Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

I helped a Naturopath kill my son, because I believe in Quackery

tamara-ryan-lovett1

 
Would you kill this kid?

Like clapping for Tinkerbell, killing children for superstition is part of keeping reality at bay.

Am I too harsh?

7 year old Ryan Lovett died of strep, meningitis, and pneumonia. His slow death, over 10 days, is reported to have been extremely painful. His death was also preventable with real medicine, so I am not even remotely harsh.

Ryan Lovett’s mother is a true believer in magic. Defending her irrational beliefs means avoiding everything that has valid evidence of benefit. Oddly, she did call 911, after her son started seizing. Ryan Lovett could not be resuscitated by EMS.

Ryan Lovett’s mother took him to a Naturopathic clinic for an echinacea mixture. Meanwhile, her neighbor, not trained in the deadly art of Naturopathy, was trying to convince Ryan Lovett’s mother to take Ryan to a real hospital.
 

La Pointe (Barbara La Pointe, a former friend of Lovett’s who used to take Ryan to her home on weekends) testified she visited Ryan and his mother the day before he died. She described Ryan as being “in a state of supreme suffering” and offered to take the mother and son to a hospital or doctor, but Lovett refused.[1]

 

Naturopaths claim that they will tell patients to go to a real doctor if the patient has a serious illness, which requires real medicine, not the usual self-limiting illness that patients recover from in spite of the Naturopath’s prescriptions.

Ryan Lovett will tell you that doesn’t work. No, Ryan Lovett can’t tell you, because nobody at Naturopathic clinic did what Naturopaths claim their extensive training in quackery prepares them to do – send the patient to a real doctor.

The neighbor was much smarter than everyone at the Naturopathic clinic, since she does not appear to have been indoctrinated in the death before medicine quackery of Naturopathy.
 

Ryan did not have a birth certificate and had never seen a doctor because his mother “did not believe in conventional medicine,”[1]

 

Evil conventional medicine? Pediatricians use evidence based medicine on their own kids and on themselves. They will even give you copies of research articles that show that their treatments do work. Medicine works even when the manufacturer is not able to influence the results of the research.
 


 

“The court specifically found that Tamara Lovett actually knew how sick he was and simply refused to do something and therefore gambled with his life,” he (Prosecutor Jonathan Hak) told reporters.[1]

 

That is a misunderstanding of medicine and gambling. Medicine is probabilistic. No treatment is 100% successful, so it depends on being prescribed for the right condition, in the right dose, having the fewest side effects, or having side effects that are least likely to make the patient worse, . . . , in order to make it more likely that the patient has a good outcome. That is gambling (putting the odds in the favor of the patient). Medical education is what helps the doctor, PA, NP, nurse, paramedic, EMT to assess the patient in a way that identifies the actual medical condition, to understand the risks and benefits of the available treatments, and to decide what is best for that individual patient.

Evidence-based medical education is better at putting the odds in favor of a good outcome than anything else.

Ryan Lovett’s mother wasn’t gambling, she was praying that her superstition had real magic powers. Maybe Ryan Lovett’s mother was praying that Ryan had a self-limiting illness, which would get better as long as the Naturopathic chemicals did not poison Ryan. Why take Ryan to the Naturopathic clinic at all, if the Naturopathic clinic just sells chemicals that are merely supposed to distract people and make the Naturopath money?
 

Doctors testified the infection would have been treatable had the boy, who also had meningitis and pneumonia, been taken to a doctor and given antibiotics.[1]

 

But this is just one rare case, so it is not fair to criticize Naturopaths for scamming the gullible. The Quack didn’t know the kid would die.
 

Canadians across the country have kept a close eye on the case. It is one of several in southern Alberta involving parents who were charged criminally after their children died of conditions that could have been treated with conventional medicine.[1]

 

Some people just can’t deal with reality.

