Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

You make your choice and you take your consequences

August 05th, 2017 by Vader

From a very old friend who is now an infectious diseases specialist:

My heart is troubled. I was fired by a patient at the hospital today. It was entirely unexpected. I have gone over and over again all my interactions with this 20 year old patient and his doting mother, trying to see what I might have done wrong.

This was a puzzling case. This young man came in to the hospital with a severe cough for the past 3 weeks. On presentation to the ER he had a high fever and a high white blood cell count. With the cough, fever and abnormal lab, I totally expected to see a nasty, socked-in pneumonia on the chest X-ray…but it was totally clear. Even a CT scan of the chest showed no pneumonia. Where was this severe, and I mean severe, cough and high white count coming from?

For the first couple of days, I treated him with standard antibiotics I would use for treating pneumonia, but he didn’t seem to improve. I repeated a CXR thinking that after a delay a pneumonia might become visible, but it was still clear.

Then on about the 3rd day a thought occurred to me and I asked the mother if he had been vaccinated as a child. She answered that no, she had not allowed him to get the childhood vaccines. She did not believe in vaccinations, but rather took a holistic approach and “vaccinated” him with special herbs. I explained that the benefits of vaccination far, far, far outweigh the risks and that due to vaccinations we had eliminated many diseases from the US. I will have to admit, I was a little angry, but I was kind and informative in my explanation.

About this time the patient lost his voice and developed a severe sore throat. His tonsils were enlarged. Although his fever had improved, his white blood cell count remained elevated. It was now clear to me that this young man either had pertussis (whooping cough) or diphtheria, two diseases that are making a comeback because of the misinformation perpetuated on the internet that is causing more parents to refuse to vaccinate their kids. I explained to the mother and the patient that this was now my presumptive diagnosis and explained the prognosis and potential complications of each of these diseases.

After I ordered confirmatory tests for pertussis and diphtheria, because of hospital policy, the patient was put in isolation, which can be a little scary to patients. The confirmatory tests take several days to come back. I spent time explaining everything to the patient and his mother, and left the room tonight with no suspicion that there were mistrust or animosity. Then, shorty thereafter, I was informed that the mother no longer wanted me on the case. She wanted another infectious disease specialist.

I was hurt by this. I take pride in my work. I feel for my patients. I try to put myself in their position – feeling vulnerable, uncertain about what is going wrong with their bodies. I take time with them. I teach them and answer all their questions. I had worked hard and made a difficult diagnosis on a befuddling case. I will let the reader draw his/her conclusion from this story.

I went home and blew off the evening watching “Top Gun”. Sorry about venting. I feel better now.

The mother mad a choice, a consequential one, a few years ago. Now she’s learning about consequences.

I know. That’s brutal. Reality in a world of choices often is.

Comments (17)
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August 05th, 2017 19:17:01

Heh ffg
August 6, 2017

To be fair, the mother made a choice, she didn’t “mad” one.
Sounds like the doctor was somewhat condescending and rude.
Every allopathic intervention and non intervention comes at a cost.
The cost of vaccines is a one in a million chance or severe interactions, even death.
But the cost of this non intervention is an increased likelihood of getting this “treatable disease.”.
However, this doctor is not omniscient, they could not promise this women that her child wouldn’t be the one who got Guillian Barre, or died as a complication.

Incidentally, each cigarette smoked also increases you risk of dying by one in a million, but the average smoker smoked more cigarettes than childhood vaccines.

Vaccines come at a cost, and those who refuse to acknowledge that truth open the door for those who confuse the issue.

And just because one vaccine (say small pox) was worth the cost doesn’t mean another one is (say cervadex). Another thing infectious disease doctors do that erodes trust is hiding the fact that most infectious disease were on the decline far before vaccines entered the scene. So while the vaccine may have “eradicated”, they are taking a 1 percent down to .ooo1 percent, not 90 percent down to .ooo1…

August 6, 2017

I don’t know much about women (never married), but from what little I do know, I would guess that, no matter what the specialist said, what the mother heard was “you stupid git, this is all your fault.” And that’s why she “fired” him.

Ivan Wolfe
August 6, 2017

I have no qualms being condescending saying Heh ffg has no clue what he/she is talking about, really.

Everything you ever do, no matter what, has trade-offs. There are few totally 100% no side effects unalloyed good or bad things in this fallen world. Anyone who’s only real argument is “there are trade offs” does not understand much and is trying to sound smart while failing utterly.

el oso
August 6, 2017

In 25 years we saw a 99% reduction in whooping cough diagnosis in the USA. This is a fantastic improvement for many people. Since the low point in the 70s-80s, the incidence of pertussis has gone up by a factor of 10. We are only now at a 90% reduction of the pre-vaccine infection rate.
However, from the CDC website, the total percentage of patients diagnosed with whooping cough who did not get any doses of vaccine is 15%. (of the total cases where the vaccine count is taken).
Something else besides more people not being vaccinated is going on here. The published data show that much, but there is scant data on what the other factors are. Anybody know or have an educated guess?

Heh ffg
August 6, 2017

Ivan Wolfe, while it is wonderful to have judgmental people such as yourself on this planet, perhaps you could refrain from saying what anyone else besides yourself knows. You’re a terrible mind reader.
Perhaps instead of a balanced nuanced response I could have emotionally attacked anyone with whom I disagree, like you did… Do you think the world would be a better place?

