“Because It Doesn’t Just Happen to Other People”

While doctors and scientists extol the virtues of vaccination to prevent disease, the emotional arguments regarding vaccines are sometimes lost due to misleading anecdotal stories.  The stories of missed opportunities and suffering due to the lack of vaccination are underreported.

Here’s an excerpt from one that wasn’t:  Link from Eric Benchimol: fw.to/IiBDiOH 

He, our oldest, 5 1/2, who the day before had been jumping merrily on the trampoline at circus school. Monday morning he woke up, out of breath, complaining of a tummy ache…..He came downstairs to watch TV, sank into the sofa, wheezing as if he had just run a marathon…

Everything was not okay. At noon, our big boy was in the pediatric intensive-care unit of the Centre hospitalier de l’Université Laval; he was plugged in everywhere, an oxygen mask covering his whole face, making him look like an astronaut. The respirator was whirring beside him, the oxygen desperately seeking its path, but not finding it…

The doctor said it was time to intubate, “to give him a chance…”

I marvelled at the work of the nurses, the doctors, in a constant death-defying dance. They put in long days and nights, 12 hours at a stretch and more. They obsessed, they never forgot, always determined to make the right decision at the right time.

Thursday morning, they decided to wake up our big boy, to remove the breathing tube, the IVs, trading them for a simple oxygen mask. Friday morning, the mask gave way to two little prongs in his nostrils. His battered lungs still needed some help. But his heart was beating normally again….

Each time I sat down in that blue leather chair, I wondered: “Where did that pneumonia come from? How did he get hit so hard, so fast?”…

The definitive diagnosis came Wednesday night: H1N1.

“Your son wasn’t vaccinated?”

We lowered our heads. Guilty as charged…

So why am I telling you all this? Why would I annoy you with this little story which, after all, happens to countless others every day during flu season?

Because it doesn’t just happen to other people.

Also, a link from the New England Journal of Medicine: nej.md/1hLXqWt 

An excerpt: “Influenza activity has been surging in the United States, and there are reports of critical illness and death in young and middle-aged adults. The predominant virus so far this season is influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, the cause of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Despite many challenges, there is much that the public, patients, the public health community, and clinicians can do now to reduce influenza’s impact…”

“Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months of age or older in the United States..” It is not too late!

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2 thoughts on ““Because It Doesn’t Just Happen to Other People”

  1. Pingback: “Not Up For Debate: The Science Behind Vaccination” | gutsandgrowth

  2. Pingback: The President-Elect and the Anti-Vaccine Crowd | gutsandgrowth

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