Monday, 2 February 2015

Twitter

WARNING: TWEETS AHEAD, SOME BY CLUELESS ASSHATS

I had written a post on smoking and was fully intending on publishing it today, but a funny thing happened to me on Twitter a few days ago, and I thought I'd ruminate on it a bit. So I'll put the smoking post on the back burner (hardy har har) until next week and shamelessly try to capitalise on a bit of good fortune. 

I was rummaging through several articles on the recent measles outbreak in California, and I came across a comment by a paediatrician (who practices, likely not coincidentally, in California) named Mike Ginsberg which rang so true in my head that I took a screenshot of it so I could show Mrs. Bastard.  Now I'm not a huge Twitter user with only around 1800 followers (FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER, DAMN IT), and the highest number of retweets I've ever gotten was about 150 a few months ago, which inexplicably made me very proud that that many people not only cared about what I said, but agreed with me. 

After reading Dr.Ginsberg's comment again and mentally fist-bumping and/or bro-hugging him, however, I realised I shouldn't keep such medical gold to myself, so I decided I'd share it with the world (or at least, with my 1800 followers):
Yeah.  YEAH!  Damn right!  Harrumph!  Immediately after posting his quite breathtakingly elegant diatribe, however, I knew something was curiously awry.  People started retweeting . . . and retweeting . . . and retweeting.  As of this writing (about 36 hours later), it's been retweeted over 5000 times and counting.  And @DocBastard, #VaccinateYourKids, and #vaccineswork were trending in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, London, Toronto, and Chicago.  Hm . . . I didn't even know that a person could trend.  Boy, I suck at Twitter . . . noob.  Anyway, the vast majority of the comments I've seen on it have been very supportive of Dr. Ginsberg:
But unfortunately as with any story about vaccines anywhere, the usual anti-vaccine idiots came out of the woodwork:

One clueless person (*cough* Snickadelphia *cough*) asked me if I knew what squalene was, thinking it was some dangerous-sounding toxic chemical (SQUALENE?  OH MY GOD, RUN!) used in vaccines when in reality it's an intermediary in cholesterol synthesis and we all have it in our bodies right now in much higher concentrations than in any vaccine (same goes for formaldehyde, by the way).  And then some comments have been downright hilarious.
That guy gets a well-deserved harrumph.  Much to the surprise of no one with an IQ higher than a naked mole rat's, some of the antivaxxers trotted out the same old trite, thoroughly untrue and/or unsubstantiated tropes like toxins, too much too soon, aluminum, formaldehyde, aborted fetal cells, cancer cells, Big Pharma, the government, and mercury

I can't say I agree with 100% of what Dr. Ginsberg says (calling child protective services on these antivax parents may be going a tad overboard, not to mention useless and would only serve to alienate these misguided people even further), but other than that I'd say he hit the proverbial nail directly on its proverbial head.  Over the past 36 hours I've been called a lot of things (including a fascist . . . really?  Is your knowledge of political history that poor that you think this is fascism??), but I am heartened to say the Twitterverse overwhelmingly seems to agree with me and Dr. Ginsberg, as my follower count has risen by almost 40% (holy shit, who the hell are you people?).  Also since then, I've gotten an email from an editor at an Australian newspaper, and even more surprisingly I got an offer from the Tech and Health editor at The Daily Beast to be a regular contributor for them.

I haven't decided yet if I'm going to accept The Daily Beast's offer, but I'm thinking about it.  Regardless, I'm curious about others' views on Dr. Ginsberg's rather strong (and strongly-worded) opinion.

35 comments:

  1. Definitely take up the Daily Beast's offer. You'll gain a lot more exposure & readers which is a good thing because more people need to hear what you have to say about your more serious topics: smoking, seat belts, drunk driving, brain death, homeopathy, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Please accept the offer if you can, we need reasonable and smart opinions out there...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Take the Beast up on their offer if you can, but don't beat yourself up if you can't--your first duty is to the real-life patients you have, although I agree with everyone who says we need more smart people with a good platform for spreading accurate information.

