A Foolish Consistency
By Harry Hofherr
In the past week I've heard from and spoken to two different people in the health care business. In both cases what I learned is very encouraging. It appears, despite the protests of the AAP and others; the truth about the damage being caused by vaccines is getting through.
A friend of my daughter just graduated from college with a B.S. in Nursing. It seems that she got some conflicting information in school about vaccinations and their effect.
Two years ago this young lady told my daughter that vaccines couldn't possibly be the cause of our sons' autism. Vaccines were mankind's last best hope, blah, blah, blah. It was like listening to a second grader recite the Baltimore Catechism.
Now that she's graduated, she's learned a few more things. She first says our whole family would hate her pediatrics teacher because the teacher "was all for vaccines and did not believe in any shape or form that vaccines have anything to do with Autism. When someone in class mentioned that there had been some research about the possibility that vaccines were a link with Autism, she shot off some other research that said there is no link--and that the research that said there was a link was not definitive and that it was biased. The basic point: there's no link between vaccines and Autism and that we should all push to make sure everyone gets all of the vaccines".
But the story doesn't end there. The young lady goes on to say that her cousin has autism and her "aunt is convinced that the vaccines had something to do with it. The fact that the government seems to be trying to hide something is also unsettling". She also told our daughter that in her clinical class she learned from the teachers that vaccines are causing a lot of the damage they are seeing in kids.
And to think this is coming from a brand new nurse.
In fairness, she did go on to say she is concerned about what would happen if people stopped getting vaccinations. That's a legitimate observation and one that I believe needs to be addressed by making safer vaccines and fewer of them.
This young nurse says she thinks a way to make both parties to this disagreement happy would be to ban mercury in vaccines. "If the vaccines remain as effective without the mercury, I do not see why there should be a medical issue. The only thing I can think of as to why this would be an issue is because of financial matters. I assume it is probably cheaper to make mercury-containing vaccines, so the real issue is not a medical one, but a financial one. It would be great if non-mercury-containing vaccines were offered as an alternative. I am sure many parents would be ok with paying more to decrease their child's risk of Autism."
I think she gets it.
On another front, I had an appointment at my local clinic last week. I started talking with the young doctor who gave me my check-up. She asked me the routine questions about my life and my job and my stress level (my blood pressure was slightly elevated). I told her I travel a lot for business and I don't work out as much as I should and, I have a son at home with autism.
Her jaw dropped. No kidding, it dropped. She quietly said, "I have a 4 year old son and he was diagnosed in January."
We began to talk, and talk, about autism. We talked for 45 minutes. She KNOWS her son's autism came from his vaccines. And she's angry over how little her colleagues in the pediatrics field know about autism, and vaccines. She's been doing a lot of research since January.
She worked in a family practice clinic in Texas and when her son started showing signs of autism, like not speaking, lack of eye contact, etc, etc, she asked the pediatricians in the group to examine him.
They told her, "You know, boys develop slower than girls."
It was my jaws turn to drop. "I can't believe pediatricians are still saying that stupid crap."
Apparently not all the members of the AAP got the memo informing them not to tell frantic worried parents, "You know, boys develop slower than girls". That's from the refrigerator mom school of pediatrics.
It wasn't until her family moved to the Chicago area and she took her son to a new pediatrician who immediately recognized what was going on, that she got a proper diagnosis for the boy.
She and her husband have their son in an early childhood program and various therapies now and she just read Bryan Jepson's book, "Changing The Course of Autism". She said she's in shock over the cost of all the therapy, and the fact her insurance won't pay for any of it. "We've got a bill at home for $10,000, for his therapy, just since January." She said she had to give up private practice and now works part time so she can manage his care.
I sadly welcomed her to our club.
Here's a young promising physician who's been taken out of the full time work force, is underutilizing an advanced education, and can't get over how little her colleagues know about autism and vaccines. She doesn't think the pediatricians are stupid, or lying, she thinks they can't see past the "vaccines are a good thing" side of the debate. Most of the pediatricians I've met and talked with fall into that category. They get extremely defensive when told that vaccines are a big problem. I also think they can't face the possibility they have destroyed so many children and families. The enormity of that idea must be scaring them to death.
