I ran across a poignant article while researching the difficult topic of how parents should use the internet to gain medical information – truly, it sounds simple BUT IT’S NOT.
There is a mind-blowing amount of information exposed by a search on Google for about any medical condition! Unfortunately, there is also an incredible amount of crap exposed in that same search!
There’s useful information written without guile; but, much of it is buried under mountains of posts with clear agendas designed to sell you something.
There are honest wrong opinions; but, even more of the obvious, sheer-deceitful opinions demanding that they be given unwarranted and inappropriate credibility in your mind.
There are some topics fairly represented in the first page of a search; yet many others so biased that you’d think Google was deliberately intent on making the truth impossible to find.
The whole topic of medical advice on the internet, I’m afraid, is a woeful mess!
Does it matter? Absolutely yes. It truly does. But don’t just take my word for it, follow along for yourself in this audio interview of a father whose son was nearly killed by maliciously-wrong advice taken from the internet.
Original Father’s Interview
Probably the worst decision the Auckland Australia parents will ever make in their lives, Ian and Linda Williams thought they were making an informed choice not to vaccinate their children using the copious amount of information published on the internet. After all immunizations aren’t cheap without insurance, kids don’t like them much and it’s easy to get carried away feeling sorry for the ever increasing numbers of injections now recommended.
Once their seven-year-old son Alijah ended up in the intensive care unit on life support from a mere cut on the bottom of his foot however, their wrong decision became all too clear.
As you listen, look for a few key points:
- Decisions regarding immunizations were based on (it’s hard for me to believe) information taken solely from the internet;
- the total opposite advice from lay (non-professional) and quasi-professional sites were given equal credibility with legitimate, professional sites; and,
- the generalist physicians first seeing the boy made a diagnosis of “bell’s palsy” without taking an adequate medical history and considering his UN-immunized status with antecedent wound.
Alijah’s mother, “without a science background… was against immunizations for her own reasons,” Mr. Williams said in his interview; but, he, with a science background, didn’t have feelings either way so he “did research” on the subject [fairly exclusively through the internet.]
Mr. Williams said “If you Google vaccines you get a lot of pros and a lot of cons, and you start to read all the cons and they start to weigh on you and you start to believe all the things that are said.” [Inappropriately]
“It looks like a fifty-fifty argument,” he continued, “There are a number of myths out there, and it’s really easy to get sucked in.” [The percentages he gives were solely based on numbers without taking into account the credibility of their origin.]
In the end he was influenced by stories that the MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine was linked to children developing autism; that they contain mercury and aluminum and that vaccines are promoted by drug companies purely for profit. [The couple then expanded their decision to include ALL vaccinations, not just those incorrectly-purported to link with autism.]
They realize that their incorrect decision nearly killed their son and they don’t want any other parent to make the same mistake and go through what they’ve gone through; so, they’ve gone extremely public all over Australia. [So much so, the health department recorded an actual jump in the countries immunization rate.]
“It was very obvious we had made a mistake,” Williams summarizes “we underestimated the diseases and we totally over-estimated the adverse reactions,”
Shortly after receiving a small cut on the bottom of his foot in December 2012, 7-year-old Alijah developed “symptoms of a stroke” (paralysis) on his face which was diagnosed as Bell’s Palsy (trigeminal neuralgia) by the doctor and sent home.
Initially it wasn’t painful but within only a day or so the spasms became very painful and disfiguring with the cramps. The spasms, pain and contortions spread to effect his whole body and he needed to be put into an artificial coma in the intensive care unit in order to “put him out of his misery.”
Drugs are needed to completely paralyze the muscles and prevent further damage; which also paralyzes the breathing, so life support is needed as well. Alijah’s ordeal and coma lasted three weeks until the toxin (which has no antidote) naturally broke down and exited his system.
After that they began “giving him less and less drugs and his nerves started to heal.” He came out of his sedation but “he had to learn to walk, talk and eat all over again.”
