Vaccines: The Exception to Medical Coercion

In 2002, my son David was showing early signs of autism. My mom (who is the smartest person I know) said to me, “He’s getting worse after his vaccines, Sarah. Stop doing this to my grandson. You don’t know everything.”

At 24 years old, I was convinced that I did in fact know just about everything and if I didn’t, David’s pediatrician certainly would.

At David’s next well-child visit I expressed concerns about vaccine safety and told him my mom thought she observed a regression after his MMR and varicella vaccines.

He responded by waiving his finger in my face and shouting at me, “How dare you question me! How dare you even question vaccines! I am a doctor. Is your mom a doctor? Are you? If vaccines weren’t safe would I be giving them in my office? I don’t ever want to hear this again, do you understand me?!”

I burst into tears as he stormed out of the room. I felt demoralized, humiliated and outgunned. When the nurse walked in with a round of vaccines to administer to David, I was in no shape to defend myself, my son or articulate a solid argument. I allowed her to vaccinate my son against my better judgement.


Confronting the Doctor with Undeniable Evidence

In 2005, I organized my son’s medical records for a Pharmacology Clinic I was scheduled to attend. I noticed a distinct and undeniable regression into autism following his MMR and varicella vaccines.

With his medical file complete, I called the pediatrician’s office and requested a private meeting with him. I imagine he thought I was coming in to say goodbye as he was set to retire a year from then.

When I sat down across from the pediatrician at his desk he was smiling and said, “What can I help you with today?”

I slid son’s medical file over to him and said, “I figured out what caused David’s autism. I’m not going to say a word, you read it and tell me if I’m right.”

As he read through the file, his smile turned to a look of impending doom. He clearly had seen what I had seen, that vaccines had triggered David’s autism.

I said, “Look at me. I’m right aren’t I? Vaccines caused my son’s autism.”

He continued to look at the ground, he was still shaking and unnervingly silent.

“You did this.” I said, “The least you can do is look at me. I’m right, aren’t I?”

He then mustered up the strength to stand up and walk over to his file cabinet and started sifting through his files. Fumbling through the file cabinet, he asked, “You signed the piece of paper saying you can’t sue me right?”

“Yes, I signed it.” I said, “No need to look for it. I know I can’t sue you. I know I can’t sue the manufacturers who made the vaccines. I do know that coercion is illegal. You coerced me into this. Remember when I came in here and said my mom was concerned about vaccines and you belittled me and made me cry? I’m right, aren’t I? Vaccines caused my son’s autism, didn’t they?”

“Well, yeah,” he said under his breath, looking at the floor.

“Okay then. I’ll be back on Friday (it was a Tuesday) to look at your malpractice insurance. You coerced me into this. Coercion is illegal. Call your lawyer and I’ll see you on Friday.”

When I called on Friday, the pediatrician was no longer with the practice. I’m not sure if he had planned on retiring early or if he retired because he knew I would turn his life upside down.

I never pursued a malpractice lawsuit against him because the reality was that I couldn’t afford to take time off of work to sit through court proceedings and meetings with attorneys.

My life was now dedicated to caring for a vaccine-injured child who had chronic diarrhea, severe food allergies, autism and a propensity to wander. It would have been impossible for me to follow through on filing a lawsuit.

All I really wanted was for him to stop injuring children and intimidating their parents. Although I gained nothing tangible, I took it as a small victory.

With this small victory under my belt, I started to feel empowered again. I knew that what he did in his office was wrong; he had no right to intimidate me the way he did. It then occurred to me that pediatricians were probably routinely using coercive methods to get parents to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine schedule.

The Implications of Coercion and Duress

They coerce us under the guise that vaccines are safe, but in my experience, I’ve found that most pediatricians have never read a vaccine package insert and don’t know how to recognize an adverse reaction to vaccines. The insert for a diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine, as one example, lists seizures, encephalopathy and severe allergic reactions as a contraindication; the insert clearly states that a doctor should not administer the vaccine if a child has suffered from one of these vaccine reactions.

However, if pediatricians don’t read vaccine package inserts, they can’t recognize an adverse reaction to vaccines and they certainly don’t know they aren’t supposed to give certain vaccines to a child who has suffered from seizures, allergic reactions, etc. Many simply don’t read the inserts and therefore can’t discern between an adverse reaction and another childhood illness. [1]

The fact that I was coerced into vaccinating my child means I entered into the decision under duress.

Coercion is defined as “the act of coercing; use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance. Force or the power to use force in gaining compliance, as by a government or police force.”

Duress is “(in law) an action compelling another person to do what he or she would not do voluntarily. A consent form signed under duress is not valid.”