Reality will eventually kill us, regardless of what we do. In the mean time, we can increase the odds of living a long healthy life by avoiding unnecessary treatment and limiting the treatments we do use to stuff that has valid evidence that it really works.

Footnotes:

[1] Tamara Lovett found guilty of negligence, failure to provide necessaries of life in death of 7-year-old son
By Meghan Grant, Drew Anderson,
CBC News
Posted: Jan 23, 2017 5:00 AM MT
Last Updated: Jan 23, 2017 5:33 PM MT
Article

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Is it Ethical to Treat a ‘Bad’ Person?

 


Image credit. If you are not upset by this image, you are much better at compartmentalizing than I am.
 

A question was posted on Facebook a while ago.

Suppose that you are dispatched for burns. Your patient is reported to have burned some children and burned herself while setting the children on fire.

Some of the children have died, but others are alive and are in severe pain.

The surviving children are already being treated appropriately. There are more than enough people and pain medicine to treat the children. There is only your patient for you to deal with.

Your patient even states, I did it.

Do you withhold treatment?

Do you provide any pain management?

Do you treat the person who admits to burning these children?

Why?

or

Why not?

.

Fluid Replacement in the vomiting child – IV, IO, or NG?

ResearchBlogging.org

Annals of Emergency Medicine has some Systematic Review Snapshots that are free and useful for getting a quick look at the evidence on various topics. In the current issue, there is a review of the evidence on fluid replacement for the child unable to take fluids orally, or unable to keep those fluids down.

Which is the best route to give fluids?

IV (IntraVenous)?

IO (IntraOsseous)?

NG (NasoGastric)?
 

Data Extraction and Synthesis
Individual study methodology and quality were not formally assessed and no bias assessment for the included studies was performed. Because of the heterogeneous nature of the reports, a meta-analysis was not performed, and this review represents a descriptive summary and discussion of the included study results. The results of this review are limited by different individual study inclusion criteria and protocols, primary outcomes, and the definitions of dehydration.
[1]

 

We should have an analysis of possible biases, of the quality, and of the definitions of dehydration, because these are important for determining if the results are relevant to our patients.
 

Click on image to make it larger.
 

The law of small numbers appears to be at work in the first listed study. Only 24 patients, or just 1/8 of all of the patients in these studies, but it is the only study to show a benefit with one method of rehydration.

Unless there is something about the quality of this study that is vastly superior to the other studies, we can safely ignore these results as an outlier.

For a more detailed review of this topic, the paper this is based on is in Pediatrics and available for free.
 

CONCLUSIONS: NG rehydration should be considered second-line therapy, after oral rehydration, particularly in resource-limited environments. IO rehydration seems to be an effective alternative when IV access is not readily obtainable. Additional evidence is needed before IP and subcutaneous rehydration can be endorsed.[2]

 

IP is IntraPeritoneal.

Footnotes:

[1] In the child with gastroenteritis who is unable to tolerate oral fluids, are there effective alternatives to intravenous hydration?
Barker LT.
Ann Emerg Med. 2012 Nov;60(5):607-8. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2012.04.003. Epub 2012 May 5. No abstract available.
PMID: 22560467 [PubMed – in process]

Free Full Text from Annals of Emergency Medicine

[2] Alternative rehydration methods: a systematic review and lessons for resource-limited care.
Rouhani S, Meloney L, Ahn R, Nelson BD, Burke TF.
Pediatrics. 2011 Mar;127(3):e748-57. Epub 2011 Feb 14. Review.
PMID: 21321023 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text from Pediatrics.

Barker, L. (2012). In the Child With Gastroenteritis Who Is Unable to Tolerate Oral Fluids, Are There Effective Alternatives to Intravenous Hydration? Annals of Emergency Medicine, 60 (5), 607-608 DOI: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2012.04.003

Rouhani S, Meloney L, Ahn R, Nelson BD, & Burke TF (2011). Alternative rehydration methods: a systematic review and lessons for resource-limited care. Pediatrics, 127 (3) PMID: 21321023

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Syncope and sudden death in student athletes

Two recent podcasts about this topic. Pedi-U has Done Fell Out! Pediatric Syncope Episode 10 with Dr. Lou Romig, Dr. Peter Antevy, and Kyle David Bates.

