Respectful Insolence

As promised, the Chicago Tribune served up the followup article to its expose of father-and-son autism quacks Mark and David Geier. This time around, the Trib takes on Dr. Mayer Eisenstein of the woo-friendly suburban Chicago medical practice known as Homefirst in two articles, Autism doctor: Troubling record trails doctor treating autism and Dr. Peter Rosi places blame on some parents for their babies’ deaths (Dr. Rosi is one of Homefirst’s longest-serving doctors). The reason Dr. Eisenstein came to the Trib’s attention is because (1) he has started using the Geiers’ Lupron protocol and (2) he is speaking at the yearly Chicago quackfest known as Autism One.

We’ve met Dr. Eisenstein before because he is one of the luminaries of the anti-vaccine movement. Specifically, he made a completely unscientific claim that in his practice there is practically no autism among his unvaccinated patients. Indeed, he went even beyond that by saying, “I don’t think we have a single case of autism in children delivered by us who never received vaccines.” Of course, this was so obviously a data-free case of selective memory and confirmation bias as to be utterly risible. Later, Dr. Eisenstein’s storpy morphed into Dan Olmsted’s breathlessly stating, “Check out Homefirst Medical Services in Chicago where careful, computerized records show thousands of never-vaccinated kids, and almost no autism or asthma.” The Trib article reveals him to be a master of Quack-Fu Fallacies in terms of his excuses and beliefs:

  1. No vaccine and more vitamin D = no autism
  2. Antivaccine wingnuttery: He said he became passionate about vaccine risks when years ago he listened to Leonard Horowitz, a dentist whose Web site describes him as a “prophet” and is now promoting the theory that bioengineers produced swine flu “in a conspiracy to commit genocide.” Horowitz, Eisenstein said, “was talking about AIDS and Ebola and autism and asthma and allergies, and he linked it all to vaccines.”
  3. The pharma shill gambit: Eisenstein, who calls the American Academy of Pediatrics the “American Academy of Pharmaceuticals,” dismisses the many peer-reviewed studies that failed to find a link between autism and vaccines as “fake studies.”
  4. The “Hitler Zombie chomped my brain” gambit: Vaccine proponents won’t admit this because, he said, “Every doctor now essentially in this country has done something as heinous as the Nazis did, unknowingly.”

But the most disturbing facts I gleaned from this article were to come:

Eisenstein said he decided to Lupron injections because his don’t-vaccinate message couldn’t help children who already got their shots. “I never saw it as a moneymaking venture,” he said of the treatment, which can cost $6,000 a month. “It was more the angst I felt meeting so many of these families who were in a sense saying, ‘Come on, Mayer, you’ve done so many things for so many people. Can’t you help here?’ ”

But the long process of winning insurance approval for the treatments has frustrated him. He wonders how much longer he’ll continue to treat patients with the drug.

“The concern in my mind is that Blue Cross will say, ‘You can’t do this,’ ” he said.

In other words, Dr. Eisenstein doesn’t care so much if the Geiers’ Lupron quackery works or not. He only cares if insurance will pay him for it. The article also shows him to be prone to–well, let’s just say prone to “embellishing” the truth, which makes me wonder how much he’s “embellished” his claims that unvaccinated children in his practice don’t get autism. He doesn’t necessarily have to be lying, but my guess is that he doesn’t have the records and uses confirmation bias and selective memory to make such claims.

Even worse, there have been a string of malpractice suits against his practice for birth injuries and deaths that raise a serious red flag.

But if you want the most despicable comment from the Trib’s reporting, it doesn’t come from Dr. Eisenstein. Rather, it comes from his partner, Dr. Peter Rosi, who, when questioned about multiple infant deaths occurring during home births at which he was the attending physician, he replied:

“The doctors in the majority try to use the legal system to disable or destroy doctors in the minority,” he said.

Families allege that Rosi repeatedly made mistakes during home births and pediatric care that led to children dying or suffering brain damage, court records show.

In an interview, Rosi blamed some of the parents for their babies’ deaths.

“Eighty percent of complications in childbirth are psychological,” he said. “Babies can be killed by a mother’s attitude.”

Way to show empathy to parents who’ve just lost their babies in childbirth thanks to your ideological commitment to home birth no matter what mixed with your incompetence, dirtbag.

If there is one thing I’ve learned about Dr. Eisenstein and his crew, though, it’s that they are so much like the usual “alt-med” mavens that it’s scary. To them, everyone is out to get them for their “brave maverick” views, and, when complications occur or the law comes knocking to ask them why they are playing fast and loose with insurance and finances, it’s never, ever their fault.

Comments

  1. #1 Betz
    May 22, 2009

    That final quote by Dr. Rosi is the scariest thing I’ve read all week. Just, whoa.

