Vaccinating Those Babies on the Weekly Rhubarb

Down the street at Penn State Hershey Medical Center a battle is brewing.  Mama vs. Hospital.

Mama was planning on a home birth, but ended up at the hospital, delivering her bebe in the ambulance.  What follows is a tale of evil nurses and hospital politics and ends with a social worker that clearly had a bone to pick with home birthing, non-vaccinating mamas.  Where does the vaccination problem come into play?  Mama refused a Hep B vaccine until she and her daughter could be tested and also refused a Vitamin K vaccine.  She had every right to refuse the vaccines, but the result was the newborn baby being taken away from the mama and mama and papa sleeping in the parking lot of the hospital.

It reads like a soap opera doesn't it?

So the question is...

Whose side are we on?  Well, my first instinct is to be completely, fully on the mama's side.  I am the mama's side.  In every respect, the mama was abused and I fully support her suing the hospital for all they are worth (remind me to give birth somewhere else next time around, right??)

My only issue comes with the vaccinations.  Let me get this straight before I dive in.  I think it should be a PARENT'S decision whether or not to vaccinate.  However, I've thought about this a lot.  A LOT a lot a lot.  Especially with having three children of my own, I've thought about the issue of vaccination and decided to have my children vaccinated.  Why?  Mainly for their sake (I can't delude myself of the real threat certain diseases cause - hello polio!), but also for the sake of others.  I see a very big problem with the "herd" mentality of everyone's child being vaccinated (except yours) and thus safe.  That's my opinion.  ...and to be honest, it has little to do with the story above because it was completely, utterly wrong what happened to this mama.  Vitamin K is NOT the polio vaccine. After reading the comment section in Sarah's blog however, the vaccination issue came front and center for me.

I worry that sometimes we forget how horrible these diseases were.  I worry that we consider these diseases "were" diseases instead of "are".  They could come back.  All we have to do is vaccinate no one and polio can come back.  That scares me.  The death count of children under 10 a few generations ago scares me.  I don't think we should be fighting about it, but I do think we should be talking about it.  I certainly don't think hospitals and social workers should have the last say and have the right to kidnap a newborn child based on a mom's refusal to vaccinate. 

What are your thoughts?  Where should the lines be drawn?
If you comment here or elsewhere, please be kind, polite and respectful.

Want the whole story?  The Healthy Home Economist has a more in depth look at the story. 


my blood
is really boiling right about now

i read about this earlier today
on a homeschooling website
and was shocked that this family's
civil rights were so violated

i read
that the mom didn't even have the chance
to reject the vitamin k
as it had already been administered

i am pro-vaccines
but totally believe
it is always the parent's right to decide

as a homeschooling resident of PA
i hope this family sues the heck out of this hospital and wins

thanks for helping to get the word out

Anonymous said…
The story is completely outrageous and offensive and should never have happened. I feel awful for those parents.

I totally understand why you feel as you do about vaccinations -- I vaccinated my daughter, as well, although we skipped a few of them (Hep B was one, chicken pox was the other). The thing is, Hep B isn't airborne -- another child being vaxed against it doesn't help keep your kid safe from it -- your child's behavior and the behavior of those around her will be what keep her safe from it, even if the vax fails. I feel the same about the vaccinations being recommended for preteens to prevent the virus that can cause cervical cancer -- I support the vaccine and we're probably going to have our daughter get the vax, but it should absolutely *not* be mandatory -- it's not as if normal classroom behavior is going to spread the virus. There's no justification for requiring it in order to keep a kid's classmates safer.
I wish your comment weren't anonymous! I agree with everything you are saying. The cervical virus vac is such a conundrum as parents (luckily I have boys, so this particular issue won't be for me).

How is the Hep B virus transferred?

Alison - BLOOD BOILING is the absolute right descriptor...