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Antivaccine physicians like Dr. Lawrence Palevsky should all lose their medical licenses

Dr. Larry Palevsky is an antivaccine pediatrician who thinks vaccines don’t work and cause autism. Most recently, he spoke to a large audience of Orthodox Jews in Rockland County, NY, where there is a major measles outbreak that his misinformation didn’t help. What can be done about antivax doctors?

It has long been my belief that physicians who are antivaccine and spread antivaccine misinformation, especially antivaccine pediatricians, should have their medical licenses taken away by state medical boards. One of the most sacred responsibilities of a physician is to prevent disease wherever he can, rather than just treat it. Preventing suffering and death by preventing disease is so much better than just waiting for disease to happen and then treating it it when it occurs, and vaccines are the most powerful disease preventers every devised by the human mind. This is doubly true for pediatricians, because we now have the tools to prevent the number one cause of childhood mortality. Over the last 100 years, childhood mortality has plummeted such that it is no longer common to lose a child (or children) to infectious disease. Indeed, it is now very uncommon, if not rare, to lose a child to the diseases that were the scourges of prior generations of children, largely thanks to vaccination. Diseases like polio, whooping cough, smallpox, diptheria, the measles, and several more, that once were the scourges of children everywhere. Even in my father’s generation, childhood mortality was not uncommon. Indeed, my father lost siblings to what are now vaccine-preventable diseases. That’s why antivaccine pediatricians like Lawrence Palevsky absolutely infuriate me and I sincerely believe that they all should lose their medical licenses, along with every other antivaccine physician.

But especially antivaccine pediatricians.

I haven’t written much about Dr. Palevsky on this blog. I first noted him nearly eight years ago, when he appeared in the antivaccine propaganda film disguised as a documentary that preceded the more recent (and infamous) antivaccine propaganda film disguised as a documentary, VAXXED. I’m referring to the 2011 antivax opus, The Greater Good. As I noted at the time, in this quackumentary, Dr. Palevsky spent much of his screen time promoting a litany of anti-vaccine pseudoscience, including the “toxins” gambit, conspiracy mongering about pharmaceutical companies, and claims that vaccines aren’t adequately tested. Late in the movie, he’s even shown speaking to the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) and using the most brain dead of anti-vaccine gambits, claiming that because mortality from various infectious diseases was falling before vaccines for those diseases were introduced it must mean that vaccines are useless. It’s the very same intellectually dishonest gambit that Raymond Obomsawin made himself famous for. Elsewhere in the film, Dr. Palevsky is shown speaking to a bunch of parents talking about how amazed he was to discover that there was mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, antibiotics, and preservatives in vaccines, all gambits that we’ve discussed many, many times on this blog. Only a chemically illiterate person, full of innumeracy and Dunning-Kruger, could be “amazed” at such false “discoveries.” Of course, it never ceases to depress me that such a fool could make it through the NYU School of Medicine.

When last we met Dr. Palevsky, however, he was doing his best to make measles great again in Rockland County, NY by speaking to a group of Orthodox Jews and trying to convince them not to vaccinate. He’s now being called out for his activities in a Business Insider article by J.K. Trotter entitled This New York doctor has been publicly urging parents not to vaccinate their children in the midst of a measles outbreak. Why is he still allowed to practice medicine? It’s an excellent question, one I’ve been asking for years about antivaccine doctors. Here’s how the article introduces him:

On May 13, hundreds of parents packed into a catering hall in Monsey, New York, for an event billed as a “Vaccine Symposium.” Monsey is a hamlet in Rockland County, which is struggling to contain an unprecedented outbreak of measles. But the event’s organizers weren’t there to educate the crowd on how vaccines can halt the spread of the illness, which can be fatal. They were there to promote a pernicious and discredited message that health officials have blamed for the outbreak: that vaccines endanger young children.

Hardly any of the symposium’s speakers, which included a YouTube host and a Washington lobbyist, practice medicine. The exception was a 57-year-old pediatrician named Lawrence Palevsky, who sees patients in Manhattan and the nearby Suffolk County on Long Island. His clinic’s website promises “personalized, comprehensive consultations” to address “children’s wellness, and acute and chronic illnesses.”

This is an important point. Many of these antivaccine pediatricians are “holistic” doctors or practice “integrative medicine,” or, as I like to call it, the integration of quackery and pseudoscience into medicine. I’ve been meaning to look at Dr. Palevsky’s website (and into his activities) for a long time. Thanks, Mr. Trotter, for giving me the pretext!

Here’s Dr. Palevsky’s self-description on his practice website, Northport Wellness Center:

In his current pediatric practice, Dr. Palevsky offers well-child examinations, consultations and educational programs to families and practitioners in the areas of preventive and holistic health; childhood development; lifestyle changes; nutrition for adults, infants and children; safe, alternative treatments for common and difficult to treat acute and chronic pediatric and adult conditions; vaccination controversies; mindful parenting; and rethinking the medical paradigm. Additionally, he teaches holistic integrative pediatric & adolescent medicine to parents, and medical and allied health professionals, both nationally & internationally, and is available for speaking engagements worldwide.

I can’t help but note that when I wrote about the antivaccine quackumentary The Greater Good, I related what his description of himself on his website read back then, in 2011:

In using his “whole child” wellness philosophy, Dr. Palevsky recommends and incorporates the teachings and therapies of nutritional science, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, chiropractic, osteopathy, cranial-sacral therapy, environmental medicine, homeopathy, and essential oils, along with natural healing modalities such as aromatherapy, yoga, Reiki, meditation, reflexology, and mindfulness.

Yes, Dr. Palevsky offered pretty much every form of quackery you can think of, up to and including even The One Quackery To Rule Them All, homeopathy. It was worse than that, though. Dr. Palevsky has clearly cleaned up his website since the days of his “holistic advantage,” where he laid down some serious, serious quackery:

Acute symptoms, such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, cough, runny nose, mucus production and wheezing, are all important ways in which children discharge stored accumulations of wastes or toxins from their bodies. These toxins enter and are stored in their bodies from repeated exposures to in utero, air, food, water, skin, nervous system stress, and injected materials, that for whatever reason, don’t easily exit their bodies through the normal means of detoxification. These toxins are too irritating to children’s bodies and must be removed. Eventually, a critical level of the toxins is reached, and children get sick with symptoms to purge them. Children, therefore, must be allowed to be sick, in order for them to get well.

In his practice, Dr. Palevsky encourages parents to allow children to express their symptoms when they’re sick. No one wants children to “feel” sick. Parents can learn to use remedies, however, that help children feel better and heal more effectively, without altering the important physiology which is helping them cleanse their systems. Letting children have their symptoms, without suppressing them, can be a challenging process both for parents and health care practitioners. We often come face-to-face with our own discomfort when children experience discomfort from their illnesses. It’s hard for us to watch them “suffer”, so we reflexively give them something to bring immediate relief. This reflexive response to suppress their symptoms, however, weakens them and delays their healing process.

