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Doctors "Fire" Vaccine Refusers 1271

phantomfive writes "In a study of Connecticut pediatricians published last year, some 30% of 133 doctors said they had asked a family to leave their practice for vaccine refusal. Pediatricians are getting tired of families avoiding vaccines, which puts their children at higher risk of disease. From the article: 'Pediatricians fed up with parents who refuse to vaccinate their children out of concern it can cause autism or other problems increasingly are "firing" such families from their practices, raising questions about a doctor's responsibility to these patients. Medical associations don't recommend such patient bans, but the practice appears to be growing, according to vaccine researchers.'"
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Doctors "Fire" Vaccine Refusers

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  • Re:It is about time (Score:5, Informative)

    by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:53PM (#39048847)
    FYI not all hippies are against it. I'm an old hippy, and I think people who are refusing them are goddamned idiots.
  • Re:ask no questions (Score:4, Informative)

    by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:01PM (#39049001)
    If hundreds of studies that there is no negative affect in a test group receiving 27+ vaccines vs the control group who receives none, then yes you are an imbecile. And the doctor's argument becomes moot when you can get the vaccines from a free clinic.
  • by CmdTako ( 2503216 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:12PM (#39049215)
    anti-vax morons "Boys who did not receive the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine during the mid 1990s are now collecting in large numbers in secondary schools and colleges and this provides a perfect breeding ground for the virus" []
  • by b0bby ( 201198 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:13PM (#39049261)

    I think what the parent post meant is that all vaccines have some percent of people who don't have the desired antibody response, so you want to keep the unvaccinated numbers as low as possible in order to protect them. There are also the populations of very young/very old/immune compromised who can't be vaccinated. It's these groups most at risk from the willful vaccine refusers.

  • by Tanman ( 90298 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:15PM (#39049307)

    . . . patient stupidity.

    If a doctor recommends a vaccine for a child, and the parents refuse the vaccine, then the child catches the flu and dies. Guess what? The doctor is open to litigation. It is a sad state of affairs, but the end result of that lawsuit is probably either settlement out-of-court or a judgment against the doctor. After all, why didn't the doctor educate the parents how they were wrong about autism risks? Why didn't the doctor show studies to the parents so they could have made a more educated decision? The fault will not be on the parents' heads -- at the very least the doctor will have to pay an attorney to defend from the inevitable lawsuit.

    Why should a doctor saddle up with 1) Patients that refuse care and 2) Legal risk. If I were a family physician and I had people putting themselves or dependents at risk against my medical advice (A.M.A.), I would "fire" them, too. In the end, we aren't talking about emergency care here. We are talking about medical maintenance, and they can find someone else.

  • by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:18PM (#39049371) Journal

    If they're making an offer that cannot be refused without an adverse threat, such as this one, it's not voluntary

    What is this, The Godfather? What "adverse threat" (i.e., harm) is the doctor putting on the patient? And is that any greater or lesser than the threat the patient is putting on themselves. Pediatricians aren't putting severed horse heads in their anti-vax patients' beds. They are simply ending a relationship that is a liability to their practice, and trying to send a forceful message to their patients that they are (in the doctor's opinion) making a big mistake. If the pediatrician hasn't been able to persuade the parent that vaccines are a good idea and that Jenny McCarthy is a moron, then it is probably for the best for both parties to go their separate ways. It is not like patients are without options: "firing" is not a universal practice, nor one endorsed by the profession as a whole; there are always other doctors, and probably some more sympathetic to their vaccine concerns. We aren't talking about acute cases, either: if an emergency shows up, the doctor will still care for them.

    This is not an uncommon thing among professionals: here is my advice, take it or leave it, but if you leave it, don't expect me to clean up your stupidity.

  • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:23PM (#39049507)

    No, of course not. Any doctor will tell you that flu shots are only moderately effective anyway, and of course have to be given every year based on guesses as to the season's strains. The slippery slope argument is the sort of FUD that is feeding the anti-vaccine kooks...

    These are pediatricians, so they are more worried about things like MMR, DTaP, meningiococcus, etc. Vaccines that don't just reduce the chance of a moderately annoying winter bug, but have unquestionably saved the lives of millions of children worldwide since their invention.

