Saturday, February 28, 2015

Vaccines and School Segregation

If you are over 40 years old, you probably remember talk of school segregation and re-integration. There were protests about this including this, now laughable, image. But a comment on a heated vaccine-debate piece written by a doctor had some gold in it.

"I think we should create schools for un-vaccinated children"

This is the first intelligent comment I've read on either side of the debate. I know it was meant to be snarky, but actually it makes a lot of sense. You have a group of kids together who are vaccinated and those who are immuno-compromised can feel safer with them, while those who are sensitive to neurological damage due to the aluminum ajuvant or trace levels of ethyl mercury, or predisposed to auto-immune disease when presented with the human components of the vaccines can safely acquire natural immunity without endangering those who may experience severe complications of the disease.

This solution is certainly not perfect, but it is a viable option. A better option is to actually make vaccines without neurotoxic chemicals and human components, but I'll leave the debating to the "experts."

Copyright 2015 Christine Emmick
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Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Just Trust Me, I'm the Expert" Says the Pro-Vac Doc

I recently read an opinion piece on the vaccine debate which reminded me again why I dislike many doctors. This post itself did little to convince me to immunize my kids, and it also gave me even less faith in our medical system.

vaccine debate
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
His premise is that if you don't immunize, he will not see you in his practice. Many doctors are taking this stance, and they have a right to run their practice as they wish, at least until someone sues them for lack of service like some couples are suing for cake toppers and wedding flowers.

What really bothered me was his premise of why he took this harsh stance. It was not of lack of protection of his other patients; it was one of lack of trust in his abilities.

With medical errors being the 3rd leading cause of death in this country, there is no one doctor anyone should put their trust in wholeheartedly. Doctors can, and do make mistakes, to the tune of 1,000 to 1,200 deaths per day with as many as a half million deaths attributed to preventable medical errors every year.

Your medical care should always be a partnership between you and your doctor. Any doctor that insists that his expertise supersedes your intuition is ignorant at best, and at worst, deadly.

Far from a relationship with your local florist, a doctor's changing vaccine policy can clash with a parent's personal beliefs at great cost. It's not like you can walk down the street to a new doctor for a second MRI like you can walk to the next baker to order a 3-tier cake. A doctor has access to important medical records and test results which can paint a clearer picture of the matters of life and health. Giving up on a patient after they are established in the practice is like ripping out the roots of their healthcare.

The doctor's stance on vaccines and his position of perceived infallibility actually bring about the very thing he is hoping to avoid...a lack of trust.

  I think John QuiƱones of What Would You Do? said it best when he said, "People deserve to be served regardless of personal beliefs."

Copyright 2015 Christine Emmick
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Friday, September 5, 2014

Cipro and Autism - A question that begs an answer...

In the year 2000 my daughter was in my womb, comfortably waiting to be born. It was my first pregnancy and I was extra careful, because it had taken three years to successfully conceive.

When I developed a severe chest cold in late winter in 2001, my doctor said that I needed some type of antibiotics. Cipro was category C, "but" I was late in pregnancy "and" I was allergic to so many kinds of antibiotics. I had taken the drug several times in my twenties and seemed to have no adverse health effects. I assumed since I wasn't allergic to it, it was fine.

My daughter has Aspergers, which is a form of autism.

It was not discovered right away. She taught herself how to read at 2 and a half and was reading novels by 5. We just thought she was gifted, and sensitive.

As the years passed, she was not maturing socially. She was easily overwhelmed. She was extra particular about where things went. She would fly off in a rage and tear things off the walls. Two days ago she screamed for 20 minutes because she could not find a particular pencil.

Cipro is a fluoroquinolone.

The FDA ordered a warning to be added to this class of drugs due to increasing reports of serious side effects, including liver diseasedepression, retinal detachmentkidney disease and neuropathy. It had already had a warning about increased risk of tendon rupture.

In 2004 my Achilles tendon ruptured while walking across a busy intersection. I did not associate this with Cipro use at that time, however in 2012 I was prescribed Cipro for a urinary tract infection. For a month afterward I struggled with thoughts of suicide. I did some research and found the connection.

