Pediatrics: First impressions

For the past week I have been shadowing Dr. Juan and yesterday Dr. Marina in the pediatric department.  I have sat in on board meetings and gone to keynote lectures (this week was on malnutrition due to clinical reasons such as short bowel syndrome).  I have been privy to confidential information, but I cannot give details based on my experiences in the pediatric department.  Nonetheless I would like to share some of my thoughts on pediatrics.

1) You get to see everything

Patients have all sorts of ailments, diseases, conditions that visit the hospital doctors. You go from a spectrum of cognitive development and deficiencies to viral meningitis to severe juvenile arthritis to asthma and other respiratory disorders.  You may sub specialize, but as a whole you get to look at everyone.

2) Talking to parents is an art

I have met so many parents that present themselves as self proclaimed doctors or hypochondriacs.  They have told their children to drink excess amount of water, to not sit on toilet seats, and blame the school teachers for everything. 

3) There is an unfortunate reoccurring cycle of lack education within families

Many people that come through the hospital doors are coming through a sieve of the healthcare system of Azores and Portugal.  The Hospital often treats the lowest on the socioeconomic totem pole.   The devastating element is that the parents, grandparents, siblings, etc. from these uneducated families usually do not stay in school past 14,15,16 years old.  As you look at these children, the patients, you can make them healthy, but there chances of staying in school beyond these years is still slim.  

4) Patients do the silliest things

So many people will bring up extra ailments as they come to visit the doctor, but the funniest of them all is that when asked how long they have had this the answer may span years — but they have visited this doctor for every 6 months past and just saw a specialist that would be more appropriate to help. But you have to take it as it comes, which is also an art.

5) I really like Pediatrics

I have had an amazing time in pediatrics and I look forward to another week.  Between doctors, nurses and residents who have taken the time to reach out to me and explain new things to me, I have learned so much. The department is full of wonderful people, and the patients I have seen have been very interesting.


Today I teach my first Base5 class, the introductory level of English to anyone of that level who works in the hospital.  I can’t wait!


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