    And from TFA: "Her older child had gastrointestinal trouble and regressed development after receiving vaccines, she said, which she believes were related to the shots." This is the same "proof" by anecdote people wrongly use in the autism argument. Sure, one doctor signed a waiver, but same thing with painkiller addiction, it only takes one doctor willing to sign a prescription, they just have to look hard enough (or be a celebrity and no one will ask)...

  • by Mitchell314 ( 1576581 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:27PM (#39049609)
    Chicken pox is a mere "nuisance" to most people, for some it can be dangerous.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:29PM (#39049651)

    I find it ironic that one of the groups that are dependent on herd immunity (Vaccine Component Allergy) is one of the ones that said doctor will kick out of his practice. My son is highly allergic to eggs, which is in many vaccines. We were informed by our doctor that if we did not allow him to inject our son with something that he is highly allergic to we would no longer be allowed to be a part of his practice.

    It isn't that we don't want our son to be immunized, it is just we would rather not give him something that results in violent reactions. Especially at the young age that he is.

    Our son is as well. The allergist gives him his shots under a controlled and measured process.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:33PM (#39049757)

    I find it ironic that one of the groups that are dependent on herd immunity (Vaccine Component Allergy) is one of the ones that said doctor will kick out of his practice. My son is highly allergic to eggs, which is in many vaccines. We were informed by our doctor that if we did not allow him to inject our son with something that he is highly allergic to we would no longer be allowed to be a part of his practice.

    It isn't that we don't want our son to be immunized, it is just we would rather not give him something that results in violent reactions. Especially at the young age that he is.

    Vaccines are safe for people with egg allergies. There have been plenty of large case studies on this.

  • by oh_my_080980980 ( 773867 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:33PM (#39049761)
    Actually it's more dangerous when you are an adult then when you are young.
  • Wrong! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Radtastic ( 671622 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:36PM (#39049841)
    "Adults have the greatest risk for dying from chickenpox, with infants having the next highest risk. Males (both boys and men) have a higher risk for a severe case of chickenpox than females. Children who catch chickenpox from family members are likely to have a more severe case than if they caught it outside the home. The older the child, the higher the risk for a more severe case...." []
  • Re:It is about time (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:43PM (#39050007)

    It's not that simple. Research is showing a correlation to the large number of vaccines as a child and autism. We don't know for sure

    There is ABSOLUTELY NO CORRELATION between vaccines as a child an autism

    I suggest you read any of these reports and studies to see for yourself and stop spreading lies. ScienceDaily (Jan. 30, 2009) — An extensive new review summarizes the many studies refuting the claim of a link between vaccines and autism. Conclusions: Because the incidence of autism among 2 to 5 year olds increased markedly among boys born in each year separately from 1988 to 1993 while MMR vaccine coverage was over 95% for successive annual birth cohorts, the data provide evidence that no correlation exists between the prevalence of MMR vaccination and the rapid increase in the risk of autism over time. Results: Essentially no correlation was observed between the secular trend of early childhood MMR immunization rates in California and the secular trend in numbers of children with autism enrolled in California's regional service center system This study provides strong evidence against association of autism with persistent MV RNA in the GI tract or MMR exposure.

  • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) < minus caffeine> on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:44PM (#39050011) Homepage

    When talking about the wealth of doctors, you need to take into account FAR more than raw salary.

    1) Medical school typically results in a few hundred thousand dollars of debt incurred, ON TOP of whatever debt the doctor may have incurred during their undergraduate program
    2) Undergraduate debt does not begin to get paid off during medical school - instead, debt increases (see 1) )
    3) After graduating medical school, a doctor must atcomplete residency (I believe this is typically a MINIMUM of 3 years) before they can practice. The typical salary for a medical resident (based on looking at the info packets for one of the local family medicine residency programs in my area) is well below the salary for an entry level engineer straight out of undergraduate school. (e.g. an engineer makes a higher salary four years earlier - note the time value of money here.). This is despite the fact that the resident has four more years of school during which they were racking up debt
    4) Once the doctor finally finishes residency, they have to pay for malpractice insurance. This is a MAJOR cost driver for doctors.

