Medicine and Faith Collide and the Children Suffer

[original is over here, click on this link to micro-pay me]

I wanted to link to a couple stories today about how faith and medicine have been colliding a bit in the news lately, and what you can do about it (or in this case, what *not* to do about it).

In the first case we have is probably the biggest story in this arena in some time, the Daniel Houser story.

For those that somehow missed it, here’s a general recap of the latest chapter (from the link above).

In a statement published by the Columbia Daily Tribune, Hoffmann stated that the mother and son returned to New Ulm, Minnesota, by a charter flight at 3 a.m. Monday where Daniel was immediately given a medical exam. His condition was not released.

Hoffmann said the arrest warrants issued for the mother after she left the state with her son last Tuesday were to be lifted. At that time, Daniel Hauser was ordered to appear before a judge and is expected to receive court-ordered chemotherapy treatments.

Legal custody of Daniel has been taken by the court, said Jennifer Keller, an attorney representing the family, according to CNN. Daniel has been put in his mother’s care and there were no plans to remove him “as long as she was cooperative with the court,” said Keller.

Keller told CNN that she met Sunday with Hauser and her son in Irvine, California, and that Colleen Hauser was prepared to accept the court’s decision.

“My understanding is that Colleen intends to abide by whatever order the court makes and that she wants to put her best case forward for her son to have a chance at alternative treatment,” Keller told CNN. “But if the court overrules that, she will abide by the orders of the court.”

So it looks like that one case has been resolved.  What really brought this general topic to my attention was not just this one story, but more statistical evidence in the form of a study that makes Jenny McCarthy and her crusade against immunization look pretty much exactly like the freak-out Mom in the Houser case (albeit not involving the magnitude of the Big C).

And yes, for those that don’t know, it’s *that* Jenny McCarthy, who somewhere between doing the Playboy thing, the MTv things and the party like a rock-star thing, earned some degrees in science and stuff.

I’m all for Mom’s trying to protect their kids, but let’s be reasonable, shall we?   Here’s the science..

Children of parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated against whooping cough are 23 times more likely to develop the disease than children who get the shots, according to a new study. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says whooping cough now infects more 5,000 children a year.

“One of the misperceptions among parents is that the pertussis vaccine doesn’t work and that their children are at low risk for infection, and our study showed that both were not true,” Glanz said.

Glanz and his colleagues based that estimate on a case control study that compared children whose parents had refused vaccination to children who received vaccinations. The findings were published in the June issue of Pediatrics. 

So doing this refusal thing made it TWENTY-THREE times more likely.  I bolded that one because it is a huge number.  Really, a pretty massive finding.  And this is the kind of research that is *really* dangerous to do.
Think about it for a second.  There is a deadly disease out there that kills children.  A lot of them.  It’s everywhere.  There is a medicine that works for the disease.   So widely available it is free.  Finding someone to expose their kids to that risk is not easy, but thanks to misinformation on the level of Ms. McCarthy’s, there are now enough people in the “control” group of exposed individuals, that we can really see how dangerous the diseases are, and how effective our modern treatments.
Yes, it would be completely unethical science to do this kind of research in a lab (give half a vaccine, give the other half…water…then expose them all to a deadly disease), but thanks, and I use that word somewhat sarcastically, to mis and dis-info, we can see how effective vaccination can be.
The same thing will be true as well if more people stop doing the MMR as well.  
Please, think of the children.  Don’t experiment on them.