Horrifying suffering caused by treating pertussis "naturally"

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.

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So with everything she threw at the disease, the fact that her kids suffered just as long as if the disease was left untreated is supposed to be a success story for natural remedies? Does not compute.

I didn't read through this article this morning. I had read it yesterday in a link in a comment and couldn't possibly do it again. It was too upsetting.

I was trying to picture what my mother would say about this, were she still here, because her memories of nursing me through pertussis when I was 9 months old, were vivid until the day she died (some 60 years later). I was near death, and I can be absolutely certain if the treatments available today, were available then, I would have had them all. But then, she looked on my illness as terrible suffering for her child, not as a way to gain a halo and an "atta girl" for sticking to naturopathy no matter what the cost to the child.

This "mother" is one of those people I want to put in an iron lung for a day - with a bad case of Shingles....and that's just for starters.

I heard of this "case". It is hard to believe it could happen, but what is even worse in my mind is that some will read it and consider her a true hero.

I am a scientist, in my current area of research we are trying to screen libraries of chemical compounds to find new drugs that might impair iron transport by bacteria as new antibiotics. I have a niece in Brazil who is not as crazy as Dexter, but let's say it sympathizes with this type of "movement". I cannot tell you how frustrating and painful it is to me to deal with her and feel impotent to say anything that it will change her opinions.

I so admire your work, particularly knowing how tough a battle you have to fight.

Did you see the course transcript for where she got her "medical" degree?
http://naturopathicinstitute.info/nite/academics/programs/natural-healt…

Advanced Muscle Testing & Amino Acids*
Natural Health Therapist
(2nd year)

Advanced Oils *
Natural Health Practitioner (3rd year)

Advanced Reflexology, Meridian Work, and Flower Remedies
Natural Health Practitioner (3rd year)

Anatomy II*
Natural Health Therapist
(2nd year)

Anatomy III*Natural Health Practitioner (3rd year)

Biology
Natural Health Educator
(1st year)

Bodywork I
Natural Health Educator
(1st year)

Bodywork II *
Natural Health Therapist
(2nd year)
.

Bodywork III *
Natural Health Practitioner (3rd year)

Body Systems, Anatomy, Physiology
Natural Health Educator
(1st year)

Conception, Childbirth, Childhood
Certified Naturopath (4th year)

CranioSacral Bodywork
Natural Health Therapist
(2nd year)

Death and Dying
Certified Naturopath
(4th year)
Degenerative Diseases
Certified Naturopath (4th year)

Elements of Man
Natural Health Educator
(1st year)

Evaluation and Assessment
Natural Health Practitioner
(3rd year)
Would you like to be able to tell more of what is going on with your clients by looking at their faces, the marks on their tongues, fingernails, skin, etc.?

Feng Shui
Natural Health Practitioner
(3rd year)

Flower Remedies and Essential Oils
Natural Health Educator
(1st year)

Forms of Cleansing
Natural Health Practitioner
(3rd year)
This class is a detailed explanation of herbal, homeopathic, essential oil therapy, bodywork, colon hydrotherapy, fasting, and other modes of cleansing.

Glandular Symphony
Natural Health Therapist
(2nd year)

Herb Walk
Natural Health Therapist
(2nd year)
Students will have a unique opportunity to see the herbs growing in gardens specially prepared to enhance their healing energy and therapeutic value.

Herbs and Muscle Response TestingNatural Health Educator
(1st year)Included is the technique of muscle testing, which helps determine which organs and systems are most troubled and how to assist the body with supplementation.

Herbology II *
Natural Health Therapist
(2nd year)

Herbology III *
Natural Health Practitioner
(3rd year)

Herbology IV
Certified Naturopath
(4th year)

History of NaturopathyNatural Health Practitioner
(3rd year)

Holistic Approach *
Natural Health Educator
(1st year)

Homeopathy I
Natural Health Educator
(1st year)

Homeopathy II *
Natural Health Therapist
(2nd year)

Homeopathy III *
Natural Health Practitioner
(3rd year)

Homeopathy IV *
Certified Naturopath
(4th year)
A continuation of Homeopathy I through III, this class covers the clearing of genetically inherited miasms of the family tree. L

Iridology
Natural Health Educator
(1st year)
This class will teach the science of iris analysis.

Live Food and Healthy Eating
Natural Health Therapist
(2nd year)

Magnets and Polarity Therapy
Certified Naturopath
(4th year)

Meridian Work and Light Healing Touch
Natural Health Therapist
(2nd year)

Nutrition
Natural Health Education
(1st year)
Parasitology
Certified Naturopath
(4th year)
Oh, those nasty critters! Parasites are involved in nearly every disease state. Identifying them and facilitating their evacuation is often more challenging. This course will teach muscle-testing skills to identify type and location of parasites, bacterias, and viruses, as well as remedies and techniques for getting rid of them. Samples are welcome!

Reflexology
Natural Health Education
(1st year)

Sclerology
Certified Naturopath
(4th year)

Sound Therapy and Color Therapy
Certified Naturopath
(4th year)

Vaccines and Environmental Poisons
Natural Health Therapist
(2nd year)
Discussion covers the important truths & deceiving myths about vaccinations, how to identify certain toxins in the environment and most importantly, how to antidote them. Remedies include homeopathics, herbs and essential oils to remove nerve contaminants (such as mercury) and how to protect the body from vaccine and environmental poisons, as well as support the body in health.

Environmental Poisons II
Certified Naturopath
(4th year)

By NH Primary Care Doc (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Natural immunity isn't even all that effective against whooping cough. Neither natural infection nor immunisation generate long term immunity. resistance wanes after about 10 years. That's why we don't really have effective "herd immunity".

For must older children and adults the illness comprises an unpleasant and persistent cough (I believe one Chinese name for the disease translates as "100 day cough". Many people don't know it's Pertussis (the medical name for whooping cough). But they can still, of course, infect others.

The people most likely to be seriously or to due are the very small and young: especially babies in the first 3 months of life. The best way to protect then it's by vaccinating mothers after 38 weeks of pregnancy. This way the babies get a good dose of maternal antibodies, actively transferred through the placenta before birth, and protecting then until they can be vaccinated and start producing their own antibodies.

By Peter English (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

The revised edition of Heather's post is puzzling. She did good by removing the links to her naturopathic consultants for their sake. She added "chiropractic care." She removed a line about the importance of exercise and fresh air for helping sick kids. Most noticeably, she removed a large section describing the father's "stern talking to." It is also telling that she replaced "naturopathic doctor" with "family doctor."

I guess in her mind ND or chiropractor can mean "family doctor." It seems like she is trying to give the impression that an actual doctor was involved. Plus, she does more than just stick her sick kids in the park, oh, because that would actually spread the disease. And, her arrogance exhibited in her exchange with her father just didn't happen anymore. Still, her edited post is nearly as infuriating and implicating her in child negligence.

I do hope CPS pays her a visit.

Here's to hoping this is reported by someone in Michigan to Michigan CPS for child neglect (failure to seek medical care the mother), abuse (enemas given to the children for "treatment"), and failure to protect (the father didn't get off his arse and do something about his wife's abuse and neglect).

There is precedence for this: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2011/12/21/if-you-upload-child-…

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Heather Dexter, I hope you read this post and all of the comments. What's more, I hope they actually, somehow, get through that thick skull of yours and into that gray matter that you refuse to actually use. You abused your children. You betrayed their trust. And, worst of all, you f*ing glory in it. You aren't some hero or saint. You are a child abuser. Your precious "natural" way did nothing to help them and instead prolonged their suffering and endangered their lives.

I second the calls for CPS to pay her a visit.

If she is, as she claims, a homebirth doula, wouldn't she (assuming she was still working) also be potentially exposing pregnant women and newborns to pertussis?

By Rich Scopie (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

I read this yesterday, late of night. It was really infuriating.

Never mind the silly treatments (although "Turns out the best way to clear out the lungs is through the rectum" is certifiable insane in its own right).
Just the general attitude "it's all about me" is so toxic.

And yes, as gaist noted, how is having the pertussis ends after 120 days a success, when the untreated disease usually runs for about 100 days?
Either all of her stuff didn't do anything, or she made it worse.

And, I don't know, what about sending one of her children to her parents or a friend or whatever before the sick one give it to the others? Maybe it was too late by the time the symptoms showed, but at least she would have split the workload of tending to sick children.
But nooo, she has to be a martyr.

She explained somewhere who she was expecting of her son to be kicked out of the gymnastic class, with all the coughing and mucus-throwing.
So she knew there could be a problem, but she didn't do anything about it.
Aside from enemas, of course.

Cherry on the top, she is a certified doula and she kept making home calls while her children were already sick.

She is selling a book about "staying healthy". Must be a joke. She cannot even take care of her children.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

I used to naively believe that quacks would only take things so far, would never recklessly endanger anyone because their own innate human decency would kick in at some point. I was totally wrong. There is no decency in alternative medicine because all are accessories to the sad facts presented in today's blog because alternative does not criticize alternative.

Way to go, Heather, your little integrative buddies applaud your command performance as an egregious buffoon.

By DevoutCatalyst (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@5: The vaccine should be given between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy, to be sure the antibody spike happens before delivery. 38 weeks is too late to protect the newborn.

And speaking of pregnant women, this mother was also apparently working in this childbirth industry at the same time. The overwhelming majority of severe cases of pertussis and deaths occur in babies under 3 months. So, she seriously could have killed a client's baby, in addition to risking the lives of her own children. And they survived, but that doesn't mean they escaped lung damage, especially the baby.

By Young CC Prof (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor

I found that even scarier than the bit about reiki. Somewhere there is a board that is actually certifying these loons--and not in the sense of "recommending commitment to a mental hospital". It's a little late for Halloween, but if you need an idea for a scary costume, Orac, there's one.

I can somewhat understand the initial reaction. Most colds and cold-like illnesses get better on their own in about a week. But it took this mother two weeks to figure out that her treatments were not working--and even then she consulted a homeopath rather than a real doctor. And those treatments were no more effective, either.

Logical me responded with, “I still feel confident that we are about to turn a corner here anytime now....

Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is the headlamp of an oncoming train.

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

His own eyes were telling him that the "treatments" his grandchildren were getting had zero effect. Which is not quite the same thing, but that's a to-MAY-to vs. to-MAH-to debate.

I agree with the other posters who recommended a visit from the state CPS unit. There was no need for her children to suffer like that, and if anything, she has learned the wrong lessons from this experience.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

This stupid cunt deserves to die of horrible malignant cancer. Fuck her delusional ass. Fuck it straight into the pits of hell.