  2. #2 kathleen
    May 22, 2009

    ” Babies can be killed by a mothers attitude” Well, I guess in a sense that can be correct-Jenny McCarthys “mommy sense” tells her that vaccines are bad for other peoples children…Ms. McCarthy is the keynote speaker for autism one…in honor of Andrew Wakefield!!!

  3. #3 Jennifer B. Phillips (aka Danio)
    May 22, 2009

    “Babies can be killed by a mother’s attitude.”

    Being the proud owner of a cultivated ‘Dragon mommy’ (as my kids have dubbed it) glare that has been known to induce pants-wetting, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss this claim.

    In all seriousness, though, this is a chilling statement. It’s all part and parcel with the propensity to blame the victim patient that seems so prevalent in alt.med. If the therapy doesn’t work, it’s your own damn fault for not believing in it hard enough. Ugh.

  4. #4 Whitecoat Tales
    May 22, 2009

    From the article

    Christopher Michael Meline was born dead in June 1996. Like Jacob Stednick, Christopher had inhaled his own waste, records show. The case was settled.

    When questioned about his handling of this case, Rosi testified, “Babies die.”

    That’s ridiculous.

    “Babies die.”

    That’s not a doctor talking. Thats a man who doesn’t deserve an MD.
    Mr Rosi (and for that matter, Mr Eisenstein are exactly the kind of people we need to drum out of medicine.

    …he suggested she take a vitamin D3 supplement, which he happened to sell.

    Multiple times Eisenstein has been mentioned by Gen Rescue and other vaccine denialists on my blog, and in the same sentence, they always say that I can’t evaluate Eisenstein because a) I’m a med student (which is true) and b)I’m a pharma shill with a conflict of interest (which isn’t). Yet their own hero is selling the (very expensive) vitamins they swear by. Noone sees that as a conflict of interest?

    A quick look at his website suggests that he tells people to avoid vaccines by using the “religious exemption.”

    Disgusting.

  5. #5 JThompson
    May 22, 2009

    Wow. About the only crazy conspiracy theories he lacked were something to do with Zionism or alien mind control.
    Clearly he isn’t trying hard enough.

    You have to wonder what’s wrong with people when they believe someone that’s obviously got so much batshit they had to borrow a truckload of it to meet their quota.
    I wonder if there’s some upper limit of stupid/crazy that can be spoken without someone somewhere believing it.
    Sadly, signs seem to point to “no”.

  6. #6 Matthew Cline
    May 22, 2009

    The fact that he has been a defendant in 10 medical malpractice cases in Cook County and was criminally prosecuted in Alaska is just proof, he said, that others are out to get him.

    “The doctors in the majority try to use the legal system to disable or destroy doctors in the minority,” he said.

    So somehow the “doctors in the majority” are controlling the plaintiffs? Or all the plaintiffs are secretly doctors?

  7. #7 Whitecoat Tales
    May 22, 2009

    Oh yea, I mean, whenever I don’t like a doctor I work with, I pretend to be a patient and bring a law suit against them.
    It’s actually a medical student conspiracy, he was mean to the students he was “teaching”.

  8. #8 Anthro
    May 22, 2009

    Yes, yes, so much of the “woo” is being aided by PHYSICIANS (Andrew Weill, anyone? Dr. Oz, anyone?) The rag that the local coop puts out is full of MD’s who practice “complementary” medicine, including acupuncture, bee pollen treatment, and more. An anesthesiologist I know personally, has given up her practice (full-time anyway) to pursue Ayeurvedic “medicine”; a nurse (RN) I know quit and got a teaching degree and makes less money now, but is “happier, because I lost my faith in allopathic medicine”.

    Somehow, medicine (and the educational system) is failing the public and I would guess (hypothesize?) that it has more to do with the “art” of medicine than the science part. These quacks spend time with their “patients”, sympathize with them, give them a “clear” diagnosis–”it’s the gluten!”, fill their heads with Big Pharma conspiracies, and send them away with am armload of “Nature’s Pharmacy–no nasty side effects!” and lots of hugs.

    Question is–how do science-trained docs get to this point? How do other “practitioners” get away with, in essence, practicing medicine (without a license)? What is Orac and others who find it so distasteful (and rightly so), going to do about it? As long as we have this blind dedication to “freedom of religion” and as long as masses of people substitute or augment their religion with woo, it is hard to deny them their “right” to follow whatever they wish. Hell, half the people who use regular medicine are using some level of alt. med., maybe more if you go by the way they do up women’s clinics now to look like a zen temple or massage spa. It seems that a good first step would be to censure MD’s who dabble in the occult–anyone?????

