Naturopathy is a cornucopia packed to the brim with virtually every quackery known to humankind, be it homeopathy, much of traditional Chinese medicine, vitamin C for cancer, or basically any other pseudoscientific or prescientific treatment for disease that you can imagine. I feel obligated to start most of my posts about naturopathy with a statement like this not just because it’s true but because I want to remind my readers that it’s true. I particularly want to remind my readers when I see naturopaths revealing their true quack selves when they think no one’s watching, but I want to remind them even more when I see a post like this by a naturopath named Heather Dexter entitled Natural Remedies for Whooping Cough: Getting Through It IS Possible.

If you want anecdotal evidence of the depths of quackery to which naturopaths can descend, read this post now. Because the link to the original post was removed once, I saved the text and will quote liberally, but, for whatever reason, the post appears to be up again at Like-Minded Mamas, which promises “easy, natural answers for every mama’s journey.” I also note that the version currently on the website has been significantly edited from the original, no doubt in response to the uproar the original caused. Fortunately, the Internet never forgets, and the text of the original version remains on Reddit. What Dexter sees as natural treatment of her children with whooping cough, I see as child abuse. Worse, Dexter is practicing in my own state in Grand Rapids, MI.
Dexter describes herself thusly:

Heather Dexter is a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor, Certified Affiliated Bradley Method Instructor, Certified Holistic Doula, Certified Usui Reiki Master Practitioner.

Here’s an indication: If you believe in reiki enough to practice reiki, you are a quack.

More importantly, if you treat your children the way Dexter describes, you are a child-abusing quack, in my not-so-humble opinion. Why do I say this? Because in her post Dexter describes how she tortured her children by letting them “get through” pertussis. Let me repeat that again in a different way. She let her children suffer through the natural course of a pertussis infection in order to acquire “natural” immunity. She even brags about it near the end of her post:

We made it through using only natural remedies. My children developed REAL and TRUE immunity from being exposed to this bacteria and fighting it off naturally. It has been my biggest challenge to date as a mother.

Her biggest challenge? Notice how she says it was her biggest challenge to date. What about her children, who suffered needlessly because of her? I point that out because if there’s one thing I noticed reading this post it’s that it’s all about Heather Dexter’s struggle and not so much about her children. First of all, the horror her children endured was preventable. There is a vaccine against pertussis. There has been a vaccine against pertussis for decades. Yes, immunity due to the current vaccine against pertussis does wane, but the vaccine itself is effective and natural immunity wanes as well. If Dexter had vaccinated her children, she might have spared them the pain they endured, but she did not. She’s a naturopath, and, as a naturopath, she is antivaccine, as most naturopaths are. So she didn’t vaccinate her children, because she thought it would be better for them to acquire “natural immunity.”

So let’s see what that means:

It all started when my six year old, Madilyn, developed a cough. No big deal. Nothing that I would ever find concerning. Nothing that a few natural health remedies and some serious cuddling couldn’t wipe out in a few days. I mean shoot, we had been doing things naturally for almost six years with nothing but success each and every time.

14 DAYS
Madilyn’s cough had progressively gotten worse. I decided I was not doing enough. The regimen I had her on was not nearly what it could have been. So I intensified it.

Homeopathics; Aconite followed by Spongia and herbal tinctures Autumn Olive Berry, Black Walnut, Vitamin C, Minerals Zinc and Magnesium, and several herbal blends, along with loads of eucalyptus oil given or applied several times daily. And of course the obvious, chiropractic care, probiotics and optimum nutrition.

So her daughter Madilyn had a cough that got progressively worse over two weeks. What did she do for it? She administered The One Quackery To Rule Them All, homeopathy. Did it do any good? Of course not. Nor did the enemas she later gave her children (yes, enemas). Not only did Madilyn not get better but but the disease spread:

1 DAYS
My 3 year old son, Lucien, began coughing. Yes…it happened to be the same exact cough that Madilyn had started with nearly three weeks ago. At this point, Madilyn’s cough was beginning to scare me. She would wake in the middle of the night, multiple times a night, coughing so hard that she would puke over the side of her loft bed. Her normally rosy cheeks would drain pale until she was able to gasp for air. It was at this point that I realized this was no ORDINARY cold. I was in need of a second opinion… some non-parental help.

“No ORDINARY cold”? Ya think?

So, first the six year old started coughing, a cough that got progressively worse, and then the three year old started exhibiting exactly the the same symptoms. So what did Dexter do? Did she take her two children to a doctor? Of course not! Instead, she took them to a “naturopathic doctor” (or, as I like to call it, not a doctor). What did this naturopath recommend? Olive Leaf Extract, Elderberry Syrup, Pau D’arco Extract, Light Therapy and Reflexology. I kid you not. That’s what was recommended. It was also recommended that Dexter stuff large blankets under the head of their beds, so they were sleeping on a 45 degree incline. Of everything recommended by naturopaths, that last bit was the only thing that might help. As for the rest? Reflexology? Is this a joke? Sadly not. Would that it were! Unfortunately, it was not.
Lucien, for instance, suffered horrifically:

During the night, Lucien would cough until he barfed up mucus, proceeded by crying and screaming fits. He was genuinely terrified each and every time he woke from sleep without breath. At this point in time my husband, and I were now waking every 30-90 minutes through the night to clean up after or console one of two coughing, puking, screaming children. Let’s be honest, most of this time period I simply fell asleep cuddling them in their beds, waiting for the next coughing fit. This on top of a co-sleeping, nursling who expected me to be near her at all times. She often woke up to the sounds of her siblings coughing, puking, screaming, and crying that was happening every night…continuously. And we knew it was just a matter of time before Millie developed this same “thing.” One thing was certain, the situation was going to get worse.

And it did:

Madilyn had been coughing for 60+ days. We hadn’t slept longer than 2 hours in months. UGGGGGH. Sleep, it’s for the select few parents who probably drug their kids or lock them in their rooms. That is not us. We read and cuddle to sleep every night. OH, how I just wanted to sleep for six hours straight for just one night, it would have been miraculous. The term “walking dead” described the new me. It was during this time, the first week in December that my husband sat me down, looked me in the eyes and said, “I trust you, but I am scared that one of our kids is going to die. You know it is just a matter of time before Millie develops whatever it is that Madilyn and Lucien have. It’s going to be bad, Heather. I think we need to go to the hospital. What are you thinking?”

It sounds to me as though Heather Dexter’s husband has more common sense than she does. He was right to be scared that one or more of their children might die. Pertussis can kill. Even when it doesn’t kill, the suffering it causes children is beyond what most of us can conceive. Why is it that most of us can’t conceive how horrible pertussis can be for children to suffer through? Vaccines, of course. Unfortunately her husband was too cowardly to step in and do what needed to be done to help his children. Instead, he let his wife continue to medically neglect their children.

Of course, it’s all about Heather Dexter, not her children. So what does she dwell on? Does she start to wonder if maybe—just maybe—she should take her children forthwith to a real doctor and get them some antibiotics and breathing treatments to kill the bug that is causing their suffering and ease their coughing paroxysms? As my good bud Mark Crislip likes to say about his specialty of infectious disease, “Me find bug, me kill bug. Me go home.” The answer, of course, is no. She is so deeply invested in her naturopathic belief system that such a thought, although briefly entertained, cannot stand for long against her arrogance and belief in “natural healing”:

Part of me felt blind-sided and hurt, unsupported and ready to blow…that was the exhausted me. I took a deep breath and looked away, thinking before I spoke. I knew he had always been and still is the logical one. I react emotionally, instinctively, often times before my mind has fully connected with my words. My truth just seems to spill easily from my mouth, a lot of times without the sweetness of being sugar-coated… just bluntness, pure honesty. However, I have learned that my truth does not belong to all of humanity. Each person is entitled to their beliefs and logic or training.

Logical me responded with, “I still feel confident that we are about to turn a corner here anytime now. I would like to schedule an appointment with our Family Doctor and see what I’m missing. This has got to be an illness that needs to be remedied in layers because it has been quick to mutate. I am certainly not interested in an antibiotic, x-rays, a series of steroidal breathing treatments, or a vaccine which is all the hospital is going to recommend for us. I do believe their immune systems were built to handle this. I just need to find out what I am working with. Madilyn, is obviously getting better, you certainly cannot deny it. I know the other two can and will work through this, it is just a super slow process due to the lack of experience, or on the job training, done by their immune systems. Our Kids . . . They just haven’t been a whole lotta sick in their lives, babe! This is their time to gain immune stimulation, experience and true antibody production.”

What. The. Hell.

So let’s see. Antibiotics, steroids, and other breathing treatments could have eased Dexter’s children’s suffering, but she was opposed to them because they are to her “unnatural.” In her delusion that “natural” must be better, she is willing to let her children suffer in the service of that delusion, so much so that she is quite capable of letting her children suffer and possibly die in the service of her delusions.