I read this yesterday and was just sick. I suffered through pertussis as an adult (my MD didn't recognize it) - there was a whole outbreak in my office which, as far as I know, no one recognized or reported. We were almost all "fully vaccinated" as children...but this was years out of childhood for all of us.

I wouldn't have wished that pain and breathlessness on my worst enemy, much less a child or a baby.

I just hope this woman didn't infect any of her clients and didn't spread pertussis more as she only kept her kids home for 2 weeks while the coughing was at its worst.

The sad thing, too, is she doesn't apparently realize that natural immunity wanes for pertussis at about the same rate as vaccine immunity. So her poor kids may go through this again.

I will have you all know that while her children were coughing uncontrollably and struggling for breath, Heather Dexter was experiencing broken sleep.

She's the one who suffered, and you shouldn't make light of it.

And about plague and such - the human race survived, didn't it? Didn't it? And without drugs and vaccines too! What was good enough for people then is good enough for us now.

Excuse me while I barf over the side of the bed.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

So what did Dexter do?

A certain other Dexter would be thrilled to meet such a kindred spirit. I mean, it takes a connoisseur in imposing suffering on others people to truly appreciate another one.

On the other hand, maybe not. He, at least, has some standards.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Wow, as a mother of three little boys I can't imagine letting your children go through that. I feel awful when my kids get a little cold.

This entire ordeal that she went through was unnecessary, but she makes it sound like some brave, character-building journey. No thanks, I'll take the vaccine.

If there was a vaccine for the common cold, I'd take that too. I'd rather not be sick at all.

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.

As the NIMH says:

PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm.

Especially when it's experienced or perceived as something that might kill you.

That's not to say she gave her children PTSD, or even that it's likely. I'm just struggling to find a way of expressing how really wrong and reprehensible it is to subject small children to such sustained and extreme suffering. It's the effing definition of a traumatic event.

I don't see how it's not abuse or neglect or both. I hope CPS does get involved.

@Sully --

I don't want to derail, and I share your anger. So please take this in the very mild spirit in which it's offered:

The use of that epithet promotes and perpetuates something very ill. I'm sure you don't mean it that way. But you can't count on others being able to understand that.

Just before a vaccine was available for canine bordatella, two of my dogs acquired the disease. My dogs, of course, were whisked off to the vet for antibiotics, but it still took a while for the coughing to calm down. They really did cough so hard that they would barf. What a cruel woman to force her children to live through that.

Greetings from the age group where the recommendation for pertussis vaccination was withdrawn for a while in Germany. Case numbers exploded of course and the recommendation was restored.

By aairfccha (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Sully, I echo ann's comment. While I share your anger, careful of the words you use.

I wonder if any of her children suffered broken or fractured ribs that went unnoticed by her.

@ ann

The use of that epithet promotes and perpetuates something very ill.

A bit OT, sure, although...
A commenter on Ren's blog (I think) proposed an interesting insight, as to how a sexist/patriarchic society actually fosters (or at least encourages) the sort of women that Heather Dexter is:
Under certain views being a mother is the only thing a woman can be good at; the flip side of this is that no-one could be any better at taking care of children than their own mother.
In short, the "Mummy knows best" mindset is just another part of the ploy to keep women in the kitchen and spawning babies. And it's a trap to make women like and enjoy this situation.

Then I noticed that, in addition to vaccines, antibiotics, GMOs and whatever, Heather Dexter was also listing the monthly pill in her short list of mainstream unnatural evils.
Contraception is unnatural. Um, whose other groups share this opinion?
That got me thinking.

tl;dr: I concur, let's avoid gendered insults. It doesn't help any and it may even contribute to the issue.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Thank you for speaking up on this. I'm shocked a parent can see herself as a hero - and that's what I"m reading her presenting herself as - for standing aside and letting her children cough till they vomit and not stepping in to at least protect her infant daughter.

And notice that she did, in fact, take the children out.

"After any small amount of running, playing, or gymnastics movement, Lucien would break into intense coughing until he either puked or hacked up a glob of mucus. I was actually shocked each week that we didn’t get kicked out or sent home in the middle of his gymnastics coughing, yakking and hacking fits. {NOTE: He was no longer contagious at this time and the running caused him to expel mucus from his lungs. THIS WAS GOOD FOR HIM!}"

So, she's not keeping her kids away from other children. So much for the anti-vaccine claim of keeping sick children at home - she claims he wasn't contagious, based on? And did she leave her baby, who she knew was going to get the disease, at home while she took her son to these things?

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Decades ago I witnessed my son coughing for weeks in the hospital with pertussis. It wasn't pleasant to watch, much less experience, and I can't imagine withholding any potentially helpful treatment given the intense feeling of helplessness that I vividly remember. I'm amazed that this women's family and friends didn't intervene.

As I have related here before, my son wasn't vaccinated as his doctors advised against it due to his spina bifida. At that time in the UK there was a DPT vaccine scare which led to a dramatic fall in uptake, followed by several large outbreaks of pertussis, one of which caught up with my son. He was lucky: dozens of children died. The vaccine scare proved to be groundless, but the children were still dead.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@#4 NH Primary

Thanks for the post. To think that legislatures allow these “graduates” to “practice” is nearly as reprehensible as this woman’s abuse and neglect of her children.
----------
I feel really angry at the father for not doing something. When one parent fails so horribly, the other needs to be there for the kids sake. Her reaction to her father who it seems tried very hard to present his case with respect for her delusions of her abilities, is also troubling. This woman needs help.

By darwinslapdog (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@ ann:

Wouldn't you know that some of the TMs/ similar loons often declare that THEY suffer from PTSD ( from dealing with "vaccine injury"/ autism) - I wonder if Dexter would say SHE was affected because of HER suffering? ( What a b!tch).

Whilst I never experienced pertussis myself, a few years ago, one of my gentlemen developed a persistent cough- which he insisted "would go away in a week" that continued for IIRC 2 months or so. After a certain point, he probably was too embarrassed to visit his doctor because he has asthma- however the condition was nowhere near as severe as what Dexter described ( he's not woo-entranced -btw-).

As an aside, Dexter, like the TMs and other Warrior Moms, is trying to attract followers and the admiration of the naturalista crowd so I wouldn't necessarily take her at her word:
she's the heroine of the tale; she suffers greatly; she makes an effort which would be impossible for most mortals; she resists the worried counselling of mere men and follows her INSTINCT to success.
Everything sounds exaggerated and blown up to showcase her spectacular excellence as a mother-healer.

HOWEVER even if it's only half true, she's still abusive and should be made to account for her actions ( or lack thereof)

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Every week I read case reports about terrible things happening to babies and children, terrible things that happen for want of basic necessities like clean water and vaccines and nutritious food and trained midwives. Most of their parents are doing the very best they possibly can.

And then this privileged stupid bitch and her cipher husband with his balls in a jar on her nightstand.

One of the things that struck us the hardest when we finally became parents in our 40s after decades together is that it really is no longer about you. At all. I'm no martyr but there's very little I wouldn't do for my child and if she's sick, very sick, "and if I only could/I'd make a deal with God/and I'd get him to swap our places."

I hope this sociopath and her enabler are investigated by CPS.

@ Helianthus:

I think that that commenter may have something -
I feel that many of these 'professional mothers' are trying to make up for feelings of low self-worth and resolve inner conflicts
- a sick child/ child with ASD provides an avenue for a 'career' that is approved of by all partisans- the more traditionally oriented as well as the more modern femme-centric advocates.

Thus her role of choice is a devoted mother ( traditional) who is also independent, self-promoting and rebellious ( modern- their version, not mine).

You'll observe that many of the AoA contributors write books ( courtesy of Skyhorse enablement) , lecture, advise parents and petition governmental officials ( various incarnations of the Canaries. Health Choice, #groups et al).

Interestingly, a least one of the Warrior Mothers has taken that appellation literally ( heh) by studying martial arts weapons and is NOW teaching children how to fight.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

I don't have words to describe this.

I think it's interesting that there are no comments at the linked piece. Usually on places like this, there are many woo-ers who sit around and have a circle-jerk of back patting while they congratulate each other on whatever nonsense they're spewing. I don't see anything on this. I wonder how many other Natural Mamas or TMRs or whatever nonsense name they've chosen that week are actually appalled, because this *did* go to far. Usually, most of even the wooiest of woo'ers give up when they're child starts changing colors.

By Frequent Lurker (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

*too

*their

I need more coffee

By Frequent Lurker (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

With all the vomiting, I would have thought there would be significant risk of aspiration pneumonitis as a "bonus," which perhaps contributed to the length of time her kids suffered.

The Like-Minded Mamas post accepts comments. Though it seems likely they are heavily censored, the censor must still read them. I would encourage anyone who can manage a comment that doesn't begin with a dozen expletives (leaves me out) to give her a stern talking to.

And I thought the month of chicken pox we suffered through was bad. That was twenty one years ago, one year before the vaccine was available. Several months of pertussis is much worse, and could have been prevented!

This woman is a reason I call folks that think children should get sick "child hating sadists."

Frequent Lurker, I think I'm supposed to say "jinx" here.

As for not having words - I do, though they'd likely get me chucked out of a bar catering to sailors.

Someone has already posted course information for the school Dexter attended. The tuition is $6200/year and the program is four years. The owner Bessheen Baker ND is apparently building a 12,000 square foot off the grid compound on the proceeds from her educational institute. https://www.facebook.com/ElderandSage/posts/204667529643487 [You can see her identified as the owner on the Facebook post but the website has removed it from their post about the project.] Baker and her husband got a SBA loan to start the Institute - $392,000. I can’t find the name of whatever institution she claims conferred the ND on her. I have to wonder if her degree more bogus than the ones she gives out. https://www.michigancdc.org/funded-projects/naturopathic-institute-ther…
The naturopath Heather Dexter consulted about her children’s illness is on faculty at this school – Sarah Mokma http://www.rootedwell.com/ as is the person she described as her mentor, the owner Bessheen Baker. Both of these women approved of Heather’s neglect and abuse of her children. http://naturopathicinstitute.info/nite/academics/faculty/
The school is “accredited” by these guys http://www.anmab.org/ANMAB_MEMBER_SCHOOLS.html who mainly seem to be Donald Hayhurst in Nevada who has a long history of opposing licensure and standards for naturopaths. They have also accredited the International Quantum University for Integrative Medicine http://iquim.org/ whose website hurts to look at. Mr. Hayhurst once charged women money to grow their breasts by hypnosis. You can read about this & his battles with the AANP starting on page 16 of this document http://www.naturowatch.org/licensure/az_performance_audit_1991.pdf
And @#13, Mr. Hayhurst does offer board certification http://www.anmab.org/ANMAB_ACCREDITATION.html
“Board Certification is a voluntary process that adds a national level of recognition and shows that a standard of competency as a natural health care provider has been achieved. Graduates of American Naturopathic Medical Accreditation Board’s Accredited Schools are eligible to apply for Board Certification with American Naturopathic Medical Certification Board. Please visit them at http://www.anmcb.org/

The American Naturopathic Medical Certification Board (ANMCB) invites you to become Board Certified. ANMCB is a non-profit worldwide organization registered in Washington, DC, [my note: not that I can find; the corporate registration is in NV] that administers certification for natural health care professionals. The mission of the American Naturopathic Medical Certification Board has been, first and foremost, protection of the health and welfare of the public.”
They just recently held an exam date in Ms. Dexter’s city http://www.anmcb.org/applicationexamdates.html
This article has some information about the quality of naturopaths that Hayhurst-accredited programs produce http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/teens-death-hastened-by-practi…
“[H]e [the jailed naturopath] and scores of other “energy medicine” practitioners are graduates of a multimillion-dollar industry that gives them deceptive credentials.