WTF? That which does not kill the child makes him stronger? Really? This is some seriously depraved thinking!

Reading this, I can’t help but come to the belief that Dr. Palevsky is a monster. He seems to have believed that children should suffer, that their suffering shouldn’t be relieved, that children should be “allowed to be sick” because to do otherwise would be unnatural and prevent them from “cleansing” and “healing” their systems properly. I also can’t help but note, as others have, that there is a distinct strain of germ theory denialism here. You see, it’s not so much the bacteria and viruses causing fever and disease. It’s the toxins. He’s even explicitly said it, as others have documented. No wonder Dr. Palevsky has earned the “honor” of a place in the Encyclopedia of American Loons. He’s also posting links to antivaccine sites on his Facebook page:

His latest newsletter includes antivaccine propaganda galore. (Come to think of it, that document might make a good target for some future Insolence.) Does anyone think he doesn’t still believe these things? Of course he does:

It is important for all of us to begin learning about new scientific information that explains why children must experience their symptoms and illnesses as a necessary rite of passage, thus, allowing their immune and nervous systems to grow, mature, and develop appropriately. The expression of these symptoms may not always be caused by infections from bacteria and viruses. Instead, these symptoms and illnesses may develop as a sign that our children are healthy; that their bodies are strong, and working to bring to the surface, and cleanse, any accumulation of wastes that are deep inside them, having accumulated due to their exposure to varying stressors in their lives. In many instances, the process of bringing these wastes to the surface of the body is aided by the bacteria and viruses already living inside of them, and is a necessary step for them to become well.

Dr. Palevsky feels we are harming children with the constant use of over-the-counter medications, antibiotics, drugs and vaccines that treat and suppress common and necessary childhood symptoms and illnesses. He has come to understand that the use of this dominant treatment approach, that drives wastes deeper into our children’s bodies when we suppress symptoms, is directly contributing to the development of many of the chronic childhood illnesses we see in pediatrics today. After all, chronic symptoms develop as a result of a chronic accumulation of wastes and toxins, something we contribute to every time we don’t allow children to have their symptoms.

As I said, Dr. Palevsky is a monster. He might have started expressing his monstrous beliefs a bit less monstrously, but they’re still monstrous. He is, in my estimation, a horrific quack.

It becomes very clear, reading the 2011 and 2019 versions of Dr. Palevsky’s website, why Dr. Palevsky is an antivaxer. He’s laboring under the delusion that the natural suffering that vaccine-preventable diseases cause is good for the child. One wonders if he thinks that children dying of vaccine-preventable diseases is acceptable because, obviously, their detoxification systems must not have been adequate. What does he do when his “allowing children to experience their symptoms” leads to a child experience the symptoms of acute cardiovascular collapse and impending death? Inquiring medical minds want to know.

I could go on and on and on about Dr. Palevsky. For instance, predictably, he does not believe there is such a thing as herd immunity (or, as it’s now more commonly called, community immunity). but I’m more interested in the more general question raised by the article about him, namely, why do antivaccine doctors still have medical licenses? One of the most disturbing aspects of the antivaccine movement to me is how many pediatricians have betrayed their profession and their duty to children by pandering to antivaxers or even becoming antivaccine themselves. It’s particularly frustrating because MDs and DOs should know better. Their training should have, if you’ll excuse the term, immunized them against the pseudoscience, misinformation, and lies of the antivaccine movement. However, pediatricians are humans too, and humans are prone to the same sort of cognitive issues that lead others to confuse correlation with causation and as a result become mired in confirmation bias in which they remember every case or bit of information that reinforces their preexisting views and ignore or dismiss cases or bits of information that contradicts those views. Because humans are subject to these cognitive biases, though, does not mean that we should excuse doctors who fall prey to them. That’s why we need standards and medical boards to enforce standards of science-based medicine when doctors’ all-too-human tendencies lead them astray, as has happened with Dr. Palevsky.

That’s why I’m with Dr. Arthur Caplan, when he’s quoted in the Business Insider article:

Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics at New York University’s School of Medicine, said Palevsky’s conduct was incompatible with his role as a healthcare provider. “I absolutely believe New York state should revoke Palevsky’s license, because he’s advocating breaking the standard of care and spreading misinformation, putting children and the public at risk,” he told INSIDER. “It’s especially important in an outbreak, which could turn into a full-bore epidemic.”

“There are standards of care created by medicine, created by pediatricians, by experts,” he added. “If you violate those, you should lose your license.”

Precisely. The standard of care in pediatrics, supported by copious science, is to vaccinate according to the CDC schedule, or something close to it. Not vaccinating according to the CDC schedule is bad, and not vaccinating at all, as pediatricians like Dr. Lawrence Palevsky and Dr. Paul Thomas do, is even worse. It would be one thing if any of these physicians could construct something even vaguely resembling a rationale based on good science, but they can’t. They all rely on a sampling of the same mass of antivaccine pseudoscience that antivaxers routinely cite to justify their refusal to vaccinate, such as pseudoscience and bad science claiming to find that vaccines cause autism. They also rely on a sampling of the same mass of antivaccine misinformation that all antivaxers draw from. It’s not even subtle, and worse still is their use of their status as physicians to spread antivaccine misinformation that encourages parents not to vaccinate, because physicians are automatically viewed as more credible when holding forth on matters of medicine. This is particularly so when physicians speak on their area of specialization, which makes antivax pediatricians particularly dangerous to public health. After all, childhood vaccination is a large part of pediatric practice.

Yet, according to the BI article:

It would be difficult, and probably unprecedented, to strip a doctor of a medical license solely for expressing anti-vaccine views.

It may seem like a no-brainer to revoke the license of a physician who regularly spreads false, discredited information that, if relied on, could result in preventable injury or death. But state health departments, which license doctors and regulate the medical industry, have traditionally drawn a bright line between what doctors say in public and how they treat their patients. Regulators monitor what happens in the exam room or surgical theater, but they leave doctors free to speak their minds everywhere else.

And that’s the problem. Physicians hold a highly privileged position in society. As a surgeon, I like to illustrate this using an intentionally provocative image. As a surgeon, I am granted the power and privilege by society to forcibly rearrange—or even remove parts of—a patient’s anatomy because society assumes that our training allows us to do this anatomical rearrangement for therapeutic effect. If I started to say in lectures that, for example, breast cancer can be treated without surgery and that chemotherapy kills, I would be spreading harmful misinformation and thus betraying my specialty. I could even be leading women to their deaths by persuading them not to have their potentially curable breast cancers properly treated. It’s no different for antivaccine pediatricians. Not only are they not providing proper medical care to their own patients, but they’re also persuading parents of children who aren’t even their patients to medically neglect their children by withholding a preventative measure that protects them against potentially deadly infectious diseases.

