Not vaxing and the ER - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-21-2011, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Ladies.

I'm pretty new here and do not vax. I have a 4 and 2 year old who are both very healthy!

We have been to the ER twice - once for something up the nose, and once for stitches. Both times they asked if the kids are up to date on their vaxes, and in both cases I said no. It was very stressful for me, and I got lots of questions and a nasty attitude by the admitting nurse. IF I ever have to make a trip to the ER again (and of course I hope not), should I just lie? On top of already being stressed out by being there in the first place, the last thing a mom needs is a 3rd degree about vaccine choices, kwim?

 

FTR, we live in BC Canada.

 

Thanks!


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Old 02-21-2011, 02:41 PM
 
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I think this will vary greatly by location. My son is 10 months and unvaxed. When he was about 6 months, we took him to the ER for breathing problems. They were completely unphased by him being unvaxed. But, I also had never had any issues with the ped's office so I think it was normal for the area. We've moved now and haven't taken him in at all so who knows how it will be here.

I think if the illness you are taking them to the ER could not possibly be a vax "preventable" disease, then lying isn't going to hurt anything. But, if you take them in for a lingering, really bad cough, then you would want to tell them because they would need to know so they don't automatically rule out whooping cough. (Not that they would now since lots of people coming down with it have been vaxed.)

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Old 02-21-2011, 02:44 PM
 
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My DD1 has been to the ER twice, once when she was about 16 mo old for seizures due to high fever from the flu and once about a year ago for stitches in her ear from an injury at the park. For the record she was vaxed up to 4 months and then I stopped. And we have ZERO intentions of giving any more to her, or any to our DD2. We live in Texas also.

For the first ER visit I believe when they asked we said no, but I dont remember for sure if we were even asked. Obviously if I dont remember it, it must not have been a very relevant experience. They looked her over, pronounced her as having the flu and said that some kids get seizures with high fevers and sent us on our way. I was nursing my two week old DD2 at the time, and we sat in the ER with all these sick people and she never got sick (yea for nursing!!) The second visit was when she was about 2 1/2 and my mom had her and my DD2 for the weekend (we were traveling for my husbands business) and supposedly while at the park she somehow fell and ripped her ear lobe open and needed to be rushed to the ER. Let me tell you, that is a frightening call! I say supposedly because to this day I really dont know what happened, my mom looked away to catch the younger one on the slide and then the older one started crying and was bleeding. I cant imagine what she could have cut herself on (my DH believes someone actually bit her, as that has happened before) who knows. (for the record I trust my mom and her explanation 100%) but it is just hard to believe she could cut her ear... Anyways, my mom was the one who had to take her to the ER for stitches, and she asked about her tetnus vax. I said if the wound was bleeding there was 99% likelihood that she would not get anything. But the big fear was, we had no clue how she got her ear ripped open. She said the doctors never even asked, which actually kind of surprised me since it was an open would, everything I had heard or experienced was 'get a shot'.

 

I guess for me it would depend on the situation, I have no problem being honest about our choices. But then again when I have gotten a combative response, I usually shut them down pretty fast. I know people who have lied, but they have since changed their minds. ie. I have know people who 'forged' shot records to avoid the hassles. But they have since realized they prefer to be upfront and honest and not live in fear of their choices, and actually have not ever had an issue since being completely honest if the question arises.

 

Good luck!


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Old 02-21-2011, 02:59 PM
 
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We were just there w/ Jack.   I was asked if he was if he was up to date on his vaccines.  I said no.   The nurse followed up with do you delay or not vaccinate.  I said delay.  She then said has he had any of the DTaP series.  I said yes 2.  She said thank you.  We were there for stitches.  I thought it was a pleasant way to ask the questions.  no more was said.


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Old 02-21-2011, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Interesting to see how different it can be for others! Do you think the nurse at the ER can look up your child's vax records?

In both cases (one was about a year ago and the other was less than a month ago), the admitting nurse kept asking questions. I just kept it vague and said their doctor has all the information. I think I will let me DH do the admitting if we ever have to go back. He's pretty unshakeable and is strongly against vaccines. I find that I tend to get intimidated by medical professionals for some reason. It's like I feel that they think I'm a bad mom because I don't vax, lean more towards alternative remedies and avoid doctors as much as possible. 


