Friday, February 6, 2015


As a physician whose career included the WWII to the 70s golden age of American medicine I will make the dogmatic statement that those who would not permit their children to be immunized from measles or any of the other contagious viral disease are idiots.

The present explosion of well over a hundred cases, including 5 in a preschool in Chicago, of measles  scattered over  multiple states is inexcusable. If due to refusal for vaccination when the first death is reported; it should be treated as criminal an act as giving a shooter a gun. This particular disease can be fatal especially in children under 5 and adults over 20.

Equally important are the potential complications that this virus which attacks almost all systems and tissues can cause. Chronic ear infection and loss of hearing,

As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it.

About one child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or mentally retarded. Other possible lifelong residual problems such as severe epilepsy. My 4 year older sister suffered from this complication all her 80 years; accompanied by violent temper changes. None of this was helped by the available controlling medication that basically sedated the brain.*

Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a very rare, but fatal disease of the central nervous system that results from a measles virus infection acquired earlier in life. SSPE generally develops 7 to 10 years after a person has measles, even though the person seems to have fully recovered from the illness.

There are other preventable diseases that have been for all purposes eliminated except where through ignorance or distorted religious zealousism vaccination has been forbidden. That would include Polio, Whooping Cough which too can kill, Chicken Pox, Influenza, Meningitis and of course Small Pox the white man’s conqueror of the American Indian. Those are viral diseases; yesterday I mention Diphtheria a bacterial disease as well as Pneumonias.

If one can save lives should not one do so? There is little difference from endangering other through a serious disease by not taking preventive measures as using a gun to harm.

There are few laws that mandated vaccinations. Some like Jackson vs King gave Board of Educations the right to make immunization a requirement for school attendance. Arguments for and against mandatory vaccination are based often on the IX and XIV Amendments.  

Federal jurisdiction over public health matters derives from the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Believe it or not but that has been upheld b SCOPUS.

However, because of the IX Amendment; states have individually maintained the right of immunization laws. All but two states, Mississippi and West Virginia permit exemption from mandatory vaccination due to religious belief. 19 states also permit exemption based on personal wishes. Unfortunately some are based on a debunked fear that vaccination is the cause of Autism. Others are also based on nonsense and disregard for the majority.  

If the “proven welfare of the public is what is at stake; there is no question that there should be corrective action.

Note that I have not mentioned other vaccines including tetanus that have been developed and now have a place in preventive medicine. Where and when indicated they should be used unles of course there is a medical contraindication.

* She was never able to live or enjoy a normal life. Never  had a date, could not drive a car or truly be independent.


  1. Doc.. you have to remember... all these years of proven medical scientifically backed logic are of no consequence to those who would rather listen to a d-list actress ( Jenny McCarthy ) as the one who knows best... I too believe parents who don't immunize their children should be held responsible when their children get these diseases - neglect, child abuse etc.
    I was shocked to learn that the shingles vaccination is specifically held back without a doctor's order until the age of 50. I had tried to get it, but was told I can't get it without a doctor prescribing the shot due to my age. I had never thought about it until one of my cousins got it who is 12yrs younger than me.

  2. Sadly, it is the children that suffer for their parents' ignorance. I had an aunt that died of pertussis in the early 1920's. Had the vaccine been available, I am sure my grandparents would have made sure she had gotten it instead of having to watch her die in that manner.