LIFE WITH BIG BROTHER
Shot forced on newborn
over parents' objections
Orwellian nightmare for 'persecuted' couple
as armed guards ensure infant's vaccination
Posted: June 18, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
What was supposed to be a joyous occasion – the birth of their first child – turned out to be an Orwellian nightmare for a young Colorado couple whose newborn was vaccinated for hepatitis B over their religious and philosophical objections, while armed guards stood by to prevent them from intervening.
"It makes me feel like the country I live in is no better than communist China or the old Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, and that's a very sobering and scary outlook," the father, who does not want to be named, told WorldNetDaily.
The saga of "Baby M," as the family calls her to protect her privacy, started with an emergency Caesarean section at St. Mary's Hospital in in Grand Junction, Colo., on April 2. The couple, who has no medical insurance, had attempted to home birth but wound up rushing to the emergency room after the baby's position went transverse.
"Baby M" was born without complication. But as the new parents were basking in the afterglow of the birth, a neonatal doctor informed them a vaccination was in order for the baby and pressured the couple to sign a consent form.
"He told me the initial screening test [on the mother] had come back positive for hepatitis B. I told him that was impossible," said the father. "And he said, 'Well, I didn't think it was very likely either so I had them run it again and I'll probably get those test results back soon. If those test results come back positive again, then I'm going to have to vaccinate the baby.'"
According to the couple's personal physician, the screening test gives a false-positive 40 to 60 percent of the time.
A call for comment from the neonatal physician was not returned.
After the second test also came back positive, the doctor insisted the couple sign the consent form. Citing text he referenced in a medical guide, he informed the parents that the baby must be vaccinated within 12 hours of birth, if the mother has hepatitis B.
Said the father: "We said that we weren't going to authorize him to do so because we did not believe she had hepatitis B and that we believe vaccinations would not be good for the baby even if she did, based upon our religious convictions and also medical evidence."
While not eschewing modern medicine, the couple prefers to avoid it when possible and has a strong conviction against vaccinations.
"We believe in God, and that God has created us in his image. In being created in God's image, we are given his perfect immune system. We are bestowed with His gift, the immune system. We believe it is sacrilegious and a violation of our sacred religious beliefs to violate what God has given us by showing a lack of faith in God. Immunizations are a lack of faith in God and His protection, the immune system," the father maintains.
The couple had also done extensive research into the potential serious dangers of vaccinations.
WorldNetDaily reported last week that various studies indicate there is epidemiological evidence of a link between neurodevelopmental disorders and mercury exposure from childhood vaccines. Many medical experts suspect vaccines may be behind a growing epidemic of autism in American children. According to data provided by the U.S. Department of Education, most states experienced a doubling of the rate of children diagnosed with full-syndrome autism over the past few years.
"U.S. infants are exposed to mercury levels from their childhood-immunization schedule that far exceed the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] and FDA [Food and Drug Administration]-established maximum permissible levels for the daily oral ingestion of methyl mercury," wrote Dr. Mark Geier, president of the Genetic Centers of America, in a recently published study in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
According to Geier, the EPA limit is 0.1 micrograms of mercury per kilogram body weight per day.
"It doesn't take a genius to do the calculations when on their day of birth children are given the hepatitis B vaccine, which is 12.5 micrograms of mercury," Geier told Insight magazine. "The average newborn weighs between six and seven pounds, so they would be allowed 0.3 micrograms of mercury – but in this one shot they are getting 12.5 micrograms. That's 39 times more than allowed by law."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12,000 infants are infected with hepatitis B every year by their mother during birth. Infants and children who become infected with hepatitis B are at the highest risk of developing life-long infection, which often leads to death from liver disease and liver cancer. Approximately 25 percent of children who become infected with life-long hepatitis are expected to die of a related disease as adults.
The National Network for Immunization Information, or NNii, a resource for parents recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, maintains the vaccine is "safe."
NNii addresses the risk of mercury in the vaccine in a fact sheet posted on its website. It explains that Thimerosal, a derivative of mercury, has been used in "small amounts" as a preservative in some vaccine and states "there is no evidence that any child has been harmed by exposure to the amounts of Thimerosal in vaccines."
"In addition, the risk of disease from not immunizing a child is greater than the risk of exposure to low levels of mercury in Thimerosal-containing vaccines," the fact sheet states, but then adds the U.S. Public Health Service and the AAP recommended reducing or eliminating the use of Thimerosal-containing vaccines "to make safe vaccines even safer."
NNii states "infants are at high risk for hepatitis B infection if their mothers are infected with the virus" and recommends these infants be given the hepatitis B vaccine "within 12 hours of birth."
NNii adds that most children who become infected with hepatitis B are born to mothers who are not infected with hepatitis B, and as a result, further recommends all children be vaccinated.
The AAP recommends the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine be administered to infants born to infected mothers "before they leave the hospital."
Faced with opposition from the parents over the vaccination of "Baby M," the doctor called in hospital social service worker Joni Vohs, who reportedly threatened the parents with the loss of custody of their baby if they did not comply with the vaccination schedule.
