News The Tattoo

Lines at the doc as painful as the shot

BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — As a stream of youngsters poured through the doors of Dr. Arthur Bloomer’s office, clutching blue and yellow forms for mandatory school physicals, the Bristol pediatrician paced grumpily from one to the next.

Dozens and dozens of anxious students filed in hoping to get their forms finished before school started.

In late summer, parents and kids rush into the nearest doctor’s office to complete the required physical exams and immunizations.

So many wait to the last minute that chaos breaks out.

At Personal Care Pediatrics in Bristol, where Blumer works, it gets crazy with the cries of babies, screams of children getting shots and the groans of irritated staff members. And that’s not even taking into account the noise of the road construction out front on Farmington Avenue.

Office manager Chickie Friday and her staff deal with the same hectic atmosphere every summer.

“We try to be our cheerful selves,” Friday said, and added that the office tries “to accommodate as many students as possible.”

Even though it makes her job hard, incoming students getting physicals so they can play sports are a good sign.

“Kids doing sports keeps them out of trouble,” Friday said.

All sorts of shots for hepatis B, chicken pox, tetanus, measles, mumps and more are required for an incoming student before the new school year begins.

Younger children are often hesitant about going to the doctor’s officd, with the infamous needle fear always a factor.

For teens, it’s just another thing to get done before going back to school.

With such things to be done as buying new school clothes (the latest trends, of course) and purchasing a massive list of school supplies, there seems to be little time for many to squeeze in the important check-up.

To comply with state law, physicals and immunization updates are required for kindergartners, entering middle schoolers and midway through high school.

With this, students must have a health assessment record form, the blue form, for their physician or pediatrician to fill out.

If a student wants to participate in an extracurricular sport, a yellow form is necessary.

It must be issued before June 1.

With all these different colored forms and a bunch of patients clutching them, doctors’ offices all over the state are swamped in the days before the start of school by crowds of annoying kids desperate to get their checkups done so they can enjoy the few days left before they return to class.

Joe Keo is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.