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#1 of 24 Old 02-22-2006, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...161253,00.html

Last fall a handful of us wanted to get our tots flu shots without the mercury-based preservative thimerosal, which some people suspect is a risk factor for autism. Still searching for a new pediatrician, I asked a friend's doctor about the issue and was assured that kids' flu shots never contain thimerosal. A second friend was told the same thing by her doctor. It was very comforting--and very untrue.

Another friend's doctor, meanwhile, informed her that all childrens' flu shots contain thimerosal. Also not true. In reality, a less prevalent thimerosal-free version can be had for a few extra bucks.


As a physician, I was completely flabbergasted and embarrassed to learn that my understanding that thimerosal had been completely removed from child vaccinations was wrong (thank you, Long Island).

In trying to talk to my pediatrician colleagues about this, there is a complete wall of hostility and resistence. Basically, their contention is that they (the pediatricians) have decided that the thimerosal risk is not real. Therefore, they are justified in admiinistering it to children. Furthermore (more shocking to me), they feel no obligation to specifically discuss this issue with parents, educate them and elicit their understanding and cooperation. So long as the routine 'VIS' - vaccination information sheet - is signed and on the chart, they feel their job is done.

I'm not feeling very comfortable about the ethics or credibility of my profession right now.
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#2 of 24 Old 02-22-2006, 04:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by blessed
I'm not feeling very comfortable about the ethics or credibility of my profession right now.
I know that was probably very difficult for you to write, especially on this forum. Thank you for taking a closer look at this issue.


This is the information (if you want to call it that) the CDC has released to the public regarding thimerosal in influenza vaccine:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/thimerosal.htm

I use the term "laughable" a lot on this forum and this Q&A CDC page on thimerosal in influenza vaccine is just that . . . laughable and misleading to say the least.
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#3 of 24 Old 02-22-2006, 04:46 PM
 
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My husband often feels the same way. He would really like someone to comiserate with (besides me, lol), if you'd like.

nak, will try toreply later when i can actually type.

Obstruct livery vehicles!

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#4 of 24 Old 02-22-2006, 05:01 PM
 
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It's so nice to see a pediatrician who is willing to question...

My MIL got a flu shot for my nephew this year after being assured that it did not contain mercury.

Bold. Faced. Lie.
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#5 of 24 Old 02-22-2006, 05:03 PM
 
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Blessed:

I'm so glad you stuck around even after all the controversy .

THANK YOU for being a pediatrician who is willing to actually research this subject and open your eyes to the truth. It gives me hope for your profession and hope that many children will be spared a life of pain and suffering because you now understand. Please continue to talk about this subject with your colleagues. Encourage them to do their own research.

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#6 of 24 Old 02-22-2006, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the kind words.

Just to clarify, I'm actually a surgeon (adult), rather than a pediatrician.

To be honest, I'm not convinced that there has been any demonstration that there is a link between thimerosal and neurodevelopmental disorders (you guys won't like that part, I know ). Not that I'm convinced that there is not a link necessarily. There may very well be. But the current data is very equivocal and doesn't allow me to draw a definitive conclusion.

However, in 1999 the FDA, CDC, NIH and the American Academy of Pediatrics reviewed the data that was available. They determined in a joint statement that, while there was no proof of injury at that time, it was a plausbile hypothesis for this known toxin to cause neurological injury to the developing brain. Therefore, they recommended withdrawal of thimerosal from all pharmaceutical administered to children, pregnant or nursing women.

This was mostly done, and thimerosal exposures today are a fraction of what they were seven or eight years ago. However, influenza was recently recommended for pediatric use, and it still is manufactured with thimerosal when supplied in the multi dose vial. So, unless you specify thimerosal free - or the more expensive single dose vial - your child will receive thimerosal if you choose to get him/her a flu shot.