From a different perspective, Tom Bouthillet, David Baumrind, and Christopher Watford inaugurate the first EMS 12 Lead Podcast with Dr. John Mandrola of Dr. John M as their guest. The first topic is syncope and sudden death of student athletes, which can be a dramatic and even overwhelming event.

EMS 12-Lead podcast – Episode #1 – Syncope and sudden death in student athletes.

There is a great group of references for information beyond what is included in the podcast.

Dr. Mandrola points out some of the problems in screening a population that has an extremely low incidence of pathology. The false positives may outnumber the true positives, so how much testing is indicated? What testing is indicated?

Screening seemingly healthy young athletes?

The feasibility of routine ECG screening of athletes?

Included in the links are posts on EMS 12 Lead that address conditions described on the podcast, so we can look at some of the ECGs being discussed.

Go listen to the EMS 12 Lead podcast.

Also go listen to the Pedi-U podcast.

Another podcast on the same topic, but covering it from a third perspective, is the ERCAST.

All three are important podcasts on a topic that we do not want to ignore. While the bad outcomes are rare, they make up for it in the impact they have on all involved.

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A Comment on A Pediatric Bag Separate From the Adult Gear

In reply to 9-ECHO-1 and to my post A Pediatric Bag Separate From the Adult Gear, was this comment from jim emt-p.

You all have made good points but you can not carry everything you could possibly need in one bag unless its the size of a truck.

Possibly need or practically need?

If we find that we need much more than is in the truck, we can call for help. We are supposed to do so early, to anticipate our needs, rather than wait until they are unavoidable and then panic, but there are some who do seem to love to create these panic situations. These are the adrenaline junkies. I am more of a relaxation junkie. I want to show up and calm everyone down, not make everything worse. I am not suggesting that jim emt-p is different from me, just pointing out that this is the SOP for some people.

There is a standard set of pediatric gear that is carried.

Airway gear that includes one, or more, pediatric laryngoscope handles. Redundancy is good, but we already should have at least one adult laryngoscope handle. If I have to give up one type of handle, I would give up the adult handle.

We tend to want to use the handle as a lever, to pull back on it like a slot machine arm. This is not good.

Using the adult laryngoscope handle with a pediatric laryngoscope blade might encourage us to apply adult leverage to the airway, even though we should not be using the laryngoscope as a lever. I would rather have people being more gentle with the adult airway, than more forceful with the pediatric airway. We tend to apply too much force to the adult airway to make up for not applying enough skill and understanding of the airway anatomy.

I would be comfortable with one adult and one pediatric laryngoscope handle in the intubation kit. If a second extra handle is needed, we can save weight by making it another pediatric handle. This might get some of us to understand what parts of our equipment are interchangeable.

Also in the airway kit would be a bunch of little OPAs (OroPharyngeal Airways) and NPAs (NasoPharyngeal Airways). They don’t take up much room and they weigh almost nothing.

We have a first in bag that has O2, trauma supplies, airway kit adult and pedi, AED, and BVM,

I would refer to that as an oxygen bag or an airway bag. Trauma supplies are similar to pediatric supplies. Both are light. So a bunch of bandages can make anything a trauma bag.

What about IVs?

Any time I am thinking about IVs with a trauma patient, I am considering giving medications, so I would want the rest of my drugs and not just an airway bag. Trauma patients tend to have a lot of pain. We can safely manage pain with a variety of medications.

then we have a med bag with all meds and IV supplies and a pedi wheel

I do not see the benefit of a pedi wheel.