Alijah’s story is, these days, a completely typical example of an un-immunized child (any person) who gets a cut and gets Tetanus (Lockjaw). The tetanus spores are everywhere in the dirt of the whole earth, especially if it contains organic matter. They produce a toxin which spreads through the body and attacks the nervous system until it’s run its course – there is NO antidote.
I say “typical” because he didn’t die. I say “these days” because we now have ICUs, and drugs, and life support and can put people in comas; so, only 10% of people who get the disease die. I say “only 10%” because it used to be nearly 100%! [And still is where there is no medical care]
A Father’s Best Advice
If you still are uncertain who to believe – perhaps you can at least recognize the logic in listening to the advice given by a father who went through the same decision process that you seem to be struggling with.
“The main research that you should do as a parent when you’re looking at vaccination, the easiest and the clearest thing you could do would be to survey doctors and ask them if they are pro or anti vaccines.”
“What you will find is that almost all of them are. Then ask yourself the question, why is that?”
“Once you see one of these diseases, they are terrible. Children die from these diseases.”
“The mistake that we made was that we underestimated the diseases and we totally over-estimated the adverse reactions [to vaccines]”
How To Use The Internet
I would offer that there are a couple of other terrible mistakes that you must avoid at all costs.
First, Do NOT automatically believe ANY medical advice you find on the internet!! Pure and simple. I Don’t. Any decision, for which you are betting the lives and health of your children, absolutely must be vetted (sanctioned, double-checked, verified) through legitimate, generally accepted medical channels. To do otherwise is illogical… and just plain dumb.
Writing something for millions to see and read has become so free that it attracts not only simpletons but charlatans, crooks and others with every “agenda” known to mankind. The internet has NO peer review to prevent absurdities, lies and avarice.
Second, no matter what, the author’s credentials for any internet article must be vetted for training, experience and credibility. [For the same reasons as given above]. Even claims of training should be challenged for their credibility.
Third, don’t let Google or any other search engine take center stage in your search for truth. Their so-called algorithms do NOT even consider an authors (or sites) actual honesty, training, experience, credibility or veracity. The first page of search results nearly always contains ridiculous twitter or facebook entries by adolescents twaddling about your search item while burying masterful articles by trained physicians on the subject down on page four or five (if they are shown at all.)
And Fourth, absolutely any time an article resorts to “secret information,” “information your doctor doesn’t want you to know,” or any form of “conspiracy theory” in order to try and get you to give it credibility – discard it for the dangerous trash it is.
Even the legitimate press has become so frantic to sensationalize every piece of news that it’s becoming difficult, if not impossible, for legitimate and intellectually honest organizations to police the credibility and veracity of so-called “breakthroughs” and “new discoveries” before errors can prevent damage.
The heinous avarice and quest for fame which prompted the so-called “autism scare” was eventually discovered for the fraud it was and the physicians license revoked; but, not before it had sucked in many well-meaning but easily-misled parents and imperiled hundreds of thousands of children.
You don’t have to twist my arm in the slightest to admit that there is avarice in the pharmacy industry which often makes me ashamed for them. The immunization industry is not pharmacy however, although I’m sure the same temptations toward excessive profit-taking pervades it as well.
And, I know that all of us were so hammered by the complete lack of integrity and honesty of the tobacco industry obfuscating it’s way through decades of deceptive “studies” and misdirections to the point that the idea of conspiracy theories existing is well establish.
However, if you honestly believe that the thousands of research studies conducted by literally hundreds of unrelated centers all across the globe are all in cahoots with immunization producers just so THEY can scam the worlds populace and get rich; or, that nearly the entire independent profession of pediatrics could nearly universally all be willing to place children in jeapordy for the benefit of such an industry…
Well, I’ll tone it down a little and simply request that you please go in for a chat with a health provider you trust for possibly some testing and evaluation.
2 Posts in This Series
- Return of Measles Disease – 22 Jun 2015
- Decision not to vaccinate nearly killed son – 11 Jun 2015