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Old 02-23-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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Been to the ER once when DS was 18 mo. He fell out of a shopping cart onto his head (Oh God I still feel sick when I think about it....awful!) I lied at the ER. I don't know if I would have been given a hassle or not, but the reason why we were there had nothing to do with vaccines and I felt bad enough as it was. I didn't need anymore grief at that time.


If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson.

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Old 02-23-2011, 12:50 PM
 
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As much as I hate lying, I would just lie.  It doesn't make any difference whether or not your kid is vax'd when you visit the ER unless it is a deep puncture wound & even then the chances of a small child contracting tetanus is rare.


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Old 02-23-2011, 01:21 PM
 
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I actually kind of disagree with this. In certain scenarios, lying would increase the chances of an MD missing a proper diagnosis. For example, if you took your child to the ER for lethargy, sudden onset of high fever and a rash and neck stiffness, but told them that they were fully vaccinated, a doc might me inclined to rule out meningitis (even though there are dozens of strains of bacteria and viruses that can result in meningitis) without doing proper testing. On the flip side, if you tell them that a child is unvaxed, they often want to do unneccesary testing ( even if the evidence does not point to that diagnosis. ie high fever, lethargy and no rash or stiffness) I don't think vax status should be a part of differential diagnosis, but unfortunately it is sometimes.

 

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As much as I hate lying, I would just lie.  It doesn't make any difference whether or not your kid is vax'd when you visit the ER unless it is a deep puncture wound & even then the chances of a small child contracting tetanus is rare.




If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson.

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Old 02-23-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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Depending on what we are there for and the vibe I am getting, I have no qualms about saying they are up to date if what we are there for has nothing to do with vax status. Broken bones, dehydration, etc... When I have said they are not vaxed, I do it firmly, in a manner that says it is not up for discussion, and I've always been left alone about it. 


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Old 02-23-2011, 01:43 PM
 
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I recently took my 8yo to the ER for fever and breathing issues. I said I felt he had pneunomia. I said he was UTD on vaccines,because I did not want them wasting time freaking over the vaccine status when they could be taking care of him. I knew an xray and blood work would be done.He had fluid in his one lung and so I was right.We were give antibios.

 

I recall refusing the hepB vaccine for my newborn and I was  told she would die OVER  and OVER.They spent a lot of time harrassing me over the vaccine when they should have been checking my dd over after a fast homebirth.

 

When the moment comes you will know whether or not vaccine status is relevant. Like I told dh it says right in the vaccine inserts that not everyone vaccinated with this/that vaccine will develop immunity,but doctors seem to forget that.

 

Personally I think unless you have current titers on a person you should consider the VPD if the symptoms fit the disease.

 

The kids ped does know their vaccine status and he is fine with it.When I am at an ER I consider it an emergency and not the place to get baggered over healthcare choices. If more doctors/nurses acted professionally then parents would not be forced to lie.

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Old 02-23-2011, 02:58 PM
 
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Marnica- I was thinking of accidents more than illnesses.  I've never had to take DS to the ER. 

 

Like the PP, having a vaccine doesn't mean you are fully protected against a particular disease anyway.  If there were possible symptoms of a disease like meningitis then I might disclose that they hadn't rec'd that particular vaccine.

 

mattemma04- Why they can't just test Mom for Hep B is beyond me.  In my research I've learned that Hep B in babies almost always causes permanent damage & leaves to chronic Hep which is why everyone freaks about this particular disease, but STILL it makes no sense to vaccinate for it if mom doesn't have it.


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Old 02-23-2011, 04:06 PM
 
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I pick my battles. With situations like these-people who don't absolutely need to know where you stand on vaccines, i just say "we don't vaccinate anymore-they're allergic". Or, "no, we don't vaccinate, and my family doctor has records that we're opting out." (This way they know that this is an informed decision, not just neglect  on our part. ER docs tend to just leave it at that.) I'd rather not try to explain my decisions to a random doctor who doesn't need to know while my child is in the er waiting for treatment-which is generally already stressful enough.


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Old 02-25-2011, 01:31 PM
 
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I no longer care what ER nurses/docs say or think. I respect what they do, but I will not listen to them go on about vaccines. I do not lie because they may rule out diseases based on vax status. If my son is sick, I do want them to be on the lookout for HiB and not think "oh, he's vaccinated so it probably isn't that". I tell them we're waiting a while (since he's still so young), rather than "we don't vaccinate", but eventually, I will have to say that. I say we did not come to the decision lightly, then move the conversation along. The most I've gotten in the ER is "well, you should consider it" or something like that. If they tried to lecture me, I would cut them off immediately since that's not why I'm there. Oh, I also throw in, "under the supervision of his pediatrician" or something similar. I used to be intimidated by the white coats or scrubs, but not anymore. My kids and all we've been through have made me see doctors so much differently. Good luck.


