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Ear Tubes in Children May Be Over-Prescribed

by Patti Neighmond

February 22, 2007

Every year, about 500,000 children have ear tubes surgically implanted in their
ear drum. The tubes reduce the number of ear infections kids get, as well as the
pain that accompanies infections. But ear tubes are not for everyone. Experts estimate that as many as one-third of kids who get ear tubes don’t need them.Adrien Duteil, however, was a perfect candidate. At 2 years old, Adrien had the distinction of already suffering more than 11 ear infections. He had been to the doctor dozens of times, suffering fever, runny nose and pain. Adrien’s father, Arnaud Duteil, says

“We were seeing that his mood was changing,” says Arnaud Duteil, Adrien’s father. “He was getting frustrated quickly, annoyed and doing things he would not normally do.”
The ear is sensitive, and pain from an ear infection can be severe. UCLA pediatric ear nose and throat specialist Dr. Nina Shapiro describes it as a “sharp, stabbing pain.”

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