Before I get to the last issue I want to discuss, let’s first look at how the New York State Department of Health responded to Trotter’s questions regarding Dr. Palevsky:

In a statement to INSIDER, the New York State Department of Health was careful to distinguish between Palevsky’s public statements, which it regards as beyond its purview, and his patient care.

While “the New York State Department of Health will continue our extensive public outreach campaign to educate people on the facts about vaccinations and to counter misinformation that has fueled this outbreak,” the department spokeswoman Jill Montag said, “the First Amendment protects an individual’s right to speak and express opinions about controversial topics without fear of government retaliation. Matters involving specific patients in the practice of medicine may, however, become the subject of an investigation.”

While I have some mild sympathy for this argument, being very much a free speech advocate, ultimately I view it as a cop-out. Here’s why. Physicians who are antivaccine and speak out regularly against vaccines are quacks, not just because they are antivaccine. Basically, being antivaccine is just one manifestation of their being a quacks. Rarely is it the only form of quackery in which they indulge. Dr. Palevsky is an excellent example. Look at the quackery he uses: cranial-sacral therapy, homeopathy, essential oils, aromatherapy, Reiki, reflexology, and more. That’s not even counting the modalities that are quackery but unfortunately often recognized by many states, such as acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, chiropractic, and naturopathy. Dr. Palevsky’s antivaccine views are just a part (albeit a very significant part) of the overall package of his quackery.

If there’s an exception to my rule of thumb that every antivaccine physician is into more quackery than just antivaccine quackery, I haven’t found it yet. Certainly Dr. Palevsky is far from the only example. For instance, there’s Kelly Brogan, an antivaccine psychiatrist who’s also into cancer quackery and mental illness denial. There’s Sherri Tenpenny, who runs one of the highest trafficked antivaccine Facebook pages and who once asked whether the flu vaccine killed Prince and has claimed that measles is not a disease. Like Dr. Palevsky, she flirts with germ theory denial, but she goes him one better and explicitly denies that microbes are the cause of infectious diseases. In her practice, she uses homeoprophylaxis instead of vaccines (that’s homeopathy, people) and advocates the uunproven modality of thermography to diagnose breast cancer and other diseases. Another antivaccine physician, nephrologist Dr. Suzanne Humphries, describes vaccines as “disease matter” and routinely spews the most easily refuted antivaccine tropes. She’s also a germ theory denier (are you seeing a pattern here?) and heavily into high dose vitamin C quackery. For instance, she thinks that vitamin C is a good treatment for whooping cough and that it should be studied as such.

You get the idea. I could go on and on about this. There’s Dr. Bob Sears, who, to be fair, is probably the least quacky of the antivaccine pediatricians outside of his antivaccine quackery, but that didn’t stop the Medical Board of California from sanctioning him for, in essence, shoddy record-keeping plus providing vaccine exemptions without properly examining the patient. (Who knew? Antivax doctors tend to be sloppy about medicine in more than one area.) There’s Dr. Paul Thomas, a rising star in the antivaccine movement in Portland who’s contributing to the massive measles outbreak across the Columbia River in Clark County, WA. Unsurprisingly, he has a pediatrician on staff in his practice who’s “certified in Classical Homeopathy, and trained in herbal medicine, nutrition and energy medicine.”. There’s Dr. Gary Kohls, who’s not just antivaccine but prone to a whole ecosystem of conspiracy theories. (Fortunately, he is retired.) In fact, there’s a whole advocacy society of antivaccine physicians, Physicians for Informed Consent, which invited Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to speak at its March conference.

All of them who are still licensed to practice should lose their medical license.

Basically, if a physician is antivaccine, you can, with a high degree of confidence, be sure that antivaccine quackery is not the only form of quackery that that physician is practicing. An antivaccine physician who is out there giving talks frightening parents out of vaccinating is certainly at the very least not adequately vaccinating his own patients and is highly likely to be treating them with a variety of other quackery. Thus, while a physician has a First Amendment right to go around publicly expressing antivaccine views, the fact that a physician is doing so is a huge red flag for other forms of quackery. Unfortunately, most state medical boards rely on complaints about individual patients, either from the patient, the patient’s guardian, a worker at a physician’s practice, or someone who knows the patient. In addition, it’s rare for such complaints to be made except in the case of really egregious misconduct (e.g., physicians sexually assaulting patients during exams or under anesthesia or physicians with substance abuse problems) or if clear harm has resulted to the patient, after which it’s rather too late.

Worse, thanks to the rise of “integrative medicine,” in which it is becoming increasingly acceptable for physicians to “integrate” rank quackery into their practices, thus blurring the line between quackery, state medical boards seem more reluctant than ever to judge what is acceptable medical practice, and don’t even get me started on the failure of medical professional societies to kick antivaxers out. (American Academy of Pediatrics, I’m talking to you in particular.) Add to this how chronically underfunded and understaffed state medical boards are, and it’s amazing they manage to get rid of even the most dangerous physicians. This is not a problem just with antivaccine physicians, but for incompetent surgeons who’ve caused harm to many patients, doctors selling quackery like unproven stem cell treatments, or Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and his antineoplastons.

That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t use a history of antivaccine propagandizing and profiteering as a red flag suggesting that a doctor might be practicing dangerously below the standard of care not just with respect to vaccinations but other areas. If a few antivaccine physicians were to lose their medical licenses or to be sanctioned severely because their antivaccine speeches, YouTube videos, blogs, and Facebook pages drew unwanted attention their way, I bet that would make a lot of the others think twice about peddling antivaccine nonsense. The First Amendment might protect physicians’ right to spew antivaccine misinformation wherever they wish, but it shouldn’t protect their ability to practice far below the standard of care and to use quackery to treat their patients.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

108 replies on “Antivaccine physicians like Dr. Lawrence Palevsky should all lose their medical licenses”

What Palevsky has been doing for the last 10 years and what he did at that Monsey anti-vax rally on May 13 is horrific. For a licensed physician to tell a crowd of moms with infants that measles vaccine is harmful and measles is not merits loss of medical license, especially in the middle of a large measles outbreak that has been declared a medical emergency. It is the moral equivalent of the fire marshall walking into a burning theater to tell the patrons not to evacuate. Jacobson vs Massachusetts in 1905 upheld the right of a Board of Health to require smallpox vaccination during a smallpox epidemic. I think a case for a similar precedent can be made here for Palevsky–namely it is permissible for a state medical board to discipline physicians who publicly oppose the Board of Health’s efforts during a measles outbreak.

FYI, here’s the only video clip I can find of Palevksy speaking at the Monsey anti-vax rally where he says:

“If you want to challenge your medical doctors and authorities, ask them to show you what study has ever confirmed that unvaccinated children are the ones responsible for an outbreak”


Does this idiot have any functional synapses left?