Estimating Weight
In the out-of-hospital setting, a child’s weight is often unknown, and even experienced personnel may not be able to estimate it accurately.74 Tapes with precalculated doses printed at various patient lengths have been clinically validated74,77,95 and are more accurate than age-based or observer (parent or provider) estimate-based methods in the prediction of body weight.70–77 Body habitus may also be an important consideration.70,72,78,79
[1]

Unless we have an accurate weight, we are basing our calculation on a number that is probably wrong. GIGO Garbage In = Garbage Out. If it is important to calculate the dose correctly, and the child’s weight is an important part of that calculation, then the best way to come up with an accurate dose is to avoid entering a guess into the calculation. A length-based resuscitation tape is the recommended way to do that and I agree with that recommendation.

Endotracheal Tube Size
Length-based resuscitation tapes are helpful and more accurate than age-based formula estimates of endotracheal tube size for children up to approximately 35 kg,77,95,96 even for children with short stature.97
[2]

and we have a pedi bag. It is geared with equipment that is for pedis infants and neonate pt only. We have an OB kit in this bag also because most people forget that a preg. female can turn into multiple pts real quick.

How much of that pediatric gear is just duplicating adult gear and how much is unique pediatric gear that takes up significant space?

Very little extra space is needed for the pediatric gear. The pediatric gear takes up about the same amount of space as the OB (OBstetrical) kit. Not enough to need a separate bag.

We can work with 2 bags but three is a lot better.

That can be just a matter of personal preference, if we bring all of the bags with us on every call. The problem is that some people do not bring all of the ALS gear on every call. When working out of a fly car, that means that we cannot even go back to the car to get the gear until after we are returned to the scene, which may be several calls later. Some of these calls may be pediatric calls and if that pediatric gear is still in the fly car, what do we do for our pediatric patient with nothing but adult gear?

But I do agree that airway kits should cover all ages and med bags cover all ages.

If we already have most of the pediatric equipment with us, why not add the little bit of pediatric equipment that is not airway?

Even the IO (IntraOsseous) needles/gun are now part of the adult equipment. That leaves the pediatric doses of bicarb and dextrose, which we can make on out own out of the adult containers by eliminating half of the contents and replacing with saline out of an IV bag. Instant half strength medication. Not instant, but not that much longer. If i cannot measure half of a pre-filled syringe, than I should not be giving medications to any pediatric patients.

Now that said to help keep from getting caught in a bad situations, expect the worst on every run.

I agree.

Footnotes:

[1] Estimating Weight
2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science
Part 14: Pediatric Advanced Life Support
Emergency Fluids and Medications
Free Full Text from AHA with link to Free Full Text PDF

[2] Endotracheal Tube Size
2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science
Part 14: Pediatric Advanced Life Support
BLS Considerations During PALS
Free Full Text from AHA with link to Free Full Text PDF

CBS Neck and Neck with CNN for Most Incompetent Network

Also possibly posted as part of the Skeptics’ Circle over at The Mad Skeptic. I procrastinate and am late in sending this in. Maybe The Mad Skeptic has already finished this edition. Anyway, go check out the rest of what is there.

Then:

Complain to CBS: CBS resident anti-vaccine propagandist Sharyl Attkisson sucks up to anti-vaccine pseudoscientist Andrew Wakefield.

The most famous fraud in medicine, that Criminally Blundering Scientist, Andrew Wakefield, was praised on the television network that has decided to give CNN a run for its money in the category of incompetence.

The CBS (Comedic Bumbling Scaremonger) network decided that they would give some air time to an exposed fraud to promote his latest larceny. He has already been shown to have taken payoffs from trial lawyers to fake his research. Is he pushing a book? So, why does anyone pay any attention to him? One reason. He tells them what they want to hear. And if it is written in a book, it must be true. OK, 2 reasons. He tells them what they want to hear, he feeds their paranoia, and if it is written in a book it must be true. OK, 3 reasons. . . .