    4) is a major kicker here - Permitting a patient who has refused vaccination to spend time in the waiting room endangers other patients who cannot be vaccinated for whatever reason (such as immunocompromised patients) - opening up the doors for malpractice suits from those patients.

  • by madmark1 ( 1946846 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:46PM (#39050075)

    Actually quite a few do have trouble, and are most definitely NOT rich. You see, the ones doing the vaccinations would be family practice doctors, or pediatricians, neither of which earn those giant salaries, which are reserved for brain surgeons, heads of surgical centers, and the like. This is the giant myth of our health care system, that doctors and practitioners are raping us all, it isn't the insurance companies, really.....

    And to throw some reality at the 1% part, to qualify by most methods as being in the 1% of wage earners, you must make between 503,000$ and 536,000$. The average family practitioner makes$204,000, according to several sources. This puts them a pretty far distance from 1% territory. The highest salary reported in a recent survey for a family practitioner was $299,000. They aren't all struggling, by any means, but still not 1%. Pediatricians, by comparison, reported salaries between$125,000 and $231,000, with the average at $174,000. They make even less.

    These figures also only take into account those doctors who make a salary, as opposed to those who may be in private practice, and living on the profits from their business. They usually make much less.

  • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:47PM (#39050107) Homepage

    why should I take even the tiny risk of having a vaccination to protect some idiot who refuses to get vaccinated themselves?

    Simple - some people are unable to be vaccinated due to perfectly valid medical issues. They still benefit from herd immunity as long as the herd actually has it.

    One person might be highly allergic to eggs and might not be able to get some particular vaccine as a result. However, if everybody around them isn't allergic to eggs wouldn't it be nice if they were vaccinated, thus greatly reducing the chance that any of them will get sick?

    Some medical issues really do involve a tragedy of the commons. One is vaccination. Another big one is antibiotic use.

  • by SDrag0n ( 532175 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:54PM (#39050289)
    It's funny, one of the first things you learn in a statistics class is that statistics are very dependent on how they're collected, determined, and described. You can make statistics to mean a lot of different things. I'm not judging the content of your link (I didn't read it), but saying that there is a statistic so it must describe the truth without any other information is just dumb.
  • by snowgirl ( 978879 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:55PM (#39050321) Journal

    BTW, some of these diseases really are quite extinct in the US.

    And that's why US children no longer get a smallpox or polio vaccine. When the disease has been eradicated, we don't vaccinate against it anymore. However, the stuff we're still vaccinating for is still kicking, and that's why we still vaccinate for it!

  • Re:Swine flu (Score:1, Informative)

    by chrisphotonic ( 2450982 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:57PM (#39050365)
    My mother was a nurse. One of her best friends was PARALYZED from a flue vaccine. It's very sad, that could happen to someone apparently healthy.

    There's over 24 vaccinations that are given to kids now. Russian roulette anyone?

    Once you eliminate the right to choose, you can't avoid the land mines when they come. There will also ways be bad vacinee batches, and there will be vaccines that work was well as Vioxx eventually.
  • by Kozz ( 7764 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:59PM (#39050407)

    How many of those behaviors are capable of having a potentially deadly outcome of the doctors other patients while this smoking-drinking-fried foods guy sits in the waiting room?

  • by 19thNervousBreakdown ( 768619 ) <> on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @05:06PM (#39050559) Homepage

    Immune systems do not work that way!

  • by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @05:11PM (#39050649) Homepage

    Are you saying the doctor would risk an anaphylactic shock after you told him your son is allergic to eggs?

    Sure. Everything has a risk -- death is a potential risk of almost any medical treatment -- but the risks are usually far outweighed by the significant potential benefits. You risk death during almost any surgery, but the risk is so small in healthy individuals that it shouldn't be a deciding factor.

    Also, some vaccines, like the flu vaccine, are only made with eggs. Fortunately, the amount of egg protein present in the vaccine is so small that reactions are very rare. Typically it means waiting around for 30-60 minutes after vaccination to look for signs of a reaction, which can then be treated before it escalates. The odds of having a reaction that's unresponsive to treatment are so staggeringly small that no one should use it as a deciding factor (with the disclaimer that this is not medical advice).