Jacobson vs Massachusetts in 1905 upheld the right of a Board of Health to require smallpox vaccination during a smallpox epidemic. I think a case for a similar precedent can be made here for Palevsky–namely it is permissible for a state medical board to discipline physicians who publicly oppose the Board of Health’s efforts during a measles outbreak.

I’m having trouble figuring out what you’re getting at here. In Jacobson, there was a $5 fine imposed (apparently about $141 now, sez random inflation calculator). Do you want a court case to establish a precedent that seems to be unnecessary in the first place? I mean, the NYS complaint form isn’t quite geared for this, but put “N/A” in the inapropos fields and write it up in the last section.

^ “The OPMC is required by PHL §230(10) [PDF] to review every complaint it receives. Complaints come from many sources including the public, the health care community and others. Complaints may also be opened as a result of a report in the media, a referral from another government agency, or OPMC’s own review of information, such as medical malpractice data and compliance with statutory requirements related to the New York State Physician Profile.”

Of course, if a mole patient were to present herself and he was spouting these lines, it would be much simpler.

There is 1st Amendment protection for a physician like Palevsky to publicly say outside of the exam room anything he wants even if it flies in the face of good medicine, including what he said in Monsey. The argument I make is that in the middle of a measles outbreak severe enough to cause declaration of a medical emergency and mandatory vaccinations (just like in Jacobson), the personal liberty of an anti-vax physician to walk into a room of moms and tell them from a podium not to vaccinate should not be protected under the 1st Amendment. Palevsky is not an average citizen. As a physician, he medical words carry much more weight when spoken publicly. Speaking anti-vax words publicly during a vaccine-preventable disease emergency as a physician endangers the public, hence the argument that Palevsky should be sanctioned for his actions as physician with the safety of the public overriding his 1st Amendment rights to falsely terrify parents out of vaccinating.

You seem to have totally ignored the content of my comment, which boils down to imagining Jacobson to be some sort of magic wand is not even wrong.

I’m not ignoring your comment. There are 1, perhaps 2 sections of Article 131-A (Definitions of Professional Misconduct Applicable to Physicians, Physician’s Assistants and Specialist’s Assistants) that could be used to sanction an anti-vax physician for speaking at Monsey. If they were used, the other side would appeal, citing the physician’s protection of physician’s speech under the 1st Amendment right. This is what happened to anti-vax cardiologist Jack Wolfson when 38 complaints were made when he said in 2015 that children need to catch measles because it makes them healthy (said during the Disneland measles outbreak). Wolfson’s medical board did not discipline him citing the 1st Amendment. The only counter I can see is the uniqueness of Palevsky’s situation (public speech endangering the public during an outbreak, with a medical emergency being declared) which is not unsimilar to the justification for mandating vaccination during a smallpox outbreak (I believe Jacobson went to court for his refusing vaccines citing violation of the 14th Amendment). I am not saying there’s a magic wand to be waived here. There would have to be a desire by the NY medical board to try and convince the courts they have a justification. Dorit’s comment goes into why this is, unfortunately, rather unlikely.

I’m equally confused as to how Jacobson applies here. Jacobson impacted mandatory smallpox vaccinations. That has nothing to do with speech.

I get what you’re saying about Article 131 A, but that has nothing to do with the Jaconbon case.

It seems a case of mixing apples and oranges here.

Courts are actually stricter in regulating speech than action in the area of public health. In other words, the government has more leeway to regulate coercviely about action that to limit speech.

Sometimes, the results are strange.

How you feel now that all those cases were found UNCONFIRMED and most likely came from the vaccine strain? Morons like you wanting to stripe a persons career away because they speak truth that you dont want to hear is the reason we have the 2nd amendment.

“This reflexive response to suppress their symptoms, however, weakens them and delays their healing process.”

So does this imply that symptoms like a fever should not get treated in any way, even if it is persistent and threatens the life of the patient? If treatment for fever is allowable, how do we start drawing lines for other symptoms? I have trouble understanding how they don’t hear what they are saying.

I wonder how this quack would treat rotavirus or pertussis? Sadly, even though he has probably caused harm to children, the parents are too embarrassed and/or selfish to complain leaving this vile crank free to practice voodoo.

Is mr. Palevksy proof time-travel does exist? I get the impression this doctor comes from the dark ages, when suffering was something people just had to deal with.

“Your child appears to be suffering from a bad case of vaccine and miasma induced humor imbalance, as well as astral misalignment. A quick bloodletting ought to cure that right up.”

In all seriousness It boggles my mind how someone who received a (hopefully) comprehensive medical education can spout this antivax nonsense with a straight face.

I’m sympathetic to the argument, but it would not fit our First Amendment jurisprudence, which has actually been going the other way and making it harder to regulate for public health. It’s not likely to happen.

Officials’ current battles around first amendment issuesin public health areas are now centered on getting the courts to continue to allow reasonable warnings to be required. The jurisprudence is now making that harder. Expecting health officials to open a new front on First Amendment grounds when they’re fighting over requiring companies to post warnings (like warnings on cigarettes or sugary beverages) is just unrealistic. It’s a bad situation on First Amendment jurisprudence right now.

I’m not happy about it, I understand your call, but I don’t see that on the cards, and it’s probably not the place to focus our efforts.

On the other hand, cities and states may want to consider targeting organizations and doctors like that for tort liability. At least in some contexts.

This is more or less where I stand on this question. Absent a specific instance (or more likely, multiple instances) of harm to a patient because Dr. Palevsky violated the standard of care, it will be hard for the medical board to sanction him. While I agree that for him to use his privileged position as a licensed medical doctor to advocate against vaccination in the middle of a severe outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease is outrageous conduct, the First Amendment issues cannot easily be dismissed.

Of course, the US isn’t the only country in the world.

However, that’s not what I’m saying. I conceded that doctors have the First Amendment right to spew antivax bullshit, but also pointed out that there is a high correlation between doctors who spew antivax bullshit (and particularly those who profit from it) and other substandard medicine and quackery being used in their practice. In an ideal world, the antivax propaganda would be enough of a red flag to justify, for instance, an audit of such a doctor’s practice. It’ll never happen, of course.

@ Eric:

First, any public anti-vax statements by Palevsky are minor offenses compared to what he states on his web sites – essentially that he refuses to treat child illness, on the notion the kid will be healthier having gone through them. That alone would get his medical license suspended in any rational regime of certification and regulation.

As for the anti-vax rhetoric, I would argue the First Amendment does not apply directly to medical boards sanctioning licensed medical professionals for medical advice they give in public forums. The distinction between medical advice given to a single paying client and advice given in a speech to a community group is hardly applles and oranges. If he’s sanctioned or suspended for being a bad doctor that doesn’t effect his speech rights, he can still say what he wants, he just can’t present it as sound advice backed by being a licensed pediatrician.