  9. #9 Robert Estrada
    May 22, 2009

    As I wrote in response to these articles on another site, a tanker truck full of bleach could not clean off the filth of these” practitioners”. I am a mechanical engineer who works in the medical device industry. Once in my career a device my company had one of their devices do serious harm to a patient. We halted the use of the devices, pulled the device in question back, stripped it to the bone in analyzing the fault, had service teams examine every one of several thousand devices in the field for the flaw we discovered and designed in a correction of the flaw. Never once did any of us retreat to blaming either the patient. We were concerned about our failures and how to learn form them to prevent them or similar ones in the future. Perhaps the company was primarily concerned with liability, we engineers who had failed, were not. Regardless, both the company, and we engineers, accepted and did not deny error. We took the lesson to heart. It could have been any one of us or any member of our families who were injured. We all err, but externalizing it, blaming the patient, other, victim, is borderline sociopathic. You cannot learn from what you deny.
    Robert Estrada
    ps: Orec, Thanks for the cow pie.

  10. #10 DebinOz
    May 23, 2009

    What is with these people?

    Twenty-two years ago, my son was born with bilateral anophthalmia and a bilateral cleft lip and palate, but otherwise a healthy baby. Not long after he was born, I wandered into a ‘health-food’ store with him, to pick up some item I can’t remember. The proprietor, on hearing about and seeing my son’s obvious birth defects, said (I kid you not, and I will never forget): ‘That’s because you drank a Coke when you were pregnant’. WTF?

    How many ways of ‘wrong’ was that? Fortunately for me, I never drink any soda, and I was an educated epidemiologist and a person with a strong sense of self so I didn’t feed into it. But I will never forget the rabidness with which the statement was delivered.

    Psychological problems and soda drinking cause poor birth outcomes!! Spare me…

  11. #11 James Sweet
    May 23, 2009

    Oy, the comment about the “Eighty percent of complications in childbirth are psychological” sounds all too familiar. My wife and I tried to do a home birth for our first child (we ended up doing it in the hospital anyway, because of some things of concern on the ultrasound that turned out to be false positives… in retrospect, we certainly would have been fine at home, but hindsight is always 20/20, and you do not want to take any chances with a home birth!).

    Anyway, what I’m getting to here is I was kindof disturbed at the level of woo and, well, selective blindness in some corners of the “home birth community”. For instance, my survey of what research there has been into the safety of home birth pretty much told me that nobody actually knows for sure… the relative risk factor for low-risk births is probably close to 1, but it’s very difficult to tease out all the selection biases and other confounding factors (and you can’t do a randomly controlled study for obvious reasons). But some of the woo-lovers will proclaim that “the jury is in” and that home birth is definitely as safe as a hospital birth for low-risk births (might be true, but the jury is definitely not in) and some will even assert that it is safer, because of a single study that had a relative risk factor of 0.9! (Nevermind that a couple of studies had a relative risk factor between 3 and 4…)

    I’ve even heard people say that the only thing that causes problems in birth is hospital interventions. Um… yeah, I suppose that’s why the perinatal mortality rate was so much higher roof prior to the mid-20th century… There’s this idea that all births are healthy, that every birth can be natural, and some mothers experience deep shame when it turns out they can’t have a natural birth (which, I suppose, is still better than killing your baby because you insist on staying at home even after complications develop…)

    For us, I think we made a balanced decision… we knew there might be a moderate increase in risk of a catastrophic outcome, while I suspect (though admittedly nobody has any data on this at all) that there might be a lower risk of complications from unnecessary interventions with home births as opposed to hospital births — and of course there are subjective reasons that impelled us to this decision. However, there are folks out there I think making pretty crazy decisions (if you want to be terrified, Google for “unassisted childbirth”), and even ones making ultimately rational decisions are often being misled about the risks and benefits of the various choices they have. Bah!

  12. #12 James Sweet
    May 23, 2009

    Noticed that some of the babies they had wind up dying were because of inhaling meconium. There is an Australian study that both pro-home birth and anti-home birth people like to point to, that found that home births were way riskier in Australia than hospital births in Australia, but that also home births in Australia were way riskier than home births in other parts of the world, and that hospital births in Australia weren’t really any safer than home births in other parts of the world (you can see why this is somewhat of a Rohrshach test for activists…)

    Unfortunately, this desire to use the study to support each side’s own agenda is blinding them to what it actually says: Midwives in Australia were ignoring specific indicators of complications and failing to get the mothers to the hospital in a timely fashion. One of the most commonly ignored indicators was …. meconium staining in the amniotic fluid.

