Baby Dilemmas: Kristin and Jimmy

Divided over Medical Care
Dr. Phil talks to Kristin and Jimmy, who are conflicted about how to care for their sick daughter.
Kristin says that when it comes to the health of her 14-month-old daughter, Isabel, the doctor always knows best.

Her husband, Jimmy, disagrees with taking the baby in for every

cold or cough. "I think Kristin is too quick to seek a doctor's advice and to dispense medication," he says. "My fear is that Isabel is going to be looking to take a pill for every little ache, pain and sniffle that she might have."

Kristin argues that Isabel's life may be in jeopardy if they delay taking her to the doctor. "When Isabel was a few days old, she developed jaundice," she says.

"My pediatrician told us that we should take her to the emergency room. Jimmy was adamant about me not taking Isabel to the hospital. I did take her against his wishes."

She admits that she will continue to defy her husband when it comes to Isabel, even giving their daughter medicine without Jimmy's knowledge. "Dr. Phil, my husband and I continue to disagree on our daughter Isabel's medical care," she says. "How can we reach a compromise?"

Dr. Phil asks Kristin if she will continue taking Isabel to the doctor or giving her medication without Jimmy's approval.

"Yes, if my pediatrician recommends that that's what I do, then that's what I'm going to do," she replies. "If I think that she needs medical attention, then I want to make sure she gets it."

"Do you think she's overreacting?" Dr. Phil asks.

"In some situations, yes," Jimmy says.

Dr. Phil points out that Jimmy felt vindicated when his wife rushed Isabel to the hospital on two occasions, and it turned out to be nothing. He asks Kristin how she feels about that.

"I think that I would much rather be safe than sorry when it comes to my infant," she answers.

"If you miss something you should be responding to, it can be really bad," Dr. Phil tells Jimmy. "You're really kind of playing with fire in that regard."

"Well, that's where I felt that my instincts were telling me that the baby wasn't in a dire situation," Jimmy says. "If I felt like her vital signs were slowing down, we certainly would have rushed her to the hospital."

Dr. Phil tries to get to the bottom of Jimmy's apprehension about going to the doctor. Jimmy tells Dr. Phil that he lost his father to prostate cancer, and that prior to his death, his father was reluctant to get treatment.

"Wouldn't that kind of move you in the direction of saying maybe there is something to be said for monitoring symptoms and seeing what's going on?" Dr. Phil asks.

Dr. Phil tells Jimmy that he needs to interview doctors for his daughter. He then introduces Dr. Harvey Karp, author of the best-selling book and video The Happiest Baby on the Block and also of The Happiest Toddler on the Block.

"You say at three months or less, a fever to a baby can be very life threatening. Why?" he asks Dr. Karp.

"Because the child's immune system is kind of like a fort with no soldiers inside," explains Dr. Karp. "Once those germs get in, and they start going, they can go like wildfire."

Dr. Phil points out that even though Dr. Karp has been practicing medicine for 30 years, and has treated between 5,000 to 10,000 babies, he can't always tell if a child is truly sick just by looking at him or her. Dr. Phil explains that bringing in the child for examination can be crucial.

Dr. Karp suggests that Jimmy needs to form a relationship with someone that he trusts. "Find somebody you can really work together with who you have confidence in, and who's going to give you the right information."

Dr. Phil agrees. "You guys have to come up with a third-party physician that you both trust and have confidence in, and then do this together. You don't have a bad attitude about this," he tells Jimmy. "But on a close call, I think you've got to go with mom," he advises, as the audience applauds.