Thanks Dorit for at least setting expectations appropriately low for some kind of action against the licenses of quacks like those mentioned above. It fits with other low expectations set by vaccine thought leaders: it will likely take a large number of deaths due to VPDs before there are tangible remedies to vaccine mis/disinformation.

I’ve spent considerable time with medical students, and I like to think that if Dr Palevsky opined what is ascribed to him in the BI article during his training (in rounds or teaching sessions) he might need an extra year of remediation or even possibly not graduate. Maybe I’m deluding myself; it does seem odd that once Palevsky and his ilk graduate it becomes a free speech issue while the same view during training would likely be viewed by reasonable faculty members as such deficient thinking that it brings into question the student’s fitness for practice.

I didn’t realize Palevsky was [that] bad. Yikers.

I agree that in a perfect world we should be able to sanction doctors like Palevsky for giving anti-vaccine speeches to a crowd of mothers. My problem with letting medical boards is we don’t live in a perfect world. I’d be against changing the rules of the medical board to allow them to sanction doctors for what they say, not to protect the quacks, but the doctors who aren’t. Malicious medical board reports happen too much already, you know better than anyone. Sure you know you’ll be fine, because antivaxxers and chronic lyme cultists are stupid and incompetent. But what about your average Joe, who doesn’t have a literal social media empire, is tenured faculty at a medical school, and skeptical superstar? It’s a lot more scary and it opens up too much potential for abuse than I think is acceptable. Malicious board reports already are too big a problem, especially when they’re for alleged drug and alcohol abuse. (That is a very scary rabbit hole to go down.)

I don’t think boards should be able to sanction physicians for anything other than prove-able negligence in practice, fraud, etc. We can’t even trust the medical boards to get that much right, how can we expect them to filter the malicious reports from the not? It’s such a low bar. Dr. Sears got what he deserved, he was giving out medical exemptions in a manner not consonant with established laws and was investigated and sanctioned fairly and appropriately. The problem is this, let’s assume I am [very] good at computers in addition to being more of a reprehensible cunt than Ramsay Bolton. I could easily impersonate the vast majority of doctors online, most don’t even have social media accounts, and write them nice anti-vaxx blog posts… you get where I’m going with this. The idea that this sort of malarkey could trigger a board examination theoretically, is horrifying.

Not to mention the anti-vaxxers will just ride the coattails of chiros and naturopaths like Stephen Baker (
and claim that X doctor says vaccines are bad. That said, something needs to be done. The opinions of antivaxxers shouldn’t influence parents decision because kids should be required to get vaccinated before attending schools. We need laws on the books in every state that ban non-medical exemptions and doctors giving out bogus med-exemptions should be investigated and sanctioned. Then we the board can deal with them fair and square. We don’t have that in PA and we can see how that went…

I agree that aforementioned assclowns should probably lose their license but I don’t think changing the medical board rules is the way to go about it effectively and probably would open it up to abuse.

If medical boards decide to take away the licenses of those physicians whose advocacy against the standard of care threatens public health, we’ll have a lot of docs out of a job. Might be best to reserve such action for especially egregious circumstances. I’d have no problem with antivax advocates being booted out of the American Academy of Pediatrics, seeing that they commonly flaunt their AAP membership in an effort to impress patients, while rejecting a core AAP principle.

Regarding Facebook and antivaxers’ activities there, the Wall St. Journal has a front-page article today (“Vaccine Battle Bedevils Facbook”), which examines how little has changed on Facebook, despite its pledge to curb antivax misinformation.

It quotes a Facebook executive as saying that “the company’s aim in the case of vaccination is to prevent the spread of specific types of false information, not silence antivaccine activists.”

This puzzles me. Once you prohibit the spread of false information by antivaccine activists, they have virtually nothing to left to say. 🙂

Facebook is clearly doing a dance to appear to respond to criticism that it’s enabling material detrimental to public health while balancing action against free speech concerns (some of which are legitimate). The result thus far is basically inaction.

I think the line Facebook is trying to draw is that they will prevent promotion of the antivaccine content, by not recommending groups etc, but won’t take down their pages.

As the article you mentioned points out, they’re not doing much.

” Facebook is clearly doing a dance…. basically inaction”

Agreed totally. I hoped for better.

I was under no illusion that Facebook would do better. I had mild hope, but I really didn’t expect Zuckerberg to really do anything that substantive.

Isn’t Zukerberg’s wife a pediatrician? She’s a doctor I’m sure.

I really do get the First Amendment, but I was taught (perhaps naively) in fifth grade that my rights end where someone else’s begin. What about the rights of the babies in that room whose mother’s heads are being filled with lies, lies, and damned lies?

And I totally agree with Sadmar.

What has to happen here is that somene who lives in New York, preferably the parent of a former patient, has to complain to the state medical board. The boards are almost universally strapped for resources, and it often takes a complaint to force them to open an investigation.

Here in New Jersey, they tell us to email them because they don’t have anyone to answer the phone. I can’t imagine them being proactive except in the most egregious of cases.

Yeah. I remember just trying to get my medical license in NJ when I accepted my first job out of fellowship. It was impossible to get a hold of anyone to discuss my application or follow up on whether needed documents had been received.

I certainly understand that state medical boards are strapped for resources. That’s why I sometimes grimly joke that state medical boards are reluctant to move against a bad doctor unless he’s caught diddling patients or regularly shows up to work drunk or high. And don’t even get me started on how some states (Texas, I’m talking about you) have laws that actually make a medical license, once a doctor gets it, almost a right rather than a privilege, making it almost impossible to take it away.

Children, therefore, must be allowed to be sick, in order for them to get well.

Is this some version of “we must destroy the village in order to save it” combined with a medical version of Mother Teresa-like “suffering is a gift from God?”

I always wonder about people who claim that suffering is a “gift”. If it’s such a “gift”, why don’t they have their limbs broken, so that they can suffer more?

Because the truth is that they think that suffering is a “gift” for other people, but not for themselves.

To demand that a child suffer, that’s just horrifying.

Ah, but he puts “suffer” in scare quotes because, you know, Mommy just “thinks” Ashley is “suffering”, when really she is just trying to get well! Egads!

Of course Orac wants Dr Palevsky to get struck off…

( Jake Crosby, Autism Investigated, today) because Dr DG hates freedom.
I swear he wrote this. Still harping on his old tunes.

I almost never read anything Jake writes any more. He’s just become too ridiculous and hateful (a horrible combination) for me.

And of course I hate freedom. Just ask my enemies. (That’s sarcasm, people. Watch Jake try to quotemine that sentence.)

Hey, now that GoT is no more, I have get my weekly dose of high fantasy, medieval science, explicit torture and convoluted plotting somewhere.