As I read her account, I found myself becoming angrier and angrier, so angry, in fact, that I had to stop writing for a while. Really. I was so pissed off that I had to force myself to calm down. It was difficult, because, predictably, her story continued, and her youngest daughter, being unvaccinated as well, fell ill with pertussis too. So, in the end, all three of her children got pertussis and were allowed to suffer.

We’re talking about months of suffering, too. Take a look at this update. The first child fell ill in mid-October. As of January:

By mid-January, Madilyn was doing great. Lucien was turning the corner, for the better. He was now only coughing moderately throughout the day and waking only a couple times a night. But Emilia’s breathing had now reached the scary point. She was now coughing until she puked, making her normally rosy cheeks drain to pale. This was followed by crying, which would cause the process to repeat itself until often times she would just fall asleep due to pure exhaustion.

It took a good 120-150 days from the start of the coughing for each of them to eliminate the bronchial damage and lung weakness caused by the bacterial infection, Pertussis. We spent hundreds of dollars on natural health products and consultations with various Naturopathic Professionals. It was a living HELL. Every day. It had an intense effect on my marriage and relationship with my husband. It caused me to question everything I knew about Natural Health.

A living hell for whom? I assure Ms. Dexter, however much she suffered, her children suffered far more. We’re talking four to five months each of severe coughing, sometimes to the point of shortness of breath and throwing up, all due to pertussis. That’s what pertussis does. Worse, it’s quite preventable. The vaccine might be imperfect in that immunity due to it wanes, but it works, and “natural immunity” wanes as well. Even worse still, this deluded woman saw what pertussis did to her first child and knew that her other children would likely get it. Yet she let it happen. I might (sort of) understand her being too clueless to recognize pertussis at first when her oldest child got it, but once she knew what it was, there was no excuse other than ideology for not immediately getting her two younger children vaccinated. At least then they wouldn’t have had to suffer the same fate that her oldest did. She didn’t do it because to her vaccines are evil.

Then there are antibiotics. Antibiotics and breathing treatments are mainstays of treatment, although once a child reaches the paroxysmal stage antibiotics won’t shorten the duration of the illness. The main management is prevention, which Dexter had her chance to do. She didn’t. She didn’t even vaccinate her younger children after her older child became ill; in essence, she let them suffer in the search for “natural immunity.” Worse, she ignored pleas to do something different from her husband and from her father. You read the one from her husband, who, seeing his children suffer like that, really should have done something but didn’t. Now here’s the one from her father. Here’s a passage expunged from the current version of the story but still available on Reddit:

During this time, however, I received a very stern “talking to” from my father. He’s a veterinarian and has been for just shy of 40 years. While holding Emilia, he said to me, “Heather, there is a time and place for every thing and the time to go get an antibiotic is now. It may be that your pride has got you confused. I have watched you over the years heal ailments that I never imagined possible with natural remedies. I still wouldn’t believe the stories, if I had not witnessed you going through the process. However, I have also witnessed medicine save many lives over the years. I would hate to see you make a poor choice with your children at the expense.”

HOLY SHIT… What? Did he honestly believe I was sitting there doing nothing?

Couldn’t he see I was taking all the care in the world trying to make this work and heal them naturally? My heart broke. Tears streamed down my face. I grabbed my baby, turned my back to him and walked away. Did I know what I was doing? Had I gone too far? I headed to the bedroom to nurse her and myself to sleep.

I called my mentor and the founder of my Naturopathy school to gain yet another naturopathic perspective. She had nothing but good things to say. She once again boosted my morale. It was all I needed to hold strong over the holiday season.

Why did she need to hold strong? Her father nailed it. Dexter’s pride was what drove her decisions, her pride and her unwavering belief in “natural” remedies, even though clearly they weren’t working and her children were suffering. And, yes, her father was correct. For all her administering of herbs and enemas to three severely ill children, functionally she was doing the equivalent of nothing, even though to her it didn’t feel that way.

And what, pray tell, was Dexter’s rationale for subjecting her child to this ? This:

I just want you to ask yourself… How did people make it through for thousands of years? How did they get through the Spanish Influenza, the Black Plague, fevers and other ailments?

People, your ancestors have used natural remedies since the dawn of time to heal all things. Pharmaceutical creations have only been around for about 150 years. Most prescriptions have spent somewhere around 10 years from start to finish, including testing phases, before being allowed on the market to be used in experimentation on your family. We have no idea what the long term effects are going to be for all of these quick fix medications on our kids.

The stupid, it burns. Worse it burned her children, forcing them to suffer months of painful coughing, retching, and shortness of breath.

That’s just the point. People often didn’t make it through the Spanish influenza. It killed millions right after World War I, perhaps as much as 3-6% of the world’s population, and it was more deadly to young, healthy adults with a “great immune systems”! The Black Plague? Seriously? She brought up the Black Plague? The Black Plague is estimated to have killed 30-60% of Europe’s total population in the years between 1346–53! That’s a death toll. We know that untreated bubonic plague is associated with a mortality between 40-60%, a mortality that was probably higher in the Middle Ages. The body doesn’t do a particularly good job of recovering from it, because without treatment the disease kills at least half of those infected, and if the disease affects the lungs (pneumonic plague) mortality in untreated patients is 90-95%.

That’s the thing. The reason we vaccinate is because there are a lot of diseases out there that “natural healing” doesn’t do a particularly good job with. Pertussis is one of them. Even though the mortality rate from whooping cough is relatively low now, the suffering caused by pertussis is great. Even relatively uncomplicated cases, like the ones suffered by Dexter’s children, take months of coughing to clear, which is why it’s so important to try to prevent them in the first place. Yes, there have been outbreaks of pertussis in western Michigan. Yes, vaccinated children have been victims. However, contrary to Dexter’s claims in her post, the outbreaks weren’t primarily due to vaccinated children. She’s arguing the same fallacy that antivaccinationists frequently use when they note that in such outbreaks the epidemic frequently involves more vaccinated children than unvaccinated children, ignoring the fact that this is because (fortunately) there are few unvaccinated children relative to vaccinated children. If you look at the “attack rate,” the risk of getting pertussis in an outbreak, the unvaccinated have a 23-fold higher risk of developing the disease.

Having read Dexter’s post, what strikes me the most is not just that she let her three children suffer unnecessarily and exposed them unnecessarily to months of suffering and a not insignificant risk of death. It’s that she’s proud of it. It validates her as a mother and a naturopathic “healer.” She successfully resisted temptation to use “allopathic medicine,” even when her husband and father were terrified that one or more of her children might die. She didn’t listen (and felt betrayed). She got through it. It’s just fortunate that her children did too, but that seems to have been a secondary consideration.

Quackery can kill. It’s just fortunate that in this case it didn’t.

Comments

  1. #1 Stuartg
    November 5, 2015

    @jrkrideau

    I’m afraid the danger of raw milk is a little higher than you appear to think. It’s not just TB that is the risk.

    Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen several people, from several locations, all with Campylobacter infections after drinking raw milk. Not the most pleasant of benefits!

    Just for clarity, I’m in NZ, with healthy, well tested herds locally.

  2. #2 JP
    November 5, 2015

    A quick G–gle search for “raw milk poisoning” brings up quite a few incidents in the US.

  3. #3 Chris
    November 5, 2015

    JP, one of those may be E-Coli by a cheesemaker in Washington:
    http://www.marlerclark.com/washington_oregon_raw_cheese_ecoli_outbreak/

    (sorry about the law firm link, I bet they will busy with the Chilpolte cases)

  4. #4 Politicalguineapig
    November 5, 2015

    Airracer: You can change the mother’s name and this story seems to fit so many young mothers today.

    Yup. Unfortunately, that’s one of the downsides of modern life. I do think contraception/ late marriages/ women in the workforce are all good things, but on the flip side, it’s turned parenthood into a status symbol, especially among white women, and every so often you end up with a Kim Stagliano or a Mrs. Dexter- an amazingly unhappy woman who wishes her kids were dead, but as she can’t kill them and risk being a ‘bad mommy’ she’ll simply endanger them, smear them on the ‘net and stifle them instead.

  5. #5 mho
    November 5, 2015

    @199
    E.coli and listeria infections can be very dangerous to young children and infants. I did some quick googling too on raw milk. The CDC sure doesn’t support it. I’m not being ironic– is food safety news not a reliable source? the article below seems to lay out the issues pretty well.
    http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/02/a-mom-and-a-dairymans-plea-dont-feed-children-raw-milk/#.VjwmgXtY7-C

  6. #6 Vicki
    at the usual keyboard
    November 5, 2015

    You can have empathy, love, social connection, and herbal tea without going down a naturopathic rabbit hole.

    Unfortunately, depression is not that easily cured. Many much-loved people are depressed, despite social connections (and even herb tea).

  7. #7 Narad
    November 5, 2015

    I get the feeling the public health officials think we are back in the 1930’s when unpasteurized milk was potentially very dangerous E. coli O157:H7 didn’t exist.

    FTFY, sort of.