  • Re:It is about time (Score:5, Informative)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @05:13PM (#39050699) Homepage

    It's not that simple. Research is showing a correlation to the large number of vaccines as a child and autism. We don't know for sure.


    The doctor who made that claim has been shown [] as [] being [] fraudulent [].

    There is simply no reputable evidence to believe this. But it's still propagated by people who refuse to accept that the evidence was fabricated -- but now that people believe it, you can't get rid of it.

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @05:14PM (#39050717)
    Because willfully endangering other people to eliminate a tiny, tiny risk of discomfort to yourself makes you, basically, a selfish dick.
  • Amish?? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ZombieBraintrust ( 1685608 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @05:26PM (#39050901)
    Are you refering to the Amish? Because they get vacinated. []
    The idea that the Amish do not vaccinate their children is untrue," says Dr. Kevin Strauss, MD, a pediatrician at the CSC. "We run a weekly vaccination clinic and it's very busy." He says Amish vaccinations rates are lower than the general population's, but younger Amish are more likely to be vaccinated than older generations.
  • by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <> on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @05:30PM (#39050971) Homepage

    Influenza kills half a million people per year. Since influenza mutates like crazy, it is also constantly developing new strains that require new vaccines, and occasionally strains that are particularly deadly (like the one in 1918, which killed up to a hundred million).

  • Re:as well they (Score:4, Informative)

    by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @05:36PM (#39051085) Journal

    I do not think you are the target problem group here. I assume you are talking about an egg albumen allergy, since most vaccines are made that way, with a few made in horse serum.

    I have an albumen allergy in my gene pool, so we were very cautious about vaccinating my children. Thankfully it appears they do not have the allergy. That said, I do not like the vaccine regimen used in the US, where we combine many different vaccines into one shot MMR, DTaP|DTP so I opted out of the traditional vaccination program. I discussed this at length with the pediatrician, and gave my reasoning for it (too much to hit a young immune system at once with, etc.). In the end, while it means more shots, she agreed, and my kids received their vaccines over a prolonged period. Their reactions were almost non existent, whereas with normal shots a high fever is common, as is other flu like symptoms for a couple days.

    As to those who do not get vaccines for no good reason (parent, has a good reason) all I have to say is this:
    If you accept *every single case* of something bad that happened to a child that *anyone* attributed to a vaccine (Autism, severe reaction causing brain damage, death, etc.) at face value and compare that to the infant and childhood mortality prior to these vaccines being widely available it is still beneficial from a risk perspective to get your children vaccinated. If you remove just the obvious nutjob correlations of vaccine related issues then the risk to reward ratio is so big that the bad stuff is lost in sampling noise.

  • by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @05:43PM (#39051207) Journal

    Chicken pox tends to be more severe the younger you get it.

    Screw Chicken Pox, I'm worried about whooping cough, which is on the rise in the US since 2004, [] no doubt due to people refusing vaccines. Ten California infants died in 2010 from whooping cough [] even though we've had a vaccine for whooping cough since the 1920s. []

    The man that started the whole "vaccines kill", Dr. Andrew Wakefield, lost his medical license [] when it was discovered Wakefield was paid by lawyers who wanted to sue vaccine manufactures to publish a fake report claiming vaccines kill children. []

    Parents refusing vaccines are misinformed. Doctors are asking parents to do something to save their children's lives and protect their other patients and the parents refuse. I'd tell them not to come back too.

  • by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:19PM (#39051893) Homepage Journal

    As someone who HAD the chickenpox as an adult, I ended up in the hospital with lesions on my lungs and most of my mucosal tissue. I had them under my eyelids, on the bottoms of my feet, under my toe nails -- in fact, there was just one place I did *NOT* have them -- and for that I am eternally grateful.

    Actually, while I was sick with them (106 fever), I saw on the news the NEW Chickenpox vaccine announced. I threw my shoe at the TV.

    They ARE dangerous and potentially deadly.