These people buy the appearance of legitimacy through an international network of unaccredited health-care schools and murky trade associations.

Some of the largest and seemingly independent health-care credentialing organizations are in fact controlled by one of two businessmen — one in Las Vegas, the other in Texas. Their organizations are mail-order factories that issue professional titles and hand out accreditations to more than 100 schools.... But in the other 36 states — including Colorado, where Brian O’Connell practiced — naturopathy is not considered a government-regulated profession. In those states, anyone can call himself or herself a naturopathic doctor with no training.

One of the framed certificates on O’Connell’s wall was from the American Naturopathic Medical Association (ANMA). Impressive-sounding, to be sure — but it comes from a Las Vegas post-office box. The businessman who founded the organization in 1981 has feuded for years with AANP and the mainstream, state-licensed naturopathic community.

Donald Hayhurst, 71, is the godfather of mail-order health-care credentials. He has issued thousands of credentials to practitioners, and he accredits some schools.”

I concur, let’s avoid gendered insults. It doesn’t help any and it may even contribute to the issue.

Yep. I do not approve of gendered insults, either, and prefer it if my commenters keep the profanity to a low level (although I do not delete posts containing profanity, usually).

Wouldn’t you know that some of the TMs/ similar loons often declare that THEY suffer from PTSD ( from dealing with “vaccine injury”/ autism) – I wonder if Dexter would say SHE was affected because of HER suffering?

She says as much right upfront:

This story is not something the average household could sustain… both parents working 40+hrs a week, sending children to public school and/or daycare would be a completely different scenario.

With that in mind let’s rewind to one short year ago to what could be considered the most traumatic period of my life.

Obviously, just about everything she does and says suggests that she feels an extraordinary compulsion to soothe, protect, defend, and assert herself, which in turn might suggest suffering of some kind. I don't find it difficult to feel some sympathy for her, in a way.

But equally obviously, people are not entitled to act out their issues by making their children suffer, irrespective of what those issues might be.

I've been reading through her other posts. She opposes circumcision on the grounds that:

5. It’s excruciatingly painful and traumatic.
Yes. Circumcision is extremely painful – and traumatic – for anyone. Just being strapped down is frightening enough for a baby. The often repeated statement that babies can’t feel pain is not true.

(You don't say.)

But she's perfectly OK with making him live through months of agony and terror with pertussis.

Moreover, her number one reason for forgoing circumcision is:

1. Your baby boy is born perfect, with his foreskin.

And that's fine, of course.

But when she takes her son (who was born perfect) to be evaluated for a tongue tie:

Next up was Lucien, my three year old. She looked at me and began asking her series of questions. Let’s be honest, I hadn’t really prepared for being drilled with questions on why I wanted my son and daughter lasered. I just expected her to want to do it. Doctors want to do procedures, they want to take your money, right? Not this doctor. She said three times during the interview with Lucien, “My job is to first do no harm.” And then she proceeded to tell me, “There is a slight tie, but I don’t think it needs to be done, really. What are you thinking?” We then had a conversation about why I thought it was necessary in my world of Naturopathy. This tiny piece of excess tissue, is NOT supposed to be there. This tie could cause life-long problems, that I did NOT want to be responsible for. As we talked, I believe she realized that I was not the average patient and she understood my concerns were vast, with these midline anomalies. Though she didn’t agree with everything I said, she agreed to do the revision.

So evidently, declaring a piece of tissue to be excess is fine when she does it. .

In fact, she's willing to do it for everyone:

In all honesty, I believe every tie should be revised. Having a tie is a hindrance in many ways. Research and anecdotal evidence are clearly showing the benefits of releasing these ties. They relate to how the restricted ties might affect breastfeeding, introduction of solids, airway development and function, digestive health, orofacial development, dental health, posture and pain, and speech development.

She also recommends using homemade vanilla extract (IOW: vodka) as a teething remedy.

She's very problematic.

OT but....
are woo-entangled pseudo-journalists arguing amongst themselves with deranged commenters ever truly OT @ RI?

I should think not.

Dan O and Tim Bolen himself discuss The Gay at Dan's post about Bolen @ AoA. John Stone. Sophie Scholl and others appear as well.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Ren wrote about this a few days back. Per the comments, someone reported her to CPS. There is speculation that is why the article went down.

I don't know how likely that is given that it doesn't seem like much incriminating content was scrubbed. I guess the stuff implicating other "practitioners" was removed. In the end who knows.

trhermes at Ren's blog screen capped the original post h[]ps://m.imgur.com/gallery/sb8o5cC

Speaking of Hermes, our friend Britt also wrote on this.

More reports to CPS is never a bad thing, then they are that much more likely to investigate seriously. Frankly, I doubt anything will come of it. Here's hoping for her kids' good health until they can make medical decisions for themselves.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

I agree that reports to CPS would be a good thing, but I doubt they'll do anything about it because it's over and the kids are apparently fine now. If, on the other hand, someone had reported her to CPS while one or more of the children were coughing so hard as to puke, then maybe something would have been done.

As a male, I'm really annoyed at the father, whose behavior after his attempt to reason with his wife was rebuffed was cowardly and reprehensible.

I am not a fan of routine infant circumcision in developed countries but yeah, ann, I read that post on tongue tie as well.

herr doktor bimler, in yesterday's post, brought up Munchausen by proxy. It would not surprise me. IANAD but Heather Dexter appears to get off on seeing her children suffer.

As a male, I’m really annoyed at the father, whose behavior after his attempt to reason with his wife was rebuffed was cowardly and reprehensible.

Path of least resistance. He's really just fodder, sperm donor, wallet. They're all just grist for her mill.

The thing is, he has choices. The kids don't, they're just their mother's property/science experiment.

Thank you for posting this horrendous tale. I doubt it will affect Heather much but maybe it will be a lesson to other parents. Here is an alternative story of pertussis.

When my fully vaccinated 2.5 year old daughter got pertussis, during a known outbreak in our not fully vaccinated community, I recognized her cough as possibly pertussis and took her to the MD. He confirmed pertussis and put her on antibiotics. While she had not finished the entire DTaP schedule, she was fully vaccinated for age and we did catch the pertussis early. Her coughing was bad but it never got to the point of her turning blue. She never threw up. Thanks to the antibiotics, it did not get worse. Thanks to our own vaccinations, neither her older sister nor my husband nor I got sick. My daughter was sick for 2 weeks. It took two weeks for it to fully clear. I kept her home from gymnastics and preschool during that time. I used a cold air humidifier and elevated her a bit at night and she slept pretty good.

That is how modern medicine handles pertussis.

One thing that can be changed in Michigan, but only if you live in Michigan, is unlicensed naturopaths can be put out of business. I live in Washington state, where NDs are licensed. But, this means that you cannot practice without a license. I am shocked that this woman is allowed to practice and seek medical advice from others who are not licensed. The state of Michigan needs to close these businesses before someone dies.

On top of all this, she took all her kids out for at least the first 10 days of their cough (it's most contagious the first 14 days) because it was "unrealistic" to expect her to stay home with 3 kids.

" How long did you keep each child strictly home during this process?
Each child was kept home for two week time periods, three different times during this process. This occurred about day 10-day 21 as these were the time when symptoms were the worst. The thought that I could have had my three young children home for 6 months straight and never go anywhere with them during this time period is simply unrealistic. And the truth of the matter is – the coughing wasn’t continuous, it was at most 20x an hour and in the minimal days it was once or twice every hour – with no other symptoms. Clearly this was not a reason to keep them home."

I am not a fan of routine infant circumcision in developed countries but yeah, ann, I read that post on tongue tie as well.

No, me either. I wish it didn't get demonized and exploited by people with vile agendas (MRAs, islamophobes, etc.) for whom exaggeration is not an object. But what can you do?

My point was more that her ability to pivot from "born perfect" to "This tiny piece of excess tissue is NOT supposed to be there" is very disturbing.

@Annie

Ugh. That women is so clueless! She knows nothing about disease progression and spread. Too ignorant to know that many diseases are often most contagious before symptoms appear. The more I read about this git, the angrier I get.

"Usually, most of even the wooiest of woo’ers give up when they’re child starts changing colors."

Just not those with 'seasonal disaffective disorder'.

By Lighthorse (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

I'm a lifelong asthmatic.

As a child in the early 1970s, before asthma action plans and preventative meds, I often woke up unable to breathe, coughing myself sick.

I assure you, Ms. Dexter's children were TERRIFIED.

By OleanderTea (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

I agree that reports to CPS would be a good thing, but I doubt they’ll do anything about it because it’s over and the kids are apparently fine now.

If everything is fine, I'm not sure I actually think they should do much of anything about it.

But reporting it is the most one can do to ensure that somebody talks sense to her and acquaints her with a few rules and guidelines. Knowing that there could be unpleasant consequences for her might act as a disincentive wrt future risk-taking with her children (although that's probably doubtful, sadly). And it can't hurt to have someone confirm that everything is indeed fine.

So there are still good reasons to do it.

Tongue-tie bothers her?! Speaking as a speech pathologist, her concerns about tongue tie delaying speech were unfounded, but not uncommon-get the question somewhat regularly. Like other commenters here, I find her neglecting pertussis for months appalling; but she worried about tongue tie!

Two things, first she didn't do anything to help her children because they suffered for longer than is normal. Perhaps natural treatments make illnesses worse. Also, about the tongue-tie thing. I know several pediatricians that say that there is an epidemic of 4-6 year olds who need reconstructive surgery because some lactation consultant cut their tongue-tie wrong. JJ, as a speech pathologist have you encountered any of that?

