Accent On Advocacy is a column that regularly appears in the Well Beings
Newsletter, published by Vaccination Alternatives. The following article
may be reprinted unedited and in its entirety, and only with the attached
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columns may be obtained by email
Newsletter: Well Beings 5/98
Accent on Advocacy
by Gary Krasner
A CALL IN THE NIGHT: Developing An Effective Strategy,
One night in 1985 I received a phone call from a frantic parent who was
being pressured by doctors at Long Island Jewish Medical Center to allow
antibiotics to be dispensed to her 4 year-old daughter. They were also
menacing her with questions concerning why her daughter had never been
vaccinated. Joyce, the parent, was a close friend, and was the daughter
of my best friend, Marie. I think it was the events that transpired that
night that spurred me to think seriously about effective advocacy, which
led me to the definitive position I hold now.
I began to learn about the controversy surrounding vaccination around
1979. But when I first met Marie and Joyce a year later, I discovered
that they had already rejected vaccination for themselves because of a
family history of bad reactions to them. Through their friendship with me
over the subsequent five years, they must have embraced some of the other
Natural Hygienic views that I hold regarding analgesics, antibiotics, and
other germicides. Apparently Joyce had become cautious about the use of
these medications by the time she called me that night.
Marie and I arrived at the hospital that night. We found Joyce and her
daughter, Gabrielle in the emergency room talking to doctors. Joyce had
taken Gabrielle there because she couldn't stop coughing. The doctors
thought Gabrielle had whooping cough. They wanted to administer
antibiotics before admitting her to the hospital. But Joyce had refused.
I got into a heated discussion with the doctors defending Joyce's
decision. But I felt very uncomfortable doing so. I wondered why Joyce
went to the hospital to begin with, given her qualms about their brand of
In 1983 I had been in a slightly different situation. Marie had
encountered a problem trying to get her 10 year-old son OUT of a hospital
after he had been treated for an injury from a biking accident. The
hospital was taking a very long time to release her son from the
hospital. They were fussing over his unvaccinated status. After Marie
called me from the hospital, I immediately consulted with a lawyer I had
known. He told me that after we give the hospital a reasonable amount
time to ask their questions, we could get up and walk out. If they
physically try to stop us, it would constitute unlawful imprisonment, and
we could call the police. When I arrived at the hospital, we packed up
her son's belongings and headed for the exit. That's when the
administrator suddenly found the time to talk with Marie. Even though I
wasn't a member of the family, he allowed me to participate in the
discussion-which was mainly why Marie's son had not been vaccinated. We
were out of there 15 minutes later.
Unfortunately, things didn't go that smoothly the night at Long Island
Jewish Hospital. After arguing with the doctors for about 20 minutes,
they decided to eject me from the room because I wasn't a member of the
family, and because they thought I was influencing the mother's decision.
However, on her own, Joyce still wouldn't relent. To make a long story
short, Gabrielle was admitted without taking any drugs, and she recovered
on her own in two days while in the hospital.
Despite the happy ending, I realized from this incident that parents who
don't feel that drugs are the answer to every illness have tough
decisions to make when their children actually become seriously ill. And
as an advocate, I have a responsibility to provide them with appropriate
guidelines for making these important decisions-guidelines that go beyond
the advice to abstain from vaccination.
The first question is why would such parents seek standard medical help
to begin with? Even if they lie to the doctor by saying that their child
is fully vaccinated-which will not succeed in states with computerized
vaccination registries-the doctor would still likely offer a "solution"
that involves drugs. And if they deem your child to be in a
life-threatening situation, you risk criminal prosecution by refusing
their "solution", particularly if your child dies or develops a permanent
disability. They would claim that it was the result of your refusal.
At the other extreme, it would be irresponsible to advise parents to
avoid hospitals in all situations. Allopathic physicians are well-trained
as diagnosticians, and some diagnostic tests are clearly efficacious.
There have been unqualified advances in emergency medicine, skin grafting
and treatments for burns, microsurgery, reconstructive surgery, and
prosthetic devices. Where they fail miserably is in their
treatments--notably for acute, chronic, and inflammatory ("infectious")
illnesses. No amount of technology can make up for their confusing
symptoms as being the cause of diseases.
Therefore, we're dealing with a mixed bag. As it is with most issues of
the complex modern age, the best answer is to become as fully informed as
possible. The reason Joyce and other like-minded mothers have sought help
from medical doctors to treat (obvious) inflammatory illnesses is because
they are not sufficiently aware of the limits and the benefits of
conventional medicine, as well as the alternatives to them. They don't
want vaccines or drugs, but they still seek security, peace of mind, and
some explanation for their child's illness. Although well-intentioned,
the doctors exploit that need. Through fear, they use their leverage as
(alleged) knowledgeable care-givers to coerce the parent to relinquish
the decision making regarding the care of their child. On that night in
1985, I realized the consequences for mothers like Joyce and Marie not
adequately understanding the opposing scientific rationale that rejects
vaccination, and the appropriate (non-medical) way to proceed with a sick
child. Those doctors saw that. That is why they ejected me from the
emergency room. They thought they'd have better success pressuring the
mother in my absence.
But not that night.
[Next issue, "Believing In A Sound Theory Of Health: Developing An
Effective Strategy, Part 2". Gary Krasner is the Director of Coalition
For Informed Choice, whose mission is to assist those who choose to lead
their communities to wellness.
The preceding article originally appeared in the Well Beings Newsletter.
WB is published 5 times per year by Vaccination Alternatives and covers
issues involving vaccination, health care, healing approaches, birth
rights and related issues. Founded in 1985 by Sharon Kimmelman,
Vaccination Alternatives is an education project promoting personal
responsibility in choices involving health, and to help people secure the
right to be informed about vaccination and their freedom to abstain from
it. VA provides literature, consultation, and networking. The Well Beings
newsletter covers issues involving vaccination, health care, healing
approaches, birth rights and related issues. P.O. Box 346, New York, NY
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