I argued with my peds friends that, if the FDA advised me not to give a drug to children - any drug - then by god, I would not give that drug to children. If for some reason I thought that there was no other option available, then I would most certainly have a detailed discussion with the parents as to why I was recommending the drug. The parents would then be able to make an informed decision about whether to use it or not.

The way the peds are currently practicing, this decision - and all of the information behind it - is withheld from parents.

To me, that is a breach of medical ethics.
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#7 of 24 Old 02-22-2006, 06:50 PM
 
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We need another Medical Heretic.
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#8 of 24 Old 02-22-2006, 06:55 PM
 
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Thanks, blessed, for your post.

BTW I get TIME and that article had me steamed. Not that part (I know that happens every day) but the part about how not vaxing your kids is definitely dangerous. We'll see, won't we.
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#9 of 24 Old 02-22-2006, 07:11 PM
 
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thank you so much for giving this further thought & being willing to post. we don't bite, really. (much )
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#10 of 24 Old 02-22-2006, 07:48 PM
 
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First of all, thank you for sticking around and thank you doubly for posting what you did in your first post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blessed
Thanks for the kind words.

To be honest, I'm not convinced that there has been any demonstration that there is a link between thimerosal and neurodevelopmental disorders (you guys won't like that part, I know ). Not that I'm convinced that there is not a link necessarily. There may very well be. But the current data is very equivocal and doesn't allow me to draw a definitive conclusion.


Second, I can understand why you are not yet convinced either way. I have a suggestion, if you are interested? Please read David Kirby's Evidence of Harm, just released in paperback yesterday (updated from the hardcover edition that came out last April).
Kirby's book is, IMO, very fair. Not alarmist in the least, not even anti-vaccine at all. He simply tells the story of thimerosal and autism, up to the present time (or at least when it went to print). It is chilling. I bought hardcover copies for two pediatricians I know. I have no idea if either read them.

Anyway, if you really want to know, look. Read the studies and see what you think. Evaluate the methods used in those epidemiology studies that proclaim the theory should once and for all be laid to rest.

But be prepared to have your confidence in your profession further eroded.
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#11 of 24 Old 02-22-2006, 09:43 PM
 
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One very good clue that they know that thimerosal *does* cause a whole host of problems is the plain and simple fact that they had it removed from most vaccines. They can say all they want that they don't know for sure that it's true, but when was the last time you heard of the FDA, CDC or any other governmental agency creating policies based on popular opinion? It doesn't happen. They don't request the removal of thimerosal just because a few parents out there raised a ruckus. They've requested it's removal and they'll leave it at that for a few years. Maybe in a few more years they'll admit it's a problem. As of right now, they just can't do that. How would that look? Come on, do you really, really, really, really believe they took it out just to make parents happy? Do you really, truly, honestly believe that in the depths of your soul? My guess is that you know better, if you'll only give it the consideration it deserves. You don't even need to read study after study. They don't set policy based on public opinion - especially when it's only a minority of people who believe said opinion. No way.
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#12 of 24 Old 02-22-2006, 10:34 PM
 
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Read anything by your colleague, Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, THE Medical Heretic.

Little has changed since he first wrote that book in 1977.

His first granddaughter, Hannah, whose birth at home he wrote about in the last chapter, is now about 28-29, and probably a mother herself.
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#13 of 24 Old 02-23-2006, 12:39 AM
 
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.
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#14 of 24 Old 02-23-2006, 12:45 AM
 
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#15 of 24 Old 02-23-2006, 03:48 AM
 
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A few of us are lucky enough to have a Dr. like you, who is willing to learn, discuss, and disclose.
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#16 of 24 Old 02-23-2006, 07:22 PM
 
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But most of us have docs or have at least experienced them, that IF they are willing to "talk" , it's lectures of old and misinformed information. It's bullying and a sheer unwillingness to see another side, of a parent of a child for crying out loud. They question your credibility, where you got your information "THE INTERNET????" they say. If you start the conversation instead of just saying no thanks, not today, it's a toe to toe battle that you can't win because they will never understand informed consent, nor think it's something parents should have the right to have.