Given that the brain is part of the nervous system, that fluoride is part of the Cipro makeup, and that fluoride is attributed by some to cause neurological damage I pose this question:

Is it possible that the use of fluoroquinolone drug during pregnancy may result in an increased risk of autism in the child?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

IKEA Manager Insults Breastfeeding Mother; Mom Asks for Corporate Apology

Photo: Zboralski, Wikimedia Commons,  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported 
By Christine Emmick

A woman in an IKEA furniture store in Ottawa was insulted, then asked to leave her place in line by store management, because she was breastfeeding her child yesterday while in line at the checkout.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) affirms a woman’s right to breastfeed her child “anytime, anywhere.” This right is protected by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. According to the regulation, no one should ask moms to “cover up,” ask them to move, or even disturb them in any way.

According to Brea Rehder, IKEA management did not follow Ottawa law. Says Rehder, “The manager glared at me and said, ‘When you are done being disgusting, we can resume our discussion. In the meantime, take it to the bathroom because you're holding up the line.’” Management was called due to a pricing issue when the incident occurred.

Rehder is currently waiting for a response from management, however breastfeeding advocates are contemplating a public nurse-in to help educate the public on the issue. In her letter to IKEA, Rehder says, “I have truly never been more insulted, and beyond upsetting me, the manager's comments about my breastfeeding deeply affected my two-year old son.” She went on to say her son cried himself to sleep over the issue.

Breastfeeding rights advocate Jodine Chase says, “Moms often feel large retailers don't respond appropriately when an incident like this occurs. A nurse-in is common tool used by breastfeeding moms to raise awareness to counter public breastfeeding discrimination. IKEA needs to take incidents like this seriously. IKEA's response, so far, is not appropriate. They need to publicly apologize and train their employees so it doesn't happen again.”

Copyright 2014 
Christine Emmick


Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Madness - Udder Covers and Lactophobia

Instead of the Friday Funny that most sites have, I figured we could use a little humor on Monday to start the week off right. A pro-breastfeeding friend of mine posted this on my Facebook page recently:

cow covers while breastfeeding
 Found on this site, it highlights the need for us moms to resist covering up due to other's shaming us. After all, we are simply feeding our children the best possible food in the most natural of circumstances. Why should we be ashamed of that? This, coupled with the fact that most babies resist being covered in a hot sweaty blanket while they eat, means that not only should we be daring for society's sake, we should also be daring for our child's sake as well.

In many parts of the US, women find it nearly impossible to nurse in public (NIP) without awkward glances or even rude comments. If you are ever asked to stop, speak up. The law is on your side. If you need to call in reinforcements, Human Milk 4 Human Babies is a great place to start. The global community helps organize nurse-ins and can direct you to a licensed lactation consultant in your area to help with breastfeeding issues. They are truly passionate about changing the tide of misinformation.

Moms, until the day when babes can eat without criticism, keep on smiling at those ignorant glances. Our kids are worth it!

For more information, check out this awesome article on lactophobia by Ilithyia Inspired.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pediatricians and Policy - A Vaccine Story - Part 2 of 2

This is my experience on the journey of vaccine safety. To read more about why we've chosen to delay some vaccines and not give others, "like" me on Facebook, Christine Emmick - Freelance Writer.

When we found out we were pregnant with our fourth, we were not only more prepared, we were more educated. We asked all the right questions and found a pediatrician that would honor our wishes as parents, or so we thought. We went and discussed our beliefs with two of the pediatricians prior to the birth of #4 and felt confident that we had found the group for our family.

Photo Credit: NathanF, No Endorsement Implied
The tune changed at her two month appointment. We were scheduled with a nurse practitioner who was not aware of the previous discussions with the other two doctors. When presented with the idea of selecting one vaccine instead of all four (including 7 different pathogens) she was visibly angry. Notating the previous discussions, I asked her which vaccine was the most important to get first.

Shaking with intensity, she responded, “In my opinion they are ALL important!” I was shocked and a little humored that a medical professional of her rank was so thrown by my question. She continued to assert that they were safe and if I was concerned about mercury, I needn't be. In a rush, she left the room and returned with a data sheet of how much mercury was in each shot.

After I looked at the chart for a minute, I noticed there were differences in the amount of mercury per brand. I exclaimed, “This DTaP has three TIMES more mercury than the Pediarix!” She threw her hands up and left the room, for what seemed like an eternity.