If you believe that the people reporting the news, such as Sharyl Attkisson, are objective, you probably were told that by a reporter. If you believe that Andrew Wakefield does anything that is not designed to make him money, you probably were told that by Andrew Wakefield or one of his accomplices. If you think that Generation Rescue Generation Revenue knows anything about medicine, you probably were told that by somebody at Generation Revenue – somebody trying to sell you something.

Anybody, who uses only bumper sticker slogans as their medical evidence, clearly is not worth listening to. Too much, too soon. Based on what? They don’t know. They only feel. Ignorance is their strength. Green the vaccines. That doesn’t even mean anything. And then they use the made up word, Toxics, as if it were a real word.

Because, when you don’t know what you are talking about, it doesn’t matter what you say. It only matters what you feel. And they want you to feel angry, so they can make money off of you.

You should be angry. They want you to sacrifice your children to satisfy their feelings. They also want to make money off of you. They are selling books and magical mystery treatments – guaranteed to lighten your wallet, but certainly not guaranteed to be safe. They demand more and more vaccine research. The research continually shows that vaccines are safe, but they keep asking for more research – hoping for the fluke grouping of autistic children in the treatment group, so they can claim that it was the vaccine that caused the autism. They already do make that claim, but all of the evidence shows that they are lying.

Of course, they will sell you some of their dangerous all natural products. They don’t have to show that they are safe, because they sell them as supplements, rather than medicines. Supplements will kill you. You have no way of knowing what you are getting, because the politicians (such as Sen. Tom Harkin) have minimized oversight in response to donations from the real big money supplement groups – Big sCAM. And they get a quarter of a billion dollars – each year – of our tax dollars to look for evidence to support alternatives to medicine that has evidence that it works. Talk about pork.

When your money is going to buy their untested supplements drugs, they do not care about safety. When your money is going to pay for well tested vaccines, to protect your children, they are ranting and raving about danger.

One thing that can be said about everything that these 2 recommend – Not Safe!

Not safe for adults – and definitely not safe for children.

Interviewer – And yet in many cases, vaccines have effectively eliminated diseases. Measles is among the top five killers in the world of children under 5 years old, yet it kills virtually no one in the U.S. thanks to vaccines.

Jenny McCarthyPeople have the misconception that we want to eliminate vaccines. Please understand that we are not an antivaccine group. We are demanding safe vaccines. We want to reduce the schedule and reduce the toxins. If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the f___ing measles.

Jenny McCarthy on Autism and Vaccines
By Jeffrey Kluger; Wednesday, Apr. 01, 2009; Time Magazine

Reduce the schedule? Based on what?

Reduce the toxins? She is giving a chant, like a cheerleader, so repeating the word reduce works in the cheer. The toxins claim is just naming ingredients that are in microscopic quantities and are safe, even in children. Of course, this complaint about toxins is from someone who has botulism injected regularly, to maintain a youthful appearance. What does she understand about toxins?

Do you want the measles or the autism? Again, based on what?

These questions are nothing but a scare tactic.

There is no connection between vaccination and autism. You can look at all of the research, or you can listen to a stripper and an exposed fraud. A fraud who faked his research to make it appear that there is a link between vaccines and autism. Listen to real doctors? Or listen to these 2 ringleaders of a circus of ignorance and anger.

Why do people listen to such psychotic ranting? Mao was more compassionate than either of them and he tops the updated list of greatest mass murderers. Judging by the number of people skipping vaccines, we will probably not get people to realize just how dangerous her advice is until there are a lot of dead children. Probably not even close to Mao’s 73,000,000, but who knows how persuasive she can be.

So that you can keep track of how many people are being killed, because of people listening to the anti-vaccine mob, get the Jenny McCarthy/Anti-Vaccine Body Count widget. There are 2 other designs at the web site.

Jenny McCarthy Body Count

217 dead? The current numbers are actually 235 dead and 49,556 preventable illnesses. I don’t know why the widget is not up to date.