  8. #8 mho
    November 5, 2015

    airracer, I see you’re Canadian. Are you sure you aren’t being a little too nice about the niece?
    I think my niece is a little careless about childhood illnesses, but it seemed prudent to keep my mouth shut when my niece’s kid gave 5 people a nasty vomiting/diarrhea bug two years ago. My sister (the grandmother) had volunteered to babysit the child when he was sick, so she’s the one who’s responsible for exposing me. I was a house guest and couldn’t just remove myself.
    I wouldn’t worry much if I didn’t know the niece wouldn’t get a flu vaccine when she was pregnant, even though H1N1 was killing healthy young adults that year.
    I asked her a few months ago about vaccines and she assured me her kids get all their vaccinations. Except, as it was revealed later, flu vaccines.
    She has a close friend who’s a not-a-doctor and I suspect that’s likely the source of niece’s paranoia.

  9. #9 calle
    USA
    November 6, 2015

    I just read an article from a elementary school principle who has 14 vaccinated students with Whopping cough in her school.
    She is puzzled by the fact that they all were vaccinated.

    Any comments
    We had a friend whose husband was vaccinated and was off work for two years

    It was the first personal case I had ever known about.

    We all had the MMR but still got the measles.

  10. #10 Politicalguineapig
    November 6, 2015

    Vicki: You can have empathy, love, social connection, and herbal tea without going down a naturopathic rabbit hole.

    Um, no. You can pick some, but that’s like saying ‘you can be a Muslim and listen to rock music” or ‘you can still look at art or at birds even though you’re Christian.” I know that at some point my love of herbal tea is going to collide with woo, and that if I want to stick to facts and still enjoy science writing the emotions need to stay at home, where they belong. Besides, living life with your feelings all hanging out is just plain dumb. Thank god, I live in a place where I can safely detonate them periodically.

  11. #11 JP
    November 6, 2015

    PGP, I am confused.

  12. #12 Murmur
    UK-ia
    November 6, 2015

    Denice W @ 164

    I was born in Wales, brought up in England by English-born parents, but have Irish, Scottish, French and Norse ancestry: where do I fit in?

    Yours,

    Confused of Northumberland

  13. #13 sadmar
    This calls for Superfilmprofessor!
    November 6, 2015

    Murmur:

    Where you fit in would be the 21st Century. Braveheart takes place in the 13th and 14th, But since Gamondes is going for metaphor, anyone who’s neither anti-vax or anti-GMO is English.

    Unless she’s watching a WWII movie, in which case you’d be German. Since I think GMOs are safe, but Monsanto’s economic practices are scummy, and read and appreciate Baudrillard, despite being mostly of German ancestry with a dash of UK this-and-that, that would make me your Vichy French collaborationist cousin.

    If Adrianna’s watching a Thor movie, the anti-vaxers are the Norse gods, and you’re a Dark Elf, or an ET bent on destroying Earth, and the anti-GMOs are Earthlings. You’d only get to be French if she was watching a French movie, or a film adaptation of Les Miserables, in which case the anti-vaxers and the anti-GMOs would also be French, just young or poor or Situationists or CP trade unionists compared to your stiff bourgeois Gaullism. There’s no movie with Irish characters where a pro-vaxer gets to be Irish. You only get to be a Scott if Adriana’s watching an Austin Powers movie, in which case you’re Fat Bastard and the anti-vaxers are English spies. So if she does a double-feature with Braveheart and The Spy Who Shagged Me I imagine you’d be even more confused there in Northumberland, but not to worry about that at present as the Austin Powers series doesn’t have a passable stretched metaphor for the anti-GMOs.

    If she’s been watching Star Wars movies, you’re a Boba Fett clone stormtrooper, the AVers are Jedi and the AGers are Lando or maybe Ewoks…

    I’m sure that clears things up for you, so you’re welcome in advance. 🙂

  14. #14 KayMarie
    November 6, 2015

    @calle #209

    No vaccine is 100% effective.
    Some vaccines need several boosters to increase effectiveness.

    So some people with vaccines will get the disease. Although sometimes they do have partial protection so it will be less severe and they will be more likely to survive.

    If 100% total seroconversion is the standard by which you want any vaccine to live up to before it be allowed at all? Then you say no vaccinations can ever be done for anyone ever.

    Heck, even some of the diseases don’t come anywhere near seroconverting 100% of the people for life. While it isn’t common there are plenty of people who got a lot of the diseases twice even though natural immunity fans ignore that.

  15. #15 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    November 6, 2015

    Is Whopping Cough caused by flouride?

  16. #16 MI Dawn
    November 6, 2015

    @KayMarie (214): correct. I’m actually one of them. I had mumps and measles as a girl (yes, I’m that old), and I never seroconverted, even after 3 MMRs. (I got one in HS, one for my first nursing job, and one for my MS in nursing). So I depend on herd immunity. I do keep up to date with immunizations.

  17. #17 James Lind
    Out at sea
    November 6, 2015

    Um, pertussis?

  18. #18 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    November 6, 2015

    @JP

    Don’t worry. A lot of people have that response to PGP. She has a tendency to talk without letting reason or logic hold the wheel.

    I’m sure there are plenty of people here who have love, empathy, social connections and enjoy herbal tea and are in no danger of going down the rabbit hole of woo. I think I certainly fit that description.

  19. #19 Dangerous Bacon
    November 6, 2015

    calle: “We all had the MMR but still got the measles.”

    You should get “all” these cases written up in a journal, seeing that just one dose of MMR is reported to be 93% protective against measles when exposed to the virus.

    http://www.cdc.gov/measles/vaccination.html

    Get this published, and show those no-goodniks at the CDC!

  20. #20 ann
    November 6, 2015

    I cannot imagine what health benefits there would be but the risk in the US and Canada is probably less than being hit by lighting, assuming a properly run dairy herd.

    The relative dangers of being hit by lightning and drinking raw milk have no bearing on the question. The risk is greater than it is for pasteurized milk. And there’s no reason to take it. As a matter of public health, it would therefore be enormously irresponsible for officials to do anything but strongly warn against it.

    I really don’t understand what the glitch is here. It’s not possible to run a dairy farm so properly that it’s guaranteed always to be 100% free of harmful bacteria. Raw dairy is therefore a source of avoidable harm. Inherently. That most people won’t be harmed by it most of the time is irrelevant. Every now and then, some will be killed or made seriously ill. And that doesn’t have to happen.

    It does not particularly worry me if some idiot wants to serve it.

    Again, whether or not it worries any lone individual seems to me to be beside the point.

  21. #21 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    November 6, 2015

    @Rebecca Fisher

    Is Whopping Cough caused by flouride?

    Yes. Yes it is. That’s a very perceptive question. Few people know that Bordetella pertussis is an anagram of “fluoride”. That should be a dead giveaway. It’s a shocking indictment of our educational system that more people have not realized this.

  22. #22 Denice Walter
    November 6, 2015

    @ Murmur:

    I was about to say that you’re *English* because Gamondes is referring to colonialism and general authoritarianism which exemplified 19th century rule such as the Raj and various culture suppressing activities in Africa. And of course, sceptics do all of that with a vengeance very day.

    HOWEVER sadmar elaborated upon with additional references to other films. Which was hilarious.

    I wonder though, why does Gamondes ( and others I can name- Heckenlively, Adams, Null) remain so reliant upon pop culture films for references?

  23. #23 ann
    November 6, 2015

    I just read an article from a elementary school principle who has 14 vaccinated students with Whopping cough in her school.
    She is puzzled by the fact that they all were vaccinated.

    Do you mean this outbreak?

    Marge Chiafery, superintendent of schools, said all seven infected children at the elementary school had gotten the infant vaccine, while five of the seven sick children at the middle school had both the infant vaccine and the 11-year-old booster. Two of the middle school students, however, have not been vaccinated for religious reasons.

    There’s no puzzled principle, they’re not all in elementary school, and two weren’t vaccinated. But it’s the only article I see with 14 cases. And I know that your reading comprehension skills are unreliable.

    Because if they weren’t, when you read the OP, you would have seen this:

    Yes, there have been outbreaks of pertussis in western Michigan. Yes, vaccinated children have been victims. However, contrary to Dexter’s claims in her post, the outbreaks weren’t primarily due to vaccinated children. She’s arguing the same fallacy that antivaccinationists frequently use when they note that in such outbreaks the epidemic frequently involves more vaccinated children than unvaccinated children, ignoring the fact that this is because (fortunately) there are few unvaccinated children relative to vaccinated children.

    And also this:

    Yes, immunity due to the current vaccine against pertussis does wane, but the vaccine itself is effective and natural immunity wanes as well.

    So you could have avoided making a fool out of yourself.

  24. #24 ann
    November 6, 2015

    Blockquote fail, argh.

  25. #25 Frequent Lurker
    November 6, 2015

    You should get “all” these cases written up in a journal, seeing that just one dose of MMR is reported to be 93% protective against measles when exposed to the virus.

    Thinking the same thing. The pertussis in 14 vaccinated kids I buy, which 14 out of a school size group who is probably mostly vaccinated (unless in a pocket) is probably an exceedingly small percentage.