    In other words, anybody who is paying attention to what little hard evidence there is about the safety of home birth would have known to get these particular women to the hospital ASAP. But you know… woomeisters…

  13. #13 happeh
    May 23, 2009

    “If there is one thing I’ve learned about Dr. Eisenstein and his crew, though, it’s that they are so much like the usual “alt-med” mavens that it’s scary. To them, everyone is out to get them for their “brave maverick” views, and, when complications occur or the law comes knocking to ask them why they are playing fast and loose with insurance and finances, it’s never, ever their fault.”

    I find it interesting you blame his attitude on his alternative medicine background.

    I think it much more likely his attitude comes from his family and cultural background.

  14. #14 Dangerous Bacon
    May 23, 2009

    “I find it interesting you blame his attitude on his alternative medicine background.

    I think it much more likely his attitude comes from his family and cultural background.”

    If this is the case, then many alties must have shared family and cultural backgrounds. But I think it’s more a case of a toxic mindset in common.

    It’s typical when quacks get busted/exposed, for their troubles to be blamed on on government/mainstream medical/media conspiracies to conceal the “truth”, and their followers lap this stuff up. “They don’t want you to know” is a central tenet of woo. In the world of autism-woo, this is how the Geiers and Andrew Wakefield continue on as respected authorities and even heroes.

    I would say more, but the Zionists and A.M.A. would stop

  15. #15 Whitecoat Tales
    May 23, 2009

    I find it interesting you blame his attitude on his alternative medicine background.

    I think it much more likely his attitude comes from his family and cultural background.

    I find it interesting that you see his family and cultural background as independant from his attraction to woo.

    More likely, his familial/cultural leanings made him more susceptible to woo, which reinforced the “They’re all against us and I can do no wrong” mentality that seems so characteristic of every alt med practioner.

    Ask yourself this: When was the last time you heard an woo practioner go “this was my fault, I made a mistake, by prescribing *this* alternitive medicine practice, I screwed up and harmed someone. ”

    Doctors do that all the time. Our quest for improvement is based on admitted our mistakes. The woo-miesters however, don’t seem to believe in personal or professional responsbility.

  16. #16 Shay
    May 23, 2009

    “The concern in my mind is that Blue Cross will say, ‘You can’t do this…’”

    I’m more worried that Blue Cross will say “You can.”

  17. #17 Prometheus
    May 23, 2009

    Happeh (always good for a laugh) says:

    “I find it interesting you blame his attitude on his alternative medicine background. I think it much more likely his attitude comes from his family and cultural background.”

    I find it interesting that Happeh wants to blame Eisenstein’s family or his culture for how he turned out. If you read the article, you’ll see that Eisenstein’s first career interest was politics – he wanted to become “…a corrupt, dirty Illinois politician.” [his own words, as quoted in the article]

    It would appear that he didn’t move his career goals too much.

    Anthro notes:

    “Somehow, medicine (and the educational system) is failing the public and I would guess (hypothesize?) that it has more to do with the ‘art’ of medicine than the science part.”

    I hypothesize that the MD’s and DO’s who drift off the narrow path of science-based medicine do it for a variety of reasons. Working with physicians, I have seen a few go “off the reservation” into “alt-med” and their reasons were:

    [1] “It’s easier to practice homeopathy/naturopathy/energy medicine/etc. than it is to keep up with modern medicine.”

    Many of the doctors who claim to be “disillusioned by allopathic medicine” are actually just not able to cope with its increasing complexity. There is so much new knowledge and – more to the point – so many new therapies that even family practitioners are hard-pressed to keep up. One way to get out of this “rat race” is to move from evidence-based medicine to fantasy-based medicine.

    These are people who can’t keep up with the pace of modern medicine – which is grueling – so the idea of a “specialty” where nobody can say “you’re wrong!” is appealing. Most “alternative” practices haven’t changed in hundred of years – some haven’t changed (or so they tell us) for thousands of years. That sure makes keeping up with new developments a lot easier.

    And even in those “disciplines” of “alternative medicine” that do change, none of the practitioners is going to point at another’s practices and say “that’s wrong!” To do so would invite similar scrutiny of their practices, which would eventually lead to some of the “marks” figuring out that the Emperor’s New Remedy was nothing but wishes and moonbeams.

    [2] “I’m tired of worrying about getting sued.”

    Even being named in a malpractice suit is traumatic for a doctor (or anybody else – imagine getting sued for negligence in your line of work). Even lawsuits that get dismissed remain on the doctor’s National Practitioner Database record for life.

    On the other hand, it’s unlikely that “prescribing” aromas or herbs or dietary supplements is going to land someone in a malpractice suit. The “alties” are usually careful to tell their “clients” to see their “regular doctor” (i.e. REAL doctor) if symptoms persist, worsen etc…..

