Friday, October 09, 2009

Where GPs go wrong...

This is copied and pasted from a thread I posted on www.alternativebaby.net - so, my apologies for cross-posting...


I took Ari to the doctor's this morning because he developed a temp late last week and has since had cold symptoms (runny nose etc.) which have morphed into a chesty cough. He had bronchitis in July, so I was concerned about that, but also there has been a lot of talk about the rise and rise in whooping cough. My mum contracted whooping cough while caring for me in hospital back in March (Ari didn't catch it even though he went everywhere she went). So, anyway, it's on my mind.

So, I get in there. This is a centre I've been going to for two years, I've seen about four different doctors there, both male and female, all in their 40s or older - the topic of vaccinations has come up with them all at some point and I say we choose not to vaccinate and they make no comment on that.. Today I see a new dr. She is young, maybe late 20s. She's asks what I'm in for. I explain Ari's cough, and say he's had bronchitis earlier this year so I just want to make sure his chest is actually clear. Without saying, "I'm concerned about the possibility of whooping cough" I give her his symptoms over the past week - a textbook first stage symptoms for whooping cough.

She asks if his immunisations are up to date. I say we haven't vaccinated him. She asks if there is a particular reason, I say after my second child developed allergies around the time of his first shots, our paed at the time advised us to postpone further immunisations. She asked which doctor, I gave her a name and an approximate address and told her this was 8 years ago (she obviously looked him up on her database, but couldn't find him). She asked if Ari had any allergies, I said he didn't, and neither did my third son, who also wasn't vaccinated at all, so the theory seemed to have worked in our family. She said allergies don't run in families (hmmm, she didn't say the predisposition to them, however, does)...

She then produces some leaflets, which I told her she might as well keep because I'd already read them from the mchn. She then lists all the illnesses that children are vaccinated for - and ran out of fingers to count them on - and says, "and children DIE from all these illnesse!" (her emphasis on the word die)...

I said I'd personally had measles three times, despite being immunised. She said, "Well, vaccines don't produce 100% coverage, but they provide about 90-95% coverage..." Now, besides that not being the point I was making (my point being I'd had measles three times and not died once), her FACTS weren't accurate. I responded, "Yes, some provide that much coverage, others don't".

She said that if I was concerned about allergic reactions, I could have my children vaccinated in a hospital - which, obiously, may be able to prevent death from an anaphalactic reaction immediately after the shot, but could not prevent other damage that might take longer to show up...

If GPs want to try and convince conscientiously objecting parents to vaccinate, they need to acknowledge that the slight threat of death is obviously not a deterrant for us, so using the D word is not likely to instantly change out minds. They also need to acknowledge that most of us have read up on the vaccines, and the Government's OWN website will tell you many vaccines only have 60-80% coverage rate, so tell us it's much higher only undermines the GP's own credibility.

I was kind of taken aback to be accosted like this after several years of not having to defend my vaccination choice to anyone, but certainly nothing this GP said caused me any kind of pause.

For some reason, it never occurred to her to test Ari for whooping cough, either, despite him not being vaccinated for the deadly childhood illness and show all the early symptoms of it... That said, chest, ears and throat were all clear...

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Teenagers and the failing parent...