Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: Re: Things parents don't tell you.
Re: Things parents don't tell you.
Ronald W. Fox
Tue, 10 Aug 1999 21:29:20 -0500
>The present medical forms probably contain unnecessary information.
Perhaps. They have, in the past, also missed necessary information. Only
the very latest form has a check-off box for ADHD, and the ones without it
are still being passed out and being reproduced in Council publications.
>To suggest access to medical information is not only an unwarranted
>invasion of privacy,
I don't think that getting access to an 11 year old's medical info is an
invasion of privacy if his parents give permission. I certainly agree that
the information is *highly* sensitive, and should be handled very carefully
and discreetly by the unit leader.
>it is a breach of professional ethics
This I'm not clear on. What do you mean?
>- unless you are also going to require that leaders are only appointed from
>health care professionals.
No way. After all, there are people in the child's school that have access
to medical information about the children in their care that aren't medical
>We do not need to have access to medical records. We do need the minimum
>amount of information to ensure that a young person is safe in our care.
>The solution is for the leader to have an open relationship with the
>Scouts and their parents.
O.K. Here's what happened. A Scout went to summer camp with the Troop.
He'd been on a couple of weekend campouts with us and was pretty quiet. I
thought he was just shy; he wasn't the only quiet one.
Come summer camp, he's off with us. First night, homesick. Not the only
one. However, he didn't eat much at all and was still homesick the next
two nights. Then I figured that something beyond 1st year camper
homesickness was involved, and had a talk with him that was more in-depth
that our previous discussions.
There came a statement that he made that finally told me we had a problem.
He told me that the worst time for him was at night. I asked why, and he
told me that he would wake up at night and go to pound on the wall for his
mom. Then he would fully wake up and realize that she wasn't there. This
was very upsetting to him. Apparently, if he awoke in the middle of the
night, it was his habit to do this, and Mom would calm him down until he
want to sleep. It further turned out that this happened about 2 or 3 times
This was 11:00 P.M. I hiked down to the Ad building and called Mom. After
quite a bit of dancing around the issue, Mom tells me that "the doctors say
that <her son's name> is slightly learning disabled." I asked her
(politely) why she didn't happen to tell me, and she said that she was
afraid that the information would get out (i.e., that I'd blab this
sensitive information around) and that her son would become ostracized. It
turns out that he always did everything with a family member, including eat
every meal. This explained why he was not eating. He also had a very hard
time if his daily routine changed. Summer camp is about as far from his
daily routine as I can imagine.
>In most cases the Scouts are fully aware of their medical conditions
Not in this case. His parents haven't used the phrase in front of him.
He's under no medication.
>The reason parents and youth don't tell us about health conditions is either
>(a) they don't realise it is relevant, or (b) they don't want you to know
>because they are afraid that the information may be misused.
A fear that's probably justified. Thank God I don't have *that* problem.
But the bottom line is that I had this Scout in an environment that is much
more hazardous than normal, and I was working without a net with him.
>My experience of running a provisional troop is that if I have a group
>of Scouts I haven't met I say that I need them to tell me, in
>confidence, about anything that will affect their experience in camp -
>health problems, special needs etc. I usually mention bed-wetting and
>sleep-walking as a matter of course, also diet, allergies, medication
>etc. That way they feel more in control. Obviously I see their medical
>forms and know of any life-threatening conditions, but
>the medical form is just a start.
Good idea. I'll emulate it. Thanks.
>In my view BSA is too tied up with the " medical model " of disability.
>It is bad enough that kids with special; needs have to be stigmatised by
>producing medical or psychological certification to be allowed to vary
>their advancement, and that this involves disclosing often personal
>medical information to the Troop Committee or District Advancement
>committee. It would be absolutely appalling if Scouters were to have
>access to medical records.
>Remember also that school medical records may contain information about
>child protection issues,
>family therapy sessions and a whole lot of other sensitive information.
>As a former Health Services manager and present Local Education
>Authority co-optee I would fight tooth and nail to maintain
>confidentiality. Fortunately it would not be an issue here in England
>because the law already protects personal information. In most cases the
>individual Scout would need to give permission for disclosure of his/her
>medical records ... in fact, over the age of about thirteen or fourteen
>even the parents don't have an automatic right of access to their
So, how would you have handled this? I told the parents I needed
information about their sons. This parent witheld info I needed badly.
This young man had to be followed around to make sure he didn't skip
classes and wander off, and it sure would have helped if I'd known what
risks I was running.
Scoutmaster, Troop 69, Des Plaines Valley Council (W&SW Chicago Suburbs)
Pachsegink Lodge 246 | <------<<< |
"... and a good old Eagle, too" (C-19-96)