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Old 02-25-2011, 01:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloebelle View Post

Hi Ladies.

I'm pretty new here and do not vax. I have a 4 and 2 year old who are both very healthy!

We have been to the ER twice - once for something up the nose, and once for stitches. Both times they asked if the kids are up to date on their vaxes, and in both cases I said no. It was very stressful for me, and I got lots of questions and a nasty attitude by the admitting nurse. IF I ever have to make a trip to the ER again (and of course I hope not), should I just lie? On top of already being stressed out by being there in the first place, the last thing a mom needs is a 3rd degree about vaccine choices, kwim?

 

FTR, we live in BC Canada.

 

Thanks!


I have flat out lied when I was in the ER for stuff where vax was not pertinent to my childs care. If I was there for an unexplained serious illness I'd be upfront. For something stuck up the nose or getting stiches because they banged their head on the coffee table, no I wouldn't.

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Old 02-26-2011, 12:47 PM
 
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As a general rule, I try really hard not to find myself in situations where I have/want/feel-like-I-need to lie. Of course, being less than forthcoming with the *whole* truth, can be another story altogether... If (or when) I were to find myself in an ER with my completely unvax'ed DD, the answer to "is she up to date on her vaccines" is "yes". Up to date on my schedule? Absolutely. Up to date on someone else's schedule? That's a different question.


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Old 02-26-2011, 02:23 PM
 
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I used to stress out and was indeed hassled over vax status several times when the kids were young.  I had to find a way to deal with these situations, where I'm free of lying and my kids are protected from medical mistakes, and I want my kids to see a professional relationship between Mama and Provider.  (I always felt most upset because the kids witnessed to these "discussions" where another adult tells me my child-rearing decisions are wrong, and I'm endangering my children, in front of my observant child.  Mothers should be treated with more respect, esp in front of their own children.)

 

When asked vax status, I simply say calmly and firmly, "Our family does not vaccinate."  They take a note, and we move on.  This has worked for me every time, no explanations, no hassles.  Sometimes they offer flyers or other information, which I accept gracefully and dispose of later. 

 

I think medical professionals interpret my statement as a religious tenant, much like "we cannot take blood transfusions."  They know there are people of faith who follow religious rules different from medical rules.  Med professionals are trained to respect these religious situations, which is a different category from the "ignorant careless parent in need of education" situation which they see every day.  Just my take on it.  As the kids get older, it gets easier.

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Old 02-26-2011, 03:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloebelle View Post

Hi Ladies.

I'm pretty new here and do not vax. I have a 4 and 2 year old who are both very healthy!

We have been to the ER twice - once for something up the nose, and once for stitches. Both times they asked if the kids are up to date on their vaxes, and in both cases I said no. It was very stressful for me, and I got lots of questions and a nasty attitude by the admitting nurse. IF I ever have to make a trip to the ER again (and of course I hope not), should I just lie? On top of already being stressed out by being there in the first place, the last thing a mom needs is a 3rd degree about vaccine choices, kwim?

 

FTR, we live in BC Canada.

 

Thanks!



Chloebelle, you absolutely have no reason to lie. In BC, there is no law requiring you to vax your kids -- for school, for daycare, nothing. If the nurse disagrees with you, whatever. It's not her place to give an opinion, and you can tell her that. A PP mentioned that lying could result in a misdiagnosis, ie tests not being run for a vpd & I would agree with that. Since there is no risk to telling the truth, and there might be a risk to lying, the choice is obvious.

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Old 02-26-2011, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This thread got me thinking: I wonder if they ask an adult if they're up to date on vaccines when they are admitted into the ER???

I was only given a few vaccines when I was a child (yes, I'm old), and I am not vaccinated for 95% of what the kids today are vaccinated against. (BTW, I also had chicken pox, measles and mumps as a child... and survived :) ) 


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Old 02-26-2011, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Chloebelle, you absolutely have no reason to lie. In BC, there is no law requiring you to vax your kids -- for school, for daycare, nothing. If the nurse disagrees with you, whatever. It's not her place to give an opinion, and you can tell her that. A PP mentioned that lying could result in a misdiagnosis, ie tests not being run for a vpd & I would agree with that. Since there is no risk to telling the truth, and there might be a risk to lying, the choice is obvious.