    Most of “alt-med” is safe from malpractice lawsuits because their remedies don’t actually do anything. As long as they can keep people from blaming them for missing a diagnosis (“see your regular doctor”), they are free and clear.

    You’ll also have noted that most “alt-med” concentrates on problems that are either ill-defined (“fatigue”, “brain fog”, “wellness”) or incurable (“aging”, terminal cancers). That limits the liability exposure, as well.

    [3] “I’m tired of the paperwork and the insurance companies.”

    Most people aren’t aware that Medicare – one of the largest health insurance companies in the US – routinely threatens doctors with felony prosecution for fraud if they mis-code a bill in error. This gives Medicare a great deal of “leverage” – the doctors agree to pay fines and penalties in order to avoid criminal prosecution. Other insurers don’t have this option, but their paperwork is almost as bad.

    Doctors who find their reimbursements falling (as all have for the past few decades) have only a few choices – see more patients in the same amount of time (which erodes patient and physician satisfaction) or accept a steadily eroding income. A third option – which only a few take – is to go into something that is lucrative but not covered by insurance.

    Cosmetic plastic surgery is one of those fields, but generally only for those doctors foresightful enough to have done surgical residencies (although I see a few that offer “medical aesthetics” that are not surgical). For the rest, the vast fertile plains of “alternative medicine” beckon. It is telling that only a few have gone that route – despite the number of MD’s (and DO’s) in quackery, they represent only the tiniest fraction of all doctors.

    Given all of the pressures on doctors today, I find it amazing that more of them haven’t gone the way of Andrew Weil and others. While fantasy-based ideas and even practices are creeping into modern medicine like kudzu in an Alabama backyard, most doctors still practice evidence-based medicine. I suspect that it has a lot to do with a desire to maintain their self-respect.

    What we can do is to educate the public that these fantasy-based practices are not only not helpful, they are not harmless.

    I think if more people understood that taking who-knows-what herb from a corner shop or having your chi redirected was not only silly and useless but potentially dangerous, they might stop pestering their “regular physician” for this sort of thing. That would go a long way toward stopping the encroachment of fantasy-based medicine.

    Prometheus

  18. #18 daedalus2u
    May 23, 2009

    The go-to place for science based stuff on homebirth is

    http://homebirthdebate.blogspot.com/

    My mother was an RN and Certified Nurse Midwife who delivered babies in the backwoods of Kentucky for Frontier Nursing Service. She had all of her children in a hospital. She is passed away now, but it is inconceivable to me that she would ever have considered a homebirth if a hospital was available.

  19. #19 Dawn
    May 23, 2009

    @dawdalus2u: I am a FNS grad too, for midwifery. Your mother must have been a fascinating woman, with lots of stories to tell. I have talked to some of the old FNS nurses and heard all kinds of stories. All of them were very thankful when the hospital was built!

    FNS did teach us about home births. They focused very strongly on SAFETY however. If there was any question in your mind…or the family’s mind…whether the birth should occur at home, it probably shouldn’t and you should get the mother to the hospital early enough for a safe birth.

  20. #20 Melody
    May 23, 2009

    “To do so would invite similar scrutiny of their practices, which would eventually lead to some of the “marks” figuring out that the Emperor’s New Remedy was nothing but wishes and moonbeams.”

    Oh, noes…you’ve just revealed the formulation of the latest homeopathic remedy (whatever shall we do)!

  21. #21 Anthro
    May 23, 2009

    Whoaaaa there all you anti home birth people–and those who are confusing woo with home birth!

    I had three of my four children at home, only one with a midwife who I did not let in the bedroom. I got my prenatal care from my O.B. who knew I was going to have them at home. My husband studied midwife textbooks for nine months (he’s an engineer) and could recite every single warning sign (and we certainly knew all about meconium staining). We lived five minutes from a teaching hospital and were well-informed about what would require help (usually lack of progress, although I am aware there are occasionally precipitous problems).

    Birth is not an illness and does not have to be medicalized although I acknowledge that MOST people are better off delivering at a hospital. But that’s because we don’t have maternity hospitals staffed by nurse-midwives as some European countries do. I am, of course, horrified to hear about the incompetent midwives in Australia, but don’t lump them all together because of that.

    I also realize that most people are very reluctant to “take the risk” and I understand that, but I think it depends more on an individual’s knowledge, confidence and, dare I say it, attitude (not in the way meant by that idiot in Orac’s post). Also, I was willing to accept responsibility for any outcome and I don’t say that lightly. I had one baby in the hospital, admittedly 40 years ago; but it was a horrible and psychologically devastating experience. My home births were wonderful, family-inclusive events and I treasure them enormously. My oldest granddaughter was born in a hospital “birthing room”, but the doctor who had promised a very “low-tech” birth, ended up intervening a great deal in a very ordinary and uneventful birth, but it bothered me more than it bothered my daughter.

