Children’s HealthWatch Principal Investigator, Dr. Megan Sandel, recently published an op-ed in the Boston Globe on the importance of holding landlords accountable for maintaining healthy housing and what it means for the health of young children.
A healthy place to live
My world changed when I was a pediatric resident in 1997. I was working in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Boston Medical Center, and I admitted a child with a terrible asthma attack. As we pumped IV medicine and continuous aerosolized medicine into her lungs to avoid having to intubate her, we were racing to figure out why she had the asthma attack in the first place. Her asthma had been in control. As I pored over her chart and sat with the family asking questions, the answer came to me. The family had recently acquired a cat, and she was allergic to cats. When I asked they got one, the family looked down and talked about the mouse they had found in her bed. They were desperate to get rid of the mice, and their landlord was ignoring their pleas for help. I realized that no amount of medicine I could give this young child would make it safe for her to go home. The prescription I wanted to write was for a healthy home.