By Sullivanthepoop (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Just more proof that anti-vaxers are arrogant narcissists to the core. Her post reeks of Munchhausen's Syndrome: Look at me! Look at me! Look at how much I am suffering from my children being sick! Congratulate me on how brave I was in getting through it!

By Dan Welch (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Can we report this woman for child abuse?

Dan Welch (#57) hit the nail right on the head. When I first became aware of anti-vaxxers the first word that came to mind was "narcissist." These self-centered air-heads are not just silly and a danger to their own children, they are a danger to EVERYONE.

By XaurreauX (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Like other commenters here, I find her neglecting pertussis for months appalling; but she worried about tongue tie!

Yeah, somehow that how-do-you-think-our-ancestors-made-it-for-thousands-of-years logic does not seem to apply when it comes to performing laser surgery on a three-year-old for no apparent reason.

@58: As Orac said, you could try, but it's unlikely anything would be done since it's been a year and there doesn't appear to be damage - at this point, any way. Might be good for this to be on record for next time something happens and she tries the same trick, though. Especially if the poor kids' luck doesn't hold, something I really hope doesn't happen.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

This woman needs help.

Help? No, this woman needs to stop being a stupid, horrible, completely self-centered f*cking person.

@Denise #38. Good work. Identifying the aiders and abettors is critical for further reviews and investigations.

I feel fortunate in having 'vaccinated' myself against the anger that would almost certainly follow from reading the account had I not made an impromptu visit yesterday to Britt Herme's blog, which I would encourage everyone to visit, assuming you have the strength to endure more:

http://www.naturopathicdiaries.com/naturopath-lets-her-kids-suffer-with…

Those who have followed her writings will know that the unethical treatment of pertussis in children by naturopaths happens to be one of the reasons for her departure from the practice of naturopathy.

Meanwhile, in eastern Canada, a recent outbreak of pertussis has had the public wondering who to blame: the anti-vaxxers or the producers of vaccines. The quandary was recently addressed by a physician in an article for one of Canada's major media outlets, which supports Orac's notes on the condition and its treatment:

http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/n-b-s-whooping-cough-outbreak-blame-the-an…

By Lighthorse (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@58: As Orac said, you could try, but it’s unlikely anything would be done since it’s been a year and there doesn’t appear to be damage – at this point, any way.

To be fairer than I really want to be:

While there's definitely no excuse for exposing children to months of terror, pain and risk unnecessarily, it might not have been any more damaging than, for the sake of example, chemo is likely to be for small children with cancer, assuming that all things -- ie, emotional support and comfort, etc. -- are equal.

Might be good for this to be on record for next time something happens and she tries the same trick, though. Especially if the poor kids’ luck doesn’t hold, something I really hope doesn’t happen.

Completely agree.

herr doktor bimler, in yesterday’s post, brought up Munchausen by proxy. It would not surprise me. IANAD but Heather Dexter appears to get off on seeing her children suffer.

That's not what MBP is, though. Note that she was avoiding doctors.

@NH Primary Care Doc #4:

That list of naturopathic classes reads like a skills tree for a character in a fantasy role-playing game. And like so many RPG skills trees, it bears almost no resemblance to reality. Horrifying. Those poor kids...

By Rich Woods (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

I don't think it's Munchausen's by Proxy as some have suggested (MBPers repeatedly induce the illnesses as well), but more likely the product of a pathologically narcissistic personality coupled with the practical demands of professional woo-peddling (since running to a real doctor would be damning condemnation of her own product).

+1 for CPS needs to come down on BOTH parents like a mash hammer. Those kids deserve vastly better; the adults a trip to the court.

Narad: "That’s not what MBP is, though. Note that she was avoiding doctors."

Though she blogged it, all the time screaming "Look at what a wonderful natural mom I am, it is really hard work to deal with sick kids... look at me, look at me, aren't I just fantastic! I am just so much better than those lazy mothers who dare to prevent these lovely natural diseases with those ebil vaccines! Look at me! Look at me!"

Oh, and what has says (which was just as I was typing).

Right not MBP.

She uses her children's illnesses as a way to draw attention to herself and her ( imagined) expertise.
Like the TMs, her knowledge, ability and righteousness trumps everyone else's including doctors, scientists and the government.
Remember MacNeil and 'Dr @sshat'?
Similar attitude. How dare a doctor discuss health.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Heck, people have survived untreated Ebola. Like 3 out of every 10, but hey, that's proof natural works, right?

and we took our boy to the emergency room when he had croup after about 20 minutes. (which is how long it took for grandma to get there and confirm it wasn't just a cough.)

By ee canfield (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Why have I never worked out how to italicise text on this page? Maybe somebody can tell me how to do it?

By Brian Deer (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@Brian Deer:

Take a look at my location.

@Brain Deer #73:

I should use it more often myself.

The tag is a simple in front of the text that you want italicized and a at the end of the text you want italicized. 

By Lighthorse (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@Brian Deer, #43: Silly me. By using the tags to explain, the italicized the sentence!

To italicize, directly before the first letter of a word, you enter the symbol for less than, "i" for italics, followed by the symbol for greater than (). To close the command, you enter at the end of the word, sentence, or phrase. Be sure not to enter a space before orafter the tags.

By Lighthorse (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

That didn't work either! Before a word, enter "". to End italics, enter "".

By Lighthorse (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@Lighthorse:

It's okay, I've got it covered.

Nuts! Try symbol for less than () at the start of a word, and at the end of a word, the symbol for less than, forward slash, "i", symbol for greater than. Man, do I need more caffeine!

By Lighthorse (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Since we are momentarily slightly sidetracked anyway, a test for code tags

italic text

@JP #79: Thanks, JP. A little milk and sugar would be nice.

By Lighthorse (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

italic
italic

By Brian Deer (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

By George, I've got it. Thanks folks. And there's me who can read html anyway! I thought there was a tools button someplace.

Anyhow, there's a lot of Munchausen's (although it's officially called something else now) in the vaccine thing.

By Brian Deer (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Lemme try xmp tag

this would be block quoted

I fear for her children if they should ever be bitten by a rabid animal.

When I first started reading the story, I was thinking, that is awful, what a moron she is.

Then I got to the point where she started bragging on it as if it is a success story. In what sense is this a story about overcoming anything? That it didn't kill her kids is NOT a triumph of good. What they went through was complete evil.

I still am not convinced this isn't some elaborate Poe. I mean, cutting tongue-tie and enemas? The revised version talks about the chiropractor? And this is all a success story? She has to be putting us on.

By Marry Me, Mindy (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

RE my comment #42, trhermes is Britt Hermes' husband, that screenshot is actually from her blog post. I should've put 2 and 2 together.

Here's a screenshot of the message they put up when the removed the post (again courtesy of Taylor Hermes): h[]ps://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/2744/9982/original.jpg

More links from Dr. Amy Tuteur (SkepticalOB) and Reuben (The Poxes Blog):
http://www.skepticalob.com/2015/11/suffer-the-unvaccinated-little-child…
https://thepoxesblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/a-quack-miranda-warning-w…

Marry Me, Mindy@87

I mean, cutting tongue-tie and enemas?

Everyone knows the best way to clear the lungs is through the rectum. Why do you think albuterol is administered rectally?

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

"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?"

They didn't. They died.

By Selena Wolf (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Reporting these tools to CPS may not do a whole lot with respect to this specific instance, but maybe, it will help speed things up if one of her blog posts ever begins with "SURVIVING TETANUS! WE *WILL*DO IT NATURALLY, MAMAS! Day 1: And so we begin my trauma with onset of acute hypertonia in my eldest."...

I am most confused by this sentence: "I do believe their immune systems were built to handle this."

That she then follows further down by this sentence, "We spent hundreds of dollars on natural health products and consultations with various Naturopathic Professionals."

If she believed in natural healing, that the immune system was built to handle pertussis, WHY IN THE HELL DID SHE SPEND $100s ON NATURAL HEALTH PRODUCTS AND NATUROPATHS?!?!?!?

"Sleep, it’s for the select few parents who probably drug their kids or lock them in their rooms."

As the parent of a 6, 4, and 2 year old . . . let's see. How can I say this.

FAAAACCCK YOU.

Guess what, all three of my children sleep 8 hours through the night consistently and none of them have ever had a VPD . . . because we vaccinate. No drugs. No locking them in their rooms.

Brian Deer said:

" there's a *lot* of Munchausen's ( although it's officially called something else now) in the vaccine thing."

I agree
HOWEVER instead of racing to hospitals and pestering real doctors with their tales of woe they instead ask for advice of their cohorts on facebook and visit quacks and woo-meisters as well as buying ridiculous products advertised on anti-vax sites. A few even get a book deal about their adventure via Skyhorse Publishing.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Usually even "Munchausen By Internet" is when people fake the illnesses on the internet rather than post breathlessly about how wonderful they are and how amazing it was to suffer from real ones, or make others suffer through a real illness.

Probably ends up more in one of the other personality disorders, technically, but the attention seeking nature of this phenomenon seems to have some similarities.

@ Kay Marie:

I'm not supposed to diagnose anyone etc

BUT sometimes when reading various Momists I just want to scream!
Without singling out anyone in particular - you all know which sites I read- there's SO MUCH wrong.
It's astounding. And I think social media is making it worse because they get an audience, they get rewarded as well as discovering new, bad ideas at a rapid pace.
Don't people who live with or near them have eyes and ears?
I could go on but won't.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

She starts out with ... "Mid-October 2014 was a game changer for three tiny immune systems."

And it was probably a game-changer for three tiny sets of lungs. It can't be good for them to cough until they turn purple, puke and pass out.

By Tsu Dho Nimh (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Denice, what's Skyhorse Publishing?

By DevoutCatalyst (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

"Sleep, it’s for the select few parents who probably drug their kids or lock them in their rooms. That is not us."

Those selfish parents who get their kids vaccinated, give them antibiotics for bacterial infectionass, and get them the best, scientific healthcare possible, what's their selfish agenda, anyway?

"I do believe their immune systems were built to handle this."

...and pathogens like Bordetella pertussis were built (by evolution) to handle the human immune system.

"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?"

Well, a lot or most of them died and didn't get through those ailments.

By Karl Withakay (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Skyhorse Publishing?

It's a NY publishing house that prints various woo including books by TMR, AoA contributors, AJW, Gary Null and many more. It's run by Tony Lyons who has an autistic daughter - his ex-wife wrote a book about her and he has a few books himself co-authored by AoA usual suspects.

If you read any titles by AoA faithful most likely they have Tony and Skyhorse to thank for their enablement. They have a website if you can stomach it.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@Denice Walter.

Plenty of stuff to scream about, and I do think social media does make most of it worse than it would be without the attention and echo chambers.