    But the “we all had the MMR but still got measles” I’m calling as straight-up BS.

  26. #26 Meg
    November 6, 2015

    @calle #209

    Perhaps someone is lying?

  27. #27 Politicalguineapig
    November 6, 2015

    JP: What part would you like me to clarify?

    ToddW: I resent that. I try to be extremely logical and rational, which is why I dislike emotions. I do drink herbal tea, but not chamomile (half because it’s affiliated with people I dislike, but mostly because there are other, tastier options.) Love isn’t a friend to rational thinking, therefore I avoid it, until I figure out all the rules and how to both be rational and be me. Empathy and aura reading are made up- one can have *sympathy* but empathy is firmly in the realm of the hippy-dippy. Friendships are always a good thing, but the friendships that novels are made of, where they’re closer than family, is always, always made up.

  28. #28 Delphine
    judy is a punk
    November 6, 2015

    You must be a gas at parties, PGP.

  29. #29 Delphine
    third verse different from the first
    November 6, 2015

    Dr. Gordon, are you around? If so, do you have any thoughts on this situation that you can share with us?

  30. #30 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    November 6, 2015

    Raw milk vs. Pasteurized milk.

    You have a 75 times greater chance of becoming ill from raw milk vs. pasteurized. This is straight comparison of case count of each type of milk. If you use consumption numbers (gallons of pasteurized to raw milk drank) the odds of becoming ill from raw milk go way up.

    There is no known and proven health benefit to raw milk.

  31. #31 Gray Squirrel
    November 6, 2015

    Mike T @ 179: Right on! Hopefully Orac’s follow-up on this case will include a photo of Dexter being walked to a patrol car.

    —–

    Re. everyone who talked about family members spreading diseases at family gatherings: IMHO it’s a heck of a lot more rude of someone to give you a disease, than it is of you to tell someone to not give you a disease. Don’t throw up, speak up!

    And that goes for all kinds of social gatherings. “Excuse me but this chicken isn’t properly cooked, I can’t eat it unless it goes back in until it’s cooked,” is a heck of a lot less rude than serving someone chicken with salmonella.

    People need to understand: in this day & age, sanitation and immunization are not optional, they’re essential. If it’s OK to complain to someone for smoking in a non-smoking area, it’s OK to complain if they’re exhaling infectious agents in a place where others can catch them, or if they fail to wash their hands after using the toilet, etc. etc. The goal should be to make it completely unacceptable to expose others to infections through one’s own negligence or idiotic “choices.”

    —–

    Re. milk: I just had a nice big glass of frosty cold _pasteurized_ homogenized milk, something I very much enjoy. The thought of drinking unpasteurized milk makes me retch, like the thought of those horrid autophagous smoothies (reading about those nearly made me retch too).

    This is a useful reflex to develop: getting that vaguely retchy sensation or general feeling of disgust about eating or drinking things that could make you acutely ill. People who like to brag about their “adventurous” eating habits are setting themselves up for an “adventure” alright. Better to forego the exotica and the potential consequences.

  32. #32 Denice Walter
    November 6, 2015

    @ PGP:

    I think you need to loosen up a bit –
    there are terrific people with whom you might already agree 90% and you’re missing those relationships. It’s the major themes that count- whether they agree with you on important issues not little things which you can ignore easily. A few of my closest cohorts are/ were business people BUT incredibly free-spirited, socialist-commies in other ways.

    I’m assuming that you prefer men –
    you would be surprised how many of them have quite liberal, modern, feminist-leaning ideas. Not everyone is right wing or overly religious. I wouldn’t bother with anyone who automatically rejected me based on some of my positions either and, believe me, I’ve met REALLY conservative, rigid people over the years who disapproved of me in diverse ways in no uncertain terms. Why would I bother with them?

    And no, I don’t buy into what is written in YA novels about friendships and love either. It’s usually c@ndy@assed, traditionalist BS. LIfe and human relationships are far more complex than they are depicted in films and novels.

    I’m sure you can imagine getting along with SOME commenters @ RI but not others. It’s the same in RL.

  33. #33 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 6, 2015

    I just read an article from a elementary school principle who has 14 vaccinated students with Whopping cough in her school.
    She is puzzled by the fact that they all were vaccinated.

    Any comments
    We had a friend whose husband was vaccinated and was off work for two years

    It was the first personal case I had ever known about.

    We all had the MMR but still got the measles.

    Hello, calle –

    It sounds like you’re asking for explanations of these incidents, but I don’t think you realize how much you’re requiring people to guess at what needs explanation, for you. That’s not criticism of you; we all suffer from what’s been called “The Curse of Knowledge”, where it’s difficult to imagine someone not knowing what we know.

    I think I can guess well enough in regards to your first anecdote to give you an answer. I’ll start by rephrasing what I think you’re asking. “I just read an article from an elementary school principal who has 14 vaccinated students with whooping cough in her school. She is puzzled by the fact that they all were vaccinated. If vaccination makes you less likely to catch the disease, doesn’t that mean there should have been even more students who had the disease who were unvaccinated?

    The principle in bold sounds reasonable. But if we look more closely, we find out that it’s not. Let’s start by asking ourselves: suppose there was only one unvaccinated student in the school? If that were the case, then how could there possibly be even more unvaccinated students with the disease than vaccinated students with it? If that one unvaxed student gets the disease, the disease is not going to say “Well, okay, I’m going to NOT infect any vaccinated students that I can, because otherwise the numbers will look funny to a human observer.” No, it’s going to spread as far as it can, even if the only targets it has at the school are vaccinated children who aren’t as easy to infect. Suppose that there’s 999 vaccinated children at the school in addition to that one unvaccinated? The disease had a 100% success rate in infecting the one unvaxed student; it may have an atrociously poor success rate in infecting the vaccinated… but as long as that atrociously poor success rate is 2/999 (just over 0.002%) or better, its expected population of vaccinated victims is still going to outnumber 100% of the unvaccinated victims!

    If you play around with the math yourself, you’ll soon see how a startlingly huge relative risk for a sub-population can be nearly invisible to casual examination when the sub-population is small enough. Take a sub-population that’s only 1 in 10 people. Until their risk of disorder X is *10 times as great* as the risk in the general population, the majority of disorder X victims are still going to come from the general population!

    What’s striking is how often, when you look at multiple outbreaks, the majority of victims actually do come from that tiny sliver of the population that rejects vaccination. The fact that they’re no more than about 7% of the general population but they contribute over 50% of the victims of a measles or pertussis outbreak, that says something. That’s a pattern we see over and over.

    It wouldn’t mean much if it happened once or twice, because what happens in any one outbreak is subject to a lot of random chance. Suppose that elementary school had an unvaccinated student who *would have* caught pertussis, but was away from school when the index patient was there. If that student had been there and contracted the disease, the percentage of unvaccinated victims in the oubreak would be just about the same as their percentage in the general population. When just one case more or less in a given group can so totally change the apparent “meaning” of the statistics, it means you can’t put a great deal of faith in that surface meaning. Some people scratch lottery tickets and win back thousands of times what they put in. They don’t disprove the general rule that playing the lottery loses you money.

  34. #34 Politicalguineapig
    November 6, 2015

    Delphine: I actually really like parties and concerts because, as I mentioned earlier, those are safe places to detonate emotions, and you don’t have to worry about consequences. Though, granted, most of the ‘parties’ I go to usually have DJs, which helps keep chatter to a minimum.

  35. #36 herr doktor bimler
    November 6, 2015

    the risk in the US and Canada is probably less than being hit by lighting,
    I assume that jrkrideau refers to the scene in “Phantom of the Paradise” in which the Beef character is stabbed and electrocuted by a falling neon display.

    assuming a properly run dairy herd.

    As a farm boy, here I can only laugh. Cows are innately filthy.

  36. #37 JP
    November 6, 2015

    @PGP:

    Well, I definitely know Muslims who listen to rock music, and Christians who look at art and… birds. So I guess the whole analogy really went off the rails for me, so I couldn’t figure out what you were getting at or if you were being serious. Your subsequent comments have cleared that up, though.

    I try to be extremely logical and rational, which is why I dislike emotions.

    What? Spock was a TV character. Emotion is an important part of human experience and thought, especially when it comes to things like ethics. And empathy. Which you don’t think is real, which is actually sort of alarming, but maybe you have a different definition of empathy than I do.

    Empathy is a function of the imagination, and, as such, it is like a muscle that needs to be exercised. Maybe you haven’t exercised it much. But basically, it is the capacity to imagine what another’s experience is like, even if it is very different from one’s one. And even when it comes to the more “woo-woo” type of empathy that maybe you are talking about (like “empaths”), don’t you get sad when you around people who have, say, gone through a very sad thing and they are crying? I do.

    I also don’t really think love is an emotion, at least not for me. It is more of an underlying attitude which ideally leads to loving actions. For instance sometimes I really can’t stand my brother, which is an emotion, but I still love the SOB, in the sense that I would still help him out if he were in a bind and so on. Although I really love pretty much everybody in the sense that I do not wish ill on them, but rather freedom from suffering. I might really hate their actions of course, and do anything I can to stop them.

