Perhaps this line of work is not for you…

Over the long weekend, I came across a bunch of things that in normal times I would have blogged about, but because I was trying to chill, work a little on the yard, and also work a bit on grants, I intentionally took Monday off of blogging. As I get back into the swing of things, work-wise, blogging-wise, and otherwise, I thought it would be a good thing to make sure not to miss at least one thing I saw that doesn’t require a fill Orac-length discussion but should be pointed out nonetheless. It’s a little blurb that appeared on the antivaccine website complaining about vaccination requirements in the health care industry. In this case, someone named Jon opines:

I am entering the health field and start a respiratory therapy program this fall. I am 50 years old and a displaced worker from the heavy highway construction industry, was homeless for several months until a kind lady took me in and is feeding and housing me. I have lived a healthy life style since the age of 15 and am living off my unemployment and grants to attend school. I am being forced to get vaccinations in order to attend my clinicals. I talked to the vice president of the college, [redacted] and he said it is the hospitals policy and that he has nothing to do with that policy, even though he is a pro-vaccine advocate as I found out during my discussion with him. I haven’t had a vaccine since I was in my teens (except for tetanus shot due to work related injuries) and I am scared to death of the physical consequences that may occur soon after or years later. I presented him with factual and accurate data that shows the tuth about vaccines and he would not take a look at them. I also told him I do not want these chemicals, toxins and heavy metals in my body. I know if something negative should occur that I have no recourse and could not prove the damage they caused because of the immunity granted by our government to the pharmaceuticals.

Why am I being forced to put dangerous chemicals in my body in order to get and education so I can be a productive, contributing citizen? I am of average intelligence and have worked hard to earn my 4.00 average and I AM SCARED OUT OF MY MIND!!! I am Alone and have very little income. Is there something you can do to help me?

I’ll help John out by suggesting that he do one thing: Get out. I mean it. Quit your training program and find some other line of work. If you can get a 4.0 average in a respiratory therapy program, you can do it in something else. You’ll be doing yourself and any potential patients with whom you come in contact a favor. First off, you won’t be putting yourself in danger of vaccine-preventable diseases like hepatitis B that you can acquire working in the hospital. Secondly, you won’t be endangering your patients. Also, more and hospitals are requiring specific vaccinations of all their employees who come in contact with patients, and this is a good thing. Being a health care worker is different than working in other industries, because we as health care providers have a moral obligation to protect our patients however we can. This is the sort of obligation that workers in other industries do not have, and workers in other most other industries do not routinely come into contact with people as vulnerable as many patients are. As a respiratory therapist, you would be taking care of immunosuppressed patients who could die if they caught the flu, for example, from you. If for whatever reason you can’t or won’t do the responsible thing, do everyone a favor and get out while you still can.

I realize that Jon is down and out and trying to rebuild his life after economic dislocation. I have nothing but sympathy for people in such a situation and wish them success in pulling themselves out of the holes they find themselves in. However, I have more sympathy for patients who might come into contact with him. He does not belong in health care, any more than anyone who refuses to get a TB test every year belongs in health care or pharmacists who refuse to dispense legal medications such as birth control pills or morning-after pills belong in the health care industry. In the health care industry, the patient, not the provider, comes first, and clearly Jon isn’t willing to put the patient first. Worse, he lets fantastical fears keep him from doing what is reasonable and right. I also fear letting anyone work in a hospital whose critical thinking skills are so poor that he really believes all the misinformation he parrots about vaccines. There are already too many such people in health care now, some of whom are even doctors and nurses. We don’t need any more.