I was pretty bothered by this show too. I haven't watched it more than a couple of times but I am an avid Grey's watcher, and since it was on afterward I ended up just keeping on watching.
Ugh, what a dramatic load of crapola. Yes, you can die of the measles and many people used to. But it's not that common, and you can also die of anaphylactic shock after a vaccination. It's right there on the package inserts, for crying out loud! Not very common, but the difference is that they are sanctioning parents taking one set of risks in the name of their childrens' wellbeing, over taking another potential risk.
The part that really pissed me off most was Charlotte telling the mother officiously after the Cooper gave him the shot--"What Dr. Cooper did was the standard of care." Um, no, it's not. Giving procedures and medication without the consent and against the explicitly expressed wishes of a patient or parent is not the standard of care, it's assault and battery and it's illegal. That pissed me off so much!
I think that the mother was presented . . . okay, given the circumstances--as in, it could have been worse, actually. Yeah, she was kind of dowdy, but many TV moms are unless they are supposed to be the stars of something!
One thing that sort of explains this whole episode to me is that I am enough of a Grey's Anatomy nerd that I've listened to some of the Shonda Rimes podcasts on the show's website. I remember listening to one where they were discussing a GA episode where a client wants to have an abortion because she is HIV positive and Izzie goes all wacko on her. Part of the reason for the storyline of that show is that they were participating in a study to see what effect fictional medical dramas (like GA, PP, ER, etc.) have on people's actual health knowledge. They interviewed people before watching that show and asked them what chance a HIV+ mom has of having a healthy HIV- baby. (most people thought the chance was very low). Then they watched the show, in which Izzie ends up telling the mother that she has a 99% chance (or whatever, I don't remember exactly what the number is) of having a healthy HIV negative baby if she takes antiviral therapy. And the mom, who didn't realize that the chances were so good, decides to have the baby after all. Anyway, they interviewed people and asked them the same question after they'd watched the show (like weeks or a month afterwards) and there was a significant increase in people who had assimilated and retained that fact even a time later (although that effect diminished as time went on after watching (like they were asked, say, six months down the road from having watched.) Anyway, in the podcast discussing this, Shonda Rimes and her coproducer were going on and on about how even though they are a drama and it's fiction, they realize that TV is a powerful tool and a major place that people get a lot of their health information and health messages, and that they also feel like they have at least some degree of responsibility to deliver some degree of accuracy in the health messages.
Unfortunately, their view is all completely mainstream and based on the party lines of the AMA or the CDC, meanwhile taking the most extreme example and exaggerating it to the hilt for maximum drama. And I mean, come on--even their idea of an integrated wellness practice group is just totally weird. I mean, how is this mid-20's surfer boy wanna be midwife learning to do midwifery, when the OB/gyn in the group is as anti-natural birth and pro-cesarean as Addison? How are a fertility specialist, a OB/perinatologist, a counselor, a pediatrician and an acupuncturist/herbalist/woo-woo guy actually going to work together integratively with the same patients? I mean, the individual doctors are about as medically conservative and reactive and as mainstream as you can get, and yet they are supposed to be in some sort of alternative and holistic setting.
Gah. Now I remember why I never got into watching this show in the first place. I liked Addison well enough on Greys, she played well off the other personalities on the show, but as a spinoff this one has always seemed pointless and sort of gratuitious.