Next, hospital administrators called in attorneys who persuaded Chief District Court Judge Charles Buss to hold an emergency, after-hours hearing at the hospital on the basis that the baby's life would be in danger if she was not vaccinated within hours. The family was given 15 minutes' notice of the hearing and was unable to secure competent legal help in time.
As the father describes it, he went up against a 10-person panel of attorneys, social workers, hospital administrators and the doctor who argued for the immediate vaccination.
The father pleaded for second opinions. He also pleaded for the judge to wait for the results of a more confirmatory test which were scheduled to arrive in 16 hours.
During the four-hour hearing, the father cited the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and Colorado revised statute, which states there are religious, medical and philosophical exemptions to medical treatment.
Rather than share the 19-year-old's passion for U.S. constitutional history, the lawyers reportedly mocked him.
"When I was reading, the lawyers were whispering back and forth almost laughing at me," the father told WorldNetDaily. "In retrospect, reminding them of the Constitution hurt me more than it helped."
The judge ruled the baby should be vaccinated immediately and also ordered her put into protective custody with the Mesa County Department of Human Services, which the parents were told meant social-service agents had the ability to intervene in the medical treatment of the baby at any time and could take physical custody of the baby if deemed necessary to "protect the child's best interests."
A call for comment from Buss was referred to judicial administrator Judy Vanderleest. Vanderleest told WorldNetDaily the judge would not comment on the case. She also said the emergency, after-hours hearing held at the hospital was the first such hearing held that she could remember.
Matt Weber, an attorney who represented St. Mary's Hospital told WorldNetDaily he was "not authorized to speak on behalf of the hospital on this case."
With armed guards lining the ICU, the first of three ordered vaccinations was administered to the baby. According to the family's physician, the baby immediately exhibited the typical side effects of the vaccine.
A day later, the third hepatitis B screening on the mom came back negative.
By the time the second shot was due to be administered, the father had succeeded in persuading county social worker Dan Overmeyer the vaccination posed more risk than good for the baby's health. Overmeyer opted to not administer any more shots and recommended the release of "Baby M" from protective custody.
Overmeyer was unavailable for comment.
While the baby appears to be doing fairly well, the parents fear the damage is already done, and can only wait and wonder when the adverse effects of the vaccine will appear.
"Most of the doctors that I've talked to from around the country that know about vaccinations have said that it takes months and sometimes years for things to show up," the father told WorldNetDaily. "The scary thing is that there are babies that just die out of the blue supposedly for no reason. ... There's a lot of evidence that these SIDS [Sudden Infant Death Syndrome] victims are actually a result of vaccination."
The Institute of Medicine, a medical research organization that provides health information to the government, released a report last March that concluded all available evidence shows no link between vaccines and unexplained infant deaths.
Having recently graduated from college with an associate's degree in telecommunications engineering, the father has now launched a campaign to alert expecting parents about his family's ordeal. He posted their story online with a link to an article outlining the research behind the dangers of vaccinations.
"I want [parents] to know that their rights are no longer being upheld by our government," he said. "If people don't speak out and voice their disapproval and talk to their congressman and make a big deal out of things like this then we will find ourselves very soon in a sort of police state where we have no individual freedoms and the government tells us what to do, what not to do and basically raises our children for us."
The website includes a link for readers to make contributions to a legal defense fund. The family hopes to raise sufficient funds to sue the hospital. They feel both the hospital staff and the judge persecuted them for their religious conviction against vaccinations.
"The doctor and hospital thought we would be easy targets as we were young and penniless. They do not like people who try to avoid the system and they don't like anyone to question whether or not their practices are truly in the best interests of the patient," the father said. "Our aim in legal action would be to get a precedent that protects families from this ever happening again."
Kim Williams, the director of marketing at St. Mary's Hospital declined to discuss the case, citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which outlines patient-confidentiality rules.
Social worker Joni Vohs adamantly denied the hospital would persecute anyone over their religious beliefs or discriminate against them because of a lack of insurance.
"St. Mary's is a Catholic hospital. We treat everybody regardless of their ability to pay. It's a very compassionate and caring place."
After stressing she was bound by confidentiality rules not to discuss the details, Vohs said the "Baby M" case triggered her recollection of another case in which a 13-year-old girl died a "very slow death" because the family belonged to a church that "believed in prayers over medical treatment" and failed to seek treatment for her until she was almost dead.
"Having worked in child protection for 25 years, to allow a child to suffer or die a horrible death is child abuse," Vohs told WorldNetDaily.
Colorado legislators passed a law as a result of that case which allows the court to step in and override parents' religious beliefs in the event of a medical emergency. Vohs said this law was applied to the "Baby M" case.
"The hospital doesn't do anything on a whim. There's a lot of steps that need to be taken. There was a legal hearing ... and the law was followed," she said.
She also added that the family's story posted online "stretches and alters" the truth in the case.
"Baby M's" father argues there was no emergency and emphasizes that had the staff simply waited the 16 hours for the third, more confirmatory test of the mother's blood to come back negative, the entire "nightmare" could have been avoided.
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Diana Lynne is a news editor for WorldNetDaily.com.
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