Attention seeking seems common in a fair number of disorders and I do wonder if they are common or get much worse in this social media age than they used to.

At least for me basking in a real illness is a bit different from poisoning someone or faking an illness, but as to which is more scream inducing is hard to say (and mileage may vary and just when I think one has to be the worse the other side does something even more sickening ).

I've run across what was probably an actual case of Munchhausen's by Internet. Even did the stereotypical committing of the virtual suicide when the faking of the illness came to light. On that platform you could see that the dead person was logging in and watching the fall out between those that still believed the lies and those that exposed the lies and the usual assortment of conspiracy theories that developed when someone asked why the dead person kept logging in several times a day.

Um, "more common"

And looks like the whole thing could have used another read through after a round or three of edits.

It appears she's let one comment through ("Thank you for the information!!!" from 'Allison') but my reasonable response has yet to make it through moderation...

And this bullshit: 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.

I bet she's in favor of tossing a toddler into the rapids because their innate swimming instinct needs some on the job training.

You know what would have given their immune systems a bit of training to shorten this infection? A vaccine. Consider it an internship for your immune system or maybe a lifestyle coach or a sparring partner.

By Tsu Dho Nimh (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

The most negligent part of this to me (and it was hard to pick just one) was that she ALLOWED the 9 month old to contract the illness as well. At any point she could have taken the baby to a (real) doctor and had the child immunized, or some SOMETHING to help prevent it from spreading to the baby. WC can easily kill a child that young. Why would you ever put a child through that type of risk and how is this not child abuse?

I also do not understand why she states that the vaccinated children in her area were spreading pertussis. Up until just recently I found out that I have no natural immunity to chicken pox, rubella, WC, basically anything, and had to get a whole bunch of boosters and shots. But, I have 5 kids, aged 5-18 who all received their shots on time and are up to date, not once did I catch anything that they received a vaccination for, nor did anyone around us. Is this the "shedding" myth? I really don't understand that statement of hers

@ Alyson:

Right, shedding is why _vaccinated_ people are so dangerous to their unvaccinated offspring.

They also believe that being vaccinated results in subjects getting the illness which is prevented by the vaccine: so the flu jab causes influenza, the shot for measles leads to measles etc.
It's almost as bad as the woo memes:
- antidepressants/ antipsychotics cause mental illness
- ARVs cause aids
- chemotherapy causes cancer.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

an actual case of Munchhausen’s by Internet.

This provides me with an excuse to mention Amanda Jewell, erstwhile bleach-enema entrepreneur who's now aboard the GcMAF scamwagon. She fabricated a heartwarming story of curing herself from multiple cancers using alternative remedies and a transplanted pig colon.
I am not making this up.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

the International Quantum University for Integrative Medicine http://iquim.org/ whose website hurts to look at. Mr. Hayhurst once charged women money to grow their breasts by hypnosis.
If the guy in charge is a perv as well as a grifter, the "quim" in the title may be non-accidental.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

bleach-enema entrepreneur I wasn't going to drink tonight, but...

From the naturopathic course description quoted above:

how to identify certain toxins in the environment and most importantly, how to antidote them

Pertussis toxin. Can be identified by your kids coughing until they whoop and puke. The best antidote is prevention, via the cheap and safe vaccine.

You narcissistic asshole.

By Roadstergal (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Every time I read about this it makes me so incredibly mad.

I profoundly hope that these kids escape from their mother's influence and learn that all their suffering could have been avoided, or at least reduced. What they do with that knowledge will be up to them, but I am reminded of something a teacher once told a distraught classmate: "You'll choose their nursing home."

By JustaTech (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

I have learned a new word today. Thanks, HDB.

She did exactly what folks in the old days did: pump them full of vitamin C, probiotics, etc, then hop in the buggy and head on down to the frontier chiropractor.

@JP --

That word is "origin unknown," according to some dictionary entry I just saw on the internet. But I've always assumed it shares a common etymological ancestor with the epithet I mildly objected to back at #21, due to its having been spelled with a "Q" in (I think) "The Miller's Tale."

@Denice W. --

Similar attitude. How dare a doctor discuss health.

Funny you should mention it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines state that the best time to begin feeding your baby solid food is between four and six months of age. Yeah, I don’t agree with that.

From here.

What a horrible thing to read about. Must have been nice for her and husband. Safely vaccinated I bet, and not having to worry about catching it.

Interestingly, The Walking Dead used elderberry to ease the cough of the "respiratory disease/ebola" they got in the prison (season 3, I think). Unintentionally, they showed the efficacy of "natural" herbal remedies, since most of them died.

Another thing this post made me think of was the fact that my husband and I would have been dead several times over by now if not for modern medicine. People died from these diseases. My mother remembers wards full of iron lungs in the 1930s through the 60s; she got us vaccinated as soon as possible. As others have said, it's the efficacy of vaccines that has allowed people to forget how bad it was; in a weird way, this terrible, attention-seeking mother helps us remember. I just wish it wasn't at the cost of three children who could have died.

(BTW, diagnosing people on the internet is so easy; let's just say she's desperate for attention and leave it at that. Attributing horrible behaviours to mental illness is rough on people who suffer from it, *and* the negative image it creates of people with mental illness - yes, even narcissists and those with MBP - can prevent people from seeking treatment. I don't want to be a scold, I just want to put that out there.)

By elsworthy (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

I couldn't read this blog (the unedited one) without stopping several times, I was so enraged.

I can't imagine any parent their children through what she put hers through.

Even though it's over, I hope the authorities get involved.

By Meleese Pollock (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

(BTW, diagnosing people on the internet is so easy; let’s just say she’s desperate for attention and leave it at that. Attributing horrible behaviours to mental illness is rough on people who suffer from it, *and* the negative image it creates of people with mental illness – yes, even narcissists and those with MBP – can prevent people from seeking treatment. I don’t want to be a scold, I just want to put that out there.)

Yes. Thank you.

As a historian, there is one thing about Heather's story that really infuriates me. The Black Plague. Black Plague? Black PLAGUE????? Revisionism, Heather, is something that historians despise, and that's what you've practised here. The pandemic that wracked Europe during C14 (and beyond) was called THE BLACK DEATH. And it was caused that because most of the people who caught it died. Natural immunity? You know how they controlled it? By locking up the houses of plague victims and not letting any of the occupants out for several weeks. This is what would have happened to you and your husband, Heather. You would have been locked up with your plague ridden children.

The other thing that bothers me? Aconite. I know it was a homeopathic solution so a bottle of water was probably just placed in the vicinity of an aconite plant... But that stuff is so toxic it can harm you if it brushes your skin. I grow aconite (because I'm weird, and it's pretty) but whenever I handle it, I wear 2 layers of latex gloves which get thrown away afterwards.

By Christine (the… (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@Helianthus #10: aconite can cause breathing problems and vomiting. Her homeopathy may well have made things worse. That's why I'm always careful when handling mine.

By Christine (the… (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Her post was horrifying to read, and I agree her behavior is tantamount to child abuse. What really put the cherry on top of this turd cake is the fact that her bio states that she used to be a high school science teacher: http://likemindedmamas.com/about/heather/.
How on earth does someone with even a passing familiarity with science do what she does?? Baffling.

By Dr. Chim Richalds (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

The part I cannot wrap my head around is her insistence "my kids didn't suffer." I mean, I'm sure that's what she has to tell herself to make it through the day, but in what world is repeatedly waking in screaming terror or coughing to the point of vomiting not suffering?

Also, I'm with HDB on "iquim," but that may be a result of reading Victorian erotica. Sadly Scrabble won't accept it, because it would be worth a lot of points (yes, I have tried more than once over the last 20 or so years).

By Emma Crew (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Alyson@105

[...] or some SOMETHING to help prevent it from spreading to the baby.

Literally anything but sharing a bed with the sick kids while also co-sleeping with an infant. Speaking of co-sleeping there's another thing she does to endanger her child. I can tell you from experience, roll over injuries are no joke.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@Emma Crew - where does she say that her kids didn't suffer? Has she posted a response to all the criticism somewhere?

Once your rage has cooled, consider this: it's very likely she turns a profit on this bull.

They are an affiliate of Be Young (an essential oils manufacturer)
h[]p://likemindedmamas.com/essential-oils/

They have a cookbook for sale
h[]p://likemindedmamas.com/a-special-gift-for-you-this-holiday-season/

They are paid for their endorsements
h[]p://likemindedmamas.com/disclaimer/

Plus despite the quack Miranda warning they have this mysterious Work With Us page that looks suspiciously like practicing medicine without a license.
h[]p://likemindedmamas.com/work-with-us/

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

After reading this I am quite literally shaking with anger and I'm tearful besides. I have a personal perspective on this. I've never had pertussis but I have had several bouts of severe pneumonia and I have what my pulmonogist calls cough-variant asthma. I know from coughing. I have had spells of coughing until I gagged and couldn't take a breath for a full minute or more. I have produced as much as 2-3 cups of sputum in a day - maybe more, because measuring it is about the last thing you think of when it's happening. I know what it's like to cough and choke hard enough to dislocate a rib, and to have a cough so bad that even fairly powerful narcotics can barely touch it. I have felt the auxiliary muscles of respiration (chest wall, abdomen, shoulders, arms) tiring from the exertion of fighting to breathe. I cannot imagine doing this for month after month.
Meanwhile, her children missed school and preschool. They weren't playing with other children, going to the park and the zoo, jumping in piles of autumn leaves . They must have had a miserable Halloween, coughing instead of dressing up and scamming for candy. I'm sure they had little appetite for Thanksgiving dinner. Christmas I'm sure was fun, coughing and choking together around the tree, missing all the fun things of the season. How little she thinks of her children that in the name of a spurious "building their immunity" that she robbed them of months of childhood. How cruel, how indifferent can a parent get? She will protest that she loves her children, but I don't believe it. If you truly love your children you can't be indifferent to the suffering of other children anywhere, and how much worse when it's your own kids right in front of you!
It's too bad I don't believe in an afterlife, because it would please me to think of her in hell or a couple of centuries reincarnated as a dung beetle or a fly in a latrine. I hope when she gets old that her children treat her illnesses and complaints the way she treated theirs. I've never met this woman, and I hope I never do - it's rare for me to hate someone I've never met, and if by some misfortune I did, it would be all I could do to not lay into her.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@Sarah A. It was in a comment on her facebook page, screencap here. I mean, she has to make herself believe that (otherwise she might realize she behaved appallingly), but the cognitive dissonance is really impressive.

By Emma Crew (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@old rockin' Dave: Ah, but she homeschools, so in theory they could have had lessons through this whole nightmare. Also, she took them out when sick, to gymnastics classes and who knows what else.

