Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Doctors dump parents that refuse to vaccinate children but where do they go?

I did an article back in November of 2011, “Reckless parents endanger children by not vaccinating,” when this whole fiasco started about parents who adamantly decline to have their children inoculated properly.  It all started over a study done by a doctor in Great Britain that was proved to be wrong.  But families persisted in their refusal to vaccinate and now some pediatricians who have lost patience with this attitude are “firing” them from their practice.  Good riddance!

Child with measles

As a result of this denial, whooping cough is back, mumps are back, measles are back.  As of November 2011, there were 152 cases of measles, double a typical year; the biggest outbreak in 15 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In the pre-vaccine days, this disease killed between 3,000 and 5,000 Americans a year.  Doctors are only attempting to protect their other patients when they tell the stubborn ones to take a hike.

But, where do they go? 

In a Wall Street Journal piece, it was reported that “Medical associations don't recommend such patient bans, but the practice appears to be growing, according to vaccine researchers.”  And the docs aren’t giving in; a study done in Connecticut showed that around 30 percent of 133 doctors had asked this group to leave their practice.  In the Midwest, the figure was 21 percent.  Who wants to sit their child down next to another who could have God knows whatever?

Another concern of these misled parents was that mercury was used as a vaccine preservative, also disproved like the autism scare by numerous studies.  The WSJ found another interesting fact, that more medically educated parents these days are willing to challenge their doctors, thus, these physicians do not want to deal with patients that outwardly confront them.  This alone I cannot condone since a well-informed patient is the best kind of patient.

Some doctors said that they have not had much luck in persuading these misinformed parents to change their minds so the only alternative is to fire them.  Pediatricians do not agree on their obligations to these families but do know they want them to get the best medical care possible.  Unfortunately, those let go from these practices are “…probably going to gravitate toward another practice with unhealthy practices."  

And that is one answer to where will they go.  But there is yet another possibility; they won’t go anywhere and that is worse.

With the economy in the shape it is and affecting so many financially, along with a number of families without health care coverage, the ingredients are there for a real health care emergency.  40% of parents say they have deliberately skipped or delayed a shot for their children.  In another study, 1 in 10 parents vaccinated their children outside of the recommended schedule developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The doctor's pledge

A lot of younger parents today have not seen the havoc diseases like measles, mumps or whooping cough can cause.  They are willing to opt for the other side based primarily on emotionalism, reading material on the Internet without really checking its source for authenticity.  One Atlanta mom made the statement that any doctor should feel “obligated” to discuss vaccine risks. 

True, but if that doc tells you that you are endangering your child in what you are doing, and if you trust his or her judgment, then you should also take their advice.

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