Doctors need to look beyond Down syndrome

By Dr Michael Freelander MP

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Dr Michael Freelander MP is the Federal member for Macarthur for the Australian Labor Party and has been a paediatrician in Campbelltown for 32 years (at the time of publication). Here Michael acknowledges the tendency for some doctors to fail to look past the diagnosis of Down syndrome when treating their patients – known as ‘diagnostic overshadowing’. Michael encourages people with Down syndrome and their families to choose medical professionals who look at the whole person.

‘Because, as paediatricians we have tended to concentrate on developmental issues, it is my view that some other long term issues can be overlooked such as growth, weight gain, the need for regular (yearly) vision and hearing checks, bone health, and lack of exercise.’

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