by Ginger Taylor
On Friday, August 25th, a webinar was held, sponsored by Pfizer, called "Getting Parents to Yes! Vaccine Conversations That Work for Providers & Parents".
"With parents consuming so much conflicting health information about their babies and children, providing an effective vaccination recommendation can be harder than ever. Fortunately, there are strategies for discussing immunization with parents that can help them feel comfortable protecting their babies and children with on time immunization.
During this session, pediatrician Dr. Sharon Humiston will moderate a panel with pediatrician Dr. Nathan Boonstra and family physician Dr. Margot Savoy, who will share their top tips for having positive and productive vaccine conversations with parents. Join us on Friday, August 25 at 12 p.m. Eastern to gain insights and tips that you can begin implementing in your practice immediately."
I listened in to see if they were going to recommend anything egregious to the physicians. Surprisingly, it was not horrible. Well it was pretty much the arrogant garbage we already know and experience. Be the expert, be aggressive, blah, blah, blah. To their credit, they did stop short of recommending the full on bulldozing of parents, they didn't recommend dismissing non vaccinating parents from practices, and they did (for a split second) admit they had biases.
To one of the women's discredit (I could not be sure of who was talking at the time) she expressed her strong umbrage at being told by parents that they were declining vaccines because they had, "done their research on the internet," then burst out laughing at the incredulous and outrageous nature of such a statement. (Ahem... ma'am... you do realize you are teaching on the internet right now, yes???) #Irony
Actually the presentation was pretty weak. They don't really have a solution to getting parents refusals. Because, of course, they have not correctly diagnosed the reasons that they are refusing. And when you have the wrong dx, the tx ain't gonna work.
So there was not a lot of me loosing my mind listening to them, just a bit of eye rolling. And a bit of compassion, actually.
THEY ARE SO LOST. They are wandering around lost in the woods, pretending to know where they are going, that they are experts on the terrain, and teaching other lost doctors how to find their way out... of they woods they are lost in. (But to be fair, they are being paid by Pfizer to wander around lost in the woods, so perhaps they are happy there.)
So I wrote to them. I coulda sent a buncha stuff, but this is what I thought might be the most helpful to them. Tried to back them up at least to the right starting point. I figure maybe if I can convince them to get to the trail head, they might be able to see where they have gone wrong from that vantage point, and perhaps move in the right direction.
No answer as of yet. I will update if they do. But they won't. They never do. Because they don't have to.
|Subject:||Impact of liability protection on physician trust|
|Date:||Fri, 25 Aug 2017 14:11:09 -0400|
|From:||Ginger Taylor <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
Dr. Humiston, Dr. Boonstra, and Dr. Savoy,
I am the mother of a vaccine injured child, and no longer participate in the National Immunization Program. I listened to your webinar today.
I was glad to hear that you don't recommend dismissing families from practices for declining vaccines, and that you refrain from calling families "anti-vaccine" (as only about 5 or 10% of those tagged with that epithet are actually opposed to vaccination.) However, I did want to point out a perspective that I don't think that you have taken into account in examining this topic.
The baseline assumption that was made was that a physician can assume that they are trusted by a family simply because that family has come to that physician. I don't think that you have taken into account that such trust, while it may extend to everything from a twisted ankle to cancer, may not exist for vaccines.
Because the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury act has effectively relieved medical providers of all liability for vaccine injury and death, you have been insulated from almost all accountability for adverse vaccine reactions, even those that could have been foreseen and prevented.
It is true that pediatricians, unfortunately more than most, have to practice defensive medicine in their decision making, however in the case of vaccination, the physician is ONLY must defend himself against liability for child getting a disease, his practice's ire if he is not making vaccine quotas to earn insurances bonuses, or his industry's attack for not fully participating in the NIP. There no is mechanism, other than his own conscience (subject to bias) to give scientifically accurate vaccine safety and efficacy information. It is the opposite of defensive medicine. A doctor backed into a corner with a question he does not know the answer to can simply make one up, and even if the child is severely disabled as a result, there are no consequences for him.