    Friendships are always a good thing, but the friendships that novels are made of, where they’re closer than family, is always, always made up.

    That is the saddest thing I have read in a long time. I can assure you that you are very wrong.

  37. #38 Delphine
    rachmaninoff
    November 6, 2015

    PGP, your experiences are what they are, but they aren’t universal.

    My husband and I suffer from this symbiosis often found in couples whose time together exceeds the time they spent before. He drives me up the wall, there are whole weeks when I resent him, yet we are part of each other, and I honestly can’t imagine living life without him. He hurts when I do and when things are going well his happiness equals my own. He knows all of my bad parts (including an addiction to heroin when we met) and he’s still here.

    Someday, I hope you find someone who has your back.

  38. #39 sadmar
    November 6, 2015

    I wonder though, why does Gamondes ( and others I can name- Heckenlively, Adams, Null) remain so reliant upon pop culture films for references?

    Popular culture has always dealt with real issues-of-the-day via metaphor. Popular films function as tools to help understand our situations. As metaphors, they’re open to multiple interpretations, and, of course many of these are just plain wrong – both in the sense of ‘not actually supported by the text’ and/or ‘not actually supported by reality’.

    I don’t pay enough attention to AV sites to know whether their writers are more reliant on culture references than the general population of their age/class/education cohort, but I’d guess not. The thing is, just as they torture science and philosophy and anything to fit their first principles, so does Gamondes torture the semiotics of films etc. in her readings. There’s nothing inherently wrong in finding schema to read the world in fiction. Gamondes et al just do it very badly. Once you parsed the text to find theses about real life, you still have to weight them against evidence in the real world, and if your reality distortion field is a dense as Adrianna’s, the results will be chuckle-worthy.

    Braveheart for example, is fundamentally fascistic rewrite of the wars for Scottish independence, filtered through Mel Gibsons cranky far-right Catholicism. His version of William Wallace is a thinly veiled Christ figure – superhuman in both moral rectitude and ability to punk the Brits, center of a cult of personality in which resistance flows from the top (HIM! It’s all about Mel!) down, not the bottom up – which, naturally, leads to his martyrdom. (Not like Mel has a persecution complex or anything…) I assumed you were joking in asking who Wallace would be for Gamondes, since it’s so obviously Andy Wakefield…

  39. #40 Denice Walter
    November 6, 2015

    @ sadmar:

    Either Andy or Gamondes herself.

  40. #41 shay
    in Ireland, watching birds and visiting art museums
    November 6, 2015

    PGP, you have an incredibly inane collection of prejudices.

  41. #42 Narad
    November 6, 2015

    I try to be extremely logical and rational, which is why I dislike emotions.

    That reminds me of a song.

  42. #43 JP
    November 6, 2015

    Narad, I actually like the live version of that song you sent me better. I’ve gotten quite into Steve Goodman lately, incidentally.

  43. #44 Delphine
    play doh
    November 6, 2015

    Steve Goodman is not my cuppa but my better half (musician) thinks he was swell.

  44. #45 Old Rockin' Dave
    The tenth level...
    November 6, 2015

    @Delphine, 238: One of my favorite definitions of love comes from the Irish crime novelist Ken Bruen:
    “She irritated me to the ninth level of hell and beyond, but what else is love but all that and still hanging in there?”

    @jkrideau: It’s one thing to share the general risk of a lightning strike in the normal course of your daily life, and it’s another matter to take a set of steel clubs and a steel-ribbed umbrella out on the course in a storm. To me that is the nub of the raw milk debate. People do get struck by lightning and die, and people,and especially children get serious disease from raw milk and some of them die. A small relative risk is not a justification for courting disaster, particularly with your children. I have seen a Mycobacterium bovis infection from close up. It’s not a nice disease.
    As to the risks of a lightning strike, I have seen four direct strikes or extremely close ones in three houses. In two of them the flash or an arc from it clearly shot across the ceiling. In one my mother had the arc come out of the kitchen faucet while running the water (This was a true “bolt from the blue”, coming before there was any sign of the storm.). I think we were damn lucky to have no more damage than the loss of a few electronic devices.

  45. #46 JP
    November 6, 2015

    One could also make the point that people are rarely struck by lightning, but your personal risk goes up quite a bit if you make a point of walking around in fields during lightning storms.

  46. #47 Lighthorse
    November 6, 2015

    On the subject of unpasteurized milk, let’s not forget Brucellosis – a highly contagious disease also contracted from under-cooked meat and contact with infected animals.

  47. #48 JP
    November 6, 2015

    Oops, missed the part of ORD’s comment that made the same point, somehow.

  48. #49 Politicalguineapig
    November 6, 2015

    DW: All good points, and I’ll consider them. I mostly regard love as ‘soppy’ or soft’ and I’ve spent years making myself into a tough b*t*h- kinda hard to unlearn habits like that. (As for my orientation, well, it’s kinda both. And I’ll shut up now.) If you ever come north, I’d buy you the fermented beverage of your choice.

    The thing is, marriage and kids tend to take over people’s lives, and they’re forced to adopt the beliefs of their social circle, so the problem is social, to a large extent. Most parents these days are anti-vaccine because their social circle is; if they were in another area or another country, they’d get the kids vaxxed, and never think twice. Unfortunately, we have large swathes of the country that see absolutely nothing wrong with what Mrs. Dexter did, or to pick another extreme, what Mrs. Stapleton almost did to her daughter. And the grandparents never say bupkis, ’cause they know the kids and grandkids will disappear into the ether if they suggest that immunizations aren’t a bad thing or that maybe the autistic grandkid should be treated like a person.

  49. #50 Delphine
    November 6, 2015

    could have cut down that wordy missive by saying i hope this happens to you, mutually https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUFL8WSxTgY

  50. #51 Narad
    November 6, 2015

    Narad, I actually like the live version of that song you sent me better.

    Yah, they generally are. I think “When the Cubs Go Marching In”* was made up on the spot.

    I’ve gotten quite into Steve Goodman lately, incidentally.

    There’s a Goodman mailing list** that I subscribe to (occasionally visited by Clay Eals, but moribund lately) that used to have a tape tree (using CDs). I was late to the game and only procured a couple of sets. I’ve got a PDF that was supposed to serve as the inserts for the jewel case somewhere, which might allow me to ascertain whether there are any torrents.

    * Earl of Old Town.
    ** Which uses Listserv. The barbarous neologism “a listserv” drives me up the wall.

  51. #52 Narad
    November 6, 2015

    The thing is, marriage and kids tend to take over people’s lives, and they’re forced to adopt the beliefs of their social circle

    Well, that fulfills my quota of Not Even Wrong experiences for the week.

  52. #53 Politicalguineapig
    November 6, 2015

    JP: But basically, it is the capacity to imagine what another’s experience is like, even if it is very different from one’s one. And even when it comes to the more “woo-woo” type of empathy that maybe you are talking about (like “empaths”), don’t you get sad when you around people who have, say, gone through a very sad thing and they are crying? I do.

    Ah, that’s always been the definition of ‘sympathy.’ I tend to think of empathy as either woo or science fiction.

    As for friends, eh. I have a few, but I always need to have a barricade, and sometimes, I don’t talk to them for long whiles. Never hear of that in fiction.

    hdb: Hey, do you know where I can *find* Phantom of Paradise on the ‘net? I’ve tried the libraries, but one hasn’t seen their copy in a *year* and the other straight up doesn’t have it. It’s just kinda weird that you brought that up.

    ORD: We rented a vacation place up north, and one summer, we found out what the lightning rod was *for.* No electrical casualties, but very jarring all the same. And one time in the city, I saw ball lightning while I was on my bicycle. I think I set a speed record getting to shelter.

  53. #54 Delphine
    November 6, 2015

    <i<The thing is, marriage and kids tend to take over people’s lives, and they’re forced to adopt the beliefs of their social circle

    FFS, like this is a bad thing. Like anyone’s beliefs are anything special. Like the tradeoffs aren’t worth it, most of the time.

  54. #55 Delphine
    November 6, 2015

    Blockquote fail. Prosecco’s fault.

  55. #56 Narad
    November 6, 2015

    Prosecco’s fault.

    Just by the by, I find the price inflation of prosecco over the last several years dismaying. Even “Il” is going for more than $10 around here (about a 50% price increase), which is absurd.

  56. #57 Denice Walter
    November 6, 2015

    @ PGP:

    I’m glad you clarified that. It might explain why you feel un-inspired/ alienated by traditional families/ marriages because you’re not looking for those roles. You’re looking for something else!

    It’s good to have friends/ associates of all orientations- not just for so-called romantic purposes either- they’ll broaden your perspective. I still think you would enjoy bigger city hipster haunts. You may be surrounded by the less adventurous and creative where you are now.

    -btw re- Phantom of the Paradise -I love the dead bird logo!

  57. #58 JP
    November 6, 2015

    Ah, that’s always been the definition of ‘sympathy.’ I tend to think of empathy as either woo or science fiction.

