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No Shots, No Doc?

No Shots, No Doc?

Dr. Andrew Lieber of Rose Pediatrics in Denver, CO., recently made national headlines in the United States, England and South Africa for his controversial response to the debate about childhood immunizations: he refuses to treat patients who are not receiving the standard series.

According to the American Academy of Pediatricians, Lieber is not alone: a growing number of children's doctors are refusing to see patients who are unvaccinated. According to the group's survey of its membership, 23 percent of doctors "always" or "sometimes" inform parents they can no longer be their child's pediatrician if the parents opt out of standard vaccinations.

Does that throw the Hippocratic Oath—especially the part about using "my power to help the sick"—right out the window?

The answer might be found in the third paragraph of the Oath, which reads, "I will use my power to help the sick to the best of my ability and judgment: I will abstain from harming or wronging any man by it."

The rationale used by some pediatricians in banning the unvaccinated is that by insisting children are vaccinated they are using their best judgment to protect all of their patients.

Lieber gives parents up to four months to get their child's vaccinations started.

"By four months, if I can't help you come to terms with the scientific fact that vaccines are helpful, then I've done about all I can do to educate you," Lieber told MedPage Today, an online publication covering the medical industry, in describing his approach to coaxing the vaccine reluctant parent.

After that, he shows non-vaccinating parents the exit.

"I feel like I have a bigger responsibility to all the other kids walking through my waiting room," he explained.

And, having sat in plenty of pediatric waiting rooms, I get his point.

Not even flying Petri dishes, er, ah, I mean airplanes, are as icky as a pediatrician's waiting room. I don't care how brightly colored the walls are. Cheery decor simply does not make up for the snot-nosed kids, the air polluted by too many uncovered coughs and the occasional puking child. These places will keep the companies that produce hand-sanitizing lotions in business for the duration. Shining one of those lights that illuminate all the bacteria and viruses present on a surface in a waiting room could easily produce a biological horror show. I can well see how throwing in a kiddo who's carrying a communicable disease (one that's easily prevented by a childhood vaccine) not only adds to the discomfort of pro-vaccination parents, but may very well give the doctor reason to worry about liability issues.

Honestly, I'd take issue with my kids being exposed to a preventable disease such as Whooping Cough just because another child's parent took a hard-line against vaccinations.

Whooping Cough, medically knows as pertussis, was once virtually eliminated in the United States. In 2010, it made a vengeful comeback with more than 21,000 human cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California alone, there were 8,300+ cases, and of the 26 deaths, ten were of children.

That's just one disease. A disease whose prevention just requires a jab and maybe a few tears.

As pediatricians are on the front line in the war against childhood disease, I say let them each set their own rules of engagement. Not all will take Lieber's hardline stand, and thus the anti-vaccination parents will still be able to find a willing pediatrician.

I don't deny a parent's right to refuse vaccination. I understand and support the issue of religious objection. No problem. I am religious and my kids are vaccinated. That is my choice. Other parents have the right to make a different choice. But as the old saying goes, "your rights to not vaccinate ends where my kid's right to disease-free air begins." Okay, so that isn't exactly how that ditty goes, but the point is still made.

What do you think? Should doctors be allowed to refuse treatment to unvaccinated kids?