    Anyway, home birth does not equal woo. It is an option for a well-informed and well-monitored healthy woman, especially if she can work with a nurse-midwife or an experienced and well-trained lay midwife. Of course there are horror stories, but there are horror stories in hospitals as well and I have to insist that a pregnant woman is NOT ILL and that most babies will be born uneventfully with no attendant whatsoever. Many of the problems that exist in the third world are due to lack of hygiene and interference of a superstitious nature. Of course, there is a need for medical backup as a small percentage of women will have complications and need c-sections or transfusions, etc., but that should not limit options for those who do not want an institutional setting for a life event.

    As I have all of a 15 minute labor, I think it is a good thing I was prepared as chances are I wouldn’t have made it to a hospital anyway! Believe me, had I labored for hours, I would have been the first to demand an epidural.

  22. #22 Whitecoat Tales
    May 23, 2009

    @Anthro

    I don’t think people are actually equating home birth with woo. They are equating irresponsible home birth with woo.

    Eisenstein and Rosi are family practioners who were not trained appropriately to do home birth. Some FP programs do prepare you for specialized womens health issues, and OBs would be well prepared as well. I don’t know enough about midwifes to give an informed opinion so i’ll leave that for Dawn to comment on.

    Anyone can do an uncomplicated delivery. Heck I’ve done several, in the last 2 weeks on OB. I know a taxi driver here in the city who specializes in hospital runs, and he’s delivered a couple that came early.

    The question a health practioner has to ask before they try a procedure (including attempting to deliver a baby) isn’t “Can I do this procedure?”

    The question is “Do I have a gameplan for all of the complications of this procedure and do I know what to do if I screw this up?”

    Thats where these guys screwed things up. Royally.

    In potentially complicated situations, doctors shouldn’t have you driving to a hospital that they has admitting privilages at. They should have you getting to the hospital as fast as possible, if appropriate, they should consider calling EMS.

    Now Anthro, I’m betting everyone in the room was ready for any number of complications when you did your home births. You clearly had a plan on how to get to a hospital quickly if there was any sort of a complication. Thats the difference.

  23. #23 Interrobang
    May 23, 2009

    Childbirth may not be an illness, but it is often a life-threatening condition. I don’t treat my chronic, non-life-threatening conditions at home; I wouldn’t expect to treat any hypothetical pregnancy the same way. I really don’t get the big deal people make out of “medicalising” various issues. If medicalisation tips the odds heavily in your favour, why not? (Better living through chemistry and applied physiology, say I.)

    Evolution only has to make things work well enough, after all. Optimisation is for human ingenuity.

  24. #24 BTDT
    May 23, 2009

    I really don’t get all this glorification of home births and life before vaccination. Have you ever walked through a cemetery and seen how many children died before the age of 5? Have you ever looked at death certificates from the early 1900′s to see how many women were still dying during childbirth, or shortly after due to complications? My husband’s grandmother, the mother of 10 children, died of eclampsia shortly after giving birth to the 10th child at home in 1931. Life was not great (to say the least) after that for those motherless children.

    One of my great-great aunts had 4 out of 5 children die before she and her husband died in the 1940′s. Three of them died within 6 months of the flu in 1919. The fourth child died due to polio. I’m guessing my ggaunt would have been 1st in line for vaccination if that had been an option

  25. #25 Dawn
    May 24, 2009

    @Whitecoat Tales: I was never a home birth midwife, although I did attend a few home births as an observer. But nurse-midwives are, generally, well educated about normal birth processes and how to identify abnormal processes that require observation, intervention or transfer to a physician’s care. Regarding midwives (both “lay” and nurse-midwives): I have met some that I wouldn’t trust to shake hands with. I have met others, if I had known them, whom I would have trusted with my pregnancies and deliveries, up to the point that my pregnancies developed complications that required MD care.

    Good midwives do believe that pregnancy, labor and delivery are, in general, normal processes. I saw many births where everything was wonderful and, to be honest, the mothers could have “given birth in a field, alone”. I also saw births where things went horribly wrong. I have seen babies die in a few seconds, even in a modern hospital. I have seen mothers die. It’s the worst thing in the world. Good midwives are aware that things can go horribly wrong in a very short time. The good ones work within their limits of knowledge and aren’t afraid to reach out to others when their knowledge is exceeded.

  26. #26 Calli Arcale
    May 24, 2009

    Regarding homebirth, I personally advocate against it. Sure, most of the time, if no warning signs have cropped up during the pregnancy, it’ll be fine. But it’s those last few, where things suddenly go south (prolapsed cord, for instance, or massive hemorrhage) where I’d want to be in a hospital just in case. Not because childbirth is an illness, but because it can lead to injury very quickly and with very little warning.