We also talked about the latest measles epidemic in the NW Suburbs of Chicago.
I mentioned that I had read that there were no deaths among the 11 cases, but the news reports made it sound like the second coming of the plague. She told me her company email was filed with reminders and encouragements to make sure all her patients were up to date with all their vaccinations. Then I asked her a question.
"If a kid's all up to date with his shots and he's exposed to the measles, what does he have to worry about?"
My new friend just stared at me. She didn't answer.
Then I said, "Maybe the shots don't work."
She got a weird, funny kind of look on her face.
I left soon after that because she did have other patients to see. I got her email and later sent her the contacts for the NAA chapter and the TACA chapter in Chicago, the people to contact, and a list of web sites to check out. It sounds like she's already on the biomedical track to help cure her son and I hope to keep in touch with her and follow his progress.
Later in the week I was doing a long drive in the car and thinking about these two medical professionals. There are now two more converts in the war against the misguided medical theory of over immunization. I remembered the signs and the chant at the rally in D.C. "TOO MANY, TOO SOON", and I couldn't help but think of people like Offit and Gerberding and their foolish addiction to vaccines.
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a weak mind.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Harry Hofherr and his wife have three children; two daughters and a son, Eric 11, who has autism. He has been in sales and marketing for over 25 years.
Yes, word is getting around! At a baby shower this spring, with 6 of my college friends, we discussed vaccines. The doctor in our group did not behave very doctorly, as I'd feared she would. No, she said, "I can see why you'd be nervous about vaccines, especially when it's hurt your older son." after I'd explained that I'd put off vaccinating my younger, NT son, indefinitely. I was so relieved that I didn't have to have a vaccine argument with a doctor, let alone a friend! And the outcome - two of my pregnant friends asked me more about vaccines, and for sources of information about delaying vaccination. It's like the anti-Gardasil ad: I want my friends' children to be one less: one less vaccine-damaged child!
Posted by: Laura | July 21, 2008 at 11:22 PM
Harry, I think one of the most important factors about pediatricians 'tunnel vision' with respect to vaccines is in this statement you made: "they can't face the possibility they have destroyed so many children and families. The enormity of that idea must be scaring them to death."
Could the respectable members of the AAP, those saviors of children, could they be the single most important players in this crisis?
For you, the unwaivering faithful member of the AAP, yes, it could be you, look at yourself with no fear and try to answer that question. And if your answer is that, if this were to be true, then 1 out of every 150 children becoming autistic is a fair price to pay to keep immunization rates high, if you consider our sons and daughters simple statistics, you are worse than wrong and there will never be any ethical argument you can use as an excuse for your actions. Try to sleep at night with that in mind, for we will forever be clouding your dreams with our faces: 'Tomorrow on the battle think on me ...'
Posted by: WE SHALL OVERCOME | July 21, 2008 at 04:43 PM
Harry, Thanks very much for a very encouraging piece. Sadly, my parents (mother is a retired RN and father is a retired engineer/scientist) still think it's better diagnosis and all these other "studies" are just not good science (because they weren't published in the "right" journals). But I continue to hope that one day they'll finally see the light.
My mother actually told me something along the lines of "boys develop more slowly" when my son was young. Now she swears that she signs of his autism before he started to fade. But I have a very good memory: he was doing all the same things faster than his sister was -- until 12-18 months. I noticed something odd before my wife did.
Posted by: ObjectiveAutismDad | July 21, 2008 at 02:45 PM
Thank you Harry. Shocking to see Texas is still way behind. I think back to when my
sons were born in '92, our Texas docs didn't
have a clue. They still don't??
Posted by: Mark and Max's Mom | July 21, 2008 at 10:19 AM
"As a person old enough to have had, and easily lived through, measles, rubella, mumps, and chicken pox, I am definitely not buying the hype that these are extremely deadly diseases and we only now survive due to vaccines. I do worry though that my vaccinated kids may be more vulnerable to these diseases as teenagers and adults as a result of having been vaccinated, instead of having the diseases when young."
