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Consent or Coercion?

Free Choice or No?


 I've asked my college students in health issues or health behaviors classes to consider what so-called "informed consent" for vaccinations actually comes down to.

Rather than shove a paper under Mrs. B.'s nose, with a needle in one hand and her baby in the other, informed consent perhaps should go something like this:

Six weeks before Mrs. B.'s well-child visit for her infant, Dr. C.'s office calls.

"Hi, Mrs. B. This is Dr. C.'s office. We'd like to remind you that we think your child should receive immunizations in about six weeks, and that we are sending you a packet of abstracts, or summaries, of peer-reviewed research on both the advantages, and the disadvantages, of vaccination.  Please carefully review these materials. If you have any difficulty in the reading, or have any questions, please call me, Mr. D., personally. I will answer, or look up the answer, to whatever concern you have, or I will connect you with Dr. C. if you prefer direct discussion with her.

"You have the right to accept shots, or to refuse shots for your child under the Bill of Rights of the U. S. Constitution. We earnestly believe that you should choose immunizations, but will also acquaint you with the simple legal options you have if you do not agree.

"Please call us back in about three weeks to schedule your appointment. Even if you decide to not immunize, we want you to know that we still want to have you and your child as our patients.  You will be treated with friendliness and respect regardless of your position on vaccination."

Now that's informed consent.

Copyright  C  2003 and prior years Andrew W. Saul. 

Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )

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Andrew W. Saul


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