Are you a “loser” for being anti-vax?

Some people have decent intentions and just blow that all to pieces.

Mom says nurse called her baby a ‘loser’ |

A South Carolina mother is outraged after a nurse at a children’s hospital left a nasty note she says is about her baby.

The mom says the note referred to the sick child as a “loser” and that he had not had his immunizations. Katie Smart says she brought her nine-month-old to the hospital, after she saw her son twist his ankle. He also had a fever, so to be safe, she wanted him checked out. That visit came with a message, Smart says, she didn’t deserve.

Katie Smart’s reaction, when she found this note, she says a nurse at Palmetto Health’s Children’s Hospital left behind, in her nine-month-old son’s room, while he was getting checked out at the hospital. The message, the baby had a fever, and had not received any vaccinations. The bottom of the note, concluded with the word, loser, and a sad face.

Smart says she researched the ingredients of vaccinations given to children, and that’s why she and her husband decided not to inject two of their three kids. She says she doesn’t know if the nurse intentionally left the note behind, or it was an accident, either way, Smart says it was uncalled for.

Yes, the note left by the nurse was rude and uncalled for and NOT the way to relay a very important message: Is it not OK to forego vaccinating your kids because you read something bad (and demonstrable false) about vaccines online.

Katie Smart has filed a complaint against the hospital and COO James Latham says the employee has been suspended while they check further into the case to determine any other possible action against the nurse.

This does bring up an interesting question. Sometimes public opinion DOES work to swing the tide of a behavior. It becomes shameful to act a certain way or believe a certain thing. While this is not fair for personal beliefs, it IS fair for unswervingly factual beliefs. We rightly disregard the credibility and reliability of people who believe the earth is 6000 yrs old or flat. Because that’s silly and WRONG by any means of measurement. Silly beliefs that hurt others reflect poorly on those that hold them – Holocaust deniers, HIV deniers, vaccine deniers should be on that list. Because it’s THAT dumb and wrong. However, “loser” is not the way to convey even this message. As one commentator said in the above link, the kid is, sadly, a loser through no fault of his own for having parents that can’t understand what they do.

  21 comments for “Are you a “loser” for being anti-vax?

  1. November 10, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    Sadly there are a few miniscule numbers, statistically of people who have reactions to vaccines,& some terribly bad or fatal sadly, but these idiotic scare stories that blow them out of all proportion, put far far more children & adults at risk for not taking up vaccination programs. The over reaction of supporters trying to demonize the people that are genuinely concerned,, with their side of over reaction doesn’t help convince anyone to take them. When a kid was no probs for me – few injections – all drops on a sugar lump! Terrible trying to work out which is worst offender in these cases – over protective parents, conspiracy theorists, disgruntled scients tring to disprove former colleges’ work, anti-science lobby, religious sects (shhh we’ll skip Scientology comments), sigh. Some day maybe thet’ll learn, it’s better & safer to vaccinate than not. Autism has consistently been disproved as side effect for many vaccines, & more connected to pesticides, so why this old hack keeps reoccurring i just dinnae know.Stop the rant as my list is too long & a wet puppy’s nose keeps landing on my keyboard;

  2. Chris
    November 10, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    True, it was quite unprofessional for the nurse to write that on the chart. Now what she should have done is tell the parent that since the child was not vaccinated that they needed to test to see if he had some a vaccine preventable disease, and either be treated or put into isolation. Then go and get several swabs, blood draw syringes, etc., while explaining what happens with Hib meningitis or SSPE after getting measles as an infant, etc.

  3. Chris Howard
    November 10, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Yeah, having worked in a psychiatric hospital for over six years, and in charge of auditing charts I can say that that type of behavior is entirely unprofessional.

    Inform the guardian of the need for vaccinations, and send them on their way with tons of reference materials, and hope for the best.

    I do understand the frustration, though. I’ve had a girl nearly commit suicide because her, airy-fairy Wiccan, mother denied treatment for her daughter. In her twisted, illogical mind, anti-depressants, mood stabalizers, and anti-psychotics were unnatural. So her daughter certainly wasn’t going to take those “toxic” pills.