    That is wrong; you could start with the W–pedia entry on “empathy.”

    As for friends, eh. I have a few, but I always need to have a barricade, and sometimes, I don’t talk to them for long whiles. Never hear of that in fiction.

    A “barricade”? Like I said, that is sad. And I am unsure what your definition of “close” is, or what kind of fiction you read, but I have a number of friends – mostly those who are in geographically distant locations – with whom I do not talk terribly often, but it does not mean I love them any less.

    I mostly regard love as ‘soppy’ or soft’ and I’ve spent years making myself into a tough b*t*h- kinda hard to unlearn habits like that.

    I find that it takes quite a bit more toughness (or courage, if you will) to be vulnerable than it does to pretend that one is an island. I mean, jeez, that’s practically a cliche, I think.

  58. #59 herr doktor bimler
    November 6, 2015

    do you know where I can *find* Phantom of Paradise on the ‘net?
    I am not au courant with the downloading technologies or sources, alas.

    That reminds me of a song.
    I was expecting Supertramp.

  59. #60 ann
    November 6, 2015

    @Delphine, #250 —

    I haven’t heard that in forever. Thanks.

  60. #61 ann
    November 6, 2015

    I was expecting Supertramp.

    I was expecting Radiohead.

  61. #62 Delphine
    November 6, 2015

    Don’t care. Have given up everything but a cheap buzz in the quest to stay alive for these assholes. Whatever the cost, that buzzy white crap is worth it.

    Nowhere near Mr. Delphine’s fave version but happy Saturday night https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kj_kK1j3CV0

  62. #63 Delphine
    November 6, 2015

    I love having a kid, you guys. It’s messy and shit but God, if you can and you want to, do it. I’ll defend my dissertation when I’m dead

  63. #64 Delphine
    November 6, 2015

    I WILL GIVE YOU ALL A BIG CLUE

    DELPHINETTE’S NAME IS NOT ACTUALLY DELPHINETTE!

    🙂

    bonne fin de semaine

  64. #65 Narad
    November 6, 2015

    I was expecting Supertramp.

    I have only two Supertramp tracks permanently in residence in memory. Extra points if you can guess.

  65. #66 ann
    November 6, 2015

    “Goodbye Stranger” and “The Logical Song.”

  66. #67 Delphine
    Canada
    November 6, 2015

    Hide In Your Shell

  67. #68 Narad
    November 6, 2015

    “Goodbye Stranger” and “The Logical Song.”

    Negatory on both. I recall quite disliking the latter.

  68. #69 ann
    November 6, 2015

    I forgot about “Give a Little Bit.”

    Can I swap that with “Goodbye Stranger”?

  69. #70 ann
    November 6, 2015

    I recall quite disliking the latter.

    Aha! But you recall it, doncha?

    I’m not conceding.

  70. #71 ann
    November 6, 2015

    Ben Carson style.

    What I said was true and right. You’re just trying to smear and deflect.

  71. #72 Narad
    November 6, 2015

    Oh, I didn’t mean to start this. The two I was referring to are “Bloody Well Right” and “Just Another Nervous Wreck.”

    These aren’t meant to be endorsements by any means. I just revisited the latter and recognized that things were going downhill as soon as the guitar break started in. (The Live in Berlin version of “Comfortably Numb” with Van Morrison, Helm, and Danko at least manages to recover, not that it had much of a choice.)

    My three middle-school years were spent in what, for this purpose, is a foreign and hostile land (Arkansas), and the natives with whom I managed to establish friendships wound up hipping me to all kinds of kewl stuff.

    Then again, my “barriers” weren’t ossified.

  72. #73 Delphine
    November 6, 2015

    alone here in the kitchen
    and so it’s my asssumption

    good night

  73. #74 Delphine
    November 6, 2015

    *assumption

    Jesus wept

  74. #75 sadmar
    November 7, 2015

    Phantom of the Paradise and Wreckless Eric references in the same thread! Eat your heart out Gamondes!

    @PGP
    Phantom of the Paradise is on Kickass Torrents, an open bittorrent tracker.

    In Phantom, Beef is played by the under-valued comic actor Gerritt Graham, who was also great in the fine satire Used Cars.

    @JP & PGP: Great Warren Zevon penned song along theme of “I Am A Rock”:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyCffw-wpys

    A song about why leaving the island is risky – make sure you listen to the 1 minute mark, the opening is a fake out:

  75. #76 Sassy
    November 7, 2015

    Politicalguineapig, of comment #194 is right!

    Why in the world didn’t they file a child abuse legal suit against her? Her feelings vs her children’s life? It is an easy pick!

  76. #78 Julian Frost
    South Africa
    November 7, 2015

    Annie @235, thanks for that. I read it. Breitbart looks like he’s trying to insinuate that the man was arrested or treated harshly for being an antivaxxer. In reality, his behaviour was deserving of an arrest.

  77. #79 Helianthus
    November 7, 2015

    @ PGP #249 / Narad #252

    The thing is, marriage and kids tend to take over people’s lives, and they’re forced to adopt the beliefs of their social circle

    The first part of PGP’s sentence echoes with my own fears of a relationship. I understand the need for a commitment and, well, looking for an identical twin or your own mom is very unhealthy, so of course a significant other is going to have different opinions and hobbies and desires. And then you will have to make some room in your life to accommodate a spouse and children. They are not furniture you put in a corner of your flat.
    I still fear how much I will have to lose.
    People keep telling me there are benefits, but all I can see are friends divorcing or neighbors arguing all evening. I don’t want that.
    It’s a little boy’s fear of becoming an adult, but adults do a really piss-poor job at showing these benefits.
    It would help if I could settle in a job in a region with some social life.

    The second part, about adopting the beliefs of the spouse’s social circle? In the context of the original topic of this post, where a father and a husband disregarded their own beliefs to accommodate the craziness of Heather Dexter and her circle of Naturopathic friends, I feel there is some ground in this fear.

  78. #80 Denice Walter
    November 7, 2015

    Helianthus makes perceptive observations:
    – you don’t need to seek a twin; mirrors are cheaper.
    – sometimes it’s better to put aside certain interests/ activities to make room for others- people do grow and change.
    – growing up isn’t easy. Development is lifelong.

    On that last point, often adolescence involves trying on diverse personae and then settling upon one which – hopefully- amalgamates previous ones’ better aspects. You have to give up idealistic notions to a degree and deal with the orders of the day. It’s not always what you want.

    I think that most adults CAN maintain adequate independence of thought and action despite being in a relationship- if your values and motives shift around to suit your social environment how solid are they? Some of the people we discuss ( Dexter, TMs, AoA) are not especially good examples of adult adaption and growth and I would venture that they may also be not that great interpersonally.
    I doubt that the average is as abysmal. I know many couples who do have decent relationships, still remaining their own person, largely being based in ( I suspect) going their own way periodically- having friends and other interests beyond the relationship.

    If you look around yourself at real people- not what is portrayed in the media, books- you can observe these compromises and stands for independence well.

    And it’s not just relationships with friends and partner either:
    people often have to make severe curtailments of their personal freedom in order to earn a living. How can you remain true to yourself when your employer may restrict your activities and plans greatly?
    I know a few people – esp 2 of my cousins- who have worked for dictators/ autocrats/ worshipped geniuses/ maniacal executives – who managed to keep their own identity and purpose ( and sanity) despite being in very suppression awful circumstances ( that paid well and had social prestige).

  79. #81 shay
    November 7, 2015

    The spousal unit is my best friend, but we’re not joined at the hip. It’s nice to have someone who cares what happens to you.

  80. #83 stewartt1982
    Oxfordshire/Ibaraki
    November 7, 2015

    @281 shay
    I don’t have a spousal unit at the moment (but do have a pre-spousal unit, we will see what happens), but really liked your comment. Very rarely do I wish for an up/down vote system, but would upvote that.

  81. #84 Gemman Aster
    November 7, 2015

    One thing about this topic that has astonished me is the almost complete silence from the alt-med white knights. Has there even been a single post by someone defending this sadistic egoist? Contrast with the similarly egotistical, but only masochistic ‘Wellness Warrior’…

    If there is even a tiny speck of positive to come from this terrible, terrible account maybe it has caused at least one or two of the anti-vaccine crowd to wake up; being shown in such self-congratulatory terms the true effects of their shared beliefs. It is awfully easy to be a martyr when you don’t actually suffer from the experience.

  82. #85 ann
    November 7, 2015

    One thing about this topic that has astonished me is the almost complete silence from the alt-med white knights.

    She’s not really of their ilk, in some ways. The anger, antagonism, and paranoia are largely absent (or at least way in the background).

  83. #86 Politicalguineapig
    November 7, 2015

    Sassy: One charitable possibility is that the granddad was afraid of losing touch with the grandkids. Given that Mrs. Dexter is a lot out of kilter, he might be afraid that she will do worse if he couldn’t keep an eye on them.
    I do wonder if she has any siblings or a living mother, as you’d think they would have noticed, or said something (if they haven’t completely given up on her.) But, yeah, both he and the husband are still sapient jellyfish.