It must be very hard for you to see this in your own profession, but try being on the other side. and i don't mean that harsh. What if you are one of the parents that has your child damaged and forever changed because they lacked in ethics. It's just so hard to express how it is to be on the other side and be in this position. I would feel betrayed, if I were in your position, so you can imagine how most of us on this forum feel when we are dealing with the lives of the people we are responsible for and love to no end. That is where all the passion has come from.
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#17 of 24 Old 02-23-2006, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by girlsmamma2
It must be very hard for you to see this in your own profession, but try being on the other side..
Lucky me, I get the full exposure of both perspectives, being that I'm also a mother and a patient, as well as a physician. I posted on another thread about switching from a pediatrician to a family practitioner for my child's care, exactly for many of the reasons you've listed.

But then, I also just ranted on a physician's website about taking my 2 yo to her doc with near respiratory collapse from what turned out to be RSV with undiagnosed asthma exacerbation (I'd been telling her doc for 4 months that I thought she had asthma, but because she always looked normal by the time I got her in for an exam, the doc didn't want to make the diagnosis ). My baby was so hypoxic (low oxygen to the brain) that she was confused, thrashing around and screaming when they tried to examine her - which she NEVER does. The doc wrote her off as an 'uncooperative child', and said that 'she must be doing okay' since she was resisting so vigorously .

I went from there immediately to the emergency room where she was found to have an oxygen saturation of 88%, low enough to cause confusion and diminished mentation (anything below 92% warrants admission to the hospital for oxygen and observation), as well as a heart rate of 190 - over twice normal.

It frightens me to think what might have happened if I'd not known better than to simply take her home as I'd been advised.
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#18 of 24 Old 02-23-2006, 08:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blessed
I went from there immediately to the emergency room where she was found to have an oxygen saturation of 88%, low enough to cause confusion and diminished mentation (anything below 92% warrants admission to the hospital for oxygen and observation), as well as a heart rate of 190 - over twice normal.

It frightens me to think what might have happened if I'd not known better than to simply take her home as I'd been advised.
That sucks. I hope your little girl is doing better.

Not to beat a dead horse, but if you can't get respect as a fellow physician from your family doctor, can you imagine what some of the mamas here go through to get taken seriously?
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#19 of 24 Old 02-23-2006, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That sucks. I hope your little girl is doing better.

Not to beat a dead horse, but if you can't get respect as a fellow physician from your family doctor, can you imagine what some of the mamas here go through to get taken seriously?
Thank you. She is indeed amazingly better now that we've got the asthma under control.

Yes, I get a pretty clear notion of the opinion that most pediatrician's hold about parents, and as usual, mothers take the brunt of that. It's pretty easy to see why people have turned away from traditional allopathic medicine in such droves. Very, very unfortunate - I think - because the basis of scientific based medical care is there. The field of medicine is not the problem. It's the practice of medicine that goes awry.
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#20 of 24 Old 02-23-2006, 11:01 PM
 
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The way the peds are currently practicing, this decision - and all of the information behind it - is withheld from parents.

To me, that is a breach of medical ethics.
thank you for writing this--this is exactly what i want to say to my pedi (who gave the girls their last ever shot). i was uneducated then. can i say it to my pedi? is there a way?
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#21 of 24 Old 02-24-2006, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've argued myself blue in the face with pediatricians about this - and I have the added credibility of being one of their physician colleagues who regularly deals with the issue of informed consent. They simply DO NOT see it this way.

Their feeling is that they - the docs - have evaluated the issues regarding vaccination safety and decided that there is no merit to the concerns. Therefore, they feel no obligation to engage in any disclosure with parents prior to administering the vaccine to their children. They seem to feel that it would just incite false anxieties and make the parents more unwilling to vaccinate.

