This week on Thrive: July 6- 9

Summer’s here! If your kid is a swimmer it’s strongly recommended you take a CPR course from a professional. In this post Josh Farber-Sault, RN, a nurse from Children’s Hospital Boston’s emergency department, shows some basic pediatric CPR techniques. While the video is informative, it’s not official CPR training, and Thrive can’t stress enough the importance of taking official CPR classes for parents who have children that will be in and around water this summer.

Could your reusable grocery bag make your family sick? If it’s not cleaned properly it could. A doctor from Children’s Infectious Diseases Division shares tips on how to keep your grocery bags, and your kids’ food, E. coli free. Here’s what some readers thought.

No big secret….I just throw them in the wash. Been doing that since I got them. One look inside and I didn’t need a study to tell me they were disgusting.


True, but common sense isn’t always in abundant supply. Sometimes when people are trying so hard to do the right thing (reusable bags) they may lose sight of the possible negatives that come with that decision.


Wow. My son was just diagnosed with E. Coli and I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out where he picked it up. Then I read this article and realized I’ve been doing all the wrong things with the reusable shopping bags which I love and use for everything! Thank you CHB for posting this article, we all need to be aware of this.


Imagine that instead of drugs or surgery, you could use genes to treat or even prevent diseases. That’s the promise of gene therapy, an experimental technique where a gene is inserted into a patient’s cells to replace a non-functioning or disease carrying gene. Read all about the new research coming out of Children’s on this new and exciting form of treatment.

Claire McCarthy, MD, writes on doctor error, and how proactive parents who play a strong role in their child’s medical treatment can help doctors avoid preventable mistakes. A few readers offered tips of their own.

In 12 years of managing my son’s complex medical treatment, I have learned a few things. I write brief questions prior to the appointment and bring a copy for the physician as well as my son and me. In this way the doctor knows what we need to know, even if we cannot get through the list, he or she can get back to us at some point. If I am uncomfortable with the direction of treatment or recovery, I do alert the doctor(s), when my concerns are not addressed, seeking a second or third opinion is not only in the best interest of my child, it is being the best advocate possible for him or her. They often do not have the ability to speak for themselves, but I have always included my son in the decision anyway about when to move to a new doctor, or opinion. When he was overwhelmed with the amount of doctors, he needed to have a voice. I always made sure doctors were aware of this. We were not always heard on this fact, making my son feel un -heard even more. This caused me to become even more vocal on this point. It is the parent’s job to continue speaking for the child who often feels un-heard and overwhelmed in the midst of medical care.

Mistakes happen in complex care. In my son’s care there was misdiagnosis, lack of prompt diagnosis, wrong medication used, low dosages used, and a multitude of problems complicated by his complex medical issues. “Doctors are human” is a good thing to remember and yet often bitter pill to swallow as the adolescent turns “adult”.
Watching your child’s care is a right, a privilege, a fearful time for all parents. Doing the very best you can do for your child includes forming a working team with physicians. The team is an imperfect experience at time and highly emotional one because it involves your highly cherished entity, your child.


I am a medical transcriptionist with a large transcription provider and I catch errors in dictations all day long. As I transcribe dictation into what will become the patient’s permanent medical record, every little yawn, crunch, cough, and noise in the background can make it hard to hear (yes, some doctors do love to dictate with a mouthful of a subway sandwich). As a doctor slurs his/her speech rushing through a dictation to get home, it becomes more challenging to accurately transcribe what the doctor is saying. The doctor can dictate an error, I can make an error, but then it is my job to catch that error or admit defeat and flag the problem area for review, and believe me I take catching those errors very very seriously. My point is, errors in the medical record can occur at many points between dictation and it landing in the chart. Of course, there are safeguards in place and we all strive to make sure every patient has an accurate medical record. Knowing this, I make it a point to make sure my pediatrician and my own doctor are looking at an accurate medical history. Being a mother of 5, I have made many trips to the clinic, and some of those are for chronic problems for a special needs child. Especially in visits with specialists for chronic problems, I think it is so important that parents are knowledgeable about their child’s diagnosis and are able to make sure the doctor has accurate and detailed information, and not just assume the chart he/she is reviewing is accurate.