 

I do hear what you're saying, and that is why I did not lie the first 2 times, but it was stressful and I was stressed about it even while driving to the hospital, on top of being concerned about my child. Of course, if my child were sick with a bad fever or something, I'd be honest, but I just don't think it's necessary for me to have to get into my vaccine choices over a candy up the nose and a cut on the head. I really think if I go back in a similar situation, I would just lie to avoid the confrontation. 
 


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Old 02-26-2011, 03:36 PM
 
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They do say they're bringing in electronic records soon that can be accessed by medical staff. I don't know what "soon" means, especially given the pending provincial election, but eventually they'll know anyway. 

 

I'm sorry you've had bad experiences with medical staff. I can totally see how a candy up the nose has nothing to do with measles (just for example)! A cut on the head, depending on when and where, might have some tetanus relevance but that's about it. FWIW, I think the laws have changed over the years,  it may take a while for attitudes to change as well. I have an adult child & an infant, and the adult child was given vaxes IN school (I was too). I don't recall there ever being anything like a choice about it, but with the infant, 20 years later, the public health nurses were very much "it's optional." 

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Old 02-26-2011, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Regarding electronic records, is it not a privacy issue? Do hospitals have to right to look up your vax (or any other medical) history without your or your doctor's consent? Perhaps I can see the necessity in the case of certain illnesses, but in an unrelated visit such as what I had, if electronic records were available, would they have the right to look up vax history "just because"?


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Old 02-26-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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Quote:
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Regarding electronic records, is it not a privacy issue? Do hospitals have to right to look up your vax (or any other medical) history without your or your doctor's consent? Perhaps I can see the necessity in the case of certain illnesses, but in an unrelated visit such as what I had, if electronic records were available, would they have the right to look up vax history "just because"?


To my understanding, yes, it will all be available. I think there are some privacy concerns being voiced, but mostly I've just heard the advantages being aired. This is the link from the gov't. The first paragraph reads:

 

Physicians will have access to their patient's complete medical information including medical history, medication profile, lab test results and immunization history, from their EMR.

 

http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/ehealth/emr_gov_physicians.html

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Old 02-27-2011, 07:04 AM
 
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Tetanus is typically only a concern when there is a puncture wound, not just a cut or abrasion (otherwise everyone who isn't vaccinated or who hadn't been vax'd in a while would be getting it).  Also young children (in developed countries) are one of the groups least likely to contract tetanus (unlike the elderly) b/c their bodies are more efficient about getting rid of the spores/bacteria.  Plus if the wound isn't deep & gets adequate medical care, the spores most likely never have a chance to germinate or the bacteria don't multiply.

 

I would contact my pediatrician (who supports my vax decisions) before I went to the ER, unless my child wasn't breathing or in another life-threatening situation & discuss the symptoms & vax situation with him 1st.  Then I think I would only disclose DS not being vax'd if the illness/injury/symptoms warranted it, otherwise whether or not my child is vax'd is irrelevant.


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Old 03-01-2011, 06:19 AM
 
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Chloebelle, you absolutely have no reason to lie. In BC, there is no law requiring you to vax your kids -- for school, for daycare, nothing. If the nurse disagrees with you, whatever. It's not her place to give an opinion, and you can tell her that. A PP mentioned that lying could result in a misdiagnosis, ie tests not being run for a vpd & I would agree with that. Since there is no risk to telling the truth, and there might be a risk to lying, the choice is obvious.



I agree with this.  I live in New Brunswick and have been to the ER several times with my unvaxxed 3 year old and they have never asked about vax.  But I did cut my finger a while back and of course they brought up tetanus and if I was up to date.  I was 100% unconcerned that I was at risk for tetanus and I haven't had a shot in over 10 years so I asked the Dr.  "are you concerned that this cut is at risk for tetanus?" and he said no.  So I said that there was no reason to even talk about tetanus and that was that.  I don't think I would feel comfortable lying about vaccines.  We chose this path and have to deal with the crappy attitude people give us sometimes. 

 


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Old 03-01-2011, 06:22 AM
 
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I would contact my pediatrician (who supports my vax decisions) before I went to the ER, unless my child wasn't breathing or in another life-threatening situation & discuss the symptoms & vax situation with him 1st.  Then I think I would only disclose DS not being vax'd if the illness/injury/symptoms warranted it, otherwise whether or not my child is vax'd is irrelevant.