They make the comparison 'do you, dr blessed, describe EVERY potential complication of a drug to a patient before prescribing it?' (which would not be possible or realistic, as rare unanticipated reactions can occur with any medication). My answer is, if I was prescribing a drug which the FDA, CDC, NIH and APP had recommended NOT be given - good god YES! I'd talk about that drug and why I thought it was needed with the patient or parent. Of course I would!

I've tried to explain the profound loss of trust that results when they DON'T have these discussions with parents. Concern about mercury exposure is widespread. If parents first hear of it from the media or their neighbors, then check and find out their child's been getting mercury in her flu vaccine every year, the betrayal is inexcusable.

In a way, it doesn't really matter whether or not the small amount of mercury in vaccines today is ever definitively linked with disease. The fact that our nation's doctors continue to administer it after it's recommendation for withdrawal, and while studies to ascertain it's safety (or lack of) are ongoing, is just devastating to the credibilty of our national health system. The underhanded way in which they are doing it bothers me even more.
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#22 of 24 Old 02-24-2006, 03:36 PM
 
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They make the comparison 'do you, dr blessed, describe EVERY potential complication of a drug to a patient before prescribing it?' (which would not be possible or realistic, as rare unanticipated reactions can occur with any medication). My answer is, if I was prescribing a drug which the FDA, CDC, NIH and APP had recommended NOT be given - good god YES! I'd talk about that drug and why I thought it was needed with the patient or parent. Of course I would!


This is significant to me. What happens here when a drug is prescribed and you to to get your prescription filled, the pharmacist gives you a printout for the medication. This printout is quite detailed, and includes very rare side effects seen. Last prescription I filled had two pages worth of information and it was nasal spray.

On it is : the non-trademarked name, uses, other uses, how to use, side effects, precautions, drug interactions, overdose information, notes ( do not share this medication with others), missed dose, storage.

This DOES NOT HAPPEN with vaccines. Why not? It is a "medication".

Before I take the medication I'm prescribed in any other instance I'm given full information. There should be NO exception for vaccines.
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#23 of 24 Old 02-24-2006, 06:02 PM
 
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And when parents do have the state of mind to investigate the issues of vaccines, the drs get very, very defensive questioning where they got their information and the validity of it. What kills me is the last time i was lambasted with this insult, my answer was "among others, from parents whose children have been damaged directly". How much more real can you get than that? not even well reviewed peer studies, just life stories and court cases. They still say it's absurd.

I was just thinking the other day while searching for a blow up blues clues chair how hypocrytical this was. I was reading the reader comments on amazon deciding whether or not to buy this chair. Real parents had bad experiences so I decided to forgo the $15. I know it's simplistic, but what makes this so different from communities of people that go places in search of healing or information telling their stories about their harmed children? i bet these docs research what they purchase before they buy, what makes my research so much more invalid than theirs? Just because it is something they sell I guess. So am i supposed to believe that these other parents took the time out of their day, a consensus of them at that having the same thing to say, to go on the internet and lie that this inflatable chair deflates just to defame Blue? I mean i know it's a stupid comparison, but where do they get off saying that all these parents are lying? I'm personally eternally grateful for the outspoken parents who wouldn't let the thimerisol issue rest. Their kids are forever changed, but what if no one had said anything? How many more generations would be damaged because of dr's egos and big pharm money? that is simply wrong wrong wrong and i wish so badly the tide would change someday.

sorry for the rant!
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#24 of 24 Old 02-25-2006, 12:05 AM
 
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Have you read this, blessed?
http://www.safeminds.org/legislation...Transcript.pdf
It's long, but if you really, really want to know what's up with thimerosal and why it was pulled, this is the document for you.

Anyway, sorry your pediatritian is being like that. We go to a GP who is much more reasonable.
You being a doctor yourself would probably be far better off with a doctor who would listen to you, since you know your child best.
Of course, I think the same of us "regular folks", too....lol...but it especially pertains to you.
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