Does the Medical Board Overstep Their Power Here?

The article is called California doctor critical of vaccines is punished for exempting 2-year-old boy from all childhood immunizations but don’t let that fool you.  I am absolutely 100% pro-vaccine but this is insane.  Here is what the article said:

In a decision that could signal how California’s fierce vaccine debates will play out in the coming years, the Medical Board of California has ordered 35 months’ probation for Dr. Bob Sears, an Orange County pediatrician well-known for being sympathetic to parents opposed to vaccines.

In 2016, the board threatened to revoke Sears’ medical license for wrongly writing a doctor’s note for a 2-year-old boy that exempted him from all childhood vaccinations. This week, the medical board settled on a lesser punishmentSears can keep practicing medicine but will be required to take 40 hours of medical education courses a year, as well as an ethics class, and also be monitored by a fellow doctor. He also must notify all hospital and medical facilities where he practices of the order and is not allowed to supervise physician assistants or nurse practicioners.

Sears found himself in hot water because, according to the medical board, he wrote a vaccine exemption for a young boy without obtaining even basic medical information, such as the child’s history of vaccines. He took the boy’s mother at her word when she said her son lost urinary function and went limp in response to previous immunizations, according to the filing.

What struck me is the precedent here.  Taking a patient at their word is wrong?  Here is what my friend and colleague Julie Gunther MD, at SparkMD, said about this recently:

I believe vaccines are an important part of wellness. But I also believe that it is not my job as a physician to tell my patients what to do or what is best for their children. I can only educate.

More and more– doctors are being held accountable as gatekeepers to things that society isn’t sure what to do about. Workmen’s Comp., family debates about power of attorney, therapy animals.. I most recently had to validate that a patient had a large head and needed a headset so he wouldn’t continue to get headaches. Not a very good use of my time.

Not only is this exhausting, it’s one of the reasons physicians are leaving practice. Dr. Sears is being reprimanded because “He took the boy’s ( his patient’s) mother at her word”….

If listening to our patients isn’t at the forefront of our job then I don’t know what this job is anymore.

For real, people, if you want doctors to stay in practice, you’ve got to support them. My professional colleagues are dropping like flies.

I agree with Julie.  I am glad someone is pushing back on these anti-vaccine lunatics but I think the board overstepped their bounds on this one.  What do you think?

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