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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2012 Sep;33(7):590-1. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e3182674538.

Growth--and documentation-deficits: where to start in helping families.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.



Pedro is a 2-year 7-month-old boy who was presented for the first time after a visit to a local emergency room (ER) for diarrhea. At the time of his birth, his undocumented mother, Clara, was 20 years old, uninsured, and with limited English proficiency living approximately 400 miles south of our practice in a different state. Although she had been brought to the United States as a child, she had never finished high school. Pedro was born what mother thought was full-term at his parent's home, where a lay midwife assisted during the delivery. Pedro was not brought to a medical facility at birth; therefore, neither medical nor legal documentation of his birth in the United States, or elsewhere, existed.After enduring 4 years of ongoing verbal and physical abuse, Clara fled to her maternal aunt in our community. The child's initial exposure to medical care was during the emergency visit, which ended up in referral to us. The ED physician suggested that the child visit a primary care physician, but establishment of pediatric care was not made until months later. The child received his first vaccines and immediately was referred to the Growth and Nutrition clinic due to mild wasting and stunting based on Waterlow criteria.Pedro speaks both English and Spanish and has no 2-word combinations and a 50-word combined vocabulary in English and Spanish. In addition, a complete blood count was consistent with iron deficiency anemia, but both sickle cell and G6PD screening are negative.The nutritionist from the specialty clinic obtained a detailed history including overall appetite, feeding skills, meal plans, and eating environment noting that the child was a competent finger feeder. The family's meals were distributed throughout the day as a meal at home and a shared fast food meal while accompanying mother, as she worked as a hair stylist 6 days per week. In addition, the diet is supplemented by rice water mixed with sugar and ground carrots throughout the day.Where would you head next?

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