SAN FRANCISCO, March 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Making an adolescent visit the
doctor for emergency contraceptives is like permitting a homeowner to buy a
fire extinguisher only after a fire has broken out, according to David Grimes,
MD, in the March ( http://www.ewjm.com ) wjm: western journal of medicine, the
official journal of the California Medical Association.
"This double standard in prevention services hurts women, especially
adolescents, for whom gaining access to care may often be difficult," writes
Dr. Grimes, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University
of North Carolina. Just like "keeping a fire extinguisher in the kitchen is
unlikely to lead to risky cooking practices," Grimes says, evidence does not
point to a decrease in the use of non-urgent contraceptives.
Dedicated to adolescent health issues, the March wjm looks at: a new
screening tool for eating disorders, medical complications related to anorexia
nervosa, identifying and treating adolescent depression, helping teens who
live in violent communities, and adolescent sexuality and the media.
The March wjm also looks at the relationship between young patients and
their physicians, from both the patient*s and the doctor's point of view. In
"What's Up, Doc," 18-year-old Michelle Goodman talks about how it feels when
"you're the oldest kid in the waiting room. You can barely fit in the chairs."
UCLA physicians Michael S. Wilkes, MD, and Martin Anderson, MD, based "A
Primary Approach to Adolescent Health Care" on their teaching experiences at
the Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles. "Adolescents are generally thought to
be healthy," notes Dr. Anderson. "But at least 20 percent of North American
adolescents have serious health problems" due to alcohol, tobacco and other
drug use; depression; unplanned pregnancies; and sexually transmitted
"These problems are often rooted in behaviors that are diagnosed not with
a laboratory test or physical examination but through open communication
between the physician and the adolescent," writes Dr. Anderson. The authors
present an approach to treating adolescents that includes tips on language
("Avoid using slang ... it is likely outdated") as well as the "Five Fs" to
remember when caring for adolescents (Explain Facts, Explore Fears, Address
Fables, Explore Family relationships, and Ask About the Future).
wjm is owned by the BMJ Publishing Group. It is the official journal of
the California Medical Association and other Western state medical
associations. Full text of all wjm articles is available at
http://www.ewjm.com . The March wjm will be available online after
March 14, 2000.
SOURCE California Medical Association