Telling "immunization truthers" that they are losers.

Reply Sat 9 Nov, 2013 09:27 pm


Then a nurse came into the emergency room and left a note on the table that referenced their room number.

“Need to tx, fever, 0 immunizations, Loser!” the note read, along with a frown-faced caricature.

Katie Smart, who said she’d chosen not to vaccinate two of her three children after researching the ingredients of different vaccines, said she felt like the nurse was judging her.

“For her to say that, she doesn’t know why I choose not to vaccinate,” Katie Smart said.

Her husband said the behavior was inappropriate, unacceptable and unprofessional, and the couple filed a complaint with the hospital.

Of course this is inappropriate on the part of the nurse, but it must be frustrating for medical personnel to care for children whose parents chose to put them at risk.

I hope they are lenient with the nurse. I also hope there is an appropriate way to tell these parents to grow up and stop letting their craziness affect their children.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 1,029 • Replies: 5

Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2013 02:43 am
Maxdancona, I apologise for calling you names before. I agree 100% with what you say. The nurse's opinion, which I agree with, had no place in a written document which is part of the hospital process, not least because it could lead to reputational damage for the hospital if it should become known to the patient or other non-medical-professionals.
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Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2013 02:58 am
Unfortunately, the losers are the children, not the parents.
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2013 06:17 am
Setanta wrote:

Unfortunately, the losers are the children, not the parents.

Not just those children, either. All the other unimmunised children and adults in the general population who may be at greater risk of infection as a result.

Having thought about this, I can see several issues. One is the question of whether parents are wise to decide not to immunise their children, and another is the standard of professional behaviour that should be expected of medical staff.

There is a lot we don't know. What missed immunisations might or might not have been relevant, the nature of the suspected "fever", etc. We don't know if the nurse put the note in a place that parents and patients were not supposed to look, and whether they pried. Since in many jurisdictions patients and/or parents have the right to see medical notes, this may not matter much. What does matter is an issue of professional detachment. When a patient has views or a lifestyle that conflict with an attending professional person's ethical or other opinions, that person should endeavour to avoid being influenced. Abortion, blood transfusion, immunisation, whatever. Writing "loser" or "flake" or "baby murderer" or "libtard" or any kind of comment of that type on a medical record is very unprofessional, as the father rightly said.

We don't know if the parents gave the nurse an earful about immunisation because they have some extreme views, or whether they were just misled, anxious about possible danger and wanted to keep their kid as safe as possible. If the latter then the nurse showed, in my opinion, a certain lack of empathy of the kind which is essential in a healthcare professional (that word again!)

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Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2013 06:31 am
In Britain, probably elsewhere, in the days when patient's medical notes were not shown to them, doctors and nurses used to write comments implying that the patients were stupid, crazy, fat, drank too much, etc, sometimes in a cryptic fashion, but now that everyone can see their records they are much more mindful of the possible consequences and it is seen as very unprofessional. There have been cases of people with undiagnosed allergies or other conditions being labelled as "fusspots" or "malingerers" and their subsequent treatment being influenced negatively by these recorded views.

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Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2013 07:01 am
After spending three years in the army medical corps, i worked in hospitals in civilian life before i got so disgusted with doctors and nurses that i looked for work elsewhere, and happily fell into the academic world--in which it took me longer to get disgusted with the people around me.

Patients in the United States have a right to see their medical records, upon formal application. They don't have a right to just pick them out of a file rack in the treatment room or the nurses' station. Those records are and remain the property of the medical treatment facility. I consider that the nurse's comment about the child not having been immunized was reasonable, but appending the epithet "loser" was very unprofessional. There is an arrogance among doctors and nurses which needs to be condemned and commented upon whenever it comes to light. Nevertheless, i consider these parents to be culpable. Although the epithet "immunization truthers" is also disgusting, having as it does an implication of willful blindness, it is nevertheless true that none of the horror stories which circulate about bad sera have ever been shown to have any foundation. It's a damned paltry basis upon which to put one's child at risk. As for the risk to other children or adults who have not been immunized--they get the same sympathy from me as i have already expressed. Unforgivable on the part of the parents, and a needless potential tragedy for the children.
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