by Trisha Korioth • Staff Writer
Alan Shapiro, M.D., FAAP, first met the adolescent
after he had endured months of stressful events. The boy
had witnessed his best friend’s murder and decapitation
by Guatemalan gangs, left his family and made the har-
rowing trek on the top of la Bestia (the Beast) train across
Mexico. Smugglers led him to the U.S. border, extorting
the last of his money. He was apprehended by a Customs
and Border Protection agent immediately. The month
that followed was a blur: bunking in the shelter, awaiting
AAP condemns Florida
court ruling on firearms
from the AAP Department of Community,
Chapter and State Affairs
The Academy has condemned a 2-1 ruling by a Florida appellate court that threatens physicians’ ability to counsel parents
about firearm safety, saying it violates pediatricians’ First Amendment rights and puts
children’s lives in danger.
The July 25 ruling by the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the 11th Circuit upholds the
Florida Privacy of Firearm Owners Act,
which precludes physicians from asking
their patients routine questions and having
a discussion about firearm safety. Signed
by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in June 2011,
the law also subjects physicians accused of
violating the statute to harsh penalties usually reserved for egregious professional misconduct.
The appellate court’s majority held that
there is no First Amendment protection
for physicians who provide their best medical advice to their patients and that a state
legislature can prohibit a doctor from discussing with a patient (or patient’s parent
in the case of minors) any medical issue
that it finds politically distasteful.
“This decision of the appellate court
opens the doors for legislatures to interfere
in all forms of medical advice being
exchanged between physicians and patients.
See Firearms, page 20
In this issue
A thank you to donors
Many AAP endeavors become reality thanks to donor
support. The Friends of Children Fund acknowledges
the generosity of those who have contributed.
When EHR systems fail
Don’t be caught off guard during unplanned electronic health records systems downtime. Following
a contingency plan can smooth the recovery process.
Volume 35 • Number 9 • September 2014
by Kristy Kennedy • Correspondent
When parents bring in their adolescent
children to see developmental pediatrician
Jeffrey K. Okamoto, M.D., FAAP, it’s
often because they have concerns about
One of Dr. Okamoto’s first concerns is
“We have families where five hours of sleep is typical.
Public health implications
Some get less than that,” said Dr. Okamoto, chair of the
AAP Council on School Health Executive Committee.
“Sleep is really underestimated as a major factor in how
kids do both in academics and athletics. I’m not sure if par-
Dr. Okamoto’s patients are not unique. American children
are chronically sleep deprived and pathologically sleepy,
according to a revised AAP technical report, Insufficient
Sleep in Adolescents and Young Adults: An Update on Causes
and Consequences (Pediatrics. 2014;134:e921-e932). To
optimize sleep in adolescents, a related policy statement,
School Start Times for Adolescents (Pediatrics. 2014:134:642-
649), recommends that schools set their start times no
earlier than 8: 30 a.m.
“What we see is chronic sleep loss in adolescents that has
taken on the aspects of a public health issue,” said Judith
A. Owens, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, lead author of both statements. “We hope this policy statement galvanizes school
Pediatricians help children at border, nationwide
Leaving a violent home and surviving the journey across Mexico
takes a toll on migrant children’s health. It will take a medical
home to meet short- and long-term needs of the 60,000 to 90,000
children entering U.S. communities alone in 2014.
Sounding alarm on need for later school start times
See Sleep, page 10
See Migrant children, page 8