- Medical professionals refer to these parents as “vaccine-hesitant.” As much satisfaction as it might offer to bring my family-room rants — What is wrong with you? — to my conversations with them, I’m starting to believe I can’t simply write them off as idiots. Even presenting facts might not be enough. Those of us who understand how important and safe vaccines are might need to meet them where they are, trying to express empathy for the misguided fear they’re obviously experiencing, if we’re to break through to them and encourage them to make choices that can save lives.
Last night my wife shared with me some of the medical talk she and her peers were having about an Oregon kid with tetanus. Unvaccinated, of course, first case in 30 years. Kid lived on a farm, was playing, cut his forehead, parents sewed him up, few days later he had lockjaw. They airlifted him once he had difficulty breathing and then spent eight weeks in the hospital in excruciating pain. Someone mentioned a patient they had who had refused vaccines... despite the kid having a sibling with a transplanted organ.
My wife recently removed a Nexplanon from one of her patients. This is a woman who had to go in for a c-section (pregnancy went high-risk) and was so adamantly anti-"medicine" that she asked the surgery team if they could do her C-section without anesthetic. But she wanted a hormonal contraceptive implant.
You can de-facto evaluate that these people love their kids. Stitched his forehead? Called in an airlift? I think of my kid in the dark in the ICU screaming at the light -
- His opisthotonus worsened, and he developed autonomic instability (hypertension, tachycardia, and body temperatures of 97.0°F–104.9°F [36.1°C–40.5°C]). He was treated with multiple continuous intravenous medication infusions to control his pain and blood pressure, and with neuromuscular blockade to manage his muscle spasms. A tracheostomy was placed on hospital day 5 for prolonged ventilator support. Starting on hospital day 35, the patient tolerated a 5-day wean from neuromuscular blockade. On day 44, his ventilator support was discontinued, and he tolerated sips of clear liquids. On day 47, he was transferred to the intermediate care unit. Three days later, he walked 20 feet with assistance. On day 54, his tracheostomy was removed, and 3 days later, he was transferred to a rehabilitation center for 17 days.
The boy required 57 days of inpatient acute care, including 47 days in the intensive care unit. The inpatient charges totaled $811,929 (excluding air transportation, inpatient rehabilitation, and ambulatory follow-up costs).
And holy SHIT your psyche is in a different place if you can get to
- One month after inpatient rehabilitation, he returned to all normal activities, including running and bicycling. Despite extensive review of the risks and benefits of tetanus vaccination by physicians, the family declined the second dose of DTaP and any other recommended immunizations.
These people watched their son having spasms while intubated for a month and a half. Shouting at them and calling them idiots isn't going to get through.