I Just Can’t Wait For You To Stab Me With A Needle!

, , , , , | Healthy | November 30, 2020

When my son is seven years old, I move to a new town. The school system has some different regulations for vaccines than where we have just come from. As it turns out, my son needs a shot before joining school in the new town. Unfortunately, my son is extremely needle-phobic. I have previously assisted holding him still in instances where he needed a shot or stitches. I know, as a nurse and a mom, that what needs to be done needs to be done.

As I am new to the area and do not have a pediatrician yet, I ask the school for the name of the school doctor. The following happens when my son and I arrive at his appointment for his shot.

Me: *To the receptionist* “Hi, I’m [My Name] and this is [Son]. We are here for his [shot].”

Receptionist: “Sure, have a seat in exam room one. Someone will be with you shortly.”

Me: “Thank you.”

[Son] and I wait for a few minutes. He knows he is there for a shot and starts to get a bit anxious. I do my best to distract him and calm him down. Soon, the doctor arrives in the room.

Doctor: “Good afternoon, ma’am, [Son]. So, you’re here for a [shot]?”

Me: “Yes, we are.”

Doctor: “Okay, I’ll get that ready for you and I’ll be back in a minute.”

The doctor leaves the room and arrives back a few minutes later with the needle and syringe on a tray.

Doctor: “All right, so here we are.” *Addresses my son directly* “So, [Son], are you ready for your shot now?”

My jaw drops; I cannot believe what I just heard. Why would you ever ask a child if they are ready to receive a shot? My son immediately indicates that he is not ready.

Doctor: “Okay, I’ll give you a few minutes. I’ll be back.”

I sit trying to calm my son as he grows increasingly anxious. Twenty minutes later, the doctor returns.

Doctor: “All right, big guy, are you ready yet?”

Son: “No.”

Doctor: “Well, then, you just let me know when you are.”

The doctor leaves the room again. I am so shocked that I am not able to verbalize my thoughts. My son begins to panic. He is wringing his hands and pulling at his hair. It is difficult to watch. Imagine a needle-phobic seven-year-old being told that he is the one who has to actually ask to be given a shot. He just isn’t going to be able to do it.

Another twenty minutes go by before the doctor returns.

Doctor: “So, [Son], do you want me to give you that [shot] now?”

Me: “Okay, hold on, doc. We have been here for an hour, during which time you have been tormenting a young child by telling him he needs to ask to be given a shot. This ends now. I am the mother. I make the medical decisions, not him. He is getting this shot, and he is getting it now. Go get your receptionist and have her come in to help me hold him still. You have got him worked so into a frenzy that I cannot do it by myself. When she comes in here, this is going to go one, two, three: you give him the shot, we leave, this trauma is over. Go get her. Now.”

And that is what happened. To this day, I am still unhappy with myself that I allowed the torture to go on as long as it did. I later followed up with a complaint to the school system about their “school doctor.” I also put it in writing that for any school health screenings that might come up, that doctor was not to come within twenty feet of my son.

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