Doctor’s Orders

Your child’s pediatrician has made a diagnosis and prescribed medication to treat the diagnosed condition. Your co-parent administers the medication all week as directed, and now it is time for your parenting time. You did not attend the appointment at which the diagnosis was made and at which the medication was prescribed. Or perhaps you did. Either way, you have a secret and silent disagreement with the diagnosis. Perhaps it is a diagnosis for ADHD or a mental health condition. Maybe you feel that the diagnosis is correct but that medication is not the answer. After all, you suffered through (acne, depression, inability to concentrate). YOUR child is not the child that needs medication. YOUR child is fine.

If that sounds at all like you and you have even a moment’s thought at simply not administering the prescribed medication during your parenting time – think again. That is not the way to resolve a parenting time dispute regarding medical care.

Inconsistent medication can place the health and well-being of your child in great danger. The physiological effects of inconsistent medication can lead to severe side effects which you cannot possible foresee when you are deciding not to administer medication during a several day period of parenting time. If someone asked you whether or not you would intentionally make your child sick, you would likely answer that you would never do such a thing. But failing to consistently medicate your child could be doing just that. Leaving aside the correctness or incorrectness of the underlying diagnosis for a moment, the mere abrupt starting and stopping of medication in a short period of time can have serious side effects and consequences. It can make your child sick. And it is possible that the diagnosis is correct, which means that the underlying medical issue is not being treated either.

So what can you do if you disagree regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment? For starters, speak up. Ask questions of the treating physician and express your concerns. Perhaps your concerns are well founded and perhaps you are simply wrong. Unless you yourself are a pediatrician or other relevant physician, it is possible that you do not know enough to make the determination. If after you question the doctor you are still unconvinced, clearly and calmly express your concerns to your co-parent. This is the time to seek a second medical opinion.

Secretly undermining the medical treatment of your child is never appropriate parenting. Your opinion counts and in the case of an unbreakable disagreement, you can ask a judge to decide the issue. Unilaterally altering your child’s medication is dangerous and should never be your solution.

Leave a Reply