Thank you, Sue, for saying what no newspaper reporter seems smart enough to say. My cousin is a freshman at CalTech. His biology professor asked the class to raise their hands if they had had the chickenpox. Only about half of the hands went up, and the professor said, "I guess the rest of you got the vaccine. You'd better hope that it works ... it has probably worn off by now."
We've gone from a world where people got childhood diseases in childhood, to a world where the CDC wants us to get boosters every five years for God knows how many diseases (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/15/health/15pox.html) (http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:G_BhA1joY2wJ:adpharm.net/displayimage-50-472.html+%22i+did+it+for+jaden%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&client=firefox-a).
Posted by: Theresa | July 20, 2008 at 09:49 PM
At the DC rally, the my cab driver asked what I was in town for. I said I was going to an autism march, and he said, "yea, my best friend's son got autism from the vaccines".
Word it getting out!
Posted by: SAM | July 20, 2008 at 06:56 PM
great piece, harry. i now have friends and friends of friends asking me what they should do or what they should tell their daughter to do. i know i've kept at least one child from getting hep b at birth, which is pretty gratifying. of course that child then got all his shots at two months, went dead asleep and woke up screaming for three hours. "don't worry," the doctor said, "it's only screaming baby syndrome." My friend said, "You didn't mention screaming baby syndrome when i asked about side effects, now did you?" that child is now getting separate m, m and r shots on separate visits. let's hope the 2-month screaming syndrome did not indicate some damage that will show up at some point in some unpredictable way.
Posted by: dan olmsted | July 20, 2008 at 04:45 PM
My prize babysitter, who adores both my autistic son and NT toddler daughter, is in her second year of nursing school. She wanted to specialize in obstetrics. As she has watched our family ride the roller coaster of biomedical treatments, I said to her recently, "You realize you'll never be able to be an OB nurse, now, right?" When she asked me why, I simply replied, "You know too much, now." She agrees that she doesn't think she could ever bring herself to administer a Hep B shot to a 2-day-old infant. She is now looking at a track to expedite a degree to be an LNP, and hopes to find a DAN doc, or other sensible and informed pediatrician to work for. While sad that a local maternity ward will not have her on their staff, there will be thousands of children over her career that will benefit from her knowledge and care in a pediatric setting. And she, armed with the resolve to slow down vaccination schedules, and the ability to spot and provide early diagnosis, will save the lives of so many kids and so many families. And just maybe, some of her classmates will see her resolve and join her - and us- in this fight.
Posted by: Windy | July 20, 2008 at 02:42 PM
Encouraging encounters. They say the most potent form of advertising is word of mouth--which means the powers that be have much to worry about.
I can add several similar stories. I first learned of the possible connection from two friends who have autistic kids--and both of them said it was vaccines that caused health and behavior changes in their kids. That led me to start asking questions and doing my own research.
My dd's first grade teacher and I got in a conversation about amalgams after talking about hives that we had both suffered. That eventually led to the topic of vaccines and she said that if she had it to do over, she would not vaccinate at all. Our conversation got cut short, so I don't know what all went into her thinking on that, but I must say that is my current thinking as well.
I discovered diet was at the root of my dd's behavior problems due in part to the research I did on vaccine safety after my friend's comments regarding the cause of their sons' autism. My dd's school nurse, (different school) noticed the food intolerances I had listed for my dd and started talking to me about taking her own kids to a local doctor who is on board with the dangers of vaccines, the value of gfcf diets, etc. (Contrary to the party line that only a small "fringe group of doctors" buy into the vaccine hypothesis--I now know of at least 3 in our town that do--though only one has made their opinion semi-public. When I asked why she wasn't more outspoken, she said she has a practice to protect and was afraid of retribution (didn't specify from whom).)
I also discovered that one of my dd's friend's mom decided not to vaccinate any of her kids due to concerns about vaccine safety. My sil decided not to vaccinate her kids any further and her friend, a physician's asst, also decided to at least delay vaccinating her kids. My mother and sister decided not to get any more flu vaccines due to the mercury content and articles I forwarded to them regarding the dangers of mercury.
Another mom who I had tried to get tuned into the possible dangers wasn't listening, until she met another mom on a plane flight. They started talking about kids and that mom had an autistic child just a couple of years older than her son. The ensuing discussion led to another stronger vaccine warning from someone else. It is hard to ignore the information when it comes firsthand from unlinked sources. The first mom has started delaying vaccines for her kids.
