By J.B. Handley
I often talk about the "autism net", the concept that the ranks of parents impacted by the autism epidemic grows every day. With each person added to the net, the chances of someone being added with the power and connections to do something about it grows.
Meet Dr. Gary Kompothecras: he's one of those parents. Based in Sarasota, Florida, he appears to be a one-man wrecking crew doing many of the things all of us wish we could.
Consider this excerpt from an article that ran yesterday in his local paper, the Herald Tribune of Sarasota, FL. (HERE)
"Dirt bags!" he says, throwing up his arms in a conference room in his office. "It's a cover-up. They're killing kids."
Gary Kompothecras, who likes to be called Dr. Gary, is a chiropractor who acknowledges that, if you cross him, he can be a bulldog. He made himself a multi-millionaire building clinics to treat people hurt in car accidents and by creating the 1-800-ASK-GARY referral network. He is also one of the state's biggest political donors and a close friend of Gov. Charlie Crist.
Two of his children are autistic. Sarah Alice, 11, repeats back what other people say to her and still plays with a jack-in-the-box. Bronson, 12, is so severely delayed he spent years in therapy to learn the name of his favorite plaything, bottles.
Kompothecras (pronounced kom-PAHTH-uh-kras) believes their disorder was caused by an ingredient in vaccines, mercury-based thimerosal, that they received as infants.
"Dirt bags" is one of the nicer names he has for public health officials who disagree.
This legislative session Kompothecras wants lawmakers to pass a law preventing any vaccines with more than a tiny amount of thimerosal from being given in Florida, creating what would be the nation's strictest vaccine law.
Pediatricians say the legislation, which essentially amounts to a ban on the preservative, is rooted in bad science and will put children and the elderly at risk for deadly flu viruses. The one shot containing a substantial amount of thimerosal is the flu vaccine, and if the preservative is restricted there could be a shortage, medical experts warn.
But Kompothecras is relentless. He promises to leverage every political favor and every dollar he can to get the law passed.
"If I can do this, my son won't go down for nothing," Kompothecras said. "You know how many lives we're going to save? This is going to be bigger than tobacco."
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I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Gary today. He's one of us, he gets it, he's hopping mad, and he can make things happen. He appreciates how important looking at unvaccinated kids is, and he's currently moving to do just that in Florida. From the article:
"Working for a vaccine law is just the beginning for Kompothecras. He wants to commission a study using the state's Medicaid database looking at children who received thimerosal-containing vaccines and at how many became autistic."
Dr. Gary is a member of the Florida Governor's Autism Task Force. To that end, he put together a 46 minute video of a hearing on the thimerosal bill in September of 2008. The video includes excellent testimony by the Geiers, Dr. David Berger, and Dr. Boyd Haley (And some great questions from Ven Sequenzia, Jr., the President of the Autism Society of Florida). While it's long, I highly recommend you watch it HERE (HERE).
(Checkout minute number 25, where the Florida Department of Health speaker, Saad Omer, gets shredded, and minute 35 where Boyd Haley explains the extreme toxicity of mercury. And, minute 38 where a mom gets the Florida Department of Health loser to admit they have no studies on the safety of simultaneous administration of vaccines. And, minute 39 where Dr. Gary trips up the Department of Health loser by quoting Dr. Healy!!)
Our kids need more Warrior Dads. In Dr. Gary, they have one who we will be hearing a lot more from soon. Welcome, Dr. Gary, we’re thrilled to stand shoulder to shoulder with you in the fight.