  • by adjuster ( 61096 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:30PM (#39052107) Homepage Journal

    Let's make it a law because after all we wouldn't want people to believe they own their OWN bodies, and actually have the temerity to say what does or does not go into it.

    Yes. I want this. I want to live in a society where people are forced to give up this bullshit "freedom" to refuse vaccines. I'll vote for that all day long. If you don't like it then I don't want you living in my society. Go somewhere else. Assuming we have vaccines that are scientifically vetted and tested I'd be happy to live in a society where vaccination is mandatory. Maybe you think my opinion is strong but THE FUCKING IDIOTS WHO REFUSE TO VACCINATE THEIR CHILDREN ARE MAKING THE WORLD LESS SAFE FOR EVERYONE ELSE. They're the selfish bastards...

    I.E. if someone else was to get sick via a non-vaccinated person then in theory they were also NOT vaccinated. Hence they only people suffering would be those who chose not to get the shot.

    You're a fucking idiot. You don't understand "herd immunity". Infants can't be vaccinated immediately, but they're susceptible to disease. Some people have health problems that prevent them from being vaccinated. Sometimes the vaccines just don't work. When the vast majority of people (the "herd") are vaccinated then enough immunity exists to prevent the disease from gaining a foothold and spreading. As soon as there are enough people who aren't vaccinated herd immunity breaks down and the world becomes unsafe for infants, those who cannot be vaccinated, or the unlucky few who the vaccine doesn't work on. If my child died as a result of a preventable disease that they contracted while too young to be vaccinated and I found out they were infected by an the child of an anti-vax nutjob I think I'd have little choice but to kill the anti-vax parents. I'm quite sure I'd have a hard time staying my hand. People who are that anti-social and selfish don't deserve to live.

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `'> on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:59PM (#39052607) Homepage Journal

    Yes there is. IN this case, people are bring in non vaccinated children into a population of sick children,. It is a high risk of illness to all there other patients, and society.
    I'm sure of a child showed up in need of immediate emergency care, they would get it.

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `'> on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @07:59PM (#39053399) Homepage Journal

    NO, he is not.

    The flu is dangerous. You get influenza, and you can die,. Please explain to me how that isn't dangerous?

    while a percentage would die from other things, it's tiny percentage.

    No, to say the 500 people died from gun shot means 500 people died from gun shots. You can't say 'oh well, they might have died from something else.' Because you don't know. we DO know the 10's of thousands of people die from influenza in the us, 500K worldwide.

  • by Ocker3 ( 1232550 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @08:16PM (#39053551)

    In the case of blood transfusion and 7th Day Adventists and other religious cults, the courts will intervene.

    *Citation needed* I was raised SDA in Australia, and lived in SDA communities in Cali, strangely enough one centered around Loma Linda University Medical Centre, a very highly regarded hospital. You can bet that everyone in that community got their shots, it was a prerequisite for going to Loma Linda Academy, run by the SDA church. There may be some fringe SDA families who are against modern medicine, but it's very much not a feature of core SDA values. Health is a core value of the SDA church, by which they mean exercise, eating good food (many SDAs are vegetarian, or eat meat very sparingly), and generally staying healthy. No prohibitions against medicine at all, in fact the SDA church runs a string of hospitals around the world, and they all strive to have the best modern medicine available.

  • by jackbird ( 721605 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @10:53PM (#39055185)


    First of all it's the CDC, not the WHO, so you're talking about deaths in a population of 0.3 billion Americans, not the 7 billion world population (never mind that in 1976 at the start of the study the world population was 4 billion and the US population was closer to 0.2 billion).

    Second of all, those deaths are ALREADY per year, so you shouldn't be dividing any further:

    CDC estimates that from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.

    That's at a minimum one 9/11 attack per year, and at a maximum the depopulation of a small city. And that's regular, people-on-the-internet-can-mock-it flu, not pandemic flu.

    The 1918 H1N1 epidemic killed 650,000 Americans out of a population of about 100 million (north of 0.5%!), with a 20% mortality rate for those infected.

    It also killed more humans worldwide in 9 months (50-100 million) than the Black Death did in 20 years, being the deadliest epidemic in human history.

    Get your flu shot.

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