Vaccinations- Should Docs "Fire" Families That Refuse?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Vaccinations- Should Docs "Fire" Families That Refuse?
Fri, 08-03-2012 - 10:12am

Can you imagine being dumped by your pediatrician? More and more doctors are "firing" patients -- refusing to treat children whose parents refuse or delay vaccinations.

There's a medical reason: An unvaccinated 4-year-old with whooping cough in a doctor's waiting room could infect a young infant who hasn't yet been vaccinated. Some doctors say they don't want to put their other patients at unnecessary risk. While numerous studies have shown no increased risk of autism from vaccines, many parents remain concerned.

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What do you think? Should doctors have the right to "fire" patients when their parents refuse to vaccinate?  Is anyone here delaying or avoiding vaccinations?  If so, have you had any issues with your pediatrician regarding your decision?

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Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
I had to chime in on this one real quick, I saw it on the front page. Firstly, I was actually "fired" by the pediatrician I had picked out when my middle daughter was born because my DH, who was deployed to Iraq at the time, were delaying vaccinations at the time due to both autism and SIDS that ran in his side of the family. We felt it was prudent at the time to delay them. The pediatrician indicated that if I wasn't going to do as she felt necessary as a doctor with a medical degree, then she didn't want us at her practice. Honestly, at that point, I was well educated and researched on vaccinations, she didn't care what my reasons were behind delaying them, AND that indicated to me that in the future, whether it was vaccinations, or any treatment plan that I didn't necessarily agree with as a parent, that she recommended, that we may have issues working together for the best interests of MY child. I called around and finally switched to a pediatrician that I absolutely love and is fine with my decisions about vaccinating my children. He asks me each time we go in if we are doing any, I tell him my answer and he says okay and moves on. Others in his practice, including his nurse, have been "nice enough" to give me the lectures, hand outs, pamplets, USB drives and CD's full of research, but our main pediatrician is fine.

Secondly, all pediatricians that I go to almost always have had a separate block of time devoted to infants for well child visits and sick visits so they don't interact with older kids who are sick and could be more contagious to the vulnerable infants, or other pediatricians have had separate waiting areas for them.

I respect that doctors can pick and choose patients, just like I can pick and choose my doctor. I think it should be mentioned that most parents that delay or do not do vaccinations are highly educated and research their position and their reasons for vaccinating, and while I know that my doctor went to medical school, that does not mean they are always 100% up on the most recent research and studies on vaccinations and the pressure of the medical companies coming in giving them things isn't always the best way to judge what is the best thing to prescribe to a patient IMO. We rarely have a need to go to the doctor, we go in once a year for well child visits, sports physicals for the older one, and once in a while possibly an ear infection, strep throat or something else, but overall, usually the unvaccinated children (from what I have seen and experienced) are also some of the healthiest kids. Just my two cents.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2010
I think to each their own when it comes to making the decision whether or not to vaccinate, but as someone that strongly believes in vaccinating I can honestly say I would be worried about unvaccinated children being around my newborn that has not been vaccinated yet. And our pedi is at a large practice with 5 other doctors so there are not different times of the day for well visits and for sick visits. I think that while we are all given the right and freedom to chose whatever doctor we want, they also have every right to refuse a patient if they have a policy in place in their practice stating all patients must be vaccinated. We will be be following the standard vaccinating schedule with our child.