Legally speaking, vaccine mandates in states like Mississippi and California can’t be legal if parents are coerced into vaccinating their children. Furthermore, the form I signed at the pediatrician’s office, exempting him from liability, isn’t valid if I signed it under duress. [2, 3]

Basic Medical Ethics

In addition to coercion and duress, there is the issue of the Basic Principles of Medical Ethics. My son’s pediatrician did not adhere to the following ethics set for medical professionals:

Autonomy: People have the right to control what happens to their bodies. This principle simply means that an informed, competent adult patient can refuse or accept treatments, drugs, and surgeries according to their wishes. People have the right to control what happens to their bodies because they are free and rational. And these decisions must be respected by everyone, even if those decisions aren’t in the best interest of the patient.

Beneficence: All healthcare providers must strive to improve their patient’s health, to do the most good for the patient in every situation. But what is good for one patient may not be good for another, so each situation should be considered individually. And other values that might conflict with beneficence may need to be considered.

Nonmaleficence: “First, do no harm” is the bedrock of medical ethics. In every situation, healthcare providers should avoid causing harm to their patients. You should also be aware of the doctrine of double effect, in which a treatment intended for good unintentionally causes harm. This doctrine helps you make difficult decisions about whether actions with double effects can be undertaken.

Justice: The fourth principle demands that you should try to be as fair as possible when offering treatments to patients and allocating scarce medical resources. You should be able to justify your actions in every situation. [4]

I am not a lawyer. I don’t know how to address the common practice of coercion as it pertains to vaccines. I don’t know how to address the issue of entering into a medical procedure under duress.

I do know that we need to start asking lawyers these questions. Can we sue pediatricians for damages when they have coerced us into a medical procedure? Can we sue for damages if we have entered into a medical procedure under duress?

Pediatricians are on the front lines of vaccine injury. Until they are legally obligated to read vaccine package inserts and adhere to the Basic Principles of Medical Ethics, they should be held liable for damages caused by vaccines.

They are told by the CDC that vaccines are safe but fail to do their own research. Pediatricians will routinely lecture parents on the importance of getting their child vaccinated for pertussis but many don’t realize that the CDC Surveillance Report on the DTaP proves it to be an ineffective vaccine. Well, technically, according to the CDC report (linked below), you are MORE likely to contract pertussis if you receive the DTaP vaccine. [5]

What Your Child’s Doctor Won’t Tell You

This is the issue with vaccines. We are not informed of the potential risks associated with vaccines by pediatricians. We are not given adequate information pertaining to efficacy rates and adverse reactions. Informed consent does not apply to vaccines so parents are left to do their own research on these matters.

By and large, we are loving, dedicated parents who took our kids to their pediatrician’s office to be vaccinated under the impression that vaccines were safe. We are not told at the time of vaccination that no one is liable for damages if our child is injured. We are not told at the time of vaccination that if our child is injured, we will have to file for compensation through the taxpayer funded National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). We are not told at the time of vaccination that the maximum amount of compensation for death or permanent disability is $250,000.00.

What we are not told at the time of vaccination is the issue. Parents should be informed that the measles and chicken pox are benign diseases that will run their course in a matter of weeks and that the MMR and varicella vaccines have the potential to cause lasting and irreparable harm to a child. We are not told that the pediatrician who is vaccinating our child is not liable for damages. We are not told that there has never been a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study to examine the safety of 69 (soon to be 72) vaccines by age eighteen. [6, 7]


What we are not told at the time of vaccination hinders our ability to make a sound, reasonable decision for our child. If manufacturers can’t be held liable for damages, our only recourse may be to seek compensation through our pediatrician’s malpractice insurance. I hate to see this happen to doctors, but maybe holding them liable would encourage them to insist on more thorough safety studies on vaccines, such as critically analyzing the synergistic toxicity of combining multiple vaccines in one visit.

If I have learned anything from this ordeal, I’ve learned to trust my instincts. I’ve learned that a mother’s instincts are always right and grandma still knows best. I wish I had listened to my mom all those years ago because as it turns out, she is still the smartest person I know.




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About the author

Sarah Carrasco

Sarah Carrasco is the mother of a fifteen year old boy with autism. She is a parent mentor and Coordinator for Talk about Curing Autism (TACA), an vocational advocate for people with developmental disabilities and is currently writing a handbook on autism. She has sat on expert panels pertaining to IEPs, resources and respite care provider training. She lives in Colorado with her three sons, David, Aidan and Brooks. David, who has regressive autism, is steadily making gains and is on the road to recovery.