Judge Stephen Lipton made, what is seen by many as, ‘legal history’ in Calgary Canada this week. He hit the headlines by ruling against child welfare services in a vaccine case. The child welfare services had applied for a ruling to have four siblings immunized, despite their parents’ decision not to allow the treatment.
The Calgary Sun (http://www.calgarysun.com/news…)reported Judge Lipton had found the children to be in good health and well cared for. Kevin Martin from the Sun reporting on the the story told readers that the Judge had said:
“I find that on the facts of this case the vaccinations proposed by the caseworker don’t fall within the definition of ‘essential’ (in the legislation),” Lipton said. “The children are healthy and none of them are at imminent risk of serious harm.”
In an unusual decision, Lipton said that the “children weren’t at any present risk so no court intervention was warranted”.
This story is in stark contrast to headlines in the UK a few years ago. In 2006 ‘The Guardian’ (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society…) reported that homoeopath and general practitioner Dr Jayne Donegan was accused by Judge Justice Sedley of ‘peddling junk science.’ This happened when she gave evidence in a case involving two mothers based on 20 years experience in practise. The mothers were both fighting attempts by their former partners to have their children immunized. The mothers both felt that the childhood vaccinations were unnecessary and possibly dangerous.
The Guardian said in their report:
“Dr Donegan was called as an expert witness by the two mothers, whose daughters had received none of the vaccinations routinely given to children, including jabs against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, meningitis and polio.”
Sedley felt that Dr. Donegan’s report was based on no independent research and she presented the court with little more than ‘junk science’. In his judgement ordering that the girls had to be vaccinated, Mr Justice Sumner said:
“I am compelled to the reluctant conclusion that in this case Dr. Donegan has allowed her deeply held feelings on the subject of immunisation to overrule the duty she owes to the court.”
Dr. Donegan, was later accused by the General Medical Council of failing in her duty to the court by giving selective evidence. Despite being accused of professional misconduct however, Dr. Donegan was finally cleared of any wrong doing in August 2007.
“I have always maintained that the court evidence I gave was based on objective, independent and unbiased research and I’m pleased that this has been recognised by today’s verdict.”
This has been a very distressing time for me and my family and I would like to thank those who have supported me throughout, and to the legal team assembled by the Medical Defence Union and led by Ian Stern QC.”
You can read the full transcripts of the GMC case on the Profitable Harm website. (http://www.profitableharm.com/drjaynedonegan…)
In 2007, another vaccine blockbuster headline hit the USA newspapers. In the Washington suburbs of Prince George’s County parents were ordered to attend court for not having their children vaccinated. Circuit Court Judge C. Philip Nichols was so determined to have all children vaccinated, that he ordered the parents to have their children vaccinated on the spot. Failure to do so could have resulted in a ten days stretch in jail for non compliance.
Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com/story…) reported that the ruling was a complete success and said that:
“School officials deemed the court action a success. School system spokesman John White said the number of children lacking vaccinations dropped from 2,300 at the time the judge sent the letter to about 1,100 Friday. Hundreds more were expected to be in compliance after Saturday’s session.”
So what made Judge Lipton decide against forcing the four children in Calgary to have their vaccinations? Have we finally found a judge brave enough to rule with a conscience? It is about time that more judges cared for the real welfare of our children and less about government guidelines. Judge Lipton should be applauded for paving the way to a better and fairer justice system regarding child vaccination.