Eight nurses with one neuron between them

If you haven’t heard it by now, here’s the scoop. Eight nurses at a hospital at the IU Health Goshen Hospital in Goshen, Indiana, refused to comply with hospital policy on influenza immunization and were fired. You know where this is going, right? Yeah, you do. The words “Nazi”, “Marxist”, “Forced”, and “Vaccination” are forthcoming.

First, some case law. The US Supreme Court, in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, ruled that the states have the authority to impose compulsory vaccination laws. This decision was upheld in Zucht v. King and even expanded to local town ordinances. Yes, in this Great Republic, filled with Democracy and Equality Under The Law, you must comply with immunization orders from your elected officials and their designated health officers or suffer the consequences. No, no one will hold you down and forcibly immunize you, but you may be put under quarantine, kept away from the vulnerable public, or fined/incarcerated. But, again, no one will hold you down and jab a needle in your arm.

We’re not Nazis.

Second, a word on “discrimination”. Discrimination has to do with selective reprisals or impositions on individuals based on a trait that they can’t help, like their race, ethnicity, place of birth, sexual orientation, color of their skin, etc. If someone says that you, you there in front of your computer or other digital device, cannot enter a building because of any of those traits and those traits alone, you’re being discriminated against. If you are fired because you are Hispanic, then you have a good case for discrimination.

Now, onto the nurses. These eight nurses were told that influenza vaccines were going to be required as a condition of their employment at the hospital. They were not going to be held down and vaccinated. None of their families were going to be dragged away to an internment camp. They were just going to be let go, free to find another job as nurses. (I hear there is quite the demand.) So what did the nurses do? They refused to get the flu vaccine.

They didn’t refuse because of an allergy or a medical condition that prevented them from being immunized. No. They refused because of their religion. This is what one of the nurses had to say about her dismissal:

““We all have different faith walks,” said Gingerich, who describes herself as a nondenominational Christian. “I feel like in my personal faith walk, I have felt instructed not to get a flu vaccination, but it’s also the whole matter of the right to choose what I put in my body and what I feel God wants me to put in versus someone mandating what I put in. It is a very big issue for me.” Gingerich was horrified that she was forced to choose between her beliefs and her job, but ultimately she said she knew what the right path was for her. “I feel like our religious freedoms are being challenged and not honored in a country that supposedly has these freedoms,” she said.”

Was she being told not to practice her religion? No. Was she not able to go to the church of her choice whenever she wanted to? No. Was she being forced to worship a different deity than the one she worships now? No. She was just asked to get a flu vaccine. A [expletive deleted] flu vaccine!

If you’re not familiar with the work of nurses, they play a critical role in the care of patients. They take orders from a healthcare provider and administer care, often in the form of medication. That is, they inject sick patients with medicine to make them feel better. So what did another vaccine-refusing nurse have to say about her situation? This:

“Your body has its natural responses to fight off certain viruses and infections, and if you continually inoculate your body with something that’s not even guaranteed from preventing you from getting it, why would you do it?”

The same can be said of any medicine; none of them are guaranteed to work. Why would you do it? Because the flu vaccine reduces the chances of you getting the flu, something that can be deadly for many people, especially hospitalized patients. What does this nurse have to add? This:

“As a nurse, my passion was to be the best advocate I could be for my patients. They knew I could be there for them even if sometimes it caused a rippling of the waters, but as a nurse there was no advocate for me except for several physicians who attempted to go to bat for our cause, but they were denied. So, what message is this sending to the public if this institution shoots down their own patient advocates?”

The message that this hospital is sending is that it cannot pussyfoot around when it comes to protecting its patients from influenza. If that takes firing nurses that will not comply — for whatever reason — then so be it.

And there is the hospice nurse, someone who works with incredibly frail people:

“Schrock believes that there are other steps people can take to stay healthy rather than getting a flu shot, like taking natural vitamins, eating well and exercising. The last time she had a flu shot was about 30 years ago.
“I just learned more and more about natural healing,” she said. “We’ve been using natural products for a good 20 years, and that’s the way we believe healing takes place.”
Schrock said her decision to decline the vaccination was, in part, “God-led.”
“I’m a pretty quiet, spiritual person, and for me, it was a big decision, but it was something that was very meaningful for me not to have in my body,” she said.”

