Take a good look at the 'welcome" sign in the Carmichael Pediatrics practice in California. There goes medical privacy!
This is how a practice is choosing to segregate (there is no other word for this) and punish the "unvaccinated."
An unvaccinated child. What does that mean. No shots ever? Skipped Gardasil? Chose to hold off on an MMR until the sniffles had ended? What does it mean?
We know what sick means. It means sick. We know what well means. Mmm, we used to anyway. There are precious few truly "well" American children these days. Well here tends to mean, "not actively sick." So why not take the well children, who happen not to meet the CDC vaccine schedule, and seat them with the children who are sick? Doesn't that make sense?
First Do No Harm.
Our friend Laura Hayes sent us this photo. And she tried to get to the bottom of this disturbing practice (pun intended.) She wrote:
I placed a call this morning to get a statement from one of the doctors at this practice. I placed
the first call from my home line and was told there were 2 calls ahead of me. I told the receptionist no problem, I'd wait. After 15 min. of being on hold, and thinking I'd been forgotten, I also called from my cell phone. I was told the same thing, two people ahead of me. I quickly told her she told me that over 15 min. ago, and that I had my other phone still on hold waiting for her to get back to me. She apologized and said she would come back to me next. Another 10 min. or so went by, with both of my phones on speaker phone should anyone ever get back to me. Finally, she came back to my cell phone, asking me to wait just a little longer...I did.
Finally, she took me off hold on my cell phone and I told her that I would be writing about the sign posted at their office. I told her I'd like a statement from one of the doctors (not knowing there is apparently just one doctor at this practice) regarding the following:
- Why the sign?
- What specifically does "unvaccinated" mean?
- Was the sign based on some vaccine safety and/or vaccine efficacy science? If so, what science specifically? And/or, was it based on science specific to the "unvaccinated"? If so, what science specifically?
- Will those who are positive for Hep B and HIV be segregated, too? If yes, will there be a sign for that, also? With whom will they sit and wait?
- If/when I was able to speak to an actual doctor, I was also going to inquire about the sign with regards to: live-virus vaccine shedding; the vaccinated harboring pertussis in their throats and spreading it while remaining asymptomatic; the vaccinated making up the majority of all recent outbreaks specific to diseases against which we vaccinate; the unvaccinated being singled out and separated as though infectious despite being well; purposefully placing well children, who happen to be unvaccinated, with sick children, thus needlessly exposing them to illnesses; and the irony that the vaccinated, who are supposed to be superiorly protected (!), needing extra precautions taken to protect them (!).
Lo and behold, I was told that there was no doctor on the premises today, only nurse practitioners. I was told that the doctor, Dr. Khaira, is only there on Tues. mornings and all day Wed. I found that highly strange and unusual, so I asked, "Why is he only there at those times?" She said, "Because he has 5 other offices." !!!
I have a friend and colleague who is checking into that...meaning having a pediatric office being manned by NPs without an MD on site. Stay tuned regarding any info forthcoming specific to that.
I will not be holding my breath for the doctor to return my phone call.
Needless to say, Laura did not get a call back. So, she got on the phone again:
I did not receive a return call yesterday from the doctor, so I called back late this morning (Wed. morning) and spoke with a different receptionist, Sonia this time. Here is a recap of my call today:
I called and told Sonia my name and that I'm from Granite Bay. I let her know that I had called on Monday to inquire about the sign and that I spoke with a different receptionist. Since I had not heard back from the doctor, I was calling again in hopes of having him answer my questions about the sign. She asked what I wanted to know. I asked her if she had a pen and paper at the ready so she could write down my questions for the doctor...she said yes. I started on my list below, making it through the 3rd bullet point. When I began with the questions under the 4th bullet point, she stopped me when I got the words "Hep B".
She then asked me what I would be doing with this information. I told her writing it up. She asked for what. I said for the Age of Autism blog and for a large email list that included recipients both nationally and internationally. She then emphatically said, "No comment." I asked what about the doctor, could I please finish my list of questions in case he would like to answer them? She said, "No." I asked if that meant that he is unwilling to explain or defend the sign he has posted. She answered, "He doesn't have to. It's a private practice." I asked if she was sure that he did not want to answer my questions. She said she was sure. And that was the end of the call.
If you find this sign and practice of segregation at Carmichael Pediatrics, and the endangerment of healthy newborns, infants, toddlers, children, their mother/father/guardian, and any accompanying siblings, as reprehensible as I do, I hope you will take some form of action...be it posting something to this practice's FB pg., writing to the CA Medical Board, sharing the sign and your thoughts with your contacts, calling the office (916.485.9800), posting your comments on Yelp reviews for this practice, or whatever you think will help put a stop to such a heinous action.
Carmichael Peds must have a PR firm on speed dial. Perhaps their Merck rep placed a quick call on their behalf to defuse what was looking like an explosive situation. Laura got a sorta mea culpa that explained that they had built a special seclusion waiting room in response to a patient with measles. (see below.) Yes, I used the term "seclusion" on purpose. Has there been a chicken pox seclusion room at Carmichael? Was there ever an HIV seclusion room? How about lice? Those critters can jump. No, no, no, just measles. California. Measles. Disneyland. SB277. Vaccine mandates.
If it weren't so sad it would be laughable. Here's the explanation from Carmichael:
Good Morning! We'd like to share our reasoning behind the sign we placed in the main foyer. First, Carmichael Pediatrics has been serving the regional medical needs of children for over 15 years. We are a local, independent, and minority owned group practice. Our practice accepts all insurances and allows for walkins and same day appointments. Further, we encourage vaccination but do not discharge or refuse to care for the children whose parents object to vaccinations. It is because of this policy that our clinic has one of the highest non-vaccinated pediatric population in the county.
20 months ago a 2 year old toddler was brought in as a walkin by parents worried that their child was exposed to Measles in Disneyland and was sick with symptoms. We quickly isolated the child informed county health and sent the child to Mercy, but not before exposing 6 children to this highly contagious disease. Needless to say all the parents with children present for well exams were upset. Rather than stop taking walkins, or discharging patients whose parents refuse vaccines, we decided to build a small auxiliary waiting area (see the photos below) with its own dedicated HVAC system. The waiting area cannot hold more that 4 individuals. This extreme expense was incurred so as to address the concerns of those parents worried about iatrogenic exposure.
The vast majority of our families (both pro/anti vaccine) are happy with the level of care and love we provide our patients. That's all we wish to do. If parents are unhappy with any of our policies or are not satisfied with our care they are free to choose another provider. However, that has not been the case.
We apologize if this has elicited an emotional response. This was never our intent. Our desire is to the well being of our patients, and our commitment will not deviate from that goal. We will continue to promote vaccines as a safe and sensible way of preventing disease. However, we respect the rights of parents to make choices on behalf of their children. Until mandated otherwise we will not enter into any charged conversation. This inherently deviates from our stated mission.