By Emma Crew (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

I went to NH Doc's link. I notice that "natural health educators" learn "what nutrients each system and/or organ is primarily composed of..." What nutrients? Are they learning cannibalism? Well, I guess you can't spell "treat" without "eat".

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Sully: I would avoid calling her a "cunt" for another reason--she lacks the warmth and the depth.

I came back from my Middle East deployment and fell over with a cough quite similar, though I'm well-immunized. I'd wake up choking, cough to dislodge the phlegm, throw up, catch my breath as if I'd done an hour of weights, and have a pulse hammering over 130. It was right about this time of year when it started, too. Back to that in a moment.

It was utterly terrifying. I was afraid to sleep, and my attacks woke my children up in a panic that I was going to die.

The VA handed me a spectrum of six different bronchiodilators, ventilators, decongestants and mucus inhibitors. It helped, but taking six pills/powders/inhalers a day indicated to me there was a serious underlying problem.

I sought a civilian doctor, who referred me to an allergist. I'd apparently had some existing sensitivity (I am not native to North America, I'm an immigrant), and had acclimated to the desert, in addition to likely picking up a bacterium that survives at 5% humidity. 60-100%, as found around here, is bacterial ecstasy.

With proper medication and allergy treatments, I'm mostly better 7 years later. I still have some seasonal issues that require support (I'm hitting my inhaler several times a day right now, and the warm weather isn't helping. A freeze will kill the mold I'm allergic to).

But I was 40, just back from a war zone, and even with awareness of the issue, it was terrifying. To imagine three children going through that is revolting.

As much as I dislike CPS, yes, sicc them on her, force her into treatment, and keep the children safe.

By Michael Z. Wil… (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@Emma Crew: I was so disgusted I never read down to that part. Everything I wished on her before I now wish double.
She's a monster, and deserves a mob of angry peasants with torches and pitchforks paying her a visit.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

I wonder whether Monster Mommie ever considered the possibility of one or more of the children developing a secondary pneumonia, and I wonder if any of them did have one.It could well have been missed due to her ideological blinders. I also wonder what she would have done if it had happened for sure.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

And at some point she runs down why she doesn't want the standard of care, including treatments like albuterol "can cause long-term lung damage." You know what else does? Unchecked pertussis! These kids will probably have lung issues for years if not for life. But hey, it was only "pure hell" and "the most traumatic period of my life" for mom, the kids didn't suffer at all, oh, no. The irony, it burns.

By Emma Crew (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

The responses by the anti-vaccine crowd over on mothering are infuriating as well.

One member said "I read the post. It was meh." and then called it a "manufactured outrage".

This same poster also boasted about her three teenage kids getting "natural" immunity to pertussis this summer (complete with coughing until they vomited). These people make me sick.

@134

Do you (or anyone) have any kind of statistic on what percentage of kids with pertussis will wind up with long tern lung damage? I'm really curious.

@Emma Crew, my mother would agree with you. Every year, my mother got at least one severe case of "bronchitis," and always has sinus problems. In her late 60's, she had "bronchitis" so bad she was hospitalised. The lung x-ray showed scarring consistent with pertussis damage, and what we always thought of as bronchitis was really asthma. My mother was confused, as she couldn't remember having pertussis. That was when we discovered pertussis doesn't always present with the "whoop" cough, and she remembered when she was about 14 she had a cough that kept her out of school for a month. She remembers being miserable but not having too much trouble breathing, just a few prolonged fits of coughing.

So if a mild case of pertussis can cause lifelong damage, I don't even want to THINK about what these children are going to go through for the rest of their lives. And with a mother like this, it's entirely possible they'll end up dead from respiratory problems, because I bet Heather doesn't like Ventolin.

By Christine (the… (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

Taylor @ 6 and Chris @ 7: Important:

The fact that she took down and altered her online postings as you describe, is _culpable knowledge_, hardcore evidence that she knows or has reason to believe that she may be charged with a crime.

Report her to CPS immediately. Here's what you need to do:

Take date/time-stamped screen shots to demonstrate the sequence of events of her putting up, taking down, and then re-posting edited versions. Get those screen shots into the hands of the District Attorney in the county in which she resides.

Start off by calling that county's DA's office and getting the email & phone number of any prosecutor there, speak with her/him, and then send him/her the screen shots, and follow up with another phone call. If you reach voicemail, leave messages. Do not be surprised if it takes a couple of days for them to get back to you, usually their plates are overly-full as it is. However, child abuse goes right to the top of the stack with most law enforcement agencies.

This method works for getting law enforcement on the trail of a crime. Speaking from experience having helped catch a couple of baddies using this and related methods. Do it now, do not wait.

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@ Alyson

I also do not understand why she states that the vaccinated children in her area were spreading pertussis.

Well, she is up-to-date on antivaccine nonsense. This particular shedding meme started around the Disney measles outbreak last year.
It was based on a recent scientific article which has found a vaccine-strain virus in the feces of someone recently vaccinted (recently as a few days ago, not a few years). I think it was the measles virus.
Should I precise that the virus levels were far below the amount needed to successfully infect someone? Unless you are into coprophagy, no-one is at risk.

Actually, this meme started with the live polio vaccine, where virus shedding is a real thing. And more generally, it is sometimes recommended for someone recently vaccinated with a live virus to avoid immuno-compromised people, just in case.
Although I believe there is a single documented case of someone passing on a vaccine virus this way.You are more likely to get struck by a meteorite.

But with a vaccine made of killed bugs, this concern is utter nonsense.

Well, another form of this meme is the typhoid mary approach: the theory goes, vaccinated people may catch the bug anyway but will only have subclinical symptoms, while passing on the infection. Somehow, the virus will stay on board forever of the vaccinated person and keep replicating like mad, while still not provoking any discomfort.
This latter scenario has one glaring fault. For it to work, you have to accept that vaccines work at protecting you from illnesses.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

This latter scenario has one glaring fault

Addendum: one glaring fault among many.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@Annie, I found this:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1289888/pdf/jrsocmed00205-0…
where they looked at kids a few years after an outbreak and found the ones who had pertussis were more likely to have respiratory problems, asthma, and poorer lung function (depending on age at the time of illness). They also pointed out that most of these kids were treated at home and a similar study of a different group of kids (many more of whom had been to hospital) did not show poorer lung function.

I found others from the 80s that suggested by age 36 there were few differences to be found. I didn't find anything recent, probably because there just aren't that many cases of completely untreated pertussis around for study in the U.S.?

By Emma Crew (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

@ Ann #40 :

Let’s be honest, I hadn’t really prepared for being drilled with questions on why I wanted my son and daughter lasered. I just expected her to want to do it. Doctors want to do procedures, they want to take your money, right? Not this doctor.

Jeez, could I be a tiny bit mistaken about most conventional doctors' standards ?
Naaaah.

@ LouV

Doctors want to do procedures, they want to take your money, right? Not this doctor.

She is actually complaining that the doctor is not behaving in a greedy way. There is no satisfying certain people.
Well, she was pissed because the doctor didn't simply jump to fulfill her wishes. And she is playing to her audience with a bit of doctor-bashing. Although it doesn't seem that playing the self-centered narcissist is un rôle de composition.

Also, a textbook case of projection, from someone who just inflicted a dozen alt-med modalities to her children and has plenty of books and services to sell on her website.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

#38 Denise
“any one in Co can call themselves a naturopathic doctor with no training”

#47Kathy
...is unlicensed naturopaths can be put out of business. I live in Washington state, where NDs are licensed. ...The state of Michigan needs to close these businesses before someone dies.

I agree, they should be put out of business.

I think its important to understand that its better for a state to not license naturopathy of any kind. If they aren't licensed, the naturopath or the naturopathic not-a-doctor can still be (and should be) put out of business and prosecuted for practicing-medicine-without-a -license, which can carry big penalties including jail.

Licensing gives them a shield and an out--as long as they practice naturopathy the way they were trained, they aren't accountable for stupidity. There isn't any standard practice in naturopathy so they won't be charged with sub-standard practice.

It doesn't matter if they have training. Naturopathy is still quackery. It doesn't matter if they have training from an accredited school. Naturopathy is still quackery. Licensing naturopaths gives them the state seal of approval. Licensing them is a bad idea.

CO passed laws in 2013 that restricts the use of naturopathic “doctor” title so someone with Heather's credentials, as it were, can't use the title, but she could now do naturopathy here out in the open without fear of reprisal.

The Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians will undoubtedly try to use this story to support licensure, as if there were more than an imaginary benefit of distinguishing them from other naturopaths.

Ok, off my soapbox now.

Christine @121: Mention of the Black Death bought to mind Eyam village. When the plague arrived there, the villagers didn't know the details of how the infection spread, all they knew was that it appeared after contact with outsiders. So they voluntarily locked themselves away - not to protect themselves, but to protect others.
The complete opposite of this madwoman's attitude.

By Mrs Grimble (not verified) on 04 Nov 2015 #permalink

I think its important to understand that its better for a state to not license naturopathy of any kind.

Yep. I am deeply uncomfortable with the State recognising and certifying some practitioners of quackery and fraud -- or rather, accepting their own self-certification -- and giving them a privileged status over their competitors.
Wait, were we talking about psychologists?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

I am not making this up.

''I lived in a beautiful farm house in the UK surrounded by 40 hectors of land."

I don't normally comment, but this is just unbelievably godawful. Like many people, I have a kid with asthma who reacts badly to respiratory infections, and I know how frightening it is to hear a child's cough get progressively worse all through the night.
I just can't imagine how a parent could let this go on for weeks and months. Sheer madness.

"Dignity gone, having legs parted and huge lamp burning my feminine parts, students gathered round to take in the full view of what were once my private parts! Not so private now!. I knew there had been no action down there in quite some time but not even in my wildest fantasies did I imagine this coming! Not so private parts after all!"

Then again, there's the excision of a perianal cyst while people are wandering in and out to make lunch plans and leaving the door open.

surrounded by 40 hectors of land

There are two Hectors in an Achilles and 5 Ajaxes in a Hector. I think.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

# 24 Denise
Looking at that accreditation list, one place I am going to avoid is “International Quantum University for Integrative Medicine”. I think it hits all the main woo keywords.

It's amazing how many fake schools are out there but even good old IQUIM (see above) seems to take a second place to the American Culture University http://acu-edu.us/index.htm apparently accredited by the Principality of Hutt River (Australia).

By jrkrideau (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

#67 Narad
That’s not what MBP is, though. Note that she was avoiding doctors.

There did not seem to be any question that it was pertussis, not an problem invented or caused by a caregiver, therefore, I think that strictly speaking it cannot be Münchhausen syndrome by proxy.

