When you have a chronically-ill child such as I have, and you know that some of the problems started from measures that could have been prevented, you read everything that crosses your path. So, it’s no surprise that when I saw the title of this article last week it piqued my interest. I was actually giddy thinking that CNN might shed a positive light on why parents should consider firing someone like their pediatrician. Since so many pediatricians seemed to have turned a blind eye to vaccine injury, and parents report feeling bullied by these doctors to vaccinate their child, I was lured to read more from this mainstream news source.
Pediatricians, and other medical specialists, seem to be revered. They walk as if on hallowed ground. Why, their work includes helping the most vulnerable and precious of human beings—babies! But, as with any sort of doctor, pediatricians are also human. And, we all know that humans aren’t perfect. They make mistakes. And sometimes, the mistakes they make are grave.
For many of us growing up, no matter what upbringing we had, it was second nature to show respect toward doctors. Lab coat or not, we were taught (or maybe just assumed) that ‘doctor knew best’ no matter what. We were not to question them. We were never to doubt them either. We were to trust and trust infinitely. Well, I don’t mind sharing that some of Ronan’s doctors were more human than they were medically savvy. Those doctors, the ones who contributed to Ronan’s decline, were fired from treating Ronan because of their unprofessionalism, their inadequate knowledge and how utterly disrespectful they were to my son. Their years of schooling, their thick medical textbooks, their professional title and recognizable initials that followed their name meant absolutely nothing if they didn’t see that, or care that, Ronan is first a little boy, and second, has some serious and complicated medical needs. Making the decision to walk away from one of Ronan’s doctors wasn’t a quick decision. It was made with careful thought and always after weighing several factors.
To put the article from CNN (which was originally posted in Parenting.com) in an autism parent’s perspective, let’s go back and look at a situation that many of us have unfortunately encountered and agree that firing a pediatrician absolutely makes sense:
A young couple begins to question their pediatrician’s ____ (knowledge, motivation, ethics, bottom line) after their baby’s recent ___ (vaccination; series of vaccinations; adverse reaction(s) to a vaccinations).
The timing of the questioning comes soon after the young couple watches their ___ (newborn; 2-, 4-, 6-, 9-, 12-, 15-, 18-, 24-) month old begins to deteriorate.
*Note - notice how baby’s age correlate to the recommended vaccine schedule as well as the “well”-baby visits when vaccines are generally given.
*Note also - deteriorate could mean one, or several, of the parents’ following observations and concerns:
He is no longer as ‘engaged’ anymore.
She is acting ‘a little slower’.
My baby looks ‘sort of out of it’.
He used to speak…she used to crawl…he used to look right at me…she was such a social butterfly…but now there is nothing…no words…unable to walk…with a blank stare…as if the curtains were pulled and they are now ‘in their own world’.
All of the above statements from this situation conclude with Mom or Dad saying, “Something isn’t right. Doc, can you help me? Could it…could it have been the vaccines?”
Reason #1 – It Can’t Be
If the doc’s response is, “The Vaccines? Pshaw! You ___ (silly, stupid, uneducated, dumber than dumb) parents. Vaccines are ___ (safe, effective, for the greater good), dontcha know. Everyone should get them.”
*Note- the doctor’s response might also include non-verbal body language: a raised eyebrow accompanied by a tsk, tsk look. The doctor may not resist adding a snarky, “Have you been reading bunk on the internet again?” sort of remark while sneering.
What could Mom and Dad do?
Take the baby, and run.
Reason #2 – Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Same scenario—doctor is presented with an “if this, then that” synopsis (i.e., baby was fine, baby got vaccines, baby not so good after vaccines, and baby is getting worse), BUT the doctor says nothing about the vaccines and changes the subject, “___ (Boys are slower to develop than girls; That high fever is normal; Just give some Tylenol—she’ll be fine).”
Saying something about vaccines is at least a response (even if it is the ‘Pshaw’ response above). But, to say nothing of them is worse. Not acknowledging that Mom or Dad made a logical conclusion to what they witnessed (that if vaccines, then adverse affect) is a slap in the face. Why? Because Mom and Dad are with the baby 24/7. Their input is valuable. It is as valuable (if not more) than the doctor’s who is relying on Mom or Dad’s reports because again, Mom and Dad are with the child 24/7. Yes, the doctor’s expertise is important, but looking at everything else but what can actually be documented (i.e., vaccines) is offensive.
What can Mom and Dad do?
Take the baby, and run.
