this to a child, to a child who is voiceless.”
Predators or mandated reporters?
This issue of doctors, dentists and professionals in general abusing children is a heart wrenching one. We know that the majority of these professionals are wonderful, respectable and will protect our children. However, there are some who will not.
We could not talk about this situation without pointing out the irony behind the fact that these professionals are mandated reporters. According to Wikipedia, “Mandated reporters are people who have regular contact with vulnerable people such as children, disabled persons, and senior citizens, and are therefore legally required to ensure a report is made when abuse is observed or suspected. Specific details vary across jurisdictions—the abuse that must be reported may include neglect, or financial, physical, sexual, or other types of abuse.”
The Colorado Office of Children, Youth & Families explains that “It is a class 3 misdemeanor in Colorado for a mandated reporter to fail to report suspected child abuse or neglect or knowingly makes a false report and is punishable under law.” Obviously these predators are doing a lot worse than not reporting the abuse. There may be a gap in the system in terms of what is required by law and the standard we hold these doctors to. We must be careful to not just blindly trust people in positions of authority. We must look out for our children. To learn more about what is required as a mandatory reporter, visit their website.
Let’s hold these professionals accountable and keep our children safe. The next time someone asks you to stay in the waiting room, we urge you to think twice.