Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Worried Well

During this recent H1N1 flu scare, I know many of us physicians have been swamped with patients, both sick and well. It has been a definite challenge, I think for all of us! I am used to seeing a certain number of patients for minor illnesses, and I have come to know which patients tend to be quite ill when they come in versus those who tend not to be. However, this past week or so has been quite different. Although I often find it annoying when parents bring in their children for very minor illnesses, such as a comedone on the nose of a teenager, I have been much more understanding the past few weeks! I had one child come in who was very worried that she was going to die from the swine flu. She had no symptoms, and therefore I didn't use one of our precious few viral swabs to test her for the virus. I tried to reassure her and explain to her the different methods she can use to protect herself from the virus. But I truly felt sorry for her. Her anxiety was palpable when I walked in the room, and I couldn't do anything concrete to assuage her worries. How very frustrating!! She was just old enough to understand the news, but not old enough to fully understand it. I do hope she was able to go back to school and focus on the last few days of the school year, however, I have my doubts.

Do we have a way to help these kids besides education? We have mental health providers, but they are usually swamped with patients... I am hoping that next time an illness like H1N1 comes around, we are more prepared either with better training for medical providers to deal with such patients and/or with mental health providers that are dedicated to providing this specialized care.

1 comment:

Hua said...
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