      A lot of my friends would qualify as geeks of one variety or another, and the vast majority believe quite strongly in vaccines; one couple let it be known before their son was born that no one who wasn't current on their DPT vaccine was going to be allowed near their child until he had been vaccinated himself at the appropriate age, so I made sure to get myself checked out (I knew I'd had the vaccine, I just wanted to confirm that it was still working, which it was). When I mentioned this to my parents, my dad thought it was a good idea, but my mom, of all people, became rather irate at the idea that my friends would try to dictate that other people get vaccinated; come to find out that she stubbornly refuses to get a flu shot (Dad and I both do; when you've had pneumonia once and bronchitis multiple times and have asthma, as I did and do, you tend to want to avoid coughing up bits of blood ever again, believe me); scarier still was her insinuation that, if she were having her kids now, she might not be as inclined to get them vaccinated as she was back in the day. Thank God we were all born back in the '60s, when it was all but mandatory...

      Delete
  3. I read your Twitter page yesterday and was cheering you on the whole time.

    Take the offer. It's a great opportunity to get common sense a lot more exposure.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What this world needs is more people following DocBastard! Keep up the good work (and accept the offer).

    ReplyDelete
  5. First time writer, long time reader. I got here through a link to the McMath case (any news about that poor girl, BTW?) and stayed and read everything back.
    Please accept the offer, more people need to read what you so sensibly write.

    FTR, my Southamerican underdeveloped country has a full mandatory vaccination schedule for kids up to 14 y.o. (vaccines are free of charge for everyone), and schools make you show the doctor's certifications when you take your kid there (since homeschooling is not recognised, no way out.) IMHO, there's no such thing as individual rights when you're putting someone else's health in danger.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm part of a loose association that is tracking the McMath saga - and there is absolutely NOTHING for the last couple months, and nothing conclusive since October or so. there were a couple more attempts at crowdfunding, which got cancelled as scams after getting next to no support.

      Delete
  6. I say definitely take the offer!! It could get you closer to a book deal, and I am dying to read any book you write!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Doesn't hurt to try it for a while. Just don't pick the normal click bait blog titles. "5 Vaccines for Weight Loss"

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am one of those new followers of both Twitter and the blog (obviously...). I have yet to hear a particularly reasonable argument from an anti-vaxer about why they oppose vaccinations. I feel like telling them the air is poisonous so they should stop breathing, and that I'll be ok because I sold out to Thr Man or something.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Most people didn't really comment on Dr. Ginsberg's view. Though it is a bit extreme I think it is reasonable for him to hold such standards, especially for the sake of protecting other patients. Calling family services might also work more symbolically than practically, but it can't hurt (unless perhaps from the social workers' perspectives).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I back Dr Ginsberg's statement except for calling CPS. These case workers already have enough to do!

      Delete
    2. I agree. There are some people who don't vaccinate because they can't (compromised immune systems, for example). I'd hate to have CPS sent on a wild goose chase. The key is to educate and do as the doctor does. If you don't vaccinate, you aren't welcome in our school/daycare/playgroup/home. How is this any different than an anti-smoking policy? If you insist on participating in an unhealthy activity that affects those around you, do it somewhere else!

      Delete
  10. Oh doctor so happy for you. What about a trial for a couple of months at least? Good luck and well done. You never seize to impress.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Awesome!! Keep us updated if you contribute to the Daily Beast!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Totally agree with you AND Dr. Ginsberg. I really appreciate a well-swung clue-by-four aimed squarely at the heads of idiots. Anti-vaxxers like that cardiologist who's kid is "pure" should be thrown far away from any other human being so that they can keep their junk-science based beliefs, yet not endanger other people.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My daughter works for a school affiliated with Northwestern University's School of Medicine and Law School. Every child who crosses the threshold of that school must be immunized except the infants who are too young. Every adult working with said children must be up to date with their immunizations as well. But you don't find many anti vaxxers at the Medical School. The school she was at here in CA was the same rules. Their kids were the spawn of aerospace scientists and rocket makers.

    ReplyDelete
  14. the bad effects of my measles shot were over quicker than the doctor could reach for a lollipop. the effects of gaining immunity to mumps and chicken pox were a bit more unpleasant. - and now I find I will need to get antibody tests to find if I have lost immunity to those - as well as getting shingles vaccine.

    meanwhile, I take a perverse joy in telling antivaxers I am more concerned about how the vaccine is delivered than what is in it. (yes, I'm one of those needle-phobes)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Personally I think it's about time the foot soldiers of the medical community, those treating, interacting with and impacting the daily lives of the children caught in the middle of this ideological tug of war, took a strong clear stance against the anti-vaccine movement.