This sounds like a solution for a perfect world. Where I live in New Brunswick I can't even find a family Dr. accepting new patients, let alone one who supports my choices. I have to use the ER as a family Dr. sometimes greensad.gif.

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Old 03-16-2011, 11:02 AM
 
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I actually kind of disagree with this. In certain scenarios, lying would increase the chances of an MD missing a proper diagnosis. For example, if you took your child to the ER for lethargy, sudden onset of high fever and a rash and neck stiffness, but told them that they were fully vaccinated, a doc might me inclined to rule out meningitis (even though there are dozens of strains of bacteria and viruses that can result in meningitis) without doing proper testing. On the flip side, if you tell them that a child is unvaxed, they often want to do unneccesary testing ( even if the evidence does not point to that diagnosis. ie high fever, lethargy and no rash or stiffness) I don't think vax status should be a part of differential diagnosis, but unfortunately it is sometimes.

 


 


I need to second this.  Even though it is likely that vaccine status is totally irrelevant, I do not want to lie to a doctor ever. What if vaccine status DOES become an issue at some point and you have to explain how you lied the first time you were asked?  You have not only lost all credibility with the doctors, but you are now risking your child's health. It might be uncomfortable, but I strongly believe that honesty is the ONLY policy.  We are making the decision to delay and possibly never vax based on real risks not junk science.  If I was not certain of that, I would have made a different choice.  I will convey that we have made our decision and that if they want more information they can get in touch with our ped, who supports our decision. 

 


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Old 03-16-2011, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's not the doctors I'm worried about. It's those admitting nurses who take your information and give you the 3rd degree about vaccinations when you're there with a child who has a candy up their nose or a cut on the head. Do I really need to go through that??? Both doctor's I encountered in the ER had been kind and friendly and if for any reason they asked about my children's vaccine history, I would have felt a heck of a lot more comfortable discussing my decisions to not vax with them as opposed to grumpy nurses who look at me like I'm a child abuser. 

IDK, honestly, if there's a next time, I'd probably just say "yes" when they ask if the vaxes are up to date... unless I'm in the mood for an argument :)


Non-vaxing, vegetarian, green lovin' mama to two little divas.
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:47 PM
 
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I posted this on an earlier forum, but thought I'd pass it along here:  My son was injured as a 2yo.  His toe was smashed- broken bone with an open sore.  Since there's a relatively high chance of a bone infection in the case of a bone break with an open sore, the MD was very concerned that he was unvaxed, specifically against tetanus.  She basically scared the crap out of me, saying that if we didn't give him the vax right away, she could end up having to remove his toe or even his whole foot.  So I said OK, let's do just the tetanus.  Then she started in with how they have to give the combo shot, and additionally an extra immune booster shot since he didn't have any other vax's floating around in his system.  I told her I was uncomfortable with that and I'd have to talk to the ped first.  Long story short, the ped was thoroughly unconcerned about there being any chance that he'd been exposed to tetanus, we never vax'd, and he's fine.  So just be aware that with open wounds there's a chance of getting pushed to get that shot.  Also a good idea to know how prolific tetanus is in your area (I live in AZ where there have been a handfull of cases over the last decade, and all of those people had had contact with cow manure).

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Old 03-17-2011, 08:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloebelle View Post

Regarding electronic records, is it not a privacy issue? Do hospitals have to right to look up your vax (or any other medical) history without your or your doctor's consent? Perhaps I can see the necessity in the case of certain illnesses, but in an unrelated visit such as what I had, if electronic records were available, would they have the right to look up vax history "just because"?



I always thought health records would be private. I found out when I had an ectopic pregnancy in the hospital and was referred to a cardiologist because of some issues afterward that they were able to access my records electronically. I questioned them about how they were able to do that without my consent. I guess they don't have to ask your consent.

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Old 03-17-2011, 11:29 AM
 
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Digital files make it very easy to access EVERYTHING esp when your ped or dr is associated with the hospital.
 

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Originally Posted by TonyaW View Post





I always thought health records would be private. I found out when I had an ectopic pregnancy in the hospital and was referred to a cardiologist because of some issues afterward that they were able to access my records electronically. I questioned them about how they were able to do that without my consent. I guess they don't have to ask your consent.



 


Jeana Christian momma to 4 sons Logan 18, Connor 15, Nathan 6, and bonus baby Jack 1
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