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Informed Consent

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Cara’s two year old doctor’s appointment is tomorrow and I wasn’t too sure if she was going to have to get any shots.

She screams like a banshee every time we go to the pediatrician’s office even though she’s never had a bad experience there.

Whatever.  She’s just weird.

Anyway, I don’t like being surprised when I go to the doctor’s office and I really don’t like being surprised when it comes to my kids.

So, I do my research.  I read actual journal articles and don’t just rely on the almighty interweb for my answers.

I try to get at least two sides of the story [cause aren’t there always about five sides?] from reputable sources.  I get a tad bit obsessed with fact finding – not just with medical stuff but with anything that strikes my fancy.  I should be a researcher for some radio or TV show. [Anyone got a job for me?]

When Oliver was born, I refused the hep B vaccine for him.

I don’t have hep B and no one in our household has hep B.  Oliver isn’t an IV drug user and he’s not having risky sex.  His risk of infection – since it’s passed via body fluids – is very small [I don’t say nonexistent cause there’s always a risk].  I didn’t refuse it for Cara because I didn’t know that I could.

On my list of vaccinations that I don’t think are necessary are: hep B for children, chickenpox and rotavirus.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that two of those vaccines are required for entry into school in Arkansas [hep B and chickenpox].

Hep B immunity has been shown to disappear around school age anyway and I don’t really consider a kindergarten classroom a high risk location for hep B infection.  Also, a case of chickenpox is generally mild and requires very little medical attention.  There is the occasional sever case but those are considered freak occurrences.  Also, the chickenpox vaccine doesn’t necessarily prevent the infection by the virus but may make it more mild.  Rotatvirus can be a killer but rarely does a child die in the U.S. if basic measures such as proper hydration are followed.

I just don’t see the need to risk a reaction to a vaccine that I don’t see as 100% necessary.

I don’t like being forced to do something to my children that could possibly hurt them.  Actually, I don’t like being forced to do anything; I prefer choice [who doesn’t, right?].  I know that my decision isn’t made lightly and that I’m not being cavalier about the issue.

Luckily, there are exceptions to the rules when it comes to the vaccinations.  Stephphilosophical.

Medical means what you probably think it means.  You have a medical reason to not get the vaccine.  You’re allergic to the vaccine or a component of the vaccine.  You’ve already had the disease for which you’re supposed to be vaccinated and you can prove immunity via blood tests.

Religious is pretty obvious as well.  You have a religious objection to vaccinations.

Philosophical exemptions are a little bit more sticky.  Basically you’re saying that you philosophically don’t agree with a vaccination.

In Arkansas, you submit

“a notarized statement requesting a religious, medical or philosophical exemption from the Department of Health”.  Then, you “complete an educational component prepared by the DOH, sign an informed consent with a refusal to vaccinate statement and a signed statement of understanding that the unimmunized child may be removed from school during an outbreak.”

I think that makes good sense and I’m really surprised that Arkansas is that damn cool.

They’re [AR legislators] are being smart because it’s in writing [so they’re covering their asses] and they require informed consent that’s actually informed since you have to complete “an educational component”.  Bravo to them.

When we go to Cara’s appointment tomorrow, I’m going to talk about all of this with Cara and Ollie’s bad ass pediatrician.  I’ll take in my stack of papers and list of questions and Tucker will roll his eyes at me like he always does.  But I know that Tucker knows that I only have our kids’ best interests at heart.

Next week is Oliver’s two month appointment so expect some more “doctor’s office” posts.

Comments

  1. Good for you for doing the researching and making an educated decision.

    We live in NH and they only offer a religious exemption. I have never had an issue, not even at a Catholic school.

    Ashlie- Mommycosms last blog post..November 5

  2. It’s awesome all the information you found.

    I found a home school legal defense group that I joined even though my kids aren’t yet in home school. But they have a lot of information in regards to this and other things that I was able to get info on. It’s more a parent’s civil rights group from what I can tell. It’s been pretty helpful. But for the most part, they’ve listed what you have here.

    Kim @ Ponytaildiaries.coms last blog post..It will be OVER

  3. Jennifer Walker says:

    I recently was at the health department and they looked at my daughters records and said she needed her 12 month vaccines. They asked if I wanted her to get them that day and I said no. That poor lady looked like she was going to drop dead right there in her chair. I was like you and didn’t know I had the right to refuse vaccines so Brendan got all his on schedule. Hadley did too until the 12 month set. I decided to let her grow up a bit more before injecting more crap into her. I think it is awesome that parents are finally taking notice to the unnecessary risks associated with vaccines.

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