Be wary of infant jewelry and lead poisoning

A recent story reported by the CDC reminds us of a few important lessons about teething, lead, and the kind of jewelry you buy at craft shows. A mom had purchased a handmade “homeopathic magnetic hematite healing bracelet” from an artisan at a local craft show. Her 9 month old daughter wore it on her wrist, reportedly to help with teething symptoms, and occasionally chewed on it (as babies are known to do.) She was found on routine screening to have a blood lead level about 10 times the safe upper limit of safety.

Lessons to learn:

Babies really shouldn’t wear jewelry at all (they look good without it!) Some bling is probably OK (like small earrings), but you have to be sure they’re not made with lead. That’s because anything on a baby or near a baby will end up in the baby’s mouth. Seriously, everything.

This particular bracelet was triple-dangerous. Looking at the photo, it was made of little beads strung together, which apart from their poisonous lead content were a potential choking hazard. And: magnets are a very bad thing for kids to swallow, because they can glom onto each other in clusters, or even while pinching a piece of intestine. Magnets are less likely to make their own way out without causing big-time tissue damage. No lead, no beads, no magnets!

Babies should especially never wear any kind of jewelry around their necks. Even a small tug on a necklace can close off the airway and kill a baby. That includes those trendy amber teething necklaces, which are both a choking and strangulation hazard. There are media reports of deaths from those things. Look out for long cords or straps on pacifiers, or cords on window blinds or binoculars or anything else thin and round and shaped in a loop. Anything that could wrap around a neck can strangle a baby and needs to be cut to pieces or kept very far away.

And: teething. Most babies experience teething with no symptoms whatsoever – the only way you know, with most babies, is that you see teeth poking out. An occasional baby might have some fussiness with teething, and you can treat them with love and cuddling, maybe a teething ring, or some acetaminophen if needed. There is no great plague of terrible symptoms of teething that need constant treatment, especially not with dangerous things. Teething is just another thing most parents do not have to worry about.

Other dangerous teething “cures” have included “homeopathic teething tablets” which contained poison, and benzocaine-containing teething gels(now mostly off the market) that caused a potentially fatal blood disorder. The sad thing here is that none of these were ever really needed – they’re marketed based on fear of a normal, harmless condition. Don’t waste your money, or endanger your child’s health, on jewelry or potions to treat teething.

Republished from Dr. Roy’s blog

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Phone Service Restored

Our phone service has been restored at both offices.  We are truly sorry for any inconvenience this caused yesterday.

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What we’re doing to reduce your wait

Last week, we posted here about all of the great, positive comments we received from our patients on a recent survey. Today’s it’s time for us to ‘fess up about the most common negative comment, and talk about what we’re trying to do to fix it.

The most common criticism we heard from our recent surveys was: “The waiting time can be too long.”

We agree, and our own staff and doctors have been frustrated by waits at their doctor’s offices, too. It’s a problem epidemic in medicine. I don’t want this post to turn into a bunch of excuses, but scheduling the right amount of time for every patient is really difficult, and sometimes no matter what you do with your schedule, genuine surprises occur. Still, we get it: that waiting with sick and/or impatient kids can’t be any fun, and we don’t like to make anyone wait. These are the steps we’re taking, right now, to help improve our wait times:

Better communication between our doctors and nurses Dr. Stan, who besides being a super doc is also a super computer genius, has developed a much better way for all of our nursing staff to see at one glance what all of our doctors need, and how long patients have been waiting. We’re hoping this helps streamline the many tasks that need to get done.

Improved scheduling We’re constantly working on ways to improve our schedules so patients can get the time they need. We’ll shortly be rolling out more opportunities for web-based scheduling, and more-robust logic that can help us figure out how much time certain types of appointments are likely to take. A lot of this is “behind the scenes”, but it’s something we take very seriously.

Improved checkout Working with our software vendors, we’re automating and shortening a lot of the tasks that used to lead to standing around at checkout, and there’s more to come!

While we’re working on these and other ideas, there are some things that parents and patients can do to help everyone get seen quickly and efficiently:

Please come on time for your appointment There is time set aside for your child at your child’s appointment time. If you’re late, all of the appointments after you are going to have to wait longer.

Tell us in advance if you think you need “extra time” We know certain problems — including mental health issues, or chronic unexplained pain, or complex social or school problems — do need extra time. Please tell the staff in advance, at the time you make the appointment.

Consider registering for the portal and doing some of the intake forms in advance Some of the forms we’ll ask you to complete in the office for well visits, especially, can be completed in advance on the portal. We’ll be making more of these forms available as soon as we can.

While we’re trying to do the best we can, we’ll tell you one thing to improve our “on-time” performance that we will not do: our doctors will not “watch the clock” while we’re in the exam room with you. During your visit, you will have the time you need, even if your problem is complex, and especially when your child needs the doctor’s attention most. Yes, that means the next patient may have to wait a bit. We’ll do the best we can to run on time, but we’re not going to tap our watches and tell people that their time is up. We’ll never be that kind of practice.

Thanks for all of your support!!

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Thanks for all of the positive reviews!

A few weeks ago, we invited families with children seen in our office in the last three months to do a brief online survey (just 2 questions, we know you all are busy!) The response rate was great, and we really appreciate the feedback.

The responses were overwhelmingly positive. We can’t thank you, our patients, enough — our business relies on word-of-mouth, and your supportive comments to your friends and neighbors are what helps our practice thrive!

We wanted to first share the top positive comments that we’ve received. Yes, this is a little bit of a braggy post, but we’re just so happy with the feedback that we wanted to share.

We also received some very helpful critical comments, too. We’ve already taken steps to address many of those. In future posts here, we’re going to highlight some of the criticisms we’ve received, and talk about what we’re doing to address those. We hope posts like these help continue the dialogue. As much as we love the positive comments, we also need to hear the negatives — that’s the best way to help us continue to improve and serve your children better.

But, for today, only the good news! Presenting, first, the top 5 positive remarks we received from you, our practice families:

#5 : Sick Visit Quick Availability — We always have same-day sick appointments available. When your children are sick, and you’re worried, we’re here for you.

#4: Front Office Staff is Welcoming and Professional — We strive to be welcoming, even when your children aren’t feeling well.

#3: Doctors Spending Enough Time with Patients/Not Feeling Rushed — We’re not here to stare at a clock or tell you when your time is up. When you need more time with the doctor, you’ll get more time with the doctor. That’s the reason we’re here.

#2: Nursing staff is Kid-Friendly, Caring, and Gentle — We know a smile goes a long way, and that a sick or worried child needs extra care. Our team wants children and parents to feel comfortable and loved.

And the #1 comment from the surveys (drum roll please)

#1: Our doctors are great!  — Aw, shucks. There were a ton of comments about our expertise and communication skills and caring attitude. Again, can I say, thanks!! It’s our pleasure to help out, but everyone likes a compliment now and then!

Thanks again for all the kind comments! Next: some of the constructive criticism, and what we’re going to do about it — stay tuned!

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Phones back up at both offices

Our phones are working at both of our offices now – there was a power outage at a major Atlanta data center that affected the entire region.  We are sorry for any inconvenience!

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