    It just grates the nerves having people who have absolutely no education, or training, in your area of expertise lecture you about what you should be doing, because they know better than you, when they don’t.

    This is especially difficult when you care about the patient more than the patients, willfully ignorant, guardian(s).

  4. Kitty Lapin Agile
    November 10, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    [Ed. note: I removed the post to which this is a response]

    well no a nurse may lose her job, because she dropped her medical professionalism. The result of this woman’s beliefs could possibly be a dead child. It could be her child giving an illness to a child fighting cancer that depends on herd immunity as that child can not get vaccinations. There are serious ramifications, way beyond reading she is a “loser”, at stake here. I think humiliation rarely works, if it did there would be no fat people or smokers. This is a short cut, it’s lazy nursing, this is serious enough it needs a serious response. how about taking a few moments to talk and educate, and even just plant a seed. We rarely change our mind all at once, if enough people, kindly and with clarity, we can change our minds. The importance is to be seen as the calm professional, that has the best interest of the patient at heart. it takes more time and effort and our medical professionals are the front line skeptics in the vaccination effort.

  5. November 10, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Can we be sure the nurse actually left the note? Is it not possible that this is just another media hungry anti-vaxx mum with fierce agenda to try and stop all people from using vaccinations?

    I didn’t watch the video (I’m in the office), so maybe that cleared the above point up.

  6. November 10, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    “Smart says she researched the ingredients of vaccinations given to children, and that’s why she and her husband decided not to inject two of their three kids.” Someone might think this is using the “scientific method,” but no, it’s only the start. How much of each ingredient is included? How much of these are in other things we consume, such as fish? How much is shown to be harmful, and how much not? There are myriads of questions one can ask, but fortunately for the question of whether to vaccinate, one might ask how many get sick or die from vaccination (DOCUMENTED cases) versus how many of those who don’t vaccinate get sick or die from the disease being vaccinated against out of . The second number is too large – it’s MUCH larger than the first, and most regrettably, it’s growing.

    Maybe that’s my rant about science literacy, but I also saw videos of Carl Sagan last night (see my comment under “Remains of the day Nov 8”) and I just saw “Neil deGrasse Tyson Lecture @ UW” – two and a half hours of The Man speaking about science, science illiteracy and why we need more ordinary people to be scientifically literate (or maybe I’m conflating some of what he said with Carl Sagan’s words – regardless, they’re both on the same page with this).

    As for the “loser” comment (okay, finally on topic), while I can (almost?) sympathize with the sentiment, it’s a mean-spirited thing to say, regardless of whether it’s said as a professional doing their job or as a snide comment as a bystander. If we are to to win the hearts and minds of others, we need to show them respect as human beings, even if we think they’re stupid and we “know they’re wrong.”

  7. Chris Howard
    November 10, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    Bearing in mind that an explanation is not an excuse…

    To underline the medical frontline idea, the caregiver usually is the caregiver when they go home, as well. Unless your spouse is in the same field they cannot understand what you go through.

    Caregivers don’t get a break. No one cares for the caregiver.

    They have to put up with ignorant, stupid, and nasty behavior day after day, for years on end, and they have to smile and take it, and be told to respect those who treat them with disrespect.

    To be good at it you truly have to care for those in your charge, and be competent, knowledgable, understanding, and able to handle extremely high stress, and potentially life threatening, situations.

    You see the consequences of willful ignorance, dogmatic adherence to harmful beliefs, and prideful rationales.
    Which, by the way, doesn’t hurt the parents.

    If things go wrong the, largely ignorant, parents then turn around and blame the, very knowledgable, caregiver.

    So, again not an excuse, but…

    It’s something you cannot understand unless you’ve done it.

  8. One Eyed Jack
    November 11, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    I get why this not was inappropriate. It’s one of those social things that you learn without ever being told specifically.

    However, as I think about it, I’m wondering why is that? If a parent sent their child to school in January in a T-shirt, shorts, and sandals, would we call that parent a loser? What if they never washed their child’s clothing or had them bathe regularly? What if they left a 4 year old child to make their own dinner? What if they physically or psychologically abused their child?

