Saturday, October 23, 2010

School Nurses and Parents' Right to Informed Consent

I just responded to a facebook friend who commented on one of my Notes. This mother of a vaccine-injured child informed the school nurse of her Religious Exemption status. The nurse reportedly treated the mother "like a 3 year-old child" who was making a foolish decision by exercising her legal right to refrain from further vaccinating after her son had experienced serious complications from previous vaccines. This mother also reports the school nurse attempted to include her in a conspiracy to deny other parents their legal right to informed consent by advising her to keep quiet about the fact that parents are entitled to Religious Exemption. The school nurse reportedly told this mother not to tell anyone else about the fact that she was claiming religious exemption for her son, or that such a thing exists and others are entitled to do the same.

How many of us who are exercising our rights to Religious or Philosophical Exemptions from vaccination have experienced something similar?

My advise to my facebook friend is to write a letter to the nurse documenting her concerns about having been asked to with-hold information from other parents about their legal rights and about the dangers of vaccinating children who are at increased risk of having negative reactions. I advised this mother to copy the letter to the superintendent of the school district, making the episode a matter of public record. Thinking about it now, sending a copy to the local newspaper and to members of the school board wouldn't be a bad idea.

School nurses are in positions where they have a responsibility to exercise care and concern for the children who attend their schools. They also have a responsibility to ensure that parents have accurate information when it comes to the health and well-being of their children. At the very least, they should not be actively denying parents information they need to make informed decisions and they certainly should not be actively recruiting other parents to help assist them in denying parents information about their legal rights.

When something happens to a child who attends the school where this nurse is on staff, an investigation needs to be started to determine if the parents of that child were denied information about exemptions that may have prevented the injury or death of the child, and if this is the case, the school nurse needs to be held accountable. It seems to me a case could be made for conspiracy and criminal negligence, or even negligent homicide if a child dies.

My thoughts about this are that it is highly likely that other parents have encountered this kind of scenario, not only with school nurses, but with pharmacists and nurses who are administering vaccinations at drug stores, Walmart, and other public places. If this has happened to you, I urge you to document the episode, include the date and time of the incident, note where it took place, and the name of the "health professional" involved. Also note if others were present and witnessed the discussion. Then make it public.

This is serious. Children are being harmed and we cannot keep silent just because it may upset someone. As I noted in my message to my facebook friend, "There is a reason for everything. This conversation happened to you and it is your cue to take action." If for no other reason than to protect ourselves from the guilt and pain of knowing we could have done something and chose not to, we must not be silent.

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