    In the beginning it was just a fringe element, a small cloistered group of the willfully ignorant. It was easy to see them as harmless to anyone but their own and also easy to believe they would shortly fade into history. As they collected celebrity mascots and somehow managed to tie their personal beliefs onto a more national platform of personal freedom and anti-government intrusion they became more dangerous. As their numbers grew and their message reached more and more of the weak minded masses they became a downright menace.

    Through it all the voice of the opposition (and reason) remained comparatively weak and the numbers of un- and under vaccinated children grew. It's time that people who are making choices that are willfully endangering others who have no choice (those with medical exemptions) face the hard reality of their choices. You can't persuade, canjole, bribe or hope ignorance away. When you make the cost of being willfully ignorant too high, people will choose the path of education.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am a nurse in sonoma county (20 minutes north of the center of Marin) and the amount of fury that everyone here has about anti vaccine people at the moment is unprecedented. Everyone on my floor is applauding you and sharing this article. the worst part is that those same non vaccinating parents will bring their children to Marin General Hospital ER with a fever of 104 F or higher demanding that something be done but as soon as the nurse brings out the APAP they lose their minds. They will absolutely refuse to put any medication in their child as the poor kids brain boils and insist that the dr find a holistic alternative. One friend told me of a dr having to spend 20 minutes talking the mother into allowing fever reducers to be used while the nurses applied cold packs to the virtually non responsive child. Thank you so much for being part of the movement of doctors speaking up about this.

    ReplyDelete
  17. What I don't get about anti-vaxxers is this: They don't trust the "chemicals" in vaccines. Do they also refuse every form of medication that's not herbal? Because if they don't trust "BIG PHARMA" with what they put in vaccines, they should be TERRIFIED of meds. Have you seen the possible side effects of Ibuprofen? I'm taking 2 per day at the moment because I had my wisdom teeth removed, I don't mind. But it would only be logical for them to refuse medicine as a whole, right?
    E.g. what HelWilliams said - is that a normal occurance in anti-vaxx circles?

    ReplyDelete
  18. So those publications clearly think you are the pediatrician. You really going to write under false pretenses?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, the newspaper editor said she liked the tone of my blog, and the editor at the Daily Beast said that a colleague had forwarded her my blog (you know, the one you're reading right now), and that had spurred the offer.

      I do love when people make assumptions, because only one person ends up looking foolish.

      Delete
  19. I think short of mandatory vaccines for everyone who doesn't have health issues preventing immunization at that moment, the only reasonable approach would be what previous comments have already mentioned:

    Don't allow non-vaccinated kids older than a year/14 months into public care or education facility (crib, preschool, school, etc). I think a lot of private facilities will follow suit in fear of loosing the children of sane and educated parents as clients.

    Some private facilities might specialize to take on anti-vax children, and so be it: it will highten of those (and only those) kids to contract a disease since most of them won't be immunized, and that's really sad for the kids, but I think that hightend danger of infection will be the only thing able to change the anti-vaxxers minds. As long as their risk of being exposed is practically non-existent because of heard immunity they will just sit back and self-rightously claim that they won't expose their children to those bad, bad vaccines.


    What those people don't realize is that by not having their kids vaccined they make sure that their grandchildren will have to be, and possibly their grand-grandchildren too.

    Today, nobody has to get a vaccine for smallpox. Why? Because EVERYONE did get one in the seventies. Why can't we have the same success with measels, rubella, polio and similar diseases?


    On another note, Doc, I would love for you to have success as a writer and would totally read your columns or book, but please only do so if there is a way too keep your name/location unknown. As I commented on the earlier post about your anonymity I believe you should keep it in order to not having to change the way you write to protect the innocent (and/or stupid).

    ReplyDelete
  20. Nice Work Doc' - can't see how I could object to my doctor taking the same line.

    I just found this rather fine cartoon on vaccination:
    http://medium.com/the-nib/vaccines-work-here-are-the-facts-5de3d0f9ffd0

    Some here may find it interesting or useful.

