Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rickets! Could Your Child Be at Risk?

Rickets! Could Your Child Be at Risk? 
By Daniel Dossey
April 03, 2012

          Rickets isn't something that most people think about these days. In fact, most have never heard of the disease. For those who have, they think of it as a disease from the Great Depression, or something that only happens in poverty stricken countries. But that isn't the case. Rickets is something very real. This disease is so misunderstood that there are many in the medical community who still don't understand how great this problem is. There are thousands of infants born in the Northern States, Canada, and even Europe who suffer from Rickets, and because the medical community is still behind the times, many are being wrongfully accused of child abuse.
          Our family has been hurt by this disease. The disease itself has nearly healed with the help of Vitamin D supplementation. It is the lack of knowledge in the medical community that has hurt us. Rickets often mimics the signs of child abuse, and when a hospital doesn't know how to diagnose this disease they often choose to diagnose child abuse instead. This has led to many different problems across the country.
          When we brought our son to the hospital we merely thought he had a fever and a stomach ache. But after hearing our son scream when a hip check was performed, our life changed forever. The ER doctor ordered a stomach x-ray, and the technician noticed that our son's leg wasn't moving, and was causing my son pain. A later x-ray revealed a fractured femur. Upon reviewing the medical notes it seems clear that the ER doctor must have accidently broken our son’s bones. Of course we didn't realize that at the time, and were transferred to a children's hospital where we were put in the suspected child abuse area. A full body skeletal survey revealed more possible fractures, and this led the doctors to assume there was abuse. Fortunately, we were able to talk to a magnificent man, Dr. David Ayoub, and he was able to diagnose our son with neonatal rickets with 100% certainty. But unfortunately, our justice system didn't want to hear that answer and chose to listen to a doctor with far less experience. Erring on the side of caution seemed to be more important than keeping an innocent family together.
          When speaking to other specialists, they find our case confusing. They ask "how can this be abuse?" Our son had no bruising, no internal organ damage, no retinal hemorrhaging, no subdural hematoma, no scratches, no burns, and the tissue damage around the fracture had no damage. In fact, other than a broken bone there were absolutely no other signs of abuse. We also have a daughter who is perfectly healthy. This just doesn't make any sense. And with a diagnosis of rickets it seems even more unusual that the State would not return the child home.
          The key here is to teach others about rickets, and more importantly, Vitamin D. Vitamin D isn't just important in bone development, but also in many other areas of health. Vitamin D has been linked to autism, SIDS, depression, MS, and many other body functions. Infants who are solely breast fed need to be extra careful, and Vitamin D supplementation should be used. If your pediatrician doesn't know why Vitamin D is important, let them know that your child's health could depend on their understanding of its importance.
          In closing, rickets is real. It is in our modern world, and it is affecting far more then people give it credit for. Our government needs to catch up with these new medical discoveries, and our judicial system needs to stop tearing apart families and hurting innocent people. Pediatricians need to understand that Vitamin D is vital to the health of youth. Right now our society lives in fear, and the phrase "in the best interest of the child" has manipulated many people into following bad decisions made by our government. The best interest of the child is to have their medical issues taken care of rather than assume guilt first. Protect yourself, protect your family, and make sure that your child has a healthy Vitamin D level.
Daniel Dossey may be contacted at iamdandossey@gmail.com