There has not been a medical provider who has had to answer in court for a vaccine injury and death before a jury in the US for more than 30 years. And while the Hazelhurst v. Jackson Clinic will be going to trial this year, chances are still next to nothing that even if you do everything wrong, and kill a child with a vaccine, that you will even be questioned by any authority on the matter. There are no consequences even if you simply don't report it to VAERS. In fact, you can just call it a "coincidence" and "unprovable," and even attack the parents as "grieving, desperate and scientifically illiterate," even call CPS on them, and go on with your day. You can behave as badly as you want to, and do things that are considered malpractice in any other matter, and you will simply get a pat on the back from your fellow doctors. And while you may not have, sadly, there are some doctors that have gone to that extreme. Their conscience has not constrained them.
My questions are this...
Do you understand the impact of this liability protection on the trust parents have in your vaccine recommendations? Why should I trust any businessperson who has this magical liability protection and can't be sued even if they kill me or my child?
Do you understand the impact of this liability protection on your bias? When I hear you recommend to doctors that they approach families with such confidence in vaccine safety, I think, "They have so much hubris on this issue that they are not going to be teachable or learn anything from their clients." Even the name of the webinar is how to get them to "Yes." The question of, "When is their NO correct, and what can we learn from them?" is not even on your radar.
Do you know that EVERYTHING is on the internet? And when you laugh at people for making that statement, you kinda seem like you are living in 1990? Your webinar is on the internet. Pubmed is on the internet. All of the resource materials you recommended are on the internet. Mocking people from learning from "the internet" in 2017 is like mocking people for learning from "books."
Do you understand the impact of this liability protection on your vaccine safety education and accountability? If there is no way for families to legally challenge physicians or the industry when they are wrong, even when fraud is charged, how do you know if are right?
Because what we find when we talk to doctors is that they actually don't know research or vaccine policy. They have chosen selective research and policy, and will even read individual documents selectively, and take away what they want to take away.
Let me give you an example from the webinar. Dr. Boonstra referenced the NEJM Thompson paper, "Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years." And he characterized the study as finding no link to adverse outcomes.
That is not what the paper reports:
"Among boys, higher exposure to mercury from birth to 7 months was associated with significantly better performance on letter and word identification on the Woodcock–Johnson test, third edition (WJ-III), poorer performance on the parental rating of behavioral regulation on the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, and a higher likelihood of motor and phonic tics, as reported by the children's evaluators."
"Higher mercury exposure during the first 28 days of life was associated with significantly poorer performance on the Goldman–Fristoe Test of Articulation, second edition (GFTA-2)"
"Among girls, increased neonatal mercury exposure was associated with significantly lower scores in verbal IQ on the WASI"
(I know this about the paper in question, because it is on the internet.)
Dr. Boonstra, have you made this claim in your office to families? Isn't that fraud? I can't imagine you knowingly want to commit false claims to families, but do you realize that the industry is structured NOT to prevent you from making false claims? That it encourages false claims?
This paper is 10 years old. If liability existed, and Dr. Boonstra or any other physician was making this false research claim by now certainly would have been sued by a family who had a child who had an adverse outcome. This would have litigated, new guidelines for these products would have been issued, and this false understanding of thimerosal safety would not be spoken in any physicians office.
But here, in 2017, Dr. Boostra has just taught physicians that this paper showed no adverse outcomes from injecting mercury into babies. And short of asking him to retract his false claim (which is usually ignored by the physician, who believes he has been attacked by the "anti-vaccine lobby,") reporting him to his practice (also usually ignored) and reporting him to the state for making a fraudulent safety claim about a product he sells to consumers (I have done this, they don't investigate) there is no action to correct Dr. Boostra on his fraudulent safety claim. He can literally say anything he wants.
Thus parental lack of trust in Dr. Boostra (and this is almost all physicians really, because of the "vaccine culture" you discussed) is not only justified, it is correct. He is not trustworthy on vaccine safety. He is biased, and there is no accountability mechanism that corrects his bias.
I hope that you will take this admonition and inquiry seriously. The liability protection has brought vast corruption into the vaccine program, and until it is gone, and the industry is willing to clean up the damage they have done, vaccine rates will continue to drop, and I believe, at some point, the program will fail.
Ginger Taylor, MS
Maine Coalition for Vaccine Choice