Medical History Should Be a Human Right

The thoughts in this post will be nothing new to all the adoptees out there, but dang it, I thought I’d throw my two cents in as a parent to a child with no medical history.

Access to your family’s medical history should be a human right.  Full stop.  I always thought that at a theoretical level, but it became very real to me this weekend.

Bug started a new medication this weekend.  That should be no real cause for concern, but this certain med is contraindicated for children with a strong family history of heart disease.  Of course we have no idea whether she has a family history of heart disease.   I should have been able to leave it at that and just start the med and watch, but I know that the heart issue is a serious one — the medication would have been contraindicated for me, and rightly so.  I had multiple episodes of cortisol-induced angina as a young adult.   In fact, my reaction to meds that can spike cortisol mimics a heart attack, as I found out when I used a self-injector of Imitrex for an acute migraine.  Not pretty.  I wish I’d had nitro pills on me that day.  So I’m a little over aware of the risks.

I get the same sense of unease every time Bug is on an antibiotic too, also because of my own hyper-awareness of the problem.  I’m allergic to two separate classes of antibiotics.  So  I hold my breath any time we use a new class of antibiotics on Bug.  I’m much more prepared to deal with an allergic reaction than a heart attack in a six-year-old though, so was a right basket case on Saturday when we started the new meds.  

This is what my child has in store for her life.  It’s not just about the annoyance of having to tell the intake nurse 50 times “yes, that’s right, I have no info.”  I know that will get old, but it’s not life threatening.  How many times will Bug start a new medication and wonder what will happen?

Access to basic family medical history should be a human right.  Just one more way adoptees have to suffer in our society.


About mad momma moogacat

I am a 40-year old mother, wife, lawyer and pop culture fiend who is looking for some beauty and meaning in life. I write about parenting, adoption, mental health, work-life balance, and pop culture. Hope you enjoy!
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6 Responses to Medical History Should Be a Human Right

  1. We need to eliminate “amended” birth certificates and “sealed records” in adoption, and ensure every person is afforded the right to access an accurate “Certificate of Live Birth”, with their true biological parentage. If the money and marketing aspects were removed from adoption, adoptees would cease to be commodities and actually have human rights.

    • I couldn’t agree more. The issue of medical records and history is just a small part of what adoptees have denied to them. And we as adoptive parents should be supporting adoptees in their fights for OBCs and other transparency, yet we don’t. Instead, we complain when it’s not all about us and our needs.

      Thanks so much for commenting.

  2. TAO says:

    Of course I agree. Not having mine was very costly, and what was in my family health history would have made all the difference if I had it before – not after there was “good cause” to unseal my records. Poor bug doesn’t even have that avenue – it sucks.

    People in adoption seem to forget that babies grow up to be adults. Wait till you run into “insurance won’t pay for that early screening / test because you don’t have a family history of that disease”. New Jersey passed a law that insurance companies can’t deny adoptees early screening based on no family history, but I don’t think any other state has.

  3. christycanuck says:

    Amy, you already know that I agree with you. This is fundamental stuff. And btw my husband, the calm one, almost called an ambulance the one time I took Imitrex. Very frightening stuff for our kids.

    • My Imitrex story is funny now, but not so much at the time. I had two appellate briefs going out in the pre-electronic filing dark ages when you had to make bunches of copies and send them in the mail by the deadline to make it timely filed. I had them all ready to copy and was waiting for an OK from co-counsel. I decided I’d had enough of the migraine I’d been fighting all day, so I decided to go use the Imitrex self-injector. In the time it took me to get from the bathroom back to my office the migraine was gone, replaced with sweats, shortness of breath, and an elephant on my chest. Instead of doing the rational thing and going to the hospital, I shut my office door and got in the floor, thinking it would help. Five minutes later my boss knocked, looked in, saw me on the floor, and simply said, “you need any help with the briefs?” I assured him no, just waiting for a call, and he left me there.

      My doctor did yell at me about not going for help, and confiscated the self-injector!

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