    Sadmar: Thank you. Like I said, it’s nearly impossible to find a physical copy, and it had been annoying me for a while.

    I think the most terrifying thing is that Mrs. Dexter’s so completely normal.

  84. #87 MarkN
    November 7, 2015

    “Me find bug. Me kill bug. Me go home.”

    Bumper sticker 🙂

  85. #88 Old Rockin' Dave
    In a calmer place...
    November 7, 2015

    Brief observation. I took an antiemetic and went back to Monster Mommy’s article. Did anyone else notice that she gave her children’s ages with decimals? Outside of averages in statistical research, I have never seen or heard a child described as being 6.5 years old. It may be perfectly innocent, but it strikes me as mighty odd.
    It’s also likely innocent that she refers to her middle child as being the “rose between two thorns”, but it may indicate the kind of insensitivity that some parents have, singling out one child as the “good one”.
    I’m probably committing the sin of long-distance diagnosis, but these could just be pointers to her ability to whine about her hardships in allowing her own three small children to go through endless months of suffering and pretty much ignore that of the actual children.

  86. #89 Old Rockin' Dave
    November 7, 2015

    I also notice this gem regarding the enemas she gave her children:
    “Turns out the best way to clear out the lungs is through the rectum…”
    The next time she has a respiratory ailment I hope someone clears her lungs the same way…with a cactus.

  87. #90 JP
    November 7, 2015

    It’s also likely innocent that she refers to her middle child as being the “rose between two thorns”, but it may indicate the kind of insensitivity that some parents have, singling out one child as the “good one”.

    I took this as referring to the fact that he’s a boy born between two girls. It does not make it any less of a weird thing to say.

  88. #91 Narad
    November 7, 2015

    Phantom of the Paradise is on Kickass Torrents, an open bittorrent tracker.

    <pedantry>

    That’s not a tracker, it’s an aggregator. Indeed, the trackers embedded in a torrent or magnet link may well be dead.

    </pedantry>

    Then again, I thought PGP had certain electronic-privacy issues,* so DHT and peer exchange would be the order of the day, but one’s going to have to tell the client that, and my sense is that it’s likely to come with a substantial delay.

    * “Pun” unintentional.

  89. #92 Chemmomo
    Yes, I've been reading about this and I've been too appalled to express myself with publishable words
    November 7, 2015

    Old Rockin’ Dave @288 & JP @290

    her middle child as being the “rose between two thorns”

    I took this as referring to the fact that he’s a boy born between two girls

    As the mother of an active young boy, I cannot at all comprehend her analogy. Rose? Boy ?
    Boys who run around a lot cannot be compared to roses. Nor can girls who run around a lot. At least not until bathtime.

    Maybe he’s just the most mellow child of the 3?

  90. #93 Gil
    November 7, 2015

    The stupid is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

  91. #94 Sarah A
    November 8, 2015

    “Turns out the best way to clear out the lungs is through the rectum…”

    I can see how this would make sense to someone who clearly has her head up her own @$$.

    Sorry

  92. #95 Annie
    November 8, 2015

    Looks like the new edited version is now offline, too. I’m hoping it means CPS is investigating and its worried her…

  93. #96 herr doktor bimler
    November 8, 2015

    her middle child as being the “rose between two thorns”
    I took this as referring to the fact that he’s a boy born between two girls

    How about “The drone between two workers”?

  94. #97 Bill Price
    November 8, 2015

    Google

    golden child scapegoat

    Heather Dexter ND, sounds like a narcissist; a narcissist parent seems to have an attitude about the kids that dichotomizes them into ‘scapegoat’ and ‘golden child’ rôles. The evidence here supports the conjecture that the boy is the golden child and the girls are scapegoats to the mother’s narcissism.

  95. #98 Julian Frost
    South Africa
    November 8, 2015

    rose between two thorns.
    Odd. That phrase is usually used to describe a girl between two boys.

  96. […] speech was from 1998), but also because Steve Novella brought it up as well. (It also helps that my last two posts have gotten crazy traffic for some reason, and I need, as Mr. Creosote was offered, a […]

  97. #100 Pull the other one
    Tech Valley
    November 8, 2015

    It appears she has shared her wisdom at another woolet:

    http://www.simplyborn.com/events/vaccine-informational-class

  98. […] and you’ll find this case discussed over at Naturopathic Diaries, the Skeptical OB, and at Respectful Insolence as […]

  99. #102 dedicated lurker
    November 8, 2015

    As an actual identical twin, I can safely report we are very similiar in some ways, but in others we are very different. So a twin isn’t going to be Just Like You. (If you want to freak people out, you can introduce your twin as your clone, though.)

  100. #103 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    November 9, 2015

    “E. coli O157:H7”

    That hits close to home for me, as a few years ago my husband’s family had to bury its matriarch, who died from complications of that precise infection. She was in very poor health to begin with, but it was nasty. And she was seeming to recover, too — she’d been sent to a nursing home to convalesce, but suddenly took a very bad turn for the worse. Never woke up again.

    Regarding raw milk — the most common infections to occur from well-run, clean, healthy herds are Listeria and Campylobacter, but of course E coli is always a fear since the ones that are pathogenic to humans are not to cows. They live quite happily in cows. Same reason why Salmonella is a problem with birds and reptiles — it doesn’t make them sick, so a very healthy flock can definitely produce infectious eggs. But if you want a scare, remember that a healthy, clean, well-run dairy a number of years ago found one of its cows to be rabid. They had to try to hunt down all of the raw milk customers to try and get them rabies prophylaxis, because yes, it can transmit in milk. So there’s that as well. Miniscule risk, but rabies is terrifyingly lethal if you actually catch it, especially if you are then treated by a homeopath as linked to earlier in this thread. *shudders*

    herr docktor:

    As a farm boy, here I can only laugh. Cows are innately filthy.

    Even as a city girl it cracks me up. The relative geometry of the udder and the rectum are fairly obvious on even a trivial inspection. 😉

  101. #104 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    November 9, 2015

    The original article here just astounds me. It’s amazing how closely it parallels a lot of faith healing stories, where the parents allow their children to suffer needlessly and throughout find only more reasons to hew to their faith.

    I have faith in God, and I believe that many times medical intervention is not necessary; the human body is an amazing thing. But good gracious, there is a point after which is it pretty damn obvious the kid is in serious danger, and it is your responsibility — your God-given responsibility, if I may say so — to do something about it. And if you’ve spent two weeks pushing various herbs on the kid and they’re getting worse, the answer isn’t to do it harder.

    150 days. Five flipping months. That’s a hell of a long time to be in agony. Among the points that she uses to show how horrible this was for her was the sleeplessness, which others have already beautifully deconstructed, and the expense. Hundreds of dollars on alt med that obviously did precisely squat. If that was too much to spend, why didn’t she take them to a doctor right away? A hundred bucks for the office visit, which insurance would’ve likely covered, plus a few bucks for antibiotics. Antibiotics are *cheap*, and if taken right away could probably have avoided most of this.

    She’s scared of asthma meds? I have moderate asthma, and my grandmother has severe asthma. The drugs do some really nasty things to your body. But they also enable you to breathe, and damn, but I’ll trade appendages for that ability if I have to. Seriously. My grandmother was diagnosed in the days before inhaled steroids, so she had to take the oral ones. Lots and lots of prednisone has left her with terrifyingly fragile skin. But the crucial thing is that it’s left her *alive*. She would have died decades ago without it. No acupuncture or homeopathy or chiropractic would’ve saved her. Someone like me, I might be fooled into thinking it worked, since asthma has an episodic nature to it, and mine has never been bad enough to be life threatening. Yet. The other thing about asthma is you never really know if it’s going to get worse. It could well do so, especially if you let it go untreated, since all that hacking is damaging to the lungs.

    Yes, those drugs are dangerous. That’s why you give them as soon as possible, so you don’t need as many of them. If I take my inhaler at the first sign of problems, I can often avoid a full-blown attack and avoid having to go on steroids entirely.

    *sigh*

    The icing on the cake, of course, is her recounting the story of seeing a real doctor to have an elective surgical procedure done on her children, and being puzzled at “do no harm”. This is apparently a foreign concept to her, the idea that the merits of a treatment need to be determined before it is carried out. Well, no, not really. Truth is she simply feels that she is the ultimate authority for everything. If she doesn’t believe a treatment is effective, then it isn’t. End of story. Which is why she is so angry with her husband and father for expressing a different view.

    Folks have suggested the grandfather abduct his grandchildren and get them treatment. That would not be helpful. He does not have legal guardianship of them. Tempting, yes, but really the most he can do is call CPS. The husband, now, that’s different. I am hesitant to judge his inaction, since all we have is her depiction of the situation. But he likely deferred to her expertise as a supposed naturopathic doctor, doubting himself all the while. It is a very difficult thing, to go against a spouse in the care of your own children, and her being a claimed medical practitioner might make it harder. He would wonder if he really knows better than she does. Things like that happen a lot in the faith healing communities too. It’s terrible, and it allows a lot to fester. But I just think it’s far easier for us, outside observers, to see what he should’ve done than it was for him. That’s the hell of it.

