I had a chance to interview Christy Duffy, a Michigan mom who wrote about what happened when she took her 17-year-old daughter to the doctor for a foot injury. Her blog article, I. Am. The. Mom. went viral, as people from all over the nation weighed in.
Listen to our interview with Christy here:
I. Am. The. Mom. by Christy Duffy
Let’s get one thing straight: no doctor or nurse is going to sequester my children in an exam room and talk to them privately. Period. This public service announcement made necessary because of this sign, posted at the check-in counter of my doctor’s office:
I was there last week for an appointment for Amy. She hurt her foot, which makes dancing difficult, so we had to get that checked out. Amy is 17; I asked if this policy was in effect and if so, how could I opt out. The receptionist told me it’s a new law and there is no opting out. Working to keep my cool, I said, “I’m sure there is.” She said, “No, there isn’t.” At which point I asked if I needed to leave and go to the urgent care center because I was not submitting my daughter to such a conversation.
That did not go over well
The receptionist closed the window. Almost immediately, the office manager turned the corner and said, “Mrs. Duffy, may I speak with you?”
She said there was a new policy that would allow a child to access his/her medical records online and the child would be allowed to block a parent from viewing the website. The nurse would also inform my children that the doctor’s office is a safe place for them to receive information about STDs, HIV and birth control. That is what the nurse would be chatting about with my children without any pesky parental oversight.
I kindly informed her that no one would be talking with my children privately, and I needed to know how to opt out of this policy before bringing Amy back for her physical next month. (Yay for physicals! Amy is so excited.)
By this time, the doctor was ready to see Amy so I had to cut the conversation short because I was not letting my girl out of my eyesight or earshot. Not when it was clear that these people were angling to undermine my parental authority.
Does that sound a bit dramatic to you? It shouldn’t. Because that is exactly what they are trying to do.
Make sure this is crystal clear: what they want to do is talk to your child about sex and drugs (maybe rock and roll – who knows?) without your input. Is it really such a stretch to imagine that a doctor who does not value abstinence before marriage would encourage your daughters – as young as 12! – to receive birth control? Is it really such a stretch to imagine a nurse telling a young boy – because a 12 year old boy is a BOY – that she will give him condoms so he can be “safe”? Is this what you want told to your children without the ability to filter the info through your world view?
Should a doctor ever ask to speak to a child without a parent present? If he/she suspects abuse then of course. But short of evidence of abuse, a doctor should not need to speak to a child alone.
I am the Mom. I will pick who can talk to my kids about sex and drugs. And rock-n-roll for that matter.
Regardless what health care provider you choose, please know that no one has the right to remove you from your child’s exam room. Perhaps if more of us stood up for our rights as parents, this ludicrous undermining of parental authority might end.