    My mom had four of us very easily and quickly; except for me, she probably could’ve given birth at home. (She hemorrhaged after me, and needed prompt medical attention for that.) Me, I ended up with two c-sections. The second was less of an emergency (and I’d been all psyched for a TOLAC), but was breech — and, unbeknownst to us, the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck, so the c-section was fortuitous.

    I try not to be judgmental of those who choose to give birth at home (as opposed to thsoe who find themselves in that situation due to a very rapid labor, severe weather, or whatever). It can be very rewarding for the mothers, and there are advantages to staying home. But I do take issue with midwives who encourage mothers to think nothing can go wrong if they just think positive, because then their patients aren’t making an informed decision and may be less likely to seek care if things go wrong.

  27. #27 catgirl
    May 26, 2009

    “Eighty percent of complications in childbirth are psychological,” he said. “Babies can be killed by a mother’s attitude.”

    So no he’s a Scientologist on top of everything else?

  28. #28 Mel Cameron
    June 13, 2009

    My goodness, I’m so glad all you keen med school graduates have restored my faith in pharmaceuticals. Heck, where would we be without them. Now let’s see – Vioxx. Yep, there’s just one great example of white coat medicine, complete with peer-reviewed studies and medical authority approval in at least a dozen nations. Pity about the thousands of fatal heart attacks among the poor suckers prescribed this wonder drug by all you loyal followers of allopathic medicine. But I guess as long as they weren’t prescribed some nasty vitamin pill it might have been worse.

  29. #29 Orac
    June 13, 2009

    Uh, Mel, I have news for you: Lupron is a product of big pharma. And autism quacks are using it.

  30. #30 Anonymous
    April 9, 2010

    To Robert Estrada – Your comment “Regardless, both the company, and we engineers, accepted and did not deny error. We took the lesson to heart. It could have been any one of us or any member of our families who were injured” ……………IS exactly what those who are concerned about vaccines say and think. How do you justify your points, when everything you said justifies just the opposite. Those whose families have been completely torn apart, destroyed by death, re-arranged by Autism etc immediately JUST following a vaccination – see very little other options as to what caused their perfectly, healthy baby/child to go from LIGHT to DARK in days, weeks, months. All of you should be ashamed, open your minds, and start thinking for yourselves, listen to the stories, and than you explain to me how you can just disregard all of the problems surrounding Vaccines as radical! What is Radical is people won’t even try, they just push the information aside and go about their merry way. I am not AGAINST vaccines, I feel they were created to serve a sincere purpose – I just dont’ feel that they are ALL safe. I don’t know which are bad, or which contaminant is most harmful – but find the small amount of studies that have been done, it is hard to not see the link, and because there is so much money and politics (the creators and manufacturers are the ones who are in charge of overseeign vacine injuries and studies) involved, it seems to be impossible to get real, larger, govt funded studies to occur-I ‘m not a hater, infact I have a tendancy to lean to both sides, I see the good and the bad in most things – as with vaccines – but I just can’t see how others dont see the things I’ve read….hours I’ve spent, probalby days, reading and listening, TO DOCTORS, chiropractors, parents etc – and I just don’t see how those people who are so engraged at those who are opposed to vaccines, or those that just want people to do their OWN research. It saddens me. My son is 2, unvaccinated. No health issues – maybe one slight earache- My neice(2),nephew (3) , one has gestational diabetes(she’s TWO), both have severe allergies to, peanuts, eggs, cat/dog dander, garlic etc…. the list goes on. Their parents, no health issues at all, no family members w/ allergies or gestational diabetes. Coincidence?, most certainly a possibility, but if I were them, and had another child, I’d not vaccinate, and see what happens trying that route. Wouldn’t you ?

