Another Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics who should know better

With the current outbreak of measles centered around Disneyland, we’ve been paying a lot of attention to what 2014’s Douchebag of the Year, Dr. Robert “Bob” Sears had to say about vaccines. As it turns out, it’s nothing but a bunch of whining and finger-pointing at us “stupid” people. We’ve also been watching “pediatrician to the stars” Dr. Jay Gordon, MD, FAAAAAAAAAAAAP. (Too many A’s?) He’s been more reserved in what he’s had to say about measles, but there are strong hints that he may or may not have believed BS Hooker’s horrible attempt at epidemiology.

Today we got a tip that there is another pediatrician out there. By “out there,” we mean out there in outer space when it comes about medicine. This is yet another pediatrician who should know better, but doesn’t seem to. It’s another person who committed themselves to the healing arts and then just apparently threw reality out the window and went with the quackery. What follows is from his “about” page, and it contains plenty that should make you shudder at the thought of him having a say in anyone’s healthcare:

“Dr. Palevsky is a renowned board certified pediatrician, sought-after lecturer, and published author, who utilizes a holistic approach to children’s wellness and illness. In his current practice, Dr. Palevsky provides patients and their families with personalized, comprehensive consultations to address their children’s wellness, and acute and chronic illnesses.”

The key word in that paragraph is “holistic.” While it is a good idea to treat the whole person and not just the one symptom when dealing with a patient, the word “holistic” has taken on a different meaning as of yet. It’s kind of like the word “gluten.” It used to mean something that certain people could not eat because of an allergy. Now it means absolute poison. (Spoiler alert: Corn is “gluten free” because it’s corn, not because it ever had gluten in it.) Lately, “holistic health” has come to be synonymous with a wide array of Supplements, Complimentary, and Alternative Medicine (or S.C.A.M., for short). But let’s keep reading:

“He offers consultations and educational programs to families and practitioners in the areas of preventive and holistic health; childhood development; lifestyle changes; nutrition for adults, infants and children; safe, alternative treatments for common and difficult to treat acute and chronic pediatric and adult conditions; vaccination controversies; mindful parenting; and rethinking the medical paradigm.”

Did you catch it? “Vaccination controversies.” I wonder what that is all about? Here’s what Dr. Palevsky had to say to fellow quack Dr. Joseph Mercola:

“When I went through medical school, I was taught that vaccines were completely safe and completely effective, and I had noThey’re (sic) reason to believe otherwise. All the information that I was taught was pretty standard in all the medical schools and the teachings and scientific literature throughout the country. I had no reason to disbelieve it.

Over the years, I kept practicing medicine and using vaccines and thinking that my approach to vaccines was completely onboard with everything else I was taught.

But more and more, I kept seeing that my experience of the world, my experience in using and reading about vaccines, and hearing what parents were saying about vaccines were very different from what I was taught in medical school and my residency training.

… and it became clearer to me as I read the research, listened to more and more parents, and found other practitioners who also shared the same concern that vaccines had not been completely proven safe or even completely effective, based on the literature that we have today.

… It didn’t appear that the scientific studies that we were given were actually appropriately designed to prove and test the safety and efficacy.

It also came to my attention that there were ingredients in there that were not properly tested, that the comparison groups were not appropriately set up, and that conclusions made about vaccine safety and efficacy just did not fit the scientific standards that I was trained to uphold in my medical school training.”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Palevsky appears to have abandoned what he was taught in an accredited institution of higher learning, what was based on verifiable evidence and gone through the rigors of scientific discovery, and exchanged it with anecdotes and hearsay from like-minded people. Evidence be damned. If the people around you say something that jives with your way of seeing the world, that must be correct and not what we know from centuries of scientific knowledge. If something “appears” to be wrong, then don’t learn why it’s wrong, just write it off altogether. If something is not “completely” safe and “completely” effective then it is worthless.

Alright, so we know he’s anti-vaccine. What else does he say about himself on his about page?

“In using his “whole child” wellness philosophy, Dr. Palevsky recommends and incorporates the teachings and therapies of nutritional science, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, chiropractic, osteopathy, cranial-sacral therapy, environmental medicine, homeopathy, and essential oils, along with natural healing modalities such as aromatherapy, yoga, Reiki, meditation, reflexology, and mindfulness.”

We’re going to just go ahead and stop right there. We don’t need to read any further to know that Dr. Palevsky has abandoned everything that made him a pediatrician and seems to now be embracing the magical arts. After all, that is what homeopathy, Reiki, and reflexology are… They’re magic. It’s pure and unadulterated magic that has failed time after time to stand up to scientific scrutiny. Seriously, there hasn’t been any evidence that any of it works beyond the placebo effect.

As Dr. Mark Crislip has stated, adding apple pie to cow dung doesn’t make the apple pie taste better. Likewise, adding a thin veil of medicine through the letters after his name doesn’t make Dr. Palevsky’s quackery any more legitimate. It makes his claims of being a man of medicine worthless.

To seal our indictment of Dr. Palevsky (and we’re using “doctor” very loosely at this point), here’s an excellent piece-by-piece rebuttal of his statements by “Sullivan” at Left Brain Right Brain. In that rebuttal and in this page on Dr. Palevsky’s website, you’ll notice that Dr. Palevsky seems to have abandoned Germ Theory:

“Acute symptoms, such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, cough, runny nose, mucus production and wheezing, are all important ways in which children discharge stored accumulations of wastes or toxins from their bodies. These toxins enter and are stored in their bodies from repeated exposures to in utero, air, food, water, skin, nervous system stress, and injected materials, that for whatever reason, don’t easily exit their bodies through the normal means of detoxification. These toxins are too irritating to children’s bodies and must be removed. Eventually, a critical level of the toxins is reached, and children get sick with symptoms to purge them. Children, therefore, must be allowed to be sick, in order for them to get well.”

