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Why NOT to give your doctor an anti-vaccine liability form

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 by: Alan Phillips, J.D.
Tags: vaccinations, liability form, doctor

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Delicious
(NaturalNews) Every so often, information circulates around the alternative vaccine community recommending that parents ask their child's pediatrician to sign a liability form. Typically, these forms list vaccine ingredients and ask the doctor to assume liability for any adverse events that the vaccines the doctor administers may cause. The theory seems to be that this will enlighten the doctor as to the truth about vaccines and prevent the children from being vaccinated. While the idea of using these forms is very appealing to those of us in the alternative vaccine community, they are also a potential disaster waiting to happen, for the reasons stated below. Therefore, I generally advise against using these forms, but if you feel compelled to do so anyway, make sure you're thoroughly aware of the concerns below and see purpose in doing so despite the potential problems.

1. Whether or not a doctor signs a form, the required vaccines are still required. A form can't change that legal reality. You still have to either get the required vaccines or exercise an available exemption.

2. Let's face it: No doctor will ever sign such a form, for the simple reason that they don't have to. Doctors have plenty of liability risks already, they're not about to voluntarily take on more.

3. The biggest risk is to parents who take one of these forms to their child's pediatrician instead of exercising an exemption, expecting the form to make the doctor to stop pushing vaccines and "see the light." Legally, parents must either get their kids vaccinated (with all required vaccines) or exercise an exemption. If they do neither of these, they are not in compliance with the law. This is a dangerous place for parents to be. Doctors are required to report suspected abuse and neglect, and if a parent is out of compliance with the law regarding vaccines, the parent may be legally neglecting their child and subject to being reported. Worse, some doctors will report parents vindictively, whether required to or not, as their way of battling what they perceive as the terribly misguided anti-vaccine movement. Trust me--you do NOT want to be dragged into a CPS investigation over required vaccines. Anecdotal reports suggest that parents can have their children taken away from them for refusing to vaccinate their kids (though this could not properly happen if a parent is exercising an exemption).

4. Those recommending these forms may be taking a risk, too. Persons suffering harm from the use of such a form may want to hold the recommender responsible. If you feel compelled to recommend such a form, consider consulting a local attorney about any associated liability risks, and about including an appropriate disclaimer such as a statement that those who use the form do so at their own risk.

5. In most instances, trying to educate a doctor about vaccines is probably futile. They perceive themselves as the expert and will usually dismiss any contrary information coming from a lay person. You're "wrong" before they even look at your information simply because they already know what's "right," and they're the doctor. So, any contrary information is just more of that crazy anti-vaccine stuff. In short, they can't hear you, regardless of what you have to say. Furthermore, they have immense peer pressure to promote vaccines, so even those few who can hear you can't acknowledge the truth without putting their own careers at risk. So, unless you have good reason to believe that your doctor is the exception, unless she's already indicated a willingness to review alternative information, there may be more effective ways to spend your time and energy. But if education is your goal, do it with concise, referenced information, and not with a form asking the doctor to accept liability risks. They may be offended, and respond with a counter-attack, such as kicking you out of the practice (which more and more doctors are now doing with non-vaccinating parents) or worse, a call to CPS.

I'm not saying that there's no possible positive outcome by handing one of these forms to a doctor, at least one anecdotal report suggested that a doctor responded favorably. I'm saying it's important to understand your legal rights and responsibilities first, so you can protect yourself and your children, and so you know what you're getting into before you act. Kids have reportedly been taken away from their parents over failure to vaccinate, so this is not a trivial matter. If you have a doctor who will listen to you, then by all means, educate him. I did that myself with my Dispelling Vaccination Myths article some years ago - the doctor took an hour of his time to discuss it with me, and he complemented me on my research. He also sent me a $150 bill afterwards for his time. So, educating doctors is a laudable goal, but we must be careful about how we do that. But as to the larger vaccine controversy, we can't wait for doctors to take the lead. They will ultimately follow us, the market, as more and more of us choose to leave vaccines behind and demand from our legislatures laws allowing us the freedom to choose. We might do better to send such forms to state legislators, asking them to accept liability for the laws they enact that support pro-vaccine doctors and that result in vaccine injuries and deaths - not because a legislator would or should ever sign one, but to send a message underscoring the seriousness of their responsibility to the lives and wellbeing of their constituents. Ultimately, it's more what the laws say that matters than what doctors think.

Alan Phillips, J.D. is a leading national vaccine rights attorney and vaccine legislative activist. For more information, see www.vaccinerights.com, or email Alan at attorney@vaccinerights.com.

*This article is for educational purposes only and it not intended to constitute legal or medical advice. Consult the attorney or doctor of your choice for your legal and medical needs.

About the author:
Alan Phillips, Vaccine Rights Attorney
attorney@vaccinerights.com, 1-828-575-2622
Vaccine Rights (www.vaccinerights.com)

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