2007: Jenny McCarthy Begins Promoting Anti-Vaccination Rhetoric

Maybe it is just a coincidence. Maybe it is a coincidence that the number of cases of disease, and there are plenty of other diseases documented at the site, began dropping with the introduction of vaccinations, leveling off at very low numbers, and staying low until Jenny McCarthy started telling people that it is wrong to protect their children from these illnesses. Be fair to measles, or something like that.

Why is it wrong to protect my child from these vaccine-preventable diseases?

Loving parents should protect their children, not listen to a stripper giving deadly medical advice.

Am I being unfair?

Ask a parent who has had a child die because of Jenny McCarthy or Andrew Wakefield.

Then there is the big question.

Why was Andrew Wakefield being interviewed about an article appearing in a minor medical journal?

Do they normally cover all of the articles published in the more reputable medical journals, but are now adding to that extensive medical coverage?

Not at all. This is important news only to those who believe in the religion of Andrew Wakefield. The Lancet, which published the study that had to be retracted due to Andrew Wakefield’s fraud, is not going to believe that he had a sudden onset of honesty. JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association), the New England Journal of Medicine, Pediatrics, the British Medical Journal, et cetera, have reputations for quality that they need to maintain. Professional responsibility. Why even look at something from these frauds? Maybe the peer reviewers had no idea of the identity of the authors, but did not see anything about the paper to justify inclusion in a major medical journal.

Neurotoxicology? I never heard of the journal before, but maybe they wanted a bit of publicity. Dr. David Gorski goes into detail on the many conflicts of interest in this study. He also has links to the full study, which has been published at a couple of autism misinformation sites. Monkey business in autism research, part II.

For further information on Andrew Wakefield there is the reporting of Brian Deer:

Thoughtful House: Since the Royal Free ejected him in October 2001, Andrew Wakefield first re-emerged as “research director” of the self-styled International Child Development Resource Center, in Florida, which sells expensive products for autism, including enzymes and purported “genetic tests”. He was then installed at Thoughtful House in Austin, Texas, earning $280,000 a year.

Wakefield’s patents: Nine months before Andrew Wakefield and London’s Royal Free hospital medical school unleashed a global scare over the MMR vaccine, they filed, on June 5 1997, the first of a string of patent claims for theoretically vastly profitable products which could only succeed if MMR’s reputation was damaged. These included a purported safer measles vaccine – a potential competitor – and treatments for bowel disease and autism. All were based on claims that measles virus in MMR was at fault.

These are just 2 examples of the many sleazy activities of Andrew Wakefield. There are a lot more at http://briandeer.com/. Andrew Wakefield is not a doctor in the United States, although he works in the US. Has he been practicing medicine without a license? It would be a surprise if that were the one ethical part of his life.

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Human Sacrifice Is Legal In Washington

Human sacrifice is still alive and well.

What about the children raised with human sacrifice?

How about a nice eulogy and some Lee Press-On Nails as lovely parting gifts. If you decide to stay with the Church of Human Sacrifice, because that is the way Cognitive DissonanceTM works – don’t forget to tithe.[1]

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40, King James Version

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11, King James Version

Apparently, Zachery Swezey’s parents have rewritten this verse. I never became a man, because my parents wouldn’t let me. My parents blamed God, but my parents killed me. The State of Washington and the Christian Science Church are their accomplices.

If you read the Bible, how can you conclude that there is anything about this that is Christian?

If you know anything about science, how can you conclude there is anything about this that is Science or medicine?

RCW 9A.42.005
Findings and intent — Christian Science treatment — Rules of evidence.

The legislature finds that there is a significant need to protect children and dependent persons, including frail elder and vulnerable adults, from abuse and neglect by their parents, by persons entrusted with their physical custody, or by persons employed to provide them with the basic necessities of life. The legislature further finds that such abuse and neglect often takes the forms of either withholding from them the basic necessities of life, including food, water, shelter, clothing, and health care, or abandoning them, or both. Therefore, it is the intent of the legislature that criminal penalties be imposed on those guilty of such abuse or neglect. It is the intent of the legislature that a person who, in good faith, is furnished Christian Science treatment by a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner in lieu of medical care is not considered deprived of medically necessary health care or abandoned. Prosecutions under this chapter shall be consistent with the rules of evidence, including hearsay, under law.