Really? Then why does Dr. Palevsky recommend the following in a different page?

“If your child is less than 3 months old and has a fever, please go to the nearest emergency room.

If your child has a fever and a rash of little dots under the skin, please go to the nearest emergency room.

If your child has a fever, neck pain and the light is bothering him/her, please go to the nearest emergency room.

If your child has a fever, along with urinary complaints, swollen joints, inability to walk, or other complaints that concern you, please seek immediate medical attention.

If along with your child’s cough, your child is having difficulty breathing, is breathing rapidly, is wheezing, has a mental status change (see Pediatric Checklist), or is an infant below 4 months of age with a cough, please seek immediate medical attention.”

Why, Dr. Palevsky? Why go to the nearest emergency room if these are all just things that the child’s wonderful self-cleaning, self-healing body will take care of? I think he wrote this as a cover-your-ass set of recommendations because the bullshit he spills previously can get him in hot water if a child ends up having meningitis or measles and the parents go with “cranial-sacral therapy,” whatever the hell that is.

The most telling part of his website is the following statement found all the way at the bottom of most pages:

“Disclaimer: All material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only. Consult with your health care provider regarding the advisability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your individual situation.”

In other words, “I’m not saying what I’m saying, I’m just saying.”

We at The Poxes believe that it is about time that the American Academy of Pediatrics take a really long, hard look at some of its members (the physicians with the “FAAP” after their name) who have abandoned science and embraced magic and attempt to use that magic to convince people that scientifically proven preventative and therapeutic measures like vaccines and antibiotics are not necessary. Because, with “fellows” like these, the AAP doesn’t need any enemies.

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12 thoughts on “Another Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics who should know better

  1. It takes just one quack doctor like this to start a panic among parents. We think, well why would someone like this be saying these things? They have to be partially true, right? We respect doctors in general, so if one goes ‘rogue’ there has to be something to it right? Well, until we realize, yes there is something to it. Much much money.

    I love our pediatrican. I liked him from the start, but when my first born was about a year old, I asked what vitamins I should be giving him. He said, you are American. He eats an American diet, he gets plenty of vitamins. I am very lucky to have a straightforward, science based pediatrician for my children.

    What is worse, letting these loons talk or censoring/disciplining them to give credence to their martyrdom? (in the eyes of their ‘followers’)

  2. Are there government regulatory bodies these quacks can be reported to? In Australia there is a Facebook group (no, seriously!) called Stop the Australian Vaccination Network which has done tremendous work. The AVN was the premier anti-vax network in Australia, until members of SAVN started reporting it to government regulatory bodies. The AVN suddenly found itself under investigation not only for health infractions, but financial irregularities and even infractions of Facebook rules.

    The result; the AVN lost its status as a tax-free charity, its leaders were revealed to the public as barking mad, its publishing arm was shut down, the health department issued a public warning that everything it said was crap, and it was forced by the courts to change its name. The whole business was widely reported in Australia. The credibility of the anti-vax movement, and the AVN in particular, was shredded. Politicians got on the bandwagon. There is now legislation stating that parents MUST provide schools and daycares with evidence of their child’s vaccination status. Daycares may refuse to accept unvaccinated children, and they WILL be excluded from public schools in the event of an outbreak.

    If there’s a concerted campaign of laying complaints against these cranks, the regulatory bodies listen and things change.

  3. Totally agree. As a resident of CA and frequent visitor to Disneyland, I hate hate hate the idiotic CA “doctors” who are perpetrating the anti-vaccine nonsense that is responsible for the latest outbreak and all the others here in CA. They’re most certainly NOT doctors and should not be allowed to practice medicine, especially with children and their parents.

  4. I agree with the idea. Here is a problem: I looked at the AAP rules. I didn’t find any way for them to remove a member for these kinds of opinion. That’s not an insurmountable obstacle; but it means they need to change the rules before they can act on the suggestion.

    So we need to ask them to do so. Maybe propose a draft rule? I’d be happy to work with Prof. Gaines or anyone else on that.

    • I just got finished posting comments at Dr. Jay on David Gorski’s SBM blog about Dr. Bob Sears.

      If there ever was an opportunity to censure these anti-vaccine/anti-science doctors (when Dr. Bob Sears deliberately non vaccinated young patient was the index case who started the 2008 San Diego measles epidemic), that opportunity was missed.

      These medical professional associations are loathe to targeting the doctors who provide quack treatments and who pander to credulous parents who subject their children to autism “treatments” and who do not follow the AAP Standards of Care for complete and timely vaccinations.

  5. I actually had to look up cranial-sacral therapy. Wow, just… wow. I wonder if he also adjusts the sockets of teeth?

    But, there is one point he badly missed. While children (and adults) do accumulate toxins, the discharge of those toxins is called excretion. Others are neutralized by the liver and either depart via bile or via the kidneys. The “accumulation centers” being the colon or urinary bladder, pending later discharge.
    Apparently, he never heard of wee-wee and poop-poop.
    Pathogens and other irritants are removed by nasal secretions. Apparently, he somehow missed that class in medical school.
    Or maybe someone performed cranial-sacral therapy and depressed his retained soft spot on his head.

  6. Excellent post! And I love, love, your Poxes Blog picture background — so much pain, hard work, caring, exhaustion, desperation….and to imagine the uhm, smell, of sickness and death. Just saying.

    Thank goodness it’s 2015…unfortunately some of the magical thinking that likely existed way back then, still exists today out of ignorance, or worse, the blatant abuse of some professionals. I think professional regulatory bodies need to take way more responsibility for their members when they go rogue. If not, the professional loses credibility and then we have more lay people self-diagnosing and self-treating and utilizing other quacks.

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