    Ugi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PS - Doc' you really should take your writings to a wider audience if you can spare the time. The world needs more sanity and rationality.

      Delete
  21. This would be something I would put on the front door of my office (if I ever get one)!

    For those of us who are immunocompromised or unable to sustain vaccination titres, idiots are putting us at needless risk. I would LOVE to retain vaccination - I've had to be vaccinated for MMR FOUR times - and I haven't had a single side/adverse affect for bugger off you blood lunatics and simply vaccinate your children and stop putting those of us who cannot attain vaccination at risk for nothing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I agree 100% with him, tbh. If you put a kid's life in danger by not getting them vaccinated when they can be, you deserve to have CPS called on you. You are willfully endangering your child.
    As someone else said, individual rights end when they begin to affect the good of the community. I applaud Dr. Ginsberg for his policy. It's the best thing for his patients and his practice (though I do hope he makes exceptions for actual health issues on the spacing thing. I assume he does, but you know what they say about assumptions).

    ReplyDelete
  23. Love Dr. Ginsberg's comment except for the CPS reporting as those case workers are busy enough! If doctors did this, all anti-vaxxers could take their children to their hero, Dr. Rand Paul. Oh, wait, he's an ophthalmologist.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Two more things: (1) the link to Dr. Ginsberg's FB page is down--I hope this doesn't mean he was hacked/run off by the anti-vaxxers; (2) there is now actually a book out called Melanie's Marvelous Measles, in which we learn that measles are no big deal and actually kind of fun, you'll definitely get them if you're vaccinated, and drinking lots of melon juice will keep you from getting them. I wish to God I was making this up, but I'm not--an anti-vaxxer mom (who ended up in that camp after tragically losing a child, only to have her aunt--a nurse!--tell her that all the kids she saw in the hospital with similar illnesses had been vaccinated, nudge nudge wink wink) wrote this, and apparently it's a huge hit with that crowd. Too bad Roald Dahl isn't around to tell us about losing one of his kids to harmless, actually kind of fun measles. (Look, I get being suspicious of Big Pharma, but vaccines have such a proven track record I just don't get it; I'm sensitive to thimerosol--found this out when I first got contacts and the solution turned out to contain it--and I survived all my vaccines just fine. There's a reason everyone ran out to get their shots as soon as they were available; it was because they were all too familiar with what these diseases could and did do to people. *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, it is down. That's very sad. I had sent him a message on Facebook, but he didn't respond.

      Delete
  25. I'm all for calling CPS or the police. I'm also for states, cities, and other governments making ordinances that make it fiscally impossible for anybody but Bill Gates to get a child to majority without vaccinations. CPS workers are CPS workers, and they are overburdened and underpaid no matter what happens with anti-vaxxers. The courts, CPS, and government could earn enough money to pay for the problems these people cause by fining the crap out of them because they insist on being a part of society without thinking the rules apply to them.

    The BigPharma argument is mind boggling. Nobody makes money off vaccines - they're all so far out of patent it's not funny. Salk refused patent protection for the polio vaccine.

    I had somebody suggest that measles was a "cross-fit" workout of the immune system. I think I lost a few brain cells to that thought, though I did suggest that these parents start hanging out with those infected with TB, so they could give their own systems a workout. Hell, they should look forward to going to prison - prisons are a great "cross-fit immune systems workout" what with all the Hep C, TB, MRSA, and other communicable diseases going on there. Maybe we shouldn't fine the parents so much as put them in prison long enough to learn better.

    As for writing for The Daily Beast - just don't abandon us long term readers/rare writers of your blog. Love your take on most stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  26. "Melanie's Marvelous Measles" - a children's book, I kid you not - about the miracle of "natural health choices". Go to Amazon and read the scathing reviews, if you want a laugh. But then you will cry, because these anti-vac people exist.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The first comment of people against vaccines, relook. I did not see it as an opposition. I read it as a defense for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was the response (by @AzWingsFan) to @NYCJulieNYC's response that I meant to highlight.

      Delete

If you post spam or advertisements, I will hunt you down and eliminate you.

Comments may be moderated. Trolls will be deleted, and off-topic comments will not be approved.

Web-hosted images may be included thusly: [im]image url here[/im]. Maybe. I'm testing it.