  31. #31 Anonymous
    April 9, 2010

    To Robert Estrada – Your comment “Regardless, both the company, and we engineers, accepted and did not deny error. We took the lesson to heart. It could have been any one of us or any member of our families who were injured” ……………IS exactly what those who are concerned about vaccines say and think. How do you justify your points, when everything you said justifies just the opposite. Those whose families have been completely torn apart, destroyed by death, re-arranged by Autism etc immediately JUST following a vaccination – see very little other options as to what caused their perfectly, healthy baby/child to go from LIGHT to DARK in days, weeks, months. All of you should be ashamed, open your minds, and start thinking for yourselves, listen to the stories, and than you explain to me how you can just disregard all of the problems surrounding Vaccines as radical! What is Radical is people won’t even try, they just push the information aside and go about their merry way. I am not AGAINST vaccines, I feel they were created to serve a sincere purpose – I just dont’ feel that they are ALL safe. I don’t know which are bad, or which contaminant is most harmful – but find the small amount of studies that have been done, it is hard to not see the link, and because there is so much money and politics (the creators and manufacturers are the ones who are in charge of overseeign vacine injuries and studies) involved, it seems to be impossible to get real, larger, govt funded studies to occur-I ‘m not a hater, infact I have a tendancy to lean to both sides, I see the good and the bad in most things – as with vaccines – but I just can’t see how others dont see the things I’ve read….hours I’ve spent, probalby days, reading and listening, TO DOCTORS, chiropractors, parents etc – and I just don’t see how those people who are so engraged at those who are opposed to vaccines, or those that just want people to do their OWN research. It saddens me. My son is 2, unvaccinated. No health issues – maybe one slight earache- My neice(2),nephew (3) , one has gestational diabetes(she’s TWO), both have severe allergies to, peanuts, eggs, cat/dog dander, garlic etc…. the list goes on. Their parents, no health issues at all, no family members w/ allergies or gestational diabetes. Coincidence?, most certainly a possibility, but if I were them, and had another child, I’d not vaccinate, and see what happens trying that route. Wouldn’t you ?

  32. #32 Calli Arcale
    April 9, 2010

    Um…. Okay. It’s kinda random to pull up an old thread on chemical castration of autistic children to post a random rant about vaccination, but that’s okay. I’m going to respond to just one point out of your post right now, because I’m short on time.

    No health issues – maybe one slight earache- My neice(2),nephew (3) , one has gestational diabetes(she’s TWO), both have severe allergies to, peanuts, eggs, cat/dog dander, garlic etc…. the list goes on.

    Your two-year-old niece has gestational diabetes? Seriously? Do you know what the term means? It means diabetes which occurs only while the patient is pregnant. I doubt very much that your two-year-old niece is pregnant.

    We are not opposed to people who want to do their own research. We LOVE doing our own research. Problem is, I doubt very much that you have actually done research. How can you have done research and come away with such a dramatically wrong idea of what gestational diabetes is?

    Don’t know which vaccines are safe? So you avoid them all? That’s a very foolish way to go, since the data does exist and is available to you. I think you should take your own advice and DO YOUR RESEARCH instead of accepting somebody else’s opinion as your own.

    My children are fully vaccinated. One is on the autism spectrum. One is not. Neither have major allergies, though the non-autistic one may have a touch of seasonal allergic rhinitis. This is so small a sample size that it means absolutely nothing with respect to vaccines. You should understand that the same is true of your child and your sibling’s children — three children are too small a sample size to tell you anything meaningful about vaccines and allergies. But if my children were severely allergic, would I delay vaccinating the next child? Absolutely not. When I was four, I had meningitis. I almost died. I would not face preventable illness in my children on a random whim.

  33. #33 Todd W.
    April 9, 2010

    @Anonymous

    To add to what Calli said, pay a visit to antiantivax.flurf.net. It has a lot of information addressing some of the more common anti-vaccine arguments, as well as a lot of links to more information.

  34. #34 Debbie
    May 5, 2010

    You people are on a witch hunt. Two of my four children were delivered with Dr. Rosi present and I can’t tell you how much I appreciated his skill, intuitiveness and positive attitude. You’re all allopathic junkies and that’s fine, drug yourselves to death along with drugging your childran – that’s the way, follow that crowd, trust those who you think know better because you don’t want to be bothered to research anything yourselves. How many tests have been performed on you and your children that were unfounded. How much money did your allopathic physician and his “crew” get from that? How many babies die at the “delivery” of allopathic physicians? Hmmmm – no stats? That’s because you blindly follow them and if a child dies at their hand it’s ok, right? Because they are the chosen ones. Don’t knock the alternatives, people need people, people don’t need a prescription pad, yet they seem very happy with it – guess that’s why we’re the society that we are – take responsibility for the medicine you choose and the quacks who prescribe it. They give you what you want and you high five them for it. HomeFirst is a wonderful practice of care givers, not prescribers and they will always fall under scrutiny because the 5,000 to one ratio will persist and you will all follow the allopaths like good little non thinkers.

  35. #35 Antaeus Feldspar
    May 7, 2010

    Debbie, your response is full of sound and fury, but it’s short on facts. For the most part, you could just as well be railing at us for not burning the witches whose evil eye is the true cause of all disease.

    About the only thing you say which comes close to relating to actual experience rather than just prejudice is when you praise Rosi’s “skill, intuitiveness and positive attitude.” Intuitiveness? You mean he gives you the impression he’s good at guesswork, and that is actually one of his good points to you? I think the rest of us would rather have modern medical care, the kind that got built on eliminating the guesswork.

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