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Five Things That Bother Me About the Dr. Sears Investigation

Daja September 16, 2016

Five Things That Bother Me About the Dr. Sears Investigation

By Daja, Contributing Writer

Can We Find Some Common Ground?

Whether you consider yourself an “anti-vaxxer” or a “pro-vaxxer” can we find common ground in this: “pro-all-the-information” and “pro-doctor-patient-privilege”? Or how about “pro-keep-the-government-out-of-my-private-business”? Yeah, that seems like a good place to start. The debate about vaccines is not a war and if we treat it like one we will have a whole bunch of regrettable casualties. This debate should be information-based, research rich and patient-care driven. But, instead of debating ideas, we treat other people like enemies. As California Medical Board spokesperson Cassandra Hockenson said, “The biggest weapon we have is to take away someone’s medical license.” (source) Weapons? Really? When did this becoming about winning at all cost? I thought this was about what is good for the children, not about who wins in a war.

One of Those Possible Casualties

For those that haven’t heard, well-known physician, Dr. Bob Sears is facing disciplinary action from the California Medical Board for a vaccine exemption he wrote in 2014. The charge is “gross negligence.” Was the child injured by Dr. Sears? Did he suffer permanent damage because Dr. Sears failed to treat a serious injury or illness? Did the child die? Did Dr. Sears ignore the child or parent’s concerns? No. None of these things. According to the California Medical Board, the neglect is that by writing the vaccine exemption Dr. Sears left the “patient, J.G., the patient’s mother, and his future contacts at risk for preventable and communicable diseases.” (source)

Forgive a mother for a (well-deserved) rant. Here are five things that bother me about the whole thing:

Five Things That Bother Me About the Dr. Sears Investigation

I am Pro-Doctor-Patient Privilege

Listen, if I go to a doctor and I have a concern about myself or my child and I discuss it with the doctor and together we come to a plan of action (which can be to do nothing or not intervene. Let’s not forget that “do no harm” is good medical practice), that is between me and my doctor. What should I take into account when making these medical decisions? My (or my child’s) health and well-being. This is first and foremost. And all. That is what the doctor should be primarily concerned about, too. I do not expect him, when looking at my child’s unique medical history–that includes a severe vaccine reaction–to say, “Well, I know paralysis is a real risk and concern for this particular child. But, we really don’t want to subject strangers at the mall to the possibility of chicken pox. So, take one for the team, OK?”

This Brings Up the Whole Notion of Confidentiality

The information in that medical file and the details of that medical discussion in his medical office: private. Physician-patient privilege is the concept that information told to a physician pertaining to medical care and in the context of receiving medical care cannot be divulged or used against the patient. (source) Mandatory vaccine laws that are enforced by compulsory education violate this privacy. In order to comply with the law that my child goes to school, my doctor must divulge the details of my medical history. This is wrong. Take this out of the context of vaccination and see if it still makes sense. Should a doctor have to share the details of things like HIV or hepatitis or cancer or diabetes status in order that a child be allowed to attend school? If it is found out that a child does have, let’s say,  HIV, should they be denied an education? There’s only one right answer here.

I am Pro-Keep-the-Government-Out-of-My-Medical-Decisions

If you believe that the government should stay out of wombs and vaginas and end-of-life decisions, but you are for the government enforcement of vaccines, you have a serious break in logic.

Dr. Sears is no anti-vaxxer. As far as I know he vaccinates his own children, vaccinates his patients, and consider’s himself “pro-vaccine.” To his credit, he lets parents make the final decision in regards to their children’s medical treatment, sometimes suggesting an alternative (more cautious) vaccine schedule. In the case being used to bring this charge against Dr. Sears, the mother explained that the child had severe vaccine reactions (including temporary paralysis) in the past, asked to not vaccinate and Dr. Sears granted the exemption in the form of a letter. Should be the end of the story. But, it’s not. We are from the government and we’re here to help you….

When I hire a doctor to help me to live well, I am not hiring the bureaucrats at the California Medical Board to tell me whether or not the decisions I make are valid. I do not need the government’s permission to decide what is best for my child.

Five Things That Bother Me About the Dr. Sears Investigation

I am Pro-Not-Using-Doctors-or-Patients-as-Pawns

…and pro-having-all-the-information.