( But no sexposition. Because you know, Incel.)

On a side note, I noticed that Dr. Palevsky’s practice uses the word “wellness” in its name.

I am tempted to paraphrase Samuel Johnson here, that “wellness” is the last refuge of a scoundrel, and then mention Ambrose Bierce’s comment on Johnson’s original statement that Johnson was not quite correct: it’s actually the first refuge, not the last.

Mu workplace is having a Wellness Fair as part of Employee Week, the ad mentions yoga and meditation plus physio and ergonomics. I am going to attend to see if anything more magical shows up.

It was the Calgary Wellness Expo that booted David Stephan as a speaker after much public pressure.

Incidentally, the Stephans’ retrial is to begin on Monday. According to the Lethbridge Herald they tried and failed to have the retrial postponed, but once again they ran into no-nonsense Associate Chief Justice Rooke. The Herald reports “The couple also applied Friday to have Rooke recuse himself from the hearing, citing alleged biases against them. He said, however, there is no proper basis for such a finding and called their allegations, which were not read in court, scandalous and inflammatory.”

Where I work has education days which all nursing staff are required to attend annually. It covers all our mandatory annual training (fire, CPR etc) plus important updates on things like blood product handling. You can imagine how exciting they are. Last one I attended included an hour on “wellness” and “ mindfulness”, and that’s an hour of my life I’m never getting back. Honest to God talk about fluff. I still can’t make head nor tail of the explanation of what “wellness” is as I always thought well was the opposite of sick (apparently it isn’t). The explanation of mindfulness was even worse.

My grandson went to the University clinic for some PT for his knee and the PT intern followed the exercises with, wait for it—–CUPPING! I am furious. To my grandson’s credit, he told the guy to stop it and not to bring on any more woo (yes, he said woo, he is my grandson after all). The guy talked a lot about “wellness” as well, and got an earful about cow pies from my grandson (Dr Crislip would be proud I think).

My hospital doesn’t use any woo that I’m aware of. I don’t know where the “wellness” and “mindfulness” stuff came from and I haven’t seen it in my everyday work. I think it was a bumbling but good intentioned attempt at offering emotional supporting to staff.

Every now and then one of the higher ups goes to a conference and comes back with a thought of the day and we all have to learn to live with it for a while. Thank goodness the nurse educators have got over the need to include craft supplies for us to play with at all of their teaching sessions, there’s only so many times I can use glitter and coloured paper cut outs to express my thoughts on bullying in the workplace before I loose it completely.

Unfortunately, I often have to drive past a county vocational/ technical school which has an electronic billboard announcing events, closures, students’ achievements.. thus,
I learned that May was “mindfulness month”. I don’t know ( and don’t really want to learn) what that entails.but I imagine it probably involves woo or another form of outright hooey.
I am hoping that the sign has been changed and that maybe, just maybe Pride might replace mindfulness.
( Around here, towns are divided on whether to officially support Pride by having signs or flags).

/“wellness” is the last refuge of a scoundrel
I must remember that. It is similar to the use of “quantum” if the user is not a physicist. Almost a guaranteed red flag of a quack

“It’s hard for us to watch them “suffer”, so we reflexively give them something to bring immediate relief.”
And when your child develops a secondary pneumonia,orchitis, or SSPE, you can pat yourself on the back while you eat your gluten-free acai bowl, smell your Bach flowers, and drink your kale smoothie for the great job of holistic, all-natural parenting you’ve done.

oh shut upppppppppp, baaaaaaa believing everything big pharma has taught you

It’s not nice to parody antivaxxers this way. Their statements are foolish enough without trying to make them seem even more incoherent.

I’m just curious, are you doing your best to be this dense or that kind of denseness come to you naturally?


“oh shut upppppppppp,”
Is that the best you’ve got? If you’re trying to convince us of the value of your viewpoint, you sure have found a peculiar way of expressing it. Not burdened by things like facts, evidence, logic, rationality, or civility, I see. Go away, child, and come back when you have something better to offer other than a revelation of your own stupidity.

I wonder if his love of children suffering symptoms extends to polio? Kids who spend the rest of their lives in an iron lung are obviously better off than those that got the vaccine.

I wonder what he would have done if confronted with the Oregon boy who had tetanus, or for that matter any child with a wound of the sort where tetanus would be a concern.

it is becoming increasingly acceptable for physicians to “integrate” rank quackery into their practices, thus blurring the line between quackery, state medical boards seem more reluctant than ever to judge what is acceptable medical practice

A decline in life expectancy that can’t be attributed to the opioid epidemic will get some notice.

Dr. Palevsky is my children’s pediatrician and my children are the healthiest children in my entire school district. Quackery must work!!! 🙌🏼

Yes, he drew you in very successfully by zeroing in on your psychological yearnings.

You know all the children in your school district? No, you don’t.

Or, more likely, you children did well in the genetic and environmental lottery. You probably have enough money to live in an area without much serious pollution. You probably have enough money to provide them with nutritious food.

Of course most children nowadays are healthy, diseases like polio, dyptheria, measles, TB and whooping cough are (or rather were) rare to nonexistent thanks in a large part to vaccinations being available to, and taken up by, the population.

My main concern with the anti vaccine crowd is that they push the line that these diseases are inconsequential. Of course they’re not, but since most people with little children are too young to remember them they can have no experience with the truely horrible ways these diseases can wreck lives.

So I’m more sorry for, than angry at, young parents who have been duped into believing that the risk of immunisation outweighs the risk of vaccine preventable disease.

I’ve put this video up before. Melissa if you’re reading this watch it. Be warned it’s heartbreaking. It shows a, luckily, rare but very real complication of measles. May you and those you love never ever find yourselves in this woman’s place.

Dr. Palevsky is my children’s pediatrician and my children are the healthiest children in my entire school district.

But I thought Palevsky wanted kids to get sick to get rid of accumulated wastes and toxins, and promote the maturing of their nervous and immune systems. Your kids must be pretty bad shape by now if they haven’t had a chance to experience this “rite of passage”.

Forgive this ignorant Brit: But does The First Amendment not allow you to; ‘shout “Fire” in a crowded room’?

Bugger, every time I try to explain my badly written comment I try to scroll down and keep hitting the delete button (I’m using my phone and have been working all night).
What I meant to say in my badly written comment is that the First Amendment doesn’t allow you to shout “Fire” in a crowded room.

The phrase comes from a 1919 SCOTUS opinion by Oliver Wendell Holmes:in the Schenk decision

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. […] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

The “Fire!” paradigm came to present the “clear and present danger” standard that stood for the next 50 years. The problem with that: the 1919 decision ruled that protests against the military draft were just such a danger and thus not protected speech. In 1969, the court changed the standard to only allow prohibiting speech “directed to and likely to incite imminent lawless action (e.g. a riot)” i.e. Brandenburg[Wikipedia].