Reason #3 - It’s Not Me (Doctor), It’s YOU (Mother)
Instead of slowing the vaccine schedule down despite several “if this (vaccine at 12-month appointment caused high-pitched screaming, high fever and an ER run), then that (sunken eyes, severe gut problems, loss of beginning language)” some doctors continue choose to blaze full speed ahead with the vaccine schedule. They do this while trying to assure a now very worried Mom and Dad who, yes, are reading as much as they can on the internet and elsewhere since their doctor is not providing them with solid answers. Parents are at an emotional breaking point because that good ol’ ‘trust the doctor’, ‘he knows best’ and ‘don’t buck authority’ upbringing is causing major turmoil for the parent—they want to trust their baby with this highly educated person, but his newly added ‘let’s wait and see’ reply and stall tactic is yet another delay that Mom and Dad will not stand for. That reply gives false hope for a window of time that soon won’t exist. What will happen if they wait any longer and agree to the doctor’s suggestion of adding more toxic soup to the mix? Well, that window is going to slam shut.
What is the non-medically trained yet highly-observant parent to do? Question authority? Sure! Remember, parents are told all.the.time., “You know your child best!”, and “Listen to your baby; he’ll tell you what he needs.” Yet parents are shut down repeatedly. They are asked, “Mom, tell me what you saw.” “Dad, how high was that fever again?” “Mom, describe that screaming and his noxious bowel movements one more time.” But, when it comes to notation and transcribing actual facts (and not accusations) in the medical records, parents’ words are used against them. Anecdotal reports are transcribed with harsh, finger-pointing language, “MOTHER states…”, MOTHER insists…”, “MOTHER wants…”, “MOTHER refuses…”
What can MOTHER and FATHER do?
Take the baby, and RUN.
Reason #4 – One Size Does NOT Fit All
Now, for the introduction for the next reason why someone may want to fire their pediatrician, I’m going to be a little bit nosy. I have to ask though. Did your pediatrician ask you for a family medical history prior to talking to you about vaccinating your baby? Full medical history means just that—a thorough, share everything, I mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, about your family’s past including BOTH sides of the family, and personal things not normally discussed out loud at the dinner table. I only ask because that full, bare-it-all medical history can play a role in how a child responds to certain “preventative” measures pediatricians might offer.
Think back through your family line. Recall every relative and also their health. What you know about these people and their health? Did you and your doctor discuss your chronic fatigue syndrome? Your husband’s borderline ADD? How about Aunt Mary’s Lupus? Did you tell them that Uncle John has diabetes? Did you talk about your cousin’s seizure disorder? Or your brother-in-law’s heart condition? Did you know it would be important to share all of that?
Then, when as much as could be revealed was shared, was all of that pertinent medical information entered in your child’s record? Once entered, did the doctor research your family’s health history and how it relates to vaccinations? Did they counsel you on which vaccines are contradictory or unnecessary according to medical literature? Did you then go home and review his findings on your own? Did you research further why that quirky cousin is so quirky? Did you remember that he started to change after his kindergarten booster shots? Did you ask your Mom for clarification on how you reacted to your childhood vaccines before she slipped back into an Alzheimer’s moment? Did you take notes about all that you learned and prepare questions for the pediatrician? Did you?
I know, I know. It’s a lot to think about. But, if you didn’t know that you had to think about all of that, how else could you get a complete picture of your child’s health history and how it might respond to medicine? Granted, it is a lot of information to gather and consider, but once you get that arsenal of information, it’s time to go back to the doctor to continue the discussion.
When you return to talk to the doctor, did you and he discuss each and every vaccine and each and every ingredient of each and every vaccine? Have you had a chance to read the package insert (in layman’s terms, the package insert is the vaccine “label”). Were you told who makes the vaccine and if it’s been on the market long enough to have thorough long-term studies? Did you read the full list of ingredients? Did you understand what reported adverse reactions to each and every vaccine means? Did you note the effects of the vaccine on certain populations within their listed control groups and that that information includes what was not studied (i.e., like that the flu shot, which is offered to many pregnant women even though it has had only limited studies on pregnant women and their unborn babies)? A great amount of useful information, which should be shared completely, can allow parents to be fully informed but only if they know to look for it, to ask about it and to be given time to comprehend it.
I hope you got a chance to review all of that and were then given the chance to ask questions for anything that puzzled you. So many parents report today that they wished they knew now what they should have known then. These days it’s easy to look things up (thank you, Internet), but for many of us, back in the day, we relied on the doctor’s good word (or no word if they kept mum) about vaccines and adverse vaccine reactions.