I don't think the avoiding doctors is crucial here: One could be doing it to gain attention from family, friends, etc., though was, IIRC, identified in a doctor - patient - child situation, but it still is not strictly MBP.

I thought that I was reading a few things a couple of years ago about some real worry if Münchhausen syndrome by proxy was real and/or if it was being poorly diagnosed. but I have not located the articles. I may be thinking of Sir Roy Meadows and the SIDS cases which had some MBP overflow in the popular press.

Interestingly enough ICD-10[1](see F68.1) seems to have dropped Münchhausen syndrome by proxy; it was in ICD-9, while retaining Münchhausen syndrome . Could be it is just dropped or it may have been rolled into another category.

It looks like DSM-V still has it but I need to actually look at DSM-V to check.

1. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision

By jrkrideau (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

Narad @141: As an inhabitant of the British Isles, I can tell you that load of nonsense was thougt up by somebody whose closest acquaintance with this country is reading a couple of Joanna Trollope books. We don't have hectors and we still mostly use Imperial measures, not metric. And none of my country doctors have ever made me a cup of tea - they're far too busy! The thing's a juvenile work of fiction that wouldn't get marks in a beginners' writing class.
I also wonder how Professor Martin Gore likes having his name misused.

By Mrs Grimble (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

# 115 Ann

“The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines state that the best time to begin feeding your baby solid food is between four and six months of age.”

Well clearly the American Academy of Pediatrics are rushing things. :) In Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/infant-nourisson/index-eng.php and the UK the UK around 6 months. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/solid-foods-weani…. As does the World Health Organization.

I suspect the dates for various countries and organizations are somewhat dependent on who sits on which advisory board.

[UK] Research shows that babies need nothing but breast milk or formula for the first six months of life. This gives their digestive system time to develop fully so that it can cope with solid foods. 

If you are breastfeeding, having breast milk alone up to six months will protect your baby against infections. Breastfeeding will carry on protecting them from infections for as long as you carry on.

OTOH I was impressed to see the doctor on your link recommending “raw milk”. I can hear the public health officials screaming from here.

Having been brought up on raw milk the idea does not scare me assuming the milk is from a normally regulated dairy farm in Canada or the USA. Not sure about the EU or Au-NZ but it is probably the same. In developing countries I don't consume unboiled water let alone unpasteurized milk or dairy products.

By jrkrideau (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

This made me want to throw a heavy object at her head. Is she expecting some kind of prize for her great sacrifice?

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink
(BTW, diagnosing people on the internet is so easy; let’s just say she’s desperate for attention and leave it at that. Attributing horrible behaviours to mental illness is rough on people who suffer from it, *and* the negative image it creates of people with mental illness – yes, even narcissists and those with MBP – can prevent people from seeking treatment. I don’t want to be a scold, I just want to put that out there.)

Yes. Thank you.

While I know that using only the standard issue human inanities and cognitive faults one can lead themselves this far down the rabbit hole, sometimes it is hard to imagine that without some additional issue that just anyone could end up so far astray.

Some of it is trying to understand how someone can get down a rabbit hole like that and some trying to make sure we aren't just as inane.

OTOH I was impressed to see the doctor on your link recommending “raw milk”.

That was no doctor. It was proudly pertussis-inflicting mama Heather Dexter.

And my point was not that she was right or wrong, but that she feels qualified and entitled to overrule medical advice in favor of her personal preferences, no reasoning or evidence required.

I can hear the public health officials screaming from here. Having been brought up on raw milk the idea does not scare me assuming the milk is from a normally regulated dairy farm in Canada or the USA. Not sure about the EU or Au-NZ but it is probably the same. In developing countries I don’t consume unboiled water let alone unpasteurized milk or dairy products.

At least as I understand it, raw dairy offers no health benefits; the statistical risk of harm is low; but the consequences for those who gamble on it and lose are potentially very serious.

That being the case (assuming that it is), whether or not the idea scares any particular individual seems to me to be irrelevant to the question of whether or not public health officials are right to say it's unnecessarily dangerous.

I also do not understand why she states that the vaccinated children in her area were spreading pertussis.

Well, because she has been taught to parrot that.

Try this from Mercola Mounting Evidence Shows Many Vaccines are Ineffective and Contribute to Rise of Outbreaks Caused by Mutated Viruses: -- which is an attack on the efficacy of the pertussis, varicella and HPV vaccines.

Or this from the Weston A Price Foundation:

Studies Show that Vaccinated Individuals Spread Disease Should the Recently Vaccinated be Quarantined to Prevent Outbreaks?

“Numerous scientific studies indicate that children who receive a live virus vaccination can shed the disease and infect others for weeks or even months afterwards. Thus, parents who vaccinate their children can indeed put others at risk,” explains Leslie Manookian, documentary filmmaker and activist. Manookian’s award winning documentary, The Greater Good, aims to open a dialog about vaccine safety.

Whooping Cough Vaccine Does Not Stop Spread of Disease in Lab Animals

Arthur Allen in 2013 on the baboon study:

The current vaccine for whooping cough, or pertussis, may keep you or your baby healthy, but it may not stop either of you from spreading the disease, a new animal study suggests. Baboons can harbor and spread the disease even after receiving the vaccine, researchers have found. The study adds to growing evidence that the acellular pertussis vaccines, in which only parts of the pertussis bacterium are injected into the bloodstream to elicit a protective immune response, are not as good at controlling the disease as older, whole-cell vaccines were. However, a vaccine manufacturer argues that it's too early to conclude that a similar effect occurs in humans.

So that baboon study, specific to pertussis, is morphing into: all vaccines fail to prevent the spread of disease.

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.

And how about the children? How much sleep did they have, between the coughing, vomiting and general discomfort? And mrs Dexter expects what? Some kind of medal for suffering without sleep, while she let her children suffer from some vaccine preventable diseases? Mrs. Dexter, if you feel better by suffering, try some pelgrimage and of course walking and not by any motorised transport.

Yes mankind survived the plague and the Spanish flu. But many paid the prize with their lives. Mankind has also survived without technology, so dump your computer and stop playing some kind of martyr on the internet.

Words can not expres what I think of mrs. Dexter.

sullivanthepoop @ #56

Sorry for the long response time. Between time zones and work, this is my first opportunity to respond. I haven't seen that particular problem in my line of work, but given the specific demographics of the population I work with, I'd be surprised. It's not outside the realm of possibility, but I'd hypothesize unlikely. Of course, parents who let their children suffer or die by not taking them to the ^&*% doctor surprise me.

Please tell me your pediatrician friends reported that consultant for practicing medicine without a license.

She is litteraly some kind of sociopath, letting her children suffering like this and complaining on the internet about 'how hard it is for her'. She is clearly mentally deranged, otherwise it's just pure evil. In both case, her children should be taken away.

( although this may fit in better with Orac's latest post, I don't want to interfere so early on)

( AoA today)
Adriana Gamondes describes uplifting scenes in movies where unlikely and "disparate forces gather together in a unified effort to battle evil" ( sounds like Heckenlively) such as in *Braveheart* when the Irish constripted join the rebel Scots in opposing the English rulers.

Apparently, she doesn't appreciate that our most esteemed and gracious host, "Skeptic astroturfer and dual Monsanto/ vaccine defender" DG/ Orac, "aka Murdoch blogger", has enjoyed using Braveheart in a less worshipful manner to poke fun at her and her fellow travellers.

Then, she goes on to construct multiple ominous walls of text- mercilessy unbroken by oddly chosen collages of bizarre imagery and even more outre ideas from popular culture films which is her usual schtick- to describe how anti-vaccine and anti-GMO activists should come together RIGHT NOW! and fight the power. Seneff even has shown the two evils conjoining into a mightier one!

So in her schemata, anti-vaxxers are the Scots, anti-GMO activists are the Irish,we're the English and Orac is the King.
Who is Wm Wallace?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

#131 Old Rockin Dave:

Heather does recommend to her clients that they eat their placenta -- raw -- in a smoothie-- after giving birth. So, yes, apparently some cannabilism is fine. It's natural!

Wait, were we talking about psychologists?

The advantage of including psychology, social work, and other forms of certified mental health practice among the licensed professions is that it creates a venue for valid complaints about unethical treatment that would otherwise probably go unheard.

It's not an ideal system for anybody, but it does protect the public more than none. And given the high potential for abuse and the inherent vulnerability of those receiving services, that's not a small thing.

Likewise, irrespective of how science/evidence-based the fields of psychology and psychiatry may or may not be, they're the available options. I mean, obviously, it would be nice if there were better ones. But again, they help more than none. And that's not a small thing.

@#145 mho – I realize that even the school-attending, NPLEX-taking, state licensed NDs don’t really have standards either. I was using the quote to show who is accrediting Dexter’s school and providing the “board certification.” You are correct that licensure is not a solution. I thought the comment was already getting pretty long and wasn’t sure how to say Dexter’s naturopathy education is more bogus than bogus.
I do think the state of Michigan should be able to do something about this pack of quacks who are dispensing dangerous medical advice and approving medical neglect of minors. The state did prosecute a naturopath for practicing medicine without a license in 1991. She said the state was violating her first amendment rights to give health advice but the appeal court disagreed. http://www.casewatch.org/ag/mi/rogers_appeal.pdf This was Rebecca Rogers, who is also claiming to be “board certified.” http://www.amazon.com/Dr.-Rebecca-Yevette-Rogers/e/B00OTMN28C [worth a click for the funny picture]
And since I am already here, @#127, I would also like to add that Dexter’s mentor, Bessheen Baker, founder of her school and the naturopath Sarah Mokma who treated her children are also selling Nature’s Sunshine supplements, products made by a multi-level marketing company based in Utah. They settled SEC charges a few years ago after they were found to have bribed Brazilian officials more than a million dollars to import unregistered supplements. https://www.sec.gov/litigation/complaints/2009/comp21162.pdf Here’s the terms for the pyramid scheme http://nspdoma.com/images/sponsirovanie/usa/UnitedStatesPP.pdf If distributors push a high enough volume of product, they are keeping 30% of the money from what they sell and what those underneath them in the scheme sell. No wonder they were recommending all those supplements and herbs to Heather.
Baker build a 12,000 square foot residence a few years ago. There is even a documentary about the compound. http://www.teamelmers.com/earth-shelter-project-michigan She must be making quite a profit with the fake credentials and scammy products.
Someone posted a course list from Baker’s school yesterday. Here’s their recommended reading.
Bessheen Baker’s recommended reading for naturopaths http://astore.amazon.com/naturinstioft-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=2
Here is Amy Jo Howard’s (Dexter says she took the kids to a “Dr. Amy” – I am guessing this is her)
http://astore.amazon.com/naturinstioft-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=7
And Heather Dexter and her colleague Sarah Mokma recently offered a class on vaccination “Talking to Clients About Vaccines Based on Their Personality: Find the elegant yet firm art of sharing one of the most important messages in health care. The preservation of the health of your children and young adults. Learn and practice with other participants how to educate others about vaccines with confidence and facts.” [page 7] http://naturopathicinstitute.info/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Magazine-S…

WRT #166 --

Same goes for licensing NDs, to some extent. I mean, lawsuits are costly, and they consume a lot of time and energy. That's often prohibitive even to people who are in the pink of health, never mind the ill and the injured.