    It’s just interesting where we make distinctions.

  9. Chris Howard
    November 11, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    You can say it behind their back, and chuckle with your friends about it, but you aren’t allowed to be honest. That would be rude.

    Granted “loser” isn’t the best, or most accurate, way to express ones concern and get ones point across.

    We’ve made a fetish of rights, in the US. If I had a nickel for every time I had to hear “Well, they have the right to…”

  10. One Eyed Jack
    November 11, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    If I lived in the South, I could just say, “Well bless her heart”.

  11. Lagaya1
    November 11, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Wow, Chris, Don’t be too flippant about rights. That scares me a bit…

  12. John Nowak
    November 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Yes, being anti-vax makes you a loser.

    No, that’s not something a nurse should point out.

  13. Chris Howard
    November 11, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    I’m not flippant about them, I just don’t think they’re the end all, be all.

    I certainly don’t think people who create policy (governmental or private sector) that effects those around them have a right to believe whatever they want.

    They do have a moral obligation to administer policy based upon the facts.

    I’m fairly certain that respecting well meaning, but consistently wrong, beliefs has caused most of the suffering in the world.

    Hurt feelings is a trade I’m willing to make if it saves lives.

  14. Lagaya1
    November 11, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    Perhaps you’ll appreciate the irony of my defending rights on this thread, while calling for censorship on a different thread. I think it’s funny myself, but still think I’m right in both cases. Go figure….

  15. Chris Howard
    November 11, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    Well, you may be right in both instances.

    Rights aren’t absolute.

    As the saying goes “My rights end where yours begin.”

  16. Scott
    November 13, 2013 at 5:03 AM

    Ummm…the poor child was a loser. Not in the pejorative way that the note has been interpreted, but certainly for ending up in hospital for the unsubstantiated—almost superstitious—beliefs of the parents. Think ‘Loser in the gamble that herd immunity would protect this unimmunised child’. Why do we protect the right to make the most outrageous religious comments, but vilify the nurse for saying what was provably true? The nurse has a right to be angry, why not? The science is not debatable…the poor child lost an idealogical struggle.

  17. Peter Robinson
    November 14, 2013 at 4:39 AM

    Not wishing to be flippant, but the name Smart is unfortunately oymoronic in this case.

  18. JerseyBroad
    November 15, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Well, the parent have every right to jump onto the anti-vaccine bandwagon. I, as a person who has to live in the same community with people who refuse to vaccinate their children, have the right to be offended that they would put people who are unable to be vaccinated, due to allergies or other actual, real, documented, physical, medical reasons, at greater risk. Yes, there are people who are unable to receive vaccinations. Which is why healthy people who have no real reason to eschew vaccinations yet refuse to have their healthy children vaccinated – even though they were often vaccinated themselves as children – are losers. Yes, losers, because they are depleting the “herd immunity”. Because they allow unreasonable fear and their own distrust of medical authorities to put the health of other people’s children at risk. Of course, the nurse/doctor/aide who left the note behaved unethically by pointing it out. The braver thing to do would be to tell the parents to their faces, but it would be considered rude to point out that they are ignorant idiots. The greater lack of ethics, in my opinion, is on the part of the parents. Many stories on this claim the baby was called a loser. There are four losers in this story – two parents, who chose to be losers, and two children who lose through no fault of their own.

  19. November 16, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Nurses need to be the voice of the most vulnerable. She was the voice for that baby. I applaud that nurse. Anti-vax people are losers.

  20. November 18, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    The real loser here is the 9 month old baby. The parents are just plain ignorant. Survival of the fittest at work here. Just sad to see it with an innocent baby.

  21. MisterNeutron
    November 20, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    Most readers are misinterpreting the term “loser” in this context. The child is not a “loser” in the way the Elaine refers to George Costanza as “a loser.” The child is a “loser” in the strict definition of the word, i.e., “the one who loses.” He doesn’t get vaccinated, he loses.

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