AAP News, American Academy of Pediatrics, July, 2000

About Elian: Look before leaping

Enrique J. Cantón, M.D.,FAAP,

Coral Gables, Fl

As a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I must object very

strongly to declarations made publicly by another member of the Academy

about the Cuban rafter Elián González. A few days before the

much-publicized raid, this pediatrician stated: "Elián González is now

in a state of imminent danger to his physical and emotional well-being

in a home that I consider to be psychologically abusive." The incredible

fact is that this doctor never examined the child, never visited Elián's

home in Miami, and used this statement for purely political reasons.

This doctor was not only chair of one of the work groups of the

President's Health Care Task Force, but also an outspoken political

supporter of the first lady's policies for socialized national health


While staying in Miami, Elián was being seen by a team of

psychologists and a psychiatrist, who had stated that Elián was so well

adjusted to his family in Miami because of the loving and caring home

environment. This information was totally neglected by the media.

A press release from the Academy dated April 21, 2000, states:

"...the Academy recommends that pediatric health professionals carefully

evaluate Elián's health and developmental needs. This should include a

comprehensive pediatric assesment..."

Making a diagnosis without even examining the patient is not only bad

medicine but also must be condemned.