When bureaucrats decide to make an example out of someone–in this case, Dr. Sears–no one wins. It exchanges healthy scientific debate for a witch hunt. Facts, evidence, history, philosophies, actual outcomes don’t matter at all. What matters is that anyone who questions the status quo, anyone who goes against the tide, anyone who rocks the boat knows that they are uninvited to the party. It’s as if the California Medical Board has told parents in California, “Listen, I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse. Vaccinate your children according to our set schedule, regardless of personal history, religious beliefs or doctor’s advice. If you don’t you may wake up with your favorite doctor’s head in your bed.” The powers-that-be have become the unelected mob bosses of our health care system. And guess what? No one wins. #gotothemattresses

“The biggest weapon we have is to take away someone’s medical license.” (California Medical Board)

Scientific discovery and medical advancement thrives in an environment of healthy debate. Some of the greatest discoveries of our time were fueled by men and women who questioned everything; rebels for whom nothing was off the table. But, today apparently, someone who simply says, “A lot is not known, let’s err on the side of caution in some particular cases.” is threatened with legal action. No. One. Wins. This is not the position of people who care about advancing in truth.

I am Pro-Trusting-Parents

According to the LA Times, “In the six-page accusation, the medical board faults Sears for failing to obtain a detailed history of a 2-year-old patient’s vaccines before writing the letter and instead relying on the child’s mother, who described how the boy lost urinary function and went limp in response to previous immunizations.”

Since when is it a crime to take a mom at her word?

If you have ever taken your kid to the doctor when they’ve been sick, here’s how it goes: The doctor asks what the problem is. The parent says something to the effect of, “He was up all night vomiting. I think it might have been a reaction to something he ate last night. He also had a fever, but it broke this morning at 2am and he finally went to sleep.” The doctor makes some notes to that effect, takes the parent completely at her word, and writes a prescription for electrolytes or something for the fever. He doesn’t ask for proof that the child was vomiting. In most cases he doesn’t take vomit samples to send to a lab. He doesn’t do a series of blood tests. He just believes the parents and recommends a course of action accordingly. More often than not, parents are the ones who diagnose. Doctors advise and prescribe.

What is our other option rather than trusting parents? Making a judgment about medical negligence is a completely subjective process–the California Medical Board admits it! Steve Boreman, who was formerly the attorney general’s liaison to the California Medical Board, said in an interview with CNN that making a judgment on alleged medical negligence is “a matter of opinion. It’s not black and white.” He says that the standard of care varies state to state, region to region and even among medical sub-specialities. (source)

Unless a parent is displaying some serious cause for concern or abuse is suspected, parents should be trusted. When they say a child had a vaccine reaction, subjecting a child to numerous, expensive and invasive tests is just not necessary! This is NOT negligence. It’s common sense. It’s good practice. It’s humanity, people.

In Ranting Conclusion…

You do not have to be totally anti-vax to have stake in this. At its core this issue is personal freedom and responsibility. It is about never stopping in our quest for truth and for answers to complicated questions. It’s also about resisting the school-yard-bully who someone gave the job of overseeing our medical decisions.

If you love freedom…

If you take responsibility for your own decisions and think others should, too…

If you aren’t afraid of asking tough questions…

If you think the government oversteps its boundaries from time-to-time and needs to be put in check…

#STANDWITHSEARS

Five Things That Bother Me About the Dr. Sears Investigation

What are your thoughts on the Dr. Sears investigation?

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Daja is the happy wife of Gana and the mother of nine amazing children. She's bookish and easily distracted and has too many ideas and not enough time. She writes about family life, preparedness, natural health, liturgical living over at The Provision Room, your source of abundant home-centered living!
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  1. Daja, someone close to this child made this complaint. The board oversees these complaints to keep people safe. You would not want a doctor repeatedly performing unnecessary surgeries, would you, or falsely prescribing drugs, would you? Wouldn’t you want someone to do something to keep that doctor from doing harm by not practicing good medicine? That means the board gets to access your files when complaints are made.

    What about taking mom at her word that the child needs her tonsils out? Should the doc take mom at her word that the child has a broken arm? No tests to confirm? Because that’s what you’re saying should be allowed – no tests, no diagnosis, just do what parents want.

    What you’re writing doesn’t make sense.

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  2. They’re doing to Dr. Sears what they did to Dr. Wakefield – making an example out of them so doctors are scared to take a stand. What a terribly corrupt system!

    Reply

  3. I am a physician. Over the last 15 years I have seen many vaccines go from an “Opt In” drug status (you take it only if you want it), to an “Opt Out” (you are expected to take it unless you refuse). Back then, many of my colleagues thought I was over reacting when I explained to them that eventually barriers would be erected to prevent opting out. These vaccines would then be compulsory. History has proven my concerns justified. Hospitals now fire employees for not taking the flu vaccine (now required once a year). Last year I was threatened by hospital administrators for signing medical exemptions for employees including nurses and other doctors!

