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Bully Nurse Harasses Parents of Unvaccinated Baby at Michigan Hospital

A nurse at a Michigan urgent care center recently berated parents in front of other patients for not vaccinating their baby, arguably violating a federal law that guarantees patients’ right to privacy. Her unprofessional behavior committed a great disservice to nurses everywhere, her employer, and especially the parents who visited the Detroit Medical Center Surgery Hospital in Madison Heights with their son.

According to the parents, who were seeking medical attention for their eight month-old baby, “Oliver,” the nurse who was stationed at the admitting desk diagnosed their son with chicken pox and announced fabricated details about their son’s medical condition to the other patients who were awaiting care.

While Oliver’s parents were waiting for their turn to visit with a doctor, the nurse pointed at their baby and  announced to other patients in the waiting room, “This child is unvaccinated!” She then directed the other patients to move to an adjacent waiting room.

Her negligence reached a dangerous level when she urged the parents to vaccinate their son, who was ill at the time.

According to Oliver’s parents, hospital personnel at the Detroit Medical Center Surgery Hospital have failed to respond to repeated attempts to discuss this nurse’s willful misconduct. Oliver’s parents have spoken with a lawyer.

What Good Parents Do

On November 23, 2013, Baby Oliver awoke with cold symptoms and a low fever, the same symptoms his mom was also exhibiting. During that day, Oliver also developed a rash on his face that “resembled acne.” His mom spoke with an after-hours nurse for their pediatrician’s office, who recommended that Oliver see a healthcare provider at an urgent care clinic.

They decided to follow her advice. You might not believe what happened next in the waiting room. Before I tell you about that disturbing story, I would like you to tell you about Oliver’s parents.

Oliver’s parents are first time parents. Their son had been extremely healthy in his eight happy months of life. In fact, he had never been sick. For the first time, his parents were facing the decision that many parents must make when their child isn’t feeling well: Should we take him to the doctor? Oliver’s mom shared:

“We are first time parents, so we wanted to get him checked out for our own peace of mind. We had, at that time, been letting his fever burn and comforting him, nursing him, keeping him hydrated and rested. He had a cold. He was congested and had a mild fever. I was not really concerned about him and wanted to wait until our doctor opened to take him to see our pediatrician, but my husband was nervous and so I agreed to take him in and have him looked at. I thought, what could be the harm?”

Oliver’s parents believe he has enjoyed such good health because of their decision not to vaccinate. It was a decision they did not make lightly. In fact, prior to her pregnancy, Oliver’s mother believed that vaccines were mandatory and didn’t expect she would have a choice about vaccination.

Her midwife and doula were instrumental in the transformation she experienced, as they told her she had a choice about vaccination. She began studying vaccines and their ingredients. She engaged in detailed research that may indeed surpass the heights of professionals who are paid to practice medicine.

Her efforts weren’t motivated by medical school requirements, but rather, great love for her child and a desire to keep him healthy and safe. You can sense wisdom and kindness in the words that she shared with VacTruth about her informed decision not to vaccinate:

“I never realized that vaccines were not mandatory until I became pregnant. I sought a natural birth, and birthed with midwives at a birth center. I took natural birthing classes and hired a doula. I wanted a gentle birth and I knew that at the time of birth I did not want any interruptions or traumatizations immediately, or days following his birth.

My doula and birth educator were the first to discuss vaccine options with me. Neither one of them vaccinated any of their children. I started doing my research and decided the best choice for us was to delay vaccines and wait until our baby was older. So, after he was born he received none of the vaccines, or the vitamin K shot, or the eye antibiotics, and we did not circumcise, either.

I continued doing my research. And then I did more research and am still researching. I probably never will stop.

My husband and I came to the obvious conclusion that the risks of vaccines outweighed any potential benefit. I read scholarly articles, research papers, the CDC [‘s website], package inserts, spoke to health professionals, studied the immune system, studied each disease individually, and the treatments for such diseases.

I still research and read all of these things, and more. I am active in anti-vaccine groups and I encourage others to do their research as well. And I mean research, not reading blogs and anecdotal stories about others’ experiences. I have an arsenal of data bookmarked that I am willing to share with anyone who asks or challenges me.

I believe that vaccines should be a choice, and that this “war” needs to stop. It’s fruitless. I pray that people will educate themselves with both sides of the vaccine agenda and make the choice for themselves. I support anyone who makes an educated decision no matter what side they are on. Parenting is hard enough; we should be supporting each other.”

What Bad Nurses Do

So, armed with vast knowledge about vaccination and good health, Mom and Dad took their baby boy to DMC Surgery Hospital, expecting competent medical attention from a facility that offers a 29-minute guarantee for patients visiting their urgent care clinic.

Mom and Dad did everything right. They made their decision to vaccinate in a careful, educated manner. They comforted their baby when he wasn’t feeling well. They decided to seek medical care when they weren’t sure what was causing their son’s symptoms of illness.

In a 41-minute time period, their hopes of seeking reassurance for Oliver’s symptoms turned into a story you will read with disbelief and shock, as a nurse named Lauren ridiculed them and embarrassed them in front of other patients.

The harassment began at the admitting desk, when Lauren asked Oliver’s parents if he was vaccinated. When they told her no, she asked them, “Why?” in an exasperated tone. They opted to answer her question, explaining politely that they chose not to vaccinate their son.

Lauren responded sarcastically, “Well, you are are going to have a lot of fun with measles and mumps, too!”

With her bold words and actions, Lauren disregarded the right to privacy for Oliver and his family, as well as the right of other patients to keep their personal medical information confidential. She told Oliver’s family that another woman in the waiting area was pregnant, then told the pregnant woman:

“Ma’am, you have to go to the to the other lobby. This child is unvaccinated! We need everyone to move out of this lobby and get away from him. He has chicken pox.”

The Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act, established in 1996 and commonly known as HIPAA, prevents health care workers and others from sharing personal medical information. Lauren may have violated this federal law in favor of pushing her vaccine agenda. [1]

Many doctors pledge to follow the Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm.” In a similar manner, nurses honor the Florence Nightingale pledge, named after a nurse who is known as the founder of modern nursing and famous for her compassionate care. Lauren’s words and actions were unacceptable and traumatizing to Oliver’s parents, and more than that, they violated health care oaths, common sense, patient confidentiality rules, and moral guidelines.

This Nurse’s Most Dangerous Mistake

Amazingly, I have not yet told you one of the most troubling parts of this family’s story. Lauren, in her haste to push her pro-vaccine beliefs on Oliver and his family, was extremely negligent in her repeated desire for his parents to vaccinate him, especially against chicken pox.

Oliver was too young for the chicken pox vaccine.

According to the guidelines established by vaccine manufacturers and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the varicella vaccine against chicken pox is indicated for children ages 12 months and older. [2] At the time of his visit to DMC Surgery Hospital, Oliver was only eight months old.

Furthermore, according to the US government, as well as the thirteen-page package insert from a varicella vaccine, vaccination against chicken pox is not recommended for children who are exhibiting signs of illness or fever.[3, 4]

Oliver’s cold symptoms, fever, and skin rash, as well as his young age, clearly indicated that he should not receive a vaccine against chicken pox, or any other vaccine, until he returned to good health.

The Rest of the Story

Fortunately, Oliver’s mom was armed with the confidence she had developed during the countless hours she spent researching vaccines, as well as the strong support of her husband. Together, they decided to leave the urgent care facility when Nurse Lauren admonished them:

“This woman here is pregnant and I can’t risk her being near your son. It is irresponsible of you to have him around other people.”

When Oliver’s parents told Lauren they were leaving the hospital and seeking care for their son elsewhere, she told them, “Good!” but not before she tried to give them printed information she had highlighted by hand about the dangers of chicken pox and the importance of the vaccine their son was too young to receive, in front of a second waiting room of people, which may have explained why Oliver’s wait had surpassed the 29-minute guarantee.

The parents left the urgent care facility in Madison Heights, driving forty minutes to West Bloomfield with their son, whose fever had subsided, to visit another urgent care facility. At Henry Ford Hospital, their son was immediately cleared of his false chicken pox diagnosis, and he also tested negative for influenza. He was properly diagnosed with a “slight cold” and minor “skin irritation.”

Conclusion

First of all, let me say, I believe that the majority of nurses are highly skilled, compassionate, hard-working health care professionals. For their long hours and their special touches, there is no adequate way to convey sufficient gratitude and respect.

However, for nurses like Lauren, there is no excuse for such inappropriate behavior. You can’t blame it on a bad day, or a long shift, or a lack of judgement. She violated moral guidelines. She violated principles of common sense. She failed to respect patient confidentiality. She may have even violated federal law. She negligently recommended a vaccine that was contraindicated for a child who was too young to receive that vaccine.

Would you also agree that she failed to adhere the standards her employer, DMC Surgery Hospital, and her colleagues in the nursing field, likely expect her to meet?

This is not the first time in recent months that parents have been harassed and ridiculed by health care “professionals” because of their child’s vaccination status. Perhaps you remember the story of the nurse who wrote “LOSER” on a note directed at a mother who brought her unvaccinated nine month-old to the hospital after he hurt his ankle. [5]

If you are reading this article and you are a parent, perhaps for the first time like Oliver’s parents, you might be wondering, what can I do? How can I protect my child from unnecessary and dangerous vaccines? What should I do if I ever encounter a nurse like Lauren?

You are not helpless in this situation. Oliver’s mom shared very powerful words of advice in the hopes that her family’s unfortunate experience might help other parents. She told me:

“Honestly, if my husband weren’t right there next to me reminding me to be calm, I would have clawed that nurse’s eyes out. I was ANGRY! I still am. I am so grateful he was there because me reacting any differently … this would end up being a very different story.

Keeping calm in times like these is very important. People who don’t vaccinate are labeled as crazy. I would hate to behave in a way that would lend any credibility to that belief. I constantly feel I need to bring my big guns with me when I go out in case I come in contact with someone who believes differently than I do. I don’t want to feel this way.

I’m not an idiot. I think for myself and do my research. Our choices are what is right for our family, and if your choices are different than mine and work for you, then by all means, carry on! I want to live in a society where people support one another, not tear each other down for being different.”

If you want to empower yourself with knowledge, as Oliver’s mom has done, she recommends reading How To Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor by Dr. Mendelsohn. You can also download a list of vaccine ingredients to educate yourself and others about the dangerous chemicals contained in vaccines, so you have knowledge and power when faced with the decision to vaccinate, or when faced with an ignorant nurse.

[contentbox headline=”References” type=”normal”]

1. http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding…

2. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/downloads/parent-ver-sch-0-6yrs.pdf

3. http://www.vaccines.gov/basics/safety/should/

4. http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/v/varivax/varivax_pi.pdf

5. http://vactruth.com/2013/11/06/nurse-calls-parent-loser/

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 Photo Credit

Missy Fluegge
 

Missy Fluegge is the mom of three children who have taught her abundantly about life, more than she learned in over sixteen years of formal schooling. Her passions include mothering, teaching fine arts, researching and serving as a parent educator. Many years ago, she traded her nightstand for a bookshelf, which always holds at least a dozen books-in-progress, mostly non-fiction reads that support her fairytale notion of saving the world one person at a time.