Examining a sick child during a routine hotel visit, I asked about previous illnesses, allergies, and hospitalizations. I asked if his immunizations were up to date.
“They’re not,” said the mother. “We don’t do vaccinations in this family.”
Evidence that immunization saves lives is overwhelming. Evidence is also overwhelming that people with deeply held beliefs are immune to evidence, so using it to change their minds is fruitless. I’ve never succeeded.
Sticking to straightforward common sense, I explain what these parents must do.
“Your family doctor is a menace. It doesn’t matter that you like him or that he agrees not to immunize your children.”
“He believes that immunization is good. Your research convinces you that he’s wrong, and you’re certain you’re preventing him from harming your child. But if this doctor believes one horribly wrong thing, there must be others. We use thousands of injectables, drugs, and procedures. There’s no way you can check them all out.”
“The only logical solution is to take your child to someone who will never do anything that might harm him. M.D.’s and osteopaths are hopeless. Even alternative schools – herbalists, naturopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic – do stuff. You should consider a psychic healer.”
In truth, I’ve never said this. I take care of the immediate problem and keep my mouth shut.