Yes, oso, the unvaccinated sick rate is higher than before
The vaccines were invented for whooping cough. American food supply in far less healthy with lower Corbin and mineral comment. Depleted soils, lower fertility soils, and sterile soils.

Heh ffg
August 6, 2017

Vitamin content, not Corbin comment, autocorrect fail.

Heh ffg
August 6, 2017

Ivan Wolfe,
I invite you to look at this chart from the CDC.
Please examine it in the years from 1930 to 1950 and explain what the trend is… I am suggesting that there was a downward trend before the invention of the pertussis vaccine, which was likely caused by better hygeine and food availability. I would love for the CDC to publish the results prior to 1920 as well.


Another article at stat magazine really outlines the questions scientists have for this resurgence, and it’s not all due to lack of vaccination.. one very important issue is that the Tdap does not prevent transmission of the disease and does not contribute to herd immunity.

Heh ffg
August 6, 2017


Heh ffg
August 6, 2017


This link admits there are more people getting sick now than in 1970 and blames the switch to acellular formulations, being 80% rather than 90% effective…
Note however it spreads the falsehood that this vaccine prevents Transmission. Go to statnews link to read about the baboon study, which indicates that the vaccine does not prevent transmission. This news story was previously on the CDC website itself, it is a conspiracy theory.

Ivan Wolfe
August 6, 2017

I have a policy of not feeding trolls, so I will bow out at this point. Heh ffg’s comments are a mix of misdirection, non sequitirs, red herrings, and just plain ignorance.

Heh ffg
August 6, 2017

Finally, this chart from the CDC… Please compare the column of unvaccinated children (0 doses) to the column of fully vaccinated (3 doses) and explain how the fully vaccinated are always sicker than the unvaccinated?

That doesn’t mean everyone should stop getting the vaccine… Btw, but it should stop the finger wagging buy some of the know-it-all elites who put down others who make different choices then they do…

In the future, Ivan, id appreciate if you stuck to the subject matter instead of personal insults. There’s a lot more going on here than you apparently know about. I’ve provided reputable sources here, mostly from the CDC and peer reviewed literature…


Ivan Wolfe
August 6, 2017

That is so amazingly deceptive, you are either clueless or a clever liar. I am answering more for the peanut gallery, and not for you, since it’s clear you are a lost cause.

1. Whooping cough (which pertussis prevents) used to be a serious, constant, and deadly disease. Now it’s very occasional (as the low number of actual cases shows). The slight resurgence recently is due to lower levels of vaccination.

2. The pertussis vaccine is clearly effective, but mostly in the short term. It’s clear that the effects wear off quickly.

3. Because of this, multiple doses are recommended. But older people often have been so long since their last shot, they no longer have the immunity (which isn’t as huge a deal, since whooping cough is mostly deadly for the youngest, so the vaccine is most needed in the young).

4. Therefore, the more doses you have, the older you are, and therefore the longer you have had to have the vaccine “wear off” and give you a case of pertussis. Thus, the 3+ doses group is basically “everyone over the age of 12” – so 1 – 12 in age vs. 12 – 112. Seems like their are going to be a LOT more people in the 12 – 112 group than the 1 – 12 group (notice that in 1 – 6 years groups those with 0 doses are much higher than those with 1-2 doses – that clearly indicates the vaccine works).

The fact you can’t see that the pertussis vaccine has saved more lives that it may have harmed and you play with raw numbers while ignoring the percentages tells me you are arguing in bad faith.

Again, this was merely for the drive by readers who may be confused and might think refusal to interact is an admission of defeat. But I have no interest in conspiracy theorists peddling lies. This comment should clearly show you don’t have facts on your side, merely obfuscation.

Ivan Wolfe
August 7, 2017

Looking at the chart more closely, I did make one mistake reading it. It doen’t change my main point, but it’s a pretty bad mistake. The 12 – 112 is wrong, since I misread the ages on the left hand of the chart. However, there are more people in the older cohort total (doing some more research) and more people get multiple doses than get fewer doses.

So I admit to one mistake in the previous comment, but after some more research, the basic point is the same. The number of people in the 3+ group is so much higher than the lower doses, that the percentage is actually smaller. But I should have been more careful in reading the chart.

I’m sure this will somehow prove I am wrong on everything, though.

August 7, 2017

That’s enough of that. No more, please, you two.

August 7, 2017

This is true and important and scary. I work in law, and I often have the opportunity to see people come to court as criminal defendants. There is a time when a person is first arrested on a charge and taken before a judge to determine whether they will be released or if they will be required to post a bond to assure that they will come back to court. Everyone wants to be released, of course. But this is one of those times that the judge looks back on their history and sees all the other times they failed to appear, or all the other times they were arrested, etc. It can be sobering to see the undeniable weight of past choices. So many of them are shocked that they are required to post a bond because they didn’t keep a promise to appear years ago. But choices have consequences. Without taking care of our mistakes (repentance is great!), those consequences may lurk our there for a long time before hitting us hard one day.

I shudder to think of what consequences may be ripening for me.

The Dad
August 8, 2017

“I can turn this car around and go back RIGHT now! Is that what you guys want?”

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