    Even vaccines that were required but easily exempted before are now being militantly enforced by school and state governments. Maryland announced yesterday that thousands of school children would be kicked out of school for not being in exact compliance with vaccinations. Here in Texas, government schools will not accept a note from a family’s doctor as a medical exemption. Only letters from the State’s Health Department are recognized! This has nothing to do with protecting children’s health. It is simply a method of keeping records on those who do not wish to vaccinate.

    Soon we will all, including adults, be forced vaccinated for Zika, flu, meningitis, HPV, and all the childhood diseases. Yes, adults will forced to take the MMR and tDAP to “protect the children”! You may have already seen tv commercials for the HPV vaccine where young adults with cancer scold their parent for not vaccinating them as children and blaming the cancer on the parents! Or the commercial for the pertussis vaccine with the grandmother whose head and face changes into a rabid looking dog every time she coughs as she hugs her grandchildren! Or the mom standing by her sons hospital bed as he lies dying from meningitis. She expresses guilt for not vaccinating her son and implores parents not to make the “same mistake”! Some medical, dental and pharmacy school are already requiring these vaccines for acceptance into their programs!

    Where will this all end? Only God knows. I am, however, encouraged by web sites such as this one. People are beginning to wake up and question the efficacy and necessity of these drugs. Drugs that have dangerous and sometimes deadly side effects.

    For those of you who have vaccine exemptions or will be attempting to get one for you or a family member, I would suggest doing something now to ensure your wishes are respected. Obtain a MedicAlert or a MedicAlert type ID tag. These tags can be engraved with the specific vaccine to avoid or you may simply have “NO VACCINES”. If you list the vaccines that you refuse, have the engraving read “NO (vaccine name)”. This will also work if you are concerned about allergic reactions. You can engrave “(name of vaccine) ALLERGY” but many people simply use the “NO” designation due to space limitations on the bracelet or neckless. If multiple allergies need to be listed, have “PLEASE SEE WALLET/PURSE CARD”, or something to that affect. Then you can keep an updated list in your wallet without having to re-engrave your ID. Any of these examples will be sufficient to alert any reasonable person to avoid these drugs and, in my opinion, trumps the need for any medical exemption letter.

    MedicAlert has more choices in ID tag styles than in previous years but has few options for young adults and children. You also have to pay, at least for one year, a membership fee. The best option I found for variety of styles for the entire family is with http://www.laurenshope.com. You only pay for the jewelry, engraving and shipping.

    “It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given Liberty to man is Eternal Vigilance.” John Philpot Curran 1790

    Samuel Adams MD

    Reply

  4. […] about your lack of respect for parents and their judgement. (source) As with other things (like vaccination, for one) why mistrust the people who have the most emotional, spiritual, financial, cultural […]

    Reply

  5. Daja writes;

    “I am Pro-Keep-the-Government-Out-of-My-Medical-Decisions

    If you believe that the government should stay out of wombs and vaginas and end-of-life decisions, but you are for the government enforcement of vaccines, you have a serious break in logic”.

    Ok Daja- let’s go through this statement you made and what bothers me about it;

    #1
    The government is not forcing parents to vaccinate. Don’t do it and you can home school. That’s your decision. No one is holding down kids and vaccinating them- choose not to protect your child or others from diseases that can seriously cause harm too other, living human beings, then home schooling it is.

    #2
    A womb or vagina related decisions hurts no one- no other living person could be hurt by a decision made for ones own womb or vagina.
    #3
    End of life decisions made between a doctor and a patient hurts no one, nada, zero. This decision only effects the sole decision maker.

    What you call “a serious break in logic” is erroneous and delusional- when one of you decides not to vaccinate your many children, that decision can affect a lot of humans. Not vaccinating is irresponsible and puts all kids of people in danger- pregnant women, older people with health issues, cancer patients of all ages, people with auto-immune disease, and those who really are allergic to certain vaccines. Parents do not get to play doctor just because they have the internet. Doctors should not excuse any child from receiving vaccinations just because the parent wants it.

    I love that my doctors office doesn’t allow non vaccinated children in their practice and 86% of North Americans agree with mandatory vaccinations.

    Link to a respectable study:
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/americans-and-scientists-agree-more-on-vaccines-than-on-other-hot-button-issues/

    Reply

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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