This scenario is quite lengthy, but before concluding Reason # 4, here are just a few other things to consider and some examples of what I would hope every parent to know prior to certain vaccinations:
Did the doctor tell you that the Hep B shot is intended to prevent a sexually transmitted disease (that many babies will never encounter) and that the vaccines’ efficacy could fade by the time baby grows up to be sexually active?
Did the doctor tell you that a live-virus vaccine can shed (and affect other people, and that immune-compromised people who do get infected someone else’s vaccine could get very, very sick)?
Did the doctor tell you that the varicella (chicken pox) shot, even though it was intended to reduce/prevent chicken pox, has actually done the opposite?
Did the doctor tell you that the vaccine schedule is recommended and not required as perceived? (*Note – only some states actually require vaccines, so do check out NVIC.org for state-by-state information.)
Did the doctor tell you that that old argument “but he needs his shots for school” is not true (and that vaccine exemptions are available in many areas)? Kids can and do go to school without getting vaccines
Did he tell you about spacing vaccines (which means not getting 9 shots (NINE!) in one day)?
(And by nine, I mean making sure the multi-vial vaccines are given in individual doses (if possible) and over time, and never all at once. For example: MMR, DTaP, Hep B, Prevnar and Polio = 9 shots in one day (even though only five jabs). Gah, five.
Did he? DID HE??
Now, once those types of questions are answered, and after a parent has done their own thorough research based on their family’s history and conditions, their vaccine pro and con list should be well supported with detailed factors for their decision. If it hasn’t been done yet, the next step is to take that list to the “well”-baby exam and discuss it until all questions are exhausted.
Are you ready to discuss all of this with your pediatrician? More importantly, is the doctor willing to listen to your questions, concerns and input, and then slow down, or completely stop, that vaccine schedule? If yes, you found a great doc who just may go to bat for you. If not, what’s a parent to do?
Take your baby, and run.
Reason #5 - Sign on the Dotted Line
We are given warranties on high-dollar products many times throughout our lives—for our homes, on appliances we buy, for cars we drive and for professional services rendered. A growing practice that took me completely by surprise was when our pediatrician’s office asked us to sign a document about vaccinating. Well, in this case, about not vaccinating.
The form made clear that the parent knew that the following recommended___ (too many, too soon) vaccines are being offered to their ___ (does-not-tolerate vaccines well; has autoimmune disease on both sides of their family) child. The form states that the parent is refusing these vaccines which go against the doctor’s suggestion. Fine. But, wait. At this point, the doctor should already know the child’s complete medical history, right? And they should be fully aware that, for this child, vaccines are not fine. In fact, some vaccines and their ingredients may add more burden to their body than will help it! Remember, too, that the operative word in this scenario is that, for the majority, vaccines are recommended. With that recommendation comes an option: to say, “Yes, thank you”, or to say, “No, thank you.”
Common sense would show that that would be an incorrect form to offer a parent because that child’s pediatrician should well understand that with the family’s history (of autoimmune diseases, mitochondrial dysfunction, chronic illnesses as well as the severe allergies and increasing attention problems) and that vaccines should not be considered.
So, why document a refusal when such a refusal isn’t warranted?
If you are asked to sign the form, maybe you could offer them this one instead. I don’t wish a standoff to occur, but I wonder if a, “I’ll sign yours if you sign mine” reply might get the over-vaccinating pediatricians to see the logic in your request and back down from their illogical demands.
If doc says they’d be happy to sign it and that they will be responsible for any and every adverse reaction, then you have yourself an honest man. If not, what’s a parent to do?
Take that baby, and run.
So, that’s a few reasons to give you an idea of why parents in the autism community might have wanted to kick their pediatrician’s practice to the curb. I will note that, for some parents, it isn’t just their child’s pediatrician who might need to be replaced. The neurologists who continuously pressures psychotic meds to ‘calm this kid down’, or the GI doctor who insists that leaky gut, ‘toddler’ diarrhea and painful stools from constipation are perfectly normal, might also be put on the chopping block if their care, their attitude or their unsafe practices deter parents from finding appropriate health for their kids.
If someone is causing pain, is inflicting sickness or whose actions bring about suffering to a child, wouldn’t it be in the child’s best interest to remove that someone? Your child and his life are being placed in the hands of another person—if you have unsettled thoughts or are constantly questioning their motives, it might be time to shop around for someone else who you can trust. Once a parent remembers that they are ultimately responsible for their child and his health, then I think more people will have the courage to say, “Hey, Doc. You’re fired!”
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.