[1997 c 392 § 507.][2]

The highlighting is mine.

I guess the Christian Science Church has a much more powerful lobby than Catholic Priests.

Yea, though I sacrifice my child, I shall fear no law, for the Washington State Legislature supports human sacrifice, if I use the right excuse.

After all, members of the Church of Human Sacrifice can always make more children victims. If that doesn’t work out, they can adopt.

H/T: of mule dung and ash for the link to coverage of this on Pharyngula.

Footnotes:

^ TM Cognitive Dissonance
Wikipedia
How to harm people with a clear conscience. Fool yourself.
Article

^ 1 Questions still linger over Carlton boy’s death
By K.C. Mehaffey
World staff writer
Posted August 26, 2009
Article

^ 2 Revised Code of Washington (RCW)
Title 9A – Washington Criminal Code
Chapter 42 – Criminal Mistreatment
Section 005 – Findings and intent — Christian Science treatment — Rules of evidence.

RCW 9A.42.005

The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) is the compilation of all permanent laws now in force. It is a collection of Session Laws (enacted by the Legislature, and signed by the Governor, or enacted via the initiative process), arranged by topic, with amendments added and repealed laws removed. It does not include temporary laws such as appropriations acts. The official version of the RCW is published by the Statute Law Committee and the Code Reviser.

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The Problem With Chicken Pox Parties

KevinMD writes about chicken pox parties[1] and links to an article[2] about the idea.

Never heard of a chicken pox party? You probably just move in the wrong social circles.

OK. What is a chicken pox party?

Chicken pox is a disease that usually causes a lot of discomfort. How much discomfort has a lot to do with how long it has been since you were a child and had the disease, assuming that you have had the disease. A chicken pox party is a gathering of a bunch of healthy children, with no known immunity to chicken pox.

How is that a chicken pox party? It seems like a non-chicken pox party.

At least one child infected with chicken pox, advertised as highly infectious, will be there.

Why would parents let their children play with a sick child someone who can infect their child?

They want their children to get sick.

Why?

They are more afraid of the less important things, rather than chicken pox.

What less important things?

These parties will be a way of having the children sick at a predictable time. Before that illness might interfere with work, or a vacation, or some major event, like a wedding.

Why not just get their kid vaccinated?

There is the bigger problem. These parents think that they are protecting their children from the vaccine.

Is the vaccine dangerous?

Everything is dangerous. What is important is to understand the relative risks and benefits of something.

What are the risks of the chicken pox vaccine?

Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine side-effects
What are the risks from chickenpox vaccine?

Getting chickenpox vaccine is much safer than getting chickenpox disease. Most people who get chickenpox vaccine do not have any problems with it.
However, a vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of chickenpox vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

Mild Problems
Soreness or swelling where the shot was given (about 1 out of 5 children and up to 1 out of 3 adolescents and adults)
Fever (1 person out of 10, or less)
Mild rash, up to a month after vaccination (1 person out of 20, or less). It is possible for these people to infect other members of their household, but this is extremely rare.
Note:
MMRV vaccine has been associated with higher rates of fever (up to about 1 person in 5) and measles-like rash (about 1 person in 20) compared with MMR and varicella vaccines given separately.

Moderate Problems
Seizure (jerking or staring) caused by fever (less than 1 person out of 1,000).

Severe Problems
Pneumonia (very rare)
Other serious problems, including severe neurological problems (brain reactions) and low blood count, have been reported after chickenpox vaccination. These happen so rarely, however, that experts cannot tell whether they are caused by the vaccine or not. If they are, it is extremely rare.
This information was taken directly from the Vaccine Information Statement Adobe Acrobat print-friendly PDF file[3]

Why do parents want their children to get the disease if “Getting chickenpox vaccine is much safer than getting chickenpox disease?”

