Physician Practice Roundup—Pediatricians urged to write ‘prescriptions for play,’ and more news

A pediatrician and his patient
Doctors' orders should include playtime for young kids, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Getty/shironosov)

Pediatricians urged to write ‘prescriptions for play’

In a new clinical report, the American Academy of Pediatrics urges doctors to prescribe unstructured play time for kids.

Pediatricians should encourage playful learning for parents and infants by writing a “prescription for play” at every well-child visit in the first two years of life, the report, published in Pediatrics, recommends.  

"We're recommending that doctors write a prescription for play, because it's so important," said pediatrician Michael Yogman, M.D., lead author of the report, in an AAP announcement. “The benefits of play cannot really be overstated in terms of mitigating stress, improving academic skills and helping to build the safe, stable and nurturing relationships that buffer against toxic stress and build social-emotional resilience." (Pediatrics report, announcement)  

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Socioeconomic status plays role in childhood cancer survival, study finds

Black and Hispanic children are more likely to die of many childhood cancers than white children are. In a paper published in the journal Cancer, researchers pinpointed socioeconomic status as a factor in survival of certain childhood cancers.

However, socioeconomic status didn’t explain all the disparities, and researchers said other factors likely differ across the groups. (Cancer study)

Former Texas doctor gets probation for rape of patient

A former Texas doctor found guilty of raping a heavily sedated patient in a Houston hospital won’t serve prison time, as a jury recommended 10 years on probation, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Jurors, who found Shafeeq Sheikh, M.D., guilty last Thursday, the following day recommended the 10-year probated sentence, which the judge in the case was required by law to follow. Sheikh was arrested in 2015 after a nearly two-year investigation into the sexual assault of a female patient at Ben Taub Hospital, where he worked as a resident.

Sheikh was terminated from the hospital in 2014, and his Texas medical license was later suspended. The jury’s sentence surprised and outraged many. (Houston Chronicle article)

As Senate considers massive spending bill, Rand Paul introduces measure to defund Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood could become a sticking point in Senate debates around appropriations.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced an amendment to a massive spending bill under consideration this week that would block federal funding from going to Planned Parenthood or other organizations that perform abortions. He said the amendment contains the same language as an amendment which passed the U.S. House Appropriations Committee in July. (FierceHealthcare)

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