When another doctor stops behaving like one

Last time, I told you about Robert W. “Bob” Sears, MD, a board certified pediatrician who is an anti-vaccine activist, based on the available evidence and reasonable inferences from his work and his words. I told you how healthcare providers are ethically, morally, and in many cases legally required to act in the best interest of their patients and society based on the available, credible evidence. When there is an outbreak of measles, an ethical and moral person who knows the risks and benefits of vaccinations and the risks of measles would and should recommend the MMR vaccine to their patients. But not Dr. Bob Sears. No, he recommends delaying vaccines and avoiding them as well. He recommends that non-vaccinating people hide among the vaccinated, seemingly because he knows that vaccine-preventable diseases will make a comeback once enough people don’t vaccinate. The funny thing is that he accepts the principle of herd immunity while so many of the co-administrators of the anti-vaccine Facebook group of his vehemently deny that such a thing exists. (They probably think the moon is made out of cheese as well.)

Unfortunately for the medical profession in general and pediatricians in particular, Dr. Robert W. Sears is not the only outspoken pediatrician still in practice that is anti-vaccine. California also has Jay Gordon, MD FAAP. If his name rings a bell, it should. He is a “pediatrician to the stars.” Among his famous clients was (and maybe still is?) Jenny McCarthy’s son. He also wrote the into to a book by TV’s “Blossom”, Mayim Bialik, PhD. I mention her doctoral degree because, although you’d think that degree in neuroscience would allow her to know better when it comes to vaccines. It doesn’t. She’s a believer in the “too many too soon” mantra that anti-vaccine activists are probably required to repeat ten times each morning as the sun rises, while facing west toward California. (Or East, if you’re in Hawaii.)

But back to Dr. Jay Gordon.

Dr. Jay Gordon, as I stated above, is in with the anti-vaccine crowd through his association with Jenny McCarthy, his support for her and her organization(s) at their rallies (to the point of speaking at them <– Video), and even posing some pretty interesting thoughts on what makes a healthy child:

“I think that the public health benefits to vaccinating are grossly overstated. I think that if we spent as much time telling people to breastfeed or to quit eating cheese and ice cream, we’d save more lives than we save with the polio vaccine.”

That sound you just heard was Dr. Jonas Salk turning in his grave. And that’s not all he’s said or written.

After the last post I wrote to you, I decided to catch up on Dr. Jay on Twitter, and here’s what he had for us:

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God forbid anyone challenges him on his quest to vilify a life-saving vaccine because that person just might be a Big Pharma shill. But he will swear to you that he’s not anti-vaccine. He’ll also swear that he knows epidemiology:

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The best part of the exchange just above is that I remember seeing an epidemiologist explain time and again to the good doctor what “Todd W.” is trying to explain in that Twitter exchange. In essence, you don’t determine if something is a problem or not by counting the number of occurrences and dividing them by the total population. You count and divide by those at risk. This is why the risk for uterine cancer is not the number of uterine cancer cases divided by the total population. It’s the number of uterine cancer cases divided by the number of women with a uterus.

What we have here is at least two American-trained physicians, board certified in their specialties, who are against vaccines. Think about that for a second. You have two men, Dr. Bob and Dr. Jay, who at one point or another swore to look after children’s health, and they unreasonably question and deny the evidence for vaccines, a medical intervention that has saved millions of lives of children, beginning with James Phipps in 1796. You also have a two physicians with an outbreak of measles in their backyard downplaying it as if they have some inside information that public health doesn’t. How or why the American Academy of Pediatrics has them as fellows is beyond me.