Health Care Decisions
Mrs. Richardson was leery of Western medicine in general and had done her best to avoid taking her daughter Hannah to traditional doctors. Instead, Mrs. Richardson had taken Hannah to naturopaths and alternative practitioners who successfully treated her minor ailments with herbs, homeopathic remedies, and vitamins. Mrs. Richardson declined baby shots for Hannah, but when the public school refused to enroll her without them, Mrs. Richardson decided to break down and have her daughter receive the basic required vaccinations rather than fighting the district's rule.
Some children need booster shots between age ten and thirteen in order to have continued protection against measles, mumps, tetanus, and rubella. Check on whether flu, meningitis, and hepatitis A vaccinations are needed, too. The consequences of contracting a communicable disease range from difficult to devastating.
When Hannah was twelve, the school sent home a note saying that she had been exposed to chickenpox. Mrs. Richardson investigated the subject and was distressed to learn that since Hannah hadn't contracted the infection or been immunized, she was at risk, and the repercussions could be serious if she caught the disease. Pneumonia was a common complication, and scarring from lesions is worse for older children. Moreover, if Hannah were eventually to become infected during a pregnancy, the results for the fetus could be disastrous indeed.
That incident caused Mrs. Richardson to have her daughter vaccinated and to take her to a “mainstream” physician for annual wellness checks. As a responsible mother, she would consider recommendations carefully rather than blindly following anyone's advice. But rather than dismissing Western medicine out of hand, she would make sure that Hannah benefited from the best that both Eastern and Western practitioners have to offer.