The thing is, falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater isn’t just “speech” in the classical sense the 1st is meant to protect. It’s also an action, and a criminal one at that. Anyway, the question of whether a medical board could discipline Palevsky for his anti-vax oration in Monsey gets down into a variety of 1st Amendment weeds: whether medical advice from an MD counts as medical practice, whether the prescriptive part of medical practice counts as more than speech, whether the immediate circumstances of the NY outbreak would make non-vaxing “an imminent lawless action’, etc. etc.

In an article from Standford Business (2018) titled, SHOULD WE STOP LICENSING DOCTORS AND LAWYERS author Lee Simmons writes, “A new study shows that professional certification requirements benefit providers more than consumers.”

Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Jonathan Berk writes, “It’s because we’ve made it so hard to become a doctor and artificially restricted the supply of medical skill.”

Jeez, you’ve posted some crap on here but that link is quite spectacular.
Essentially, you want a nice and easy ride through Medical School so you can promote your idea that latex causes autism, or whatever such shit you believe in.

Early-onset atypical immunity adversely affects the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders. In simplification, there are environmental factors that affect atopy and allergy-induced regressive autism.

@ Orac,

Does the economic benefit of having medical quacks change your mind about cancelling a medical license? Please advise.


Early-onset atypical immunity adversely affects the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders. In simplification, there are environmental factors that affect atopy and allergy-induced regressive autism.

Citation needed.

It would be interesting to extend the quacks’ concepts to aircraft maintenance.
Airplane homeopathy?
Okay dilute that lubricating oil to 100 C with kerosene (Paraffin for the Brits amongst us) .

Oh lord, I hope a Boeing exec does not read this.

Wow you guys WREAK of desperation. You are a disgusting DISGRACE. I think “doctors” like you who DENY the fact that vaccines INJURE AND KILL HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN EVERY YEAR, should be thrown in jail and they should throw away the key. Forget taking your license away. You have the BLOOD of our children on your hands. Coming from a mother who DID vaccinate and watched my child have multiple absent seizures and then contract MEASLES FROM HER MMR, I can tell you that you couldn’t be MORE on the wrong side of history if you tried. Doctors like you equate to tobacco science peddlers and negligent monsters who injure children for profit. SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME ON YOU. All we can hope is that the 1986 vaccine act is REPEALED so we can hold every single one of you QUACK murderous MONSTERS…(yes, YOU are the quacks) accountable for poisoning an entire generation of children. Boy, you must be desperate. Your pockets are lined by pharma and there’s a special place in hell for you all. We are coming for YOUR licenses…you will forever be remembered as the doctors who never researched the garbage you inject into children on a daily basis. 4 BILLION TAXPAYER DOLLARS PAID OUT IN VACCINE INJURY COMPENSATION. WHO IS THE QUACK NOW???

Mother of vaccine injured child writes,

Coming from a mother who DID vaccinate and watched my child have multiple absent seizures…

MJD says,

Sorry to read that your child may have been adversely affected by a vaccine(s), thanks for sharing your thoughts. Understand, resistance is futile in that the calculated risk/benefit ratio of vaccines overwhelmingly favors its usage at this point in time.

Wow: random use of capitalisation, over the top hyperbolic rhetoric and unsupported use of dodgy “facts”. Reminds me of someone who’s in the news a lot, if I could only remember who.

“Wow you guys WREAK of desperation.”

It was nice of this person to wave the Illiteracy flag right at the beginning.

Most of compensation is for bad needlework. Needle could indeed cause harm. (I wonder about acupuncturists.)
Did you go to vaccine court ? Can you cite case ? Vaccine court does compensate seizures, actually.
Do some Google search. There are lots of vaccine research.

Oooh.. I love a good game of anti-vaxxer bingo! Let’s begin:

Mother of vaccine injured child

Claim of being a parent of a “vaccine injured” child – Check.


Can’t use words properly – Check.
Copious use of BLOCK CAPS – Check.


Use of scare quotes – Check.


Extraordinary claim with no substance to back it up – Check.

thrown in jail and they should throw away the key

Call to jail people for supporting vaccinations – Check.

Coming from a mother who DID vaccinate and watched my child

Sensational witness testimony about their child’s reaction to vaccines – Check.


Biological impossibility claimed as a “vaccine injury” – Check.

Doctors like you equate to tobacco science peddlers

False equivilance claim likening vaccines to tobacco – Check.

poisoning an entire generation of children

Referrs to vaccines as “poison” or other variation on the toxins gambit – Check.

Boy, you must be desperate.

Claims that any pro-vaccine people must be desperate liberally sprinkled in the midst of an hysterical diatribe – Check.

Your pockets are lined by pharma

Pharma-shill gambit – Check.

special place in hell for you all

Religious zealtory – hmm.. only half a point there.

We are coming for

Ominous references to an enigmatic “we” – Check.

never researched

False claim that vaccines aren’t correctly studied or tested – Check.

garbage you inject into children

Bonus toxins-gambit! – Check.

you will forever be remembered

Assurance of being vindcated in the future – Check.


False claim about the NVICP – a two-fer this time! You got the amount and the source of payouts wrong. Check and Check!

Your score today 18.5. Not bad for a rookie run, if you really want to up that score though you’ll want to get some more personal ad-hominem attacks in and I noticed you missed the low-hanging fruit of making a poor quality play on words and you didn’t call for some sort of unethical vaccinated vs unvaccinated study or even make any reverential references to any of the anti-vaxxer “celebs” or brave maverick doctors, and you left the whole area of how things like measles isn’t really that bad and survivorship bias completely unexplored I mean that’s just leaving points on the table right there.

Thanks for playing Anti-Vaxx Bingo!

@TBruce the crazyometer is still in the workshop for repairs and upgrades after the last time I ran it over AoA but eyeballing it I’d say its about a 5.5, strong marks for intensity and rate of escalation but sorely lacking in originality and extremity

You only approve pharma shilling child-murdering posts, huh? What a piece of garbage. I’m calling for your medical license to be revoked. And it will be. Believe me. It will be. You don’t get to harm children and get away with it.

You won’t be the first antivaxer to complain to my state medical board, and I’m sure you won’t be the last. Complaining about a physician supporting vaccination on a blog and social media is not something that a medical board is likely to sanction a physician for, nor is calling for antivaccine doctors to lose their medical licenses.

The people that do the most harm to children are the people who try to scare people away from childhood vaccinations, because those illnesses can do far more harm, than vaccines.

Hey lady, don’t forget to complain on me, too (I practice in Arizona as a pediatrician). Don’t forget to say stuff like I’m a “vaccine bully”, and I’m a “big pharma shill” and I’m causing all these outbreaks through “shedding”. It will give the medical board a good laugh for a few minutes. Thanks!