Image Source: UNICEF Sverige via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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LucyHill72480 LucyHill72480 2 years
Good riddance to such a doctor! Doctors are there to work with parents, not dictate. Doctors receive their information from a corrupt system so not surprising that sometimes parents know best.
yolandaschrock yolandaschrock 3 years
I agree100% with the previous two comments. :)
debonair debonair 3 years
I personally do not see a doctor if he is so closed minded on a subject that has the high possibility of causing a reaction to my children. I once asked the head of Infectious Diseases in the Wide Bay regional hospitals, Dr Rosco T., "exactly how much study do you do on vaccination in medical school?" he was shocked when he realised and answered with the following "we don't even cover the topic at all". That was enough for me to seriously consider the alternatives and not take the risk. How can these doctors push the vaccine story when they themselves know nothing but propaganda being pushed on to them by the chemical companies?? If others are vaccinated, aren't they protected?? It should be me and my unvaccinated children who have to worry.
StephanieMessenger1369618691 StephanieMessenger1369618691 3 years
In Australia the top immunologists have admitted nearly all the whooping cough in the current epidemic is in the fully vaccinated. Personally I would not go to a doctor if I was not in alignment with their views. The hipocratic oath also states "First do no harm" - as the VAERS compensation fund has paid out over $2.5 billion I think the Hippocratic Oath went out the window years ago - actually the moment a fund for damage was started!
CatherineHicks51368 CatherineHicks51368 5 years
I think if a parent has the right of choice to refuse vaccination for their child then why shouldn't the doctor have the right of choice to refuse un-vaccinated children in his waiting room. CHOICE goes both ways, but some people think they are the only ones who have the right to choose. My friends 2 week old baby was given NO choice when she caught whooping cough from a friend's un-vaccinated toddler, and she died a horrible death.
rebeccarichter37773 rebeccarichter37773 5 years
EXACTLY AMANDA MARTIN! ......let me guess he is an "open-minded" liberal too? Wonder what church he attends? or maybe he doesn't need a church to call himself religious cause he attends his own? Sorry just makes me wonder why people can be so close minded is all, can't we all just respect each others views?
GingerCrouch GingerCrouch 5 years
I think everyone has a right to their own decisions on vaxing or not vaxing. I also think every should be educated about vaccinations and the truth behind what is really in them and what they do by going to V.I.N.E. on facebook and other vaccination education networks and websites. If I run into a doctor that refuses treatment for my child I would just have to go find one who is an advocate to non vaxing parents. There are general pactioners and Holistic doctors who are all advocates for nonvaxers.
PriscillaMixon PriscillaMixon 5 years
I personally do vaccinate my child because it is my responsibility at a parent to protect him as best I can until he can make his own adult decisions (since he isn't yet 2, that is some time in the future). Honestly because of the rise of unvaccinated children, I feel more strongly about making sure that my child has his. But I do understand that some parents don't vaccinate because they think they are protecting their children and doing what is right for them in that way. As a parent that is your decision to make, to vaccinate or not. I can see the point the doctor is making. As others have said, there are newborns/toddlers who have yet to receive all their vaccines and are at high risk for many preventable diseases. The doctor is making this decision about the care for his other patients. If he were the only doctor available and made this decision, it would be the wrong one, but since there are other doctors that parents of non-vaccinated children can see, I don't see an ethical issue with his choice not to see unvaccinated children. It's a personal choice for you. It's a personal choice for the physician.
jeszamora jeszamora 5 years
I believe vaccinations should be required. they prevent your child and others from getting sick. I'd rather know I did what I could to prevent my child from having unnecessary illnesses than to just ignore it and have them be open to pretty much anything that could potentially kill them. All 3 of my kids have had all of theirs and haven't had any issues aside from the occasional fever from the shots. There's a fine line between parents rights and what's best for the kids from a medical stand point. Most kids have to have them to be able to go to school as well. I don't think its unreasonable when all of these children are in big groups on a daily basis.
KristyDeLoach KristyDeLoach 5 years
If you have your child vaccinated then why would it matter?? I have done ALL my reseach on the vaccines and my breaking point and the reason I decided was when I found a site that listed all the ingedients that were in the vaccines... Go to http://www.informedchoice.info/cocktail.html I mean the MMR has these animal byproducts in it hydrolized gelatin, chick embryonic fluid, and human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue. WHY would I want that injected into my child?
ProudMommy52972 ProudMommy52972 5 years
I wasn't vaccinated and I'm 30 years old and I am healthier than most vaccinated people. When I got the chicken pox I had a very minimal case. When my vaccinated cousin got them they had chicken pox inside their mouth, in their eyes, bottom of their feet...etc
DawnSpivey39414 DawnSpivey39414 5 years
There are plenty of Dr. offices out there, so if one refuses to treat than give 'em the boot and find another one.
ChrisGregory32489 ChrisGregory32489 5 years
Think...most of your "so called" vaccines are made in china. Not to mention that china is the leader of the world in population control! Do some research...your child does not need all those poisons injected. Its a scam...remember this world is overpopulated...these diseases we get are man made for that reason. So are the vaccines. Whatever you do do not get them any flu shot. It will contain h1n1...again do research. The doc. works for the health care industry gangsters. He gets paid to use their products on your children.
MercyHenderson MercyHenderson 5 years
I think that to vaccinate or not to vaccinate is a personal decision, and not one that doctors should use to decide on whether to treat a sick kid or not. Would you not treat an adult patient sick with the flu if they failed to get a flu shot? Where would you draw the line?
amandamartin41564 amandamartin41564 5 years
if your child is vaccinated against the disease then why are you worried about them catching it?
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