There is a lack of understanding of the risks of vaccines, which are small, but real risks. There is a lack of understanding of the risks of the illness, which are much larger and more serious risks.

What are the risks of chicken pox?

Varicella (Chickenpox)
Varicella (also known as Chickenpox) is a virus of the herpes family called the varicella-zoster virus. Varicella is spread by contact with the fluid from the blisters on an infected person and by coughing and sneezing. It is highly contagious. Symptoms include a skin rash of blister-like lesions, usually on the face, scalp, or trunk of the body. The rash usually starts on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body. This rash begins as red bumps that progress to blisters which eventually “crust over” before falling off, usually in one to two weeks. It is not unusual for a child to get 300 to 500 blisters during a single chickenpox infection.

Before the vaccine was available in 1995 there were 3 to 4 million cases of chickenpox in the United States per year, mostly in children 10 years of age or younger. Current figures indicating the decline in incidence of varicella infection, complications and deaths are only available from select areas of the United States due to inadequate and inconsistent reporting levels from State to State. In those States where reporting is adequate and consistent there has been a decreased incidence in varicella infection of 67 to 82 percent. Complications are more common among adolescents and adults, and in immunocompromised persons of all ages, than in children. Historically 1 out of every 10,000 cases of chickenpox proved fatal with 23 out of every 10,000 cases progressing to pneumonia.

Chickenpox has also been an important risk factor for developing severe invasive “strep” (group A streptococcal disease), commonly referred to as “flesh-eating disease.” Treatment of this deep infection requires antibiotics and surgery to remove the infected tissue. 1 in 10,000 cases of chickenpox will result in bacterial infections, decreased blood platelets, arthritis, hepatitis, and brain inflammation which may cause a failure of muscular coordination.[4]

“I’m aghast at the thought of these parties,” said Dr. Louis Cooper, a spokesman for the Infectious Disease Society of America and a professor emeritus of pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.

“I deeply regret that parents who are trying to do the right thing just don’t get it,” Cooper said. “The fact is that they’re right, chickenpox for most children is a mild illness. But when you see children who have the misfortune of one of the complications that are possible, you never forget it.” [5]

Offit believes that if the chickenpox vaccine becomes as widely used as the measles vaccine was back in 1963, chickenpox would go the way of the measles: away.

“When we introduced the measles vaccine, which is another virus that gets worse for patients as they get older, in 1963, we dramatically reduced the instance of measles,” Offit said. “That is what will happen here with chickenpox.”[5] (Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician specializing in infectious disease at the department of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

These parents are putting their children at risk of serious illness, to protect them from less significant and less common problems that the vaccine might cause. They are also preventing the eradication of this illness and all of the complications associated with the illness, treatment of the illness, and vaccination against the illness.

As more of their children suffer the more serious complications of natural vaccination, a greater awareness should develop of the dangers of this infection party approach. Too bad the mental shortcomings of the parents are inflicted on the children.

Footnotes:

^ 1 Chickenpox parties and the risk of natural immunity
Kevin,MD.com
Article

^ 2 Doctors Wary of Dangerous Pox Parties
Kids Who Aren’t Vaccinated Could Face Serious Complications, Docs Warn

By Emily Friedman
Feb. 2, 2009
Article

^ 3 Basics and Common Questions:
Possible Side-effects from Vaccines

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Vaccines Home > Basics and Common Questions > Possible Side-effects from Vaccines
Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine side-effects

^ 4 Varicella (Chicken Pox)
ECBT (Every Child By Two)
The Diseases
Article

^ 5 Doctors Wary of Dangerous Pox Parties
Kids Who Aren’t Vaccinated Could Face Serious Complications, Docs Warn

By Emily Friedman
Feb. 2, 2009
Article

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