Excuse me? There are other steps… Like vitamins and eating well? I’m not even going to touch the religiosity of her statements. I’ll touch the stupidity. There is no evidence that eating well and exercising prevents you from getting the flu. Washing your hands thoroughly, wearing a mask when working with people who are sick, those are evidence-based ways to prevent the flu. But a nurse recommending vitamins and exercise instead of the flu vaccine? Really?

The nurses continued to display their lack of science knowledge in the comments section of the article:

Name that vaxlie!

Can’t even spell “Guillain-Barre“, a 1 in 1,000,000 reaction. Shameful.

Also telling were the comments to the news article.

I don’t like to mention names, but, in this instance, I’m all for naming names. Thank God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, that Sue Schrock, Joyce Gingerich, and Ethel Hoover are no longer nurses at that hospital. Their inability to think critically and in an evidence-based way put a lot of people in danger, in my opinion. I mean, the all-or-nothing fallacy about the vaccine, really?

And the commenters? They said these things in public.

Others covering this:
Skewed Distribution
Harpocrates Speaks

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4 thoughts on “Eight nurses with one neuron between them

  1. All one need truly say is, good riddance to bad rubbish. If these RN's were so mentally deficient as to risk the health of their ill patients, one can only wonder what their standard of care truly was with those patients under their care.They completely missed the boat in the logic department as well on several points.A nondenominational Christian has no doctrine that rejects any modern medicine, save what the individual invents as an excuse to not comply with policy.If one does not wish to have "an antigen" put into their body, they do have an absolute right to refuse it. They also do not have to work at the facility any longer, as it is a requirement of their position.The very last comment displays ignorance on how rapidly a virus mutates, as well as a few other logical fallacies. Just more evidence that we need to emphasize the teaching of logic and critical thinking in our schools.I'll close with an anecdote from my own life. Many years ago, influenza vaccines were finally being emphasized by the government. Being made aware of the vaccine, my wife and I were vaccinated against the predicted influenza strains. Well, the predictions were apparently a bit off, we managed to contract the virus. Three months after, we were finally functional. Six months later, we finally felt fully recovered. I had previously understood at an intellectual level how influenza could kill, but never on a full personal level. Let's suggest that that virus educated us a great deal. We still get our immunizations, to include the influenza vaccine. For, it is a reasonable precaution against communicable disease and protects our dearest family members, our elders and children.

  2. I've just posted at Skewed Distribution. I am very angry that nurses were among those who refused to be immunized against influenza.From the January 7, 2013 Issue of "Vaccine"http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X12016180AbstractObjectiveIn 2009, voluntary public reporting of hospital health care personnel (HCP) vaccination rates began in Illinois. We describe our experience over 3 influenza seasons and examine the impact universal policies have had on performance.MethodsA secure website was used to report monthly HCP vaccination rates by each participating hospital. Overall and individual hospital performance was publicly reported each month.ResultsIn the first two seasons, there were 11 hospitals reporting with an average end of season rate of 76% (2009–2010) and 81% (2010–2011). In the 2011–2012 season, there were 22 hospitals reporting, 9 of which had a new universal policy for HCP influenza vaccination. The average 2011–2012 end of season rate was 72% for hospitals with a voluntary program and 95% for hospitals with a universal policy. HCP were also vaccinated earlier in the influenza season when a universal policy was in place, providing greater benefit over time.ConclusionPublic reporting of HCP influenza vaccination rates may contribute to implementation of universal employee vaccination policies. Hospitals with universal policies have higher vaccination rates than those with voluntary vaccination programs.I'm "all in" for universal seasonal flu vaccine programs in hospitals.

  3. I wonder if the hospital also asks their employees to go through periodic drug testing. There are several employers that do that, and it seems that would be important in a place that has narcotics on hand. (reminder: I need to get rid of the bottle of Oxycodone we got from the Mary Brigh Pharmacy after his surgery at the Mayo Clinic).Some comments to a couple of them (and I am glad I don't have Facebook because I'd never get anything done):Sue Schrock: "if we are sick we stay home"Except you are contagious before you know you are sick.Susan Chilberg: "No one should be forced to take into there bodies an antgen they do not want in them"But it is okay for you to infect your captive and ill patients because of your "beliefs."There is more, but it was getting unbearable.

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