Pediatrician: “We Don’t Accept Patients Whose Parents Won’t Vaccinate Them”



There’s an interesting read over on the Daily Beast right now that’s (not surprisingly) making a lot of waves among parents. It’s a rant-y piece by a New England pediatrician (he writes under the pseudonym Russell Saunders), who explains why his office has a no-exceptions policy regarding kids whose parents refuse to give them vaccines. The policy in question? That those kids are personae non gratae in his practice. Period.

His reasoning:

I always ask if the children are vaccinated, or if the parents intend to vaccinate once the child is born. If the answer is no, I politely and respectfully tell them we won’t be the right fit. We don’t accept patients whose parents won’t vaccinate them.

It’s not simply that we think these beliefs are wrong. Declining vaccines is, at best, misguided. But of course those inclined to refuse them don’t agree with me, and I’m not going to try to change their minds. I’ve had too many of that kind of conversation over the years to hold out hope that anything I can say will sway them.

Which is precisely the problem.

He goes on to explain that parents who stringently believe vaccines will harm their kids aren’t the kinds of parents he wants to work with as a health practitioner, because if they won’t believe him on the vaccine front, who’s to tell if they will follow his prescriptions and advice on potentially more challenging health questions down the pike?

It’s an interesting matter-of-fact argument, and a perspective on the to-vaccinate-or-not debate you may not have considered: the healthcare provider who’s trapped in the middle of it all.

Read the full post—and, of course, the 500+ comments—here.

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