Doctors urge parents to not skip children's checkups during pandemic

Posted at 4:04 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 19:41:23-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Bowen Bradshaw spent his first two months of life in neonatal intensive care, because of a heart condition.

"They found some abnormal heart rhythms and ended up having a really fast heart rate, so he got sent over to Children's Mercy," Bowen's mom, Amanda, said.

Bowen was released from the hospital last week, but now the little boy will embark on a seemingly endless journey of doctor's visits, which started Tuesday with a checkup and a series of shots at Children's Mercy Broadway Clinics.

Even after the lengthy hospital stay, Amanda was nervous to bring him to the doctor's office because of COVID-19 concerns.

"I am at high risk too with having high blood pressure now," Amanda said.

Pediatricians report similar nervousness among parents across the Kansas City area and the country.

"Everything from our checkups, even for children who are calling in for same-day appointments, we had about a 65% decrease in our clinic visits right off the bat," Children's Mercy Division Director for General Pediatrics Dr. George Phillips said.

It's a trend that worries Phillips, who said wellness appointments are vital for infants like Bowen.

"We think we understand why many people weren't coming in," Phillips said. "Everyone was trying to social distance, people were trying to defer things they might not need taken care of right now, but that really made us worry about the important parts of preventive care."

Amanda said she was glad to see the hospital protecting patients and families with signs encouraging social distancing and the wearing of face masks.

She remains worried about her son's visit, but also she said Bowen's health comes first.

"We've got to make the best out of the best of a worst situation, and we will do what we need to do to get better, huh buddy?" Amanda said.