Although ftm, I imagine that licensed practitioners are also likelier to have malpractice insurance than those who don't have to worry about going before the board. So it's probably an advantage for both parties in civil actions too.

Oh -btw-
" 40 hectors"
I'm still laughing at that one.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

While I know that using only the standard issue human inanities and cognitive faults one can lead themselves this far down the rabbit hole, sometimes it is hard to imagine that without some additional issue that just anyone could end up so far astray.

Use your imagination, then. Many evils come about due to failure of the imagination. "Standard issue human inanities and cognitive faults" can lead anyone down any number of rabbit holes. I know it is frightening, but it is the truth.

Some of it is trying to understand how someone can get down a rabbit hole like that and some trying to make sure we aren’t just as inane.

Yes, I know that. It is an Othering born of anxiety and I dislike it intensely. Would you like to be part of a population which is constantly and casually associated with behavior like this?

@ann (#166):

I think the good Herr Doktor was indulging in a bit of self-deprecation.

JP is correct:
mental illness/ conditions are NOT the only reasons people behave as they do. I doubt that many of those I survey/ skewer have serious problems- after all, many of them are FIRST and FOREMOST businessmen concerned with earning a profit in the real world. Self-aggrandisement and endless self-promotion are not symptoms of any mental condition. Maybe they are just crappy people.

Some of the anti-vaxxers might be motivated by emotional issues and do have problems adjusting to their current lives as caregivers. Many have REAL problems with understanding scientific ideas and research but that is a failure of education not symptomatic.

Do I think that SOME of them may have real issues? Sure. But so do people in most areas of life including sceptics. Some people with mental conditions can function and some without conditions function in a manner that makes their presence unbearable and hopefully, to be avoided.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

It appears Mrs. Dexter's article has been removed.

I can barely contain my rage for this woman. I am a severe asthmatic. When I am having a bad attack, I am terrified. I was in the ER about a month ago with one that wouldn't calm down even after a nebulizer treatment at home. At least as an adult, I could understand rationally that the doctors and nurses were going to get things under control, but it's still scary. Imagine being a little kid and waking up multiple times during the night with coughing fits that cause you to have trouble breathing? How can any parent willfully allow their children to suffer in this way? My older son had mild RSV as an infant, and I would have done anything to get him well! The father and grandfather should have done more than lecture her. They should have taken the children to a real doctor. If she prevented it, they should have reported her to CPS.

I had pneumonia as a child, and I still remember it. At one point, my parents thought that I might have to be hospitalized. The difference is that I knew that my mom and dad were providing me with the best medical care that they could. What will her children think of her when they grow up and realize that they suffered needlessly? And who is to say that her kids won't have long-term issues related to untreated pertussis? The scarring on my lungs from pneumonia is what caused me to develop non-allergic asthma.

This woman is a monster. If she really loved her children, she would have gotten them proper care. Period.

By moto_librarian (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

@AdamG #173

It has been going up and down, with at least one change between versions.

Who knows if it will stay down for good or if it going through another tweak for whatever reason she took some things out.

@Denice Walter

I suspect part of the problem with Mrs. Dexter is that her style tends to set off my, "something creepy this way comes sensors". The name really doesn't help much with that, does it?

It could be just the modern day you cannot be a real person and have to be a brand and for some reason this is the persona she feels she needs to put on for her marketing.

mental illness/ conditions are NOT the only reasons people behave as they do

As a layperson when it comes to psychology, I'm sticking with plain old narcissistic asshole.

There are two Hectors in an Achilles and 5 Ajaxes in a Hector. I think.

You made my morning.

By Roadstergal (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

What an idiot! So follow her logic: in order to get immunity to the disease, you need to get the disease that you want immunity to.

I submitted a DHS-3200 to the state's Children Protective Services. Fortunately, I still had her original, unaltered post in an open tab and was able to pull that into a PDF. I was also able to use google's cache to get the DOB's for her kids and the address and phone number to use for where the suspected abuse took place.

My only question was for field 9 (Name of alleged perpetrator of abuse or neglect), whether to use Heather alone or both Heather and Scott. I figured that because they're just looking for an individual, I'd let Heather take the spotlight on that and let CPS figure out if Scott's on the hook or not.

I suspect part of the problem with Mrs. Dexter is that her style tends to set off my, “something creepy this way comes sensors”.

Yes, statements like:

However, I have learned that my truth does not belong to all of humanity.

tend to set off my own "loon alert" system.

Putting her children through this, much less being proud that she did so, is appalling.

And what's worse is that a cynical person might see Dexter's post on her mommy marketing blog as nothing more than sales copy to build her downline in the "Be Young" multi level marketing company ... which conveniently sells many/most/all of the "natural remedies" her blog hawks.

@Suzanne, #165:
"Heather does recommend to her clients that they eat their placenta — raw — in a smoothie– after giving birth. So, yes, apparently some cannibalism is fine. It’s natural!"
But is the placenta free-range, cruelty free, and raised without antibiotics?
Anyway, I think that practice is called autophagy; at least it is in microbiology. I'm not sure if it qualifies as cannibalism.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

Denise, @167
I understand the idea of varying degrees of bogus, but I sure wish all bogus was illegal.

Licensed naturopathic doctors are supposed to know anatomy where unlicensed naturopaths don't have to have any training. But whats up with Nd “organ repositioning?” Organs can't be repositioned externally.

https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/naturopathic-organ-repositioning-c…

Ann, @168
What does ftm mean?

I don't know anything about licensing psychologists, except that Colorado has a very bizarre system where someone can be a registered psychologist without meeting any educational or training requirements requirements whatsoever.

I wonder what it would take in CO to get a licensed quack out of practice. This chiropractor was convicted of 6 3rd degree felony counts, yet he's practicing without ANY restrictions at ALL on his license.

Brandon Creduer DC is still licensed and practicing in Colorado even though in October 2013, a jury convicted him of six third-degree felony counts of exploiting a vulnerable adult. In December 2013, he was sentenced to six months in jail.

The discipline documents show that the licensing board only wrote a letter of admonition to him for not properly keeping records. They also show that his malpractice insurance was cancelled in 2012. The medical board dismissed some other case against him in August this year.

I remember when I was younger, maybe 6 and 10 getting what I am assuming was the flu. I remember lying in bed vomiting all over the place and in my child brain thinking I was dying. There are vaccines for stuff I (thankfully) did not have to contract as a child and there are new vaccines for stuff that, although not life threatening, I had to SUFFER through. You bet your arse I vaccinated my kids against all that. Polio? Check. MMR? Yup. Whopping cough? Heck yeah. Rotavirus? IDK WTH that is but we'll take three. Vaccines work so why force children who can't fight back to suffer? Shame on the father for not scooping them up and running to the ER. Shame on the Granddad for not calling CPS. And there is a special place in hell for the evil monster that refused to seek medical care for her poor babies. I hope they grow up and hate her for this.

After having read through this, it is hard to say what angers me the most... The sheer arrogance, the hubris of this woman, sticking with her bottomless ignorance, even when all her loved ones try telling her that she's on the wrong track... Torturing her children, subjecting each of them not only through the seemingly endless ordeal of a horrible disease, but also to completely useless, invasive, utterly STUPID 'treatments'... And then having the gall to complain that she's having a really hard time, what with the lack of sleep and all, and people not trusting in her judgement... And in the end being proud of her 'accomplishment', having achieved 'natural' healing...

If ever there was a good reason to legally stop naturopaths from treating real patients, to immediately close all so-called naturopathic 'academies', and to revoke all medical priviliges granted to naturopaths, this is one story is it. These people literally have no ef'ing idea what they are doing -- yet think of themselves as the best healers in the world...

I work in the pharmaceutical industry (engineer), and also use naturopathic treatments to take care of myself if my body is just slightly out of balance. I think both have a place ... naturopathic to maintain balance of mind/body and good health, and the western medical sytem to treat when severe illness actually shows up. I don't bash all things naturopathic because the western system has forgotten that empathy, love, social connecton, and a cup of chamonile tea is powerful treatment for things like mild depression & brain fog (instead of bombarding people with psychoactive drugs). However, in the case of severe illnesses with drastic physical symptoms like pertussis .... the amount of damage and scarring that happened to those kids' lungs over 5 months will probably stick with them the rest of their lives. They should have definitely received western treatment holy crap. So sad. Selecting a scientific principle here and there and fighting fot it (or against it) to the death (and risking even the death of all of your children) is called dogma. Fanaticism. I would also not use her absurd actions to judge the entire naturopathic field either ... my accupuncturist will give me ginger and herbs, and often it works, but when it doesn't, she sends my ass to the western doctors, and together I bring the whole system in balance and keep it that way.

and also use naturopathic treatments to take care of myself if my body is just slightly out of balance.

Does this include homeopathy?

empathy, love, social connecton, and a cup of chamonile tea is powerful treatment for things like mild depression

Do you have any proof for this claim, or just feelings?

Gunter: "Rotavirus? IDK WTH that is but we’ll take three."

Nasty gastrointestinal virus which causes rivers of poo, and endangers small children with dehydration.

Ioanna: "I work in the pharmaceutical industry (engineer), and also use naturopathic treatments to take care of myself if my body is just slightly out of balance."

As a former structural engineer all I can think when I see "out of balance" are severe shifts in your moments of inertia. Since I did lots random vibration analysis, so I also think of annoying and off balance oscillations.

When you are out of balance, do you check for resonant eigenvalues?

Chris wins the Internet.

@ Denise:

Self-aggrandisement and endless self-promotion are not symptoms of any mental condition.

Well, they're pretty consistent with the definitions of NPD, and the comments are referring to narcissism. I'd generally agree with elsworthy and JP that we shouldn't be "diagnosing people on the internet", and "attributing horrible behaviours to mental illness is rough on people who suffer from it". However, part of the problem is that 'mental illness' is not a generic thing. Given that the DSM covers both sociopaths and 'high-functioning' ASD folks, 'mental illness' is a meaningless catch-all when it comes to discussions about policy (public or personal). The fact is, some people do horrible things because