Word is getting out, and the only thing the govt and AAP and others are accomplishing by denials, continually citing bogus studies, ignoring conflicting research, and heavy-handed pr campaigns, especially involving name calling, is to fan the flames of distrust and suspicion.
I went from trusting and having faith in all vaccines, to trusting almost none. Same regarding our govt. health agencies. I don't know if I am throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but the more I read, the more reasons I have to wonder if the benefits of any vaccines truly outweigh their risks. As a person old enough to have had, and easily lived through, measles, rubella, mumps, and chicken pox, I am definitely not buying the hype that these are extremely deadly diseases and we only now survive due to vaccines. I do worry though that my vaccinated kids may be more vulnerable to these diseases as teenagers and adults as a result of having been vaccinated, instead of having the diseases when young.
I am seriously wondering just how many chickens (unintended consequences of mass vaccination campaigns) are out there and what will happen as more of these come home to roost. It appears to me that the front edge of the flock is starting to land.
Posted by: Sue | July 20, 2008 at 02:36 PM
Angela, I'm grateful to you for sharing the end of the quote. Thank you very much.
As long as there are little statesmen, little philosophers, and little divines,attempting to justify their poisoning of infants and pregnant women I'll stay pissed off and keep writing. Thanks for all your encouragement.
Posted by: Hary Hofherr | July 20, 2008 at 01:44 PM
Herein lies the great "hope"...the siblings, cousins, and family friends who have seen the effect of vaccines and autism are coming of age, and becoming the physicians and researchers of tomorrow. They know...and they'll dare to ask and answer the questions, once and for all.
Posted by: Sakura | July 20, 2008 at 12:42 PM
I think it's a huge conclict for those in the medical field who are aware of the dangers of vaccines and yet are required by their employers(hosptials, dr. offices etc) to give vaccines. My best friend is a ped and she has tremendous conflicts.
I wouldn't want to be in their situations.
Posted by: Maurine meleck | July 20, 2008 at 12:26 PM
As Ralph Waldo Emerson's great-great-great niece, I'd like to take the liberty of finishing the quote you shared. This quote is from Ralph's essay on Self Reliance.
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."
We all know who the "little statesmen and philosophers and divines" are in this picture.
Harry, thank you for sharing this news of hope and that there are now "two less" little statesmen, philosophers, and divines. The practitioners who have seen the light and seen through the BS continually propagated to the public and the medical community; they are truly "Self Reliant" in doing so.
Great column, even better news! It inspires me to keep going knowing that we are making huge progress on all fronts! Keep writing and keep sharing! Please!
Posted by: Angela Warner | July 20, 2008 at 11:57 AM
I keep seeing the Hoover Dam with all sorts of tiny holes and nobody patching them. I heard a speech this week where the person speaking detailed how many people in his family were impacted by his brother's autism.
How can any human person not have his or her head spin when it comes to the topic of autism?
We have Amanda Peet and Mike Savage say really stupid things. We have thousands line up in the courts. We have the great writers here at AOA. Jenny, Doug, Els, Stills, and the list grows of stars grow everyday. We have the dedicated, struggling, sleep deprived, google phd parents out there advocating at church, in public and on the streets.
Our club sadly is growing with new diagnosis. Our club sadly is growing from ignorance. Our club is growing from intolerance. Our club is growing from frustration. Our club is growing because one day those that spout the mainstream party line will be held accountable by a higher power.
Thank you Harry for telling us stories of hope at the grass roots level. It is time to pick up our sledgehammers and break down the wall to funding, therapies, treatment, ignorance, respite, and recovery.
I pray today that our children get help. Our parents get rest. Those that poisoned our children find peace. I know we can not do it alone much longer. Please help the community come together with all the resources to help move our cause forward and let these children have a life. Amen
Posted by: Tanner's Dad | July 20, 2008 at 09:25 AM
We can only hope that your young physician friend can get her son turned around and maybe we'll have another DAN! doc to join our cause. God knows we need them!
Posted by: healingjack | July 20, 2008 at 09:07 AM