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Doctors Drop Unvaccinated Patients

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4 comments to Doctors Drop Unvaccinated Patients

  • Lightsleeper

    I would expect any doctor to “fire” a patient who refused to follow her most straightforward medical advice. If a doctor knows a patient with a broken arm won’t let her set it, how can she justify treating him and charging him? You’d have to question the skill and judgement of any doctor who permits parents to forego this most basic and efficacious therapy out of a misplaced political correctness.

    While I feel sorry for the children affected, I have to say as a parent I would find it unacceptable to have the added risk of unvaccinated patients in the waiting room. Doctors don’t have a great deal of leverage in these cases, so I really don’t see what else they can do. They can try to educate, but they can’t compel.

  • Jim Shaver

    I have children, and I agree with you, Mike. Doctors certainly have the right to decline to see patients who explicitly do not follow basic public health recommendations and the doctor’s own advice. As you said, doctors really owe it to their other patients not to increase their risk of exposure to preventable diseases.

    How soon will it be before we see politicians with extreme ideologies pushing bills that would criminalize such decisions by doctors? (My money is on “it’s right around the corner”.)

  • Pernille

    I absolutely disagree. I’m a GP, and I would never dream of not seeing a patient because he or she doesn’t follow my advice. My job is to help people, not moralize over their decisions, or punish them for not obeying me or the health authorities.

    Let’s look at the arguments one by one:

    1. Some people don’t vaccinate their children in spite of all the good information about the benefits of vaccinations. Well, people do a lot of stupid things: They smoke, they take drugs, they eat too much junk food and get fat, they get STDs … if I were to ban all the patients who do stupid things, I would be left with the ones that don’t need me at all.

    What’s even worse: The doctors who ban unvaccinated children are really punishing the innocent party. Is it their fault their parents don’t have them vaccinated? I think not.

    2. The parents should listen to the doctors, not all the «bad information». Yes, they should, but why don’t they? Because, as you say, «bad info is much easier to find. And it’s presented in a way that appeals to that person’s very basic instinct: shield their child from possible harm.»
In other words, you want to punish people for being mislead.

    3. There’s also an issue of trust, you say. Yes, trust is important in a patient/doctor relationship. But will parents trust doctors more if they punish them for not being «obedient»? I thought people in USA believed in freedom of speech, freedom of mind, and don’t want to be pushed around by authorities?

    Anyway, there are lots of ways people don’t «trust» their doctors. They don’t want to believe that they got COPD from smoking, and they don’t stop smoking even though I keep advising them to. Should I kick out all the smokers? What about diabetics who don’t exercise even though I keep telling them to? Girls who don’t take their birth control pills I give them, and then get pregnant and want abortions? I wonder, who should I NOT kick out?

    4. «Having an unvaccinated child in a doctor’s waiting room full of other children, some sick, is downright dangerous.» 
Yeah, scary. Actually, a doctors waiting room is a very dangerous place – there are lots of sick people there! They might have bronchitis, flu and diarrhea. Some of them don’t wash their hands after going to the toilet, so if you touch the door handle you’ll get diarrhea too. And think about all the newspapers and magazines laying around … if you touch them you’l get germs!

Seriously: If you’re so worried about your children catching something, you shouldn’t let them go to school or kindergarten, never take buses, and not let them play in public playgrounds.
    Or perhaps the unvaccinated children should be banned from schools too? 

    I’m sorry I’m getting so worked up about this, but I simply can’t understand these doctors. Perhaps it’s cultural: Here in Norway most hospitals are public, and most doctors are legally committed to serve whatever patients who need their help. We simply don’t turn patients away, unless they are stealing from the medicine cabinets, or attacking the nurses.

    In other words, in our country patients’ rights count more than doctors’ whims. And thank God for that. I certainly don’t want to treat only the nice and clean and obedient and well-behaved, who probably are the ones that need me the least.

    Regards from Norway
    Pernille Nylehn
    MD, GP

  • Vance

    “Or perhaps the unvaccinated children should be banned from schools too?”

    Some U.S. states don’t allow unvaccinated children to attend school; I live in one (Washington). However, I tend to agree with you insomuch as alienating people from medical providers seems, at best, a poor way to improve the public’s health.

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