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.

Read A Vaccine Story Part 2 of 2

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