  102. #105 ann
    November 9, 2015

    Looks like the new edited version is now offline, too. I’m hoping it means CPS is investigating and its worried her

    It might just have been bad for likemindedmamas business.

    Maybe he’s just the most mellow child of the 3?

    I thought she made it pretty clear that it was because he was a sweet-tempered and cuddly child.

  103. #106 JP
    November 9, 2015

    I thought she made it pretty clear that it was because he was a sweet-tempered and cuddly child.

    I looked it up; the phrase originally refers to a woman between two men. She’s using it in a reverse way.

  104. #107 moto_librarian
    November 9, 2015

    My grandfather was a dairy farmer, and I would sometimes spend some time helping him milk. Cows are usually fed while they are being milked. They also tend to have bowel movements while being milked. I never saw anyone in my extended family drink raw milk, and having witnessed the realities of farming, I would never, ever drink it myself either.

  105. #108 MI Dawn
    November 9, 2015

    @Calli (304): actually it was (as someone pointed out elsewhere and I don’t recall where) a *dentist* doing the laser surgery, not an doctor. And apparently the dentist is a bit quacky too – will happily remove all the toxic mercury from your mouth, for example.

    Personally, I found the surgery story very disturbing. I have seen tongue tie severe enough for treatment. But most doctors won’t treat it unless it *is* that severe. And it didn’t sound, from her version of the story, that any of the children were that bad. She also made a big play for how wonderful the homeopathic meds were to make everyone feel better – but the Mayo Clinic page actually states: “A simple surgical procedure called a frenotomy can be done with or without anesthesia in the hospital nursery or doctor’s office.

    The doctor examines the lingual frenulum and then uses sterile scissors to snip the frenulum free. The procedure is quick and discomfort is minimal since there are few nerve endings or blood vessels in the lingual frenulum.

    If any bleeding occurs, it’s likely to be only a drop or two of blood. After the procedure, a baby can breast-feed immediately.”

  106. #109 MI Dawn
    November 9, 2015

    Bah. Forgot the italics. Hope the quoted sections are understandable.

  107. #110 JP
    November 9, 2015

    I never saw anyone in my extended family drink raw milk, and having witnessed the realities of farming, I would never, ever drink it myself either.

    I’m under the impression that straight from the cow, it is not so dangerous, and also quite delicious, but this is all just going by stories of friends who grew up or have visited (mostly Ukrainian) villages. I certainly wouldn’t buy raw milk, though.

  108. #111 herr doktor bimler
    November 9, 2015

    Cows are usually fed while they are being milked. They also tend to have bowel movements while being milked.

    There is also the mastitis issue. Between the hypertrophied mammary glands, living their lives in a sea of poop, and cross-infection from industrial milking machines, chronic udder infection is just part of being a cow.

    You can have milk without pus, or milk without antibiotics, but not both. The dairy farmer’s job is to reach a compromise, and keep the pus content and the antibiotic content both within acceptable limits.

  109. #112 JP
    November 9, 2015

    I like to buy my dairy products from these guys; the cows there do not have to live in a sea of poop, and their udders seem to be okay. (Having had boils under my big ol’ boobs a couple time (TMI? DON’T CARE!), I imagine it must be uncomfortable.)

    But still and all, even in a smallish dairy operation, you are going to be mixing the milk from a bunch of different cows together, which increases the risk of bacterial colonization, esp. as time goes on. Wouldn’t drink it. (Raw milk.)

  110. #113 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    November 9, 2015

    JP
    Ask your dairy if they have a HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point(s)) Plan for their products. If they don’t have a HACCP plan or they don’t have at least one kill step, don’t buy their products (pasteurization is a kill step).

    FDA and USDA requires HACCP plans for most food production. States and local authorities may or may not require HACCP for restaurants.

  111. #114 JP
    November 9, 2015

    Ask your dairy if they have a HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point(s)) Plan for their products. If they don’t have a HACCP plan or they don’t have at least one kill step, don’t buy their products (pasteurization is a kill step).

    It’s cool, they do vat pasteurization.

  112. #115 JustaTech
    November 9, 2015

    My Outbreak Investigation professor describes (unpasteurized) milk as “feces in a nutrient broth”. Mmm, delicious. And the list of diseases linked to unpasteurized milk is way longer than just E. coli.

  113. #117 Narad
    November 9, 2015

    It’s cool, they do vat pasteurization.

    My recollection of time spent at MDC is growing hazy, but I seem to recall that a decent number of raw-milkists were practicing stovetop pasteurization.

  114. #118 JP
    November 9, 2015

    My recollection of time spent at MDC is growing hazy, but I seem to recall that a decent number of raw-milkists were practicing stovetop pasteurization.

    I’m pretty sure Calder does vat pasteurization simply because they’re a small dairy and the flash pasteurization equipment is awfully expensive, but some people do prefer the taste. (I mostly prefer the happy cows, but their products are delicious.)

    Why would the raw-milkists do stovetop pasteurization? Wouldn’t that make the milk not raw?

  115. #119 janerella
    Oz
    November 9, 2015

    An example of how easily mistakes happen at many points in the chain after a bottle of raw milk leaves a dairy:

    Six months ago I came across a bottle of raw milk, labelled as “bath milk” (as it is here in Australia to bypass the selling restrictions on raw milk), past its expiry date, reduced in price with a clearance sticker on it in the middle of the normal milk cabinet in my local supermarket. Catastrophe waiting to happen.

    I alerted the manager then immediately rang the local Health Dept to make sure they got the message. This was just weeks after a suspected death here from drinking raw milk.

  116. #120 Narad
    November 10, 2015

    Anyway, having rewinded through the comments, this seems to be the right place for this tangent:

    I was too tired to do anything on the food front tonight other than to deploy the emergency Marie Callender turkey pot pie, which, despite its payload, really isn’t all that filling.

    I resolved not to go out for tamales, and then I remembered that one of the guys rehabbing the apartment next door had left a bag of Halloween stuff on my bench for whatever reason.

    There were five instantiations of the “fun-size bar” type: two Twix, one Nestlé Crunch, one Milky Way, and one Almond Joy. These separate into two tiers, and I resorted to one of the two Twix first. OK, but it didn’t finish the job. On to the next in line.

    I thus ask whether anybody else has noted the Nestlé Crunch as having a pronounced cinnamon flavor.

  117. #121 Narad
    November 10, 2015

    ^ This Almond Joy also tastes nothing at all like coconut.

  118. #122 JP
    November 10, 2015

    I thus ask whether anybody else has noted the Nestlé Crunch as having a pronounced cinnamon flavor.

    I don’t recall this from my childhood days, just sort-of waxy chocolate that tastes more of sugar than anything else. Maybe I’ll give it a try, although the last time I bought a candy which I used to like a lot as a kid (Rollos) I was disappointed.

    This Almond Joy also tastes nothing at all like coconut.

    Really? I actually still kind of like those. I bough a bag of fun-size ones after Halloween, along with a bag of little bags of Skittles, to use in lieu of packing peanuts for a box filled with loot for my nephew (story books, a stuffed animal, various silly things like bubbles and stickers) because I am evil. I ate a few and they tasted pretty much like coconut to me.

    Maybe you got something weird.

  119. #123 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    November 10, 2015

    Narad:

    My recollection of time spent at MDC is growing hazy, but I seem to recall that a decent number of raw-milkists were practicing stovetop pasteurization.

    A couple of years back, I remember joking about “artisanal home pasteurization”. I guess it’s catching on. 😛

    Regarding weird-tasting candy, we’re working our way through our Halloween leftovers as well. We got a bag of mixed candy, and suddenly the Kit Kats are starting to taste like the Twizzlers, and I am not liking it. 🙁

  120. #124 Cate K
    November 10, 2015

    What an appalling story. It’s hard to believe that anyone would be proud enough of their actions to post that they’d put their children through such appalling suffering. As everyone except this woman can see the story is not about her, it is about her children being put through a horrible disease completely unnecessarily. The little sanctimonious aside about parents who get sleep by locking their children in their rooms really made the bile rise because what you did lady is far worse. I really hope that if I had a spouse who was doing this that I would do a lot more than try to reason with them until they stormed off in a sulk.

  121. #125 Robert Parrett
    November 24, 2015

    Munchausen by proxy comes to mind.

  122. #126 Seaneen
    January 17, 2016

    Have you seen this? They lost their one month old to whopping cough. As I read it (I couldn’t watch the video) I thought of Heather Dexter and her selfish, narcissistic, abusive idiocy.
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniemcneal/light-for-riley#.dej0k3Dzr

  123. […] pertussis returning with a vengeance. We have naturopathic quacks (but I repeat myself) trying to cure their children of pertussis “naturally,” leading to their great suffering. Meanwhile our state’s personal […]

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