Did the nice lady have a melt-down when her comment wasn’t approved instantly? She doesn’t seem to be familiar with the concept of ‘moderation’.

I’m calling for your medical license to be revoked. And it will be. Believe me. It will be.

I’m calling for your Internet license to be revoked.

If you will be good enough to post your name and location, I will contact Child Protective Services or your local equivalent to inform them that your refusal to vaccinate your children is a form of neglect. I have just enough in the way of credentials for them to take my report seriously and take a look at you. Believe me. they will pay you a visit. You don’t get to neglect children and get away with it.
Meanwhile, if you must have a tantrum, please do it where we don’t have to look at it. Grownups don’t do those things where others will see.

I would be concerned about giving too much power to a licensing board in, say, Missouri or Mississippi for example. Suppose the state legislature decides to populate the board with members of the state legislature or their close friends?

One comment regarding the anti-vaccine comments: I thought the movement likes to say that measles is OK to get. Why complain if it came after an mmr?

Because it’s not the good old, old-fashioned natural kind: it is contaminated with toxins, Al, Hg**, dead monkey kidney cells and aborted “baby” parts as well as squalene.
Measles itself is a pure virus.

** RFK jr changed the name of his website/ org to “Child Health Defense” from the “Mercury Project” and now carries on about Al.

Sounds like it was a fun event. Coverage here (somewhat limited, as they kept reporters out):

“”They should be allowed to have the measles if they want the measles,” Bigtree told reporters outside the meeting. “It’s crazy that there’s this level of intensity around a trivial childhood illness.”…
He also said “consensus thinking” led to “things like Nazi Germany. When we feel safe because we’re in numbers, we do really atrocious things.”

Note the comments of NYC Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot, which is one of the great names in all of health care.


“However, pediatricians are humans too, and humans are prone to the same sort of cognitive issues that lead others to confuse correlation with causation and as a result become mired in confirmation bias in which they remember every case or bit of information that reinforces their preexisting views and ignore or dismiss cases or bits of information that contradicts those views.”

This is somewhat an ironic point to make. Unless biological causation for, say; SIDS or Autism have been discovered, confirmed, repeated & then a consensus reached; the bulk of ‘proof’ of vaccine safety is Epidemiological. Epidemiology, by law; cannot prove nor rule out causation. It may only demonstrate correlation.

Epidemiology that fails to correlate, along with the lack of biological proof of causation from a different process, should be considered questionable, in the event that; the anecdotal evidence continues to overwhelmingly imply correlation. Correct?

The epidemiology fails to correlate SIDS/Autism to vaccines. Correct? There has been no consensus as to a biological cause for SIDS/Autism. Correct? The anecdotal evidence from parents continues to imply that vaccines are correlated with SIDS/Autism. Correct?

So then who, exactly; is confusing correlation with causation & dismissing the information that contradicts their views? And who’s job is it, to avoid succumbing to the bias that impairs the cognitive process?

Is it mine? My pre-existing view was that vaccines were safe. That is why I vaccinated my children. Now, as a parent of a child now long buried after SIDS within 12 hours of vaccination & the parent of a severely autistic child (starting) within a week of vaccination; I have been unable to ignore what contradicted those views & I am now a contributor to the anecdotal evidence that questions the epidemiology.

So, Orac, by your standards; I HAVE done my job. It is not my job to ignore what I lived so I wouldn’t become Antivaccine.

So then whose job is it to question the epidemiology, despite their pre-existing views? Could it actually be the medical authorities? A doctor, perhaps? So you don’t like this doctor whatever his name is because he is ‘Antivaccine’ & you want him to lose his license. You may not like how he did it but I assure you that by listening to the anecdotal evidence of parents; he most certainly did do his job.

If you think you can do better, then by all means; jump into the game with your sleeves rolled up. Or maybe your cancer patients need you right where you are? That’s awesome, sincerely; that works for me just don’t ever again say that; “There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that vaccines do not cause SIDS/Autism.”

Instead, tell the truth. Say; “The overwhelming amount of evidence that does not correlate vaccines to SIDS/Autism reinforces my view that vaccines are safe”.

Unless biological causation for, say; SIDS or Autism have been discovered, confirmed, repeated & then a consensus reached; the bulk of ‘proof’ of vaccine safety is Epidemiological. Epidemiology, by law; cannot prove nor rule out causation. It may only demonstrate correlation.

False. Epidemiology CAN rule out causation. Multiple large, well-designed studies looking at whether or not vaccines cause autism have been performed. No link was found.

Epidemiology that fails to correlate, along with the lack of biological proof of causation from a different process, should be considered questionable, in the event that; the anecdotal evidence continues to overwhelmingly imply correlation. Correct?

Operative phrase “in the event”.

The epidemiology fails to correlate SIDS/Autism to vaccines. Correct?


There has been no consensus as to a biological cause for SIDS/Autism. Correct?

Incorrect. There is strong evidence pointing to a genetic cause for autism, and the consensus is that autism is genetic.

The anecdotal evidence from parents continues to imply that vaccines are correlated with SIDS/Autism. Correct?

Operative word “imply”.

The bottom line is, we have looked and looked and looked at whether or not vaccines cause autism. Science might not be able to prove a negative, but there comes a point at which absence of evidence must be regarded as evidence of absence, and that point was reached long ago.
You are arguing in bad faith, insisting that despite no evidence turning up, something might still be found, so we must still consider the possibility that vaccines cause autism.

The anecdotal evidence from parents continues to imply that vaccines are correlated with SIDS/Autism. Correct?

The anecdotal evidence from parents as a group? Nope, not correct.

“Epidemiology that fails to correlate, along with the lack of biological proof of causation from a different process, should be considered questionable, in the event that; the anecdotal evidence continues to overwhelmingly imply correlation. Correct?”


Strong, repeatedly confirmed epidemiologic evidence against the proposition that vaccines cause SIDS or autism, together with a lack of a plausible mechanism for such, in the absence of viable scientific evidence that the events are related to immunization, buoyed only by highly fallible anecdotes, continues to overwhelmingly show that vaccination does not cause autism or SIDS.

“We don’t have all the answers as to what causes autism and SIDS, therefore we blame vaccines” is not a logical or viable conclusion.

Isn’t there also positive evidence against SIDS being caused by vaccines in that, after the introduction of the “back to sleep” campaign the number of SIDS deaths dropped markedly? Yup, here’s the report form 2012, after the “Back to Sleep” educational campaign, SIDS deaths fell by 50%.

That sure looks like at least one cause of SIDS was identified.

As a side note, Professor Peter Fleming of Bristol University, the creator of “Back to Sleep” and perhaps the World’s foremost SIDS expert, led a study into whether vaccines cause SIDS.
The conclusion?

There is no increased or reduced risk of sudden infant death during the period after the vaccination.

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