Medical profession

Skeptical Sentiments

Wayne State University

Dr Fischer is associate professor of pediatrics at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. He is also chief of the division of ambulatory pediatrics and adolescent medicine in the Carman & Ann Adams Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Detroit.

Guest Commentary

In my 30-year career as a pediatrician, I’ve gotten much satisfaction from helping children and families. However, I’ve seen some things I haven’t liked. What follows is a list of things I don’t trust:

•Activists who say their lives were “ruined” because they were circumcised.

•Doctors who refer to a baby or child as “it.”

•Parents who say they “go outside to smoke” during Michigan winters.

•Doctors who listen to a patient’s chest through the patient’s clothes.

•Histories stating that a child is allergic to 4 different classes of antibiotics.

•Pediatricians who have “never seen a case of child abuse.”

•People who advise women to deliver their babies underwater.

•Doctors who diagnose fever of unknown origin, but who haven’t cleaned out the child’s ears to see what his or her tympanic membranes look like.

•The idea that breast-fed infants exposed to a bottle or pacifier will develop “nipple confusion.”

•The fences around most home swimming pools.

•People who are certain that children benefit from hearing music in utero.

•Doctors who don’t read journals.

•Politicians who cut funds to programs that benefit children.

•Doctors who believe a circumcision without appropriate anesthetic doesn’t hurt.

•School systems that allow a child to repeat a grade without trying to find out why he or she failed.

•Doctors whose “practice” consists of being an expert witness.

•People who believe in “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

•A system that places children in foster care without giving foster parents a child’s medical history.

•An adolescent medicine consultant who misspells “mittelschmerz.”

There may be more, but I don’t trust my memory. ■

Editor’s note: Dr Fischer invites you to send him your list of things you don’t
trust. His e-mail address is

Or you can list your dislikes in the "Post new comment" box below.

Read Dr Fischer's More Skepitcal Sentiments.