When she finally returned, I described to her a severe allergic reaction my brother had when getting the DTaP shot back in the late 70s, and then I calmly posed this question: “If we give her all four of these and she has an allergic reaction, how do we know which one caused it?”

Defeated and visibly angry, she said, “We don’t.”

She again urged me to get all of them. I was intentionally evasive because I had no intention of getting all of them that day. Since my older child was there getting some stitches removed, she asked me to send her in while I thought about it. We ended up leaving the office without any vaccines that day.

What was scarily ironic was that my daughter had only gained 2 ounces in 2 weeks and she never batted an eye at her weight. She was so upset that I was not “on board” with the shot schedule, she completely ignored a possible serious health problem.

In her effort to protect the herd immunity, she unintentionally neglected the health of her patient.

The staff never scheduled us to see her again. I'm guessing it was her choice. I would have been happy to have the conversation with her about the benefits of immunizations again. I'm guessing she was not up for the questions I would throw at her.

Despite this rocky start, we spent nearly 3 happy, well cared for years at this pediatrician’s office visiting only one doctor in the group. He listened to my concerns, and answered all of my questions in a thoughtful, kind manner. More than that, he respected my intelligence, and my decisions regarding my children’s healthcare, even if he didn't agree with all of them.

We've moved, so that beloved pediatrician is now over an hour from us. We are seeing a new one for the kid’s yearly checkups next month. I am praying that she will be as awesome as my last one. ;)

Coincidentally, or maybe not so, my oldest daughter who was the only one to receive her two month old shots on schedule, is the only one of my children who shows signs of Asperger's. I will always wonder if her life would be different had I not caved to the doctor's bullying that day.

If this article helps you in any way, please comment here, or like me on Facebook and comment there. Feedback, and your donations, keep That’s What Breasts are For running. Thanks for your gift!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pediatricians and Policy - A Vaccine Story - Part 1 of 2

This is my experience on the journey of vaccine safety. To read more about why we've chosen to delay some vaccines and not give others, "like" me on Facebook, Christine Emmick - Freelance Writer.

By the time my first child was two months old in 2001, I had read enough about the vaccine debate to question the full schedule the Department of Heath recommended. I walked in to the office fully expecting to have an intelligent discussion with the pediatrician about why they were necessary and what the risks and benefits were. Instead I received a short, rather stern answer to my concerns.

"If you don't go by the schedule, you can't be a patient here."

Photo Credit: NathanF, No Endorsement Implied
Reluctantly, I caved to the bullying and signed the consent forms for all the immunizations. What happened next was nothing less than a tragedy.

As my 2 month old baby lay screaming, the nurse came in with her handful of 4 shots. Working quickly, the nurse injected one in each leg, and one in each tiny arm of my 2 month old, leaving bleeding track marks due to the abruptness of her manner.

As she was doing it, I asked her why she was injecting into her arm. She said, "that's how we do it." I left in tears wishing I never set foot into that office. I never went back again.

We then switched to a family care doctor who was more amiable to the discussion of vaccine safety, but she still asserted that following the schedule was best. After breastfeeding issues with our second child proved too much for the office to handle, we decided we needed a pediatrician to follow our children's health.

This brought us to our town's breastfeeding experts, but it also brought us to another vaccine dilemma. Although this office was slightly more amiable, they were not willing to delay any vaccine in the schedule any longer than two weeks. When we told them we’d like to spread them out further, I was told again that we needed to follow the schedule.

With the delivery of my third child only a month away, I got a letter saying that my children were no longer welcome at their office.

Out of desperation  we decided to go with the pediatrician that served us in the hospital. They seemed to care about our need for close monitoring of our newborns due to breastfeeding issues, and when asked about immunizations they simply said, “We’d like you to get them.”

We found out differently when we requested a delayed schedule. After our request to have only one new vaccine at a time was granted, we got “behind” and were given a warning. It was gentler this time, but no less threatening. “I don’t want to do this, but if you don’t get them caught up you won’t be able to bring them here.” By now we knew this meant we were soon to get a letter, and we’d need to find another doctor for our children.

If this article helps you in any way, please comment here, or like me on Facebook and comment there. Feedback, and your donations, keep That’s What Breasts are For running. Thanks for your gift!