Pediatricians Propose Guidelines to Address Parents Who Are Reluctant to Vaccinate their Children
Question: What is the American Academy of Pediatrics proposing when parents are hesitant to vaccinate?
Answer: A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics found that 87% of pediatricians in 2013 encountered a parent who declined a vaccine for their child, which is a 12% increase from 2006, when 74.5% of pediatricians said parents refused a vaccine for their child. In light of this disturbing trend, the American Academy of Pediatrics (“AAP”), an organization that represents 60,000 providers, issued a companion report that offers suggestions for pediatricians to deal with the dilemma. The AAP emphasizes the importance of listening to the parents’ specific concerns and questions, and addressing them with factual evidence. The report provides details on the rigorous regulation process for the approval of vaccines as well as emphasizes the importance of providing data to parents that shows the effectiveness of immunizations and the dangers of acquiring vaccine-protected diseases. The AAP believes that education is crucial to reversing the trend, as the Pediatrics study found that 73% of parents were hesitant or refused to administer a vaccine because they didn’t think it was necessary. Notwithstanding, the report acknowledges that there are certain circumstances where a physician may dismiss a patient from their practice after all attempts to vaccinate the child fail. The report emphasizes the duty of the pediatrician to abide by state law and to ensure another provider is available for the child. In instances when another provider is not available, the pediatrician should continue to care for that child. About 11% of providers in 2013 reported they would dismiss patients for continual vaccination refusal, up from 6% in 2006. The AAP’s report may be accessed through the following link: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2016/08/25/peds.2016-2146.
Most of you, over the years, have treated a friend or relative. Sometimes, the treatment consists of a quick look-see and a prescription. Do you have to chart this? YES! There is no "relative or friend" exception to the rule that requires your chart to be an accurate and complete representation of your treatment of your patient. That same friend or relative may sue you when they have medical complications due to your "minimal" treatment! Additionally, your professional license always has to be considered prior to any treatment. Do it right! Make a chart. – Larry Kobak, Esq., Partner, Kern Augustine, P.C., LKobak@drlaw.com
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