We love to talk about our own health. It’s our right and our business. But how liberal should we be when talking about our kids?
Should the health information of children be protected?
I’ve been thinking about the concept of the personal health footprint and I wonder what the future holds for publicly disclosed health information. Will the painful struggle with your baby’s ambiguous genitalia revealed on your blog create issues as your child grows into adulthood? When we publicly deliberate the meaning of a 9p chromosomal duplication in an otherwise normal appearing child are we potentially doing her an unknown disservice?
I ask because I’ve seen a sharp rise in parents writing about their kids and their problems – and for good reason. Health transparency has advantages for the family struggling with a chronically ill child. Most dialog is centered around a community that provides critical support for these families. The benefits to parents are too numerous to count.
But I have to wonder where all this information will settle? How could your child’s personal health footprint be used? Twenty years from now what will your child’s network know about her? And how will your daughter feel when a personal detail from 2010 surfaces?
No one knows the answers to these questions.
Balancing the needs of parents with the needs of a sick child might be described as impossible. But just as we should think about the light we shed on the shadowed crevices of our health history, we might consider how much we say about our kids.