Pediatricians Helping Autism

Well, I did it! I have made some progress informing the pediatric community – at least some of the local ones – about the diagnosis and treatment of what we call autism.

In the first instance, one of my female youngsters was being examined for a possible ear infection and the doctor DIDN’T give antibiotics right away. No knee-jerk reaction mandating a 10-day biological sentence with a warning NOT to talk to the DAN! doctor.

Instead, I received a polite call from this wonderful pediatrician discussing the child’s medical presentation and letting me know the clinical course that she thought that she should follow. Since most otitis media is caused by viruses, and the child was just beginning to recover from her moderate-to-severe autism, the doctor said that she would monitor the child’s progress with an appropriate fever-reducing agent, treat any dehydration, and only prescribe antibiotics if the child didn’t improve.

Plus… Plus… she was going to order an extra probiotic to help any G-I disturbances. Lemme hear you say “Hallelujah!”

I received another call on that very day from a different pediatrician who sounded pretty upset. “My patient told me that you told her not to give any vaccinations and that you were treating the child with some other stuff.” “No,” I explained, “I didn’t tell the parents to NEVER get their child vaccinated, just to wait until we get the kid better.”

I asked the kind pediatrician whether the child in question had autism? “Well, sort of.” “Exactly,” I replied, “we old guys are seeing patients with speech and language delay, some behavioral and social stuff and we call it autism, but we know that it’s really not. But it’s something. And, I have helped hundreds of patients with this kind of problem. And, I’m not doing anything risky or expensive. I’m giving probiotics, nutritional supplements, and evaluating G-I disturbances. And, I’m not a charlatan. And, I’m not making a million bucks doing this.”

“Oh, OK, then. Thanks for calling.” That was it. We had a doctor-to-doctor understanding.

So, all it took was a phone call to discuss the diagnosis and treatment of a common patient. How novel in today’s medical environment. You’d have to go to a university hospital to get that kind of treatment. And even then, there’s no guarantee that one doc will converse with another. Now, if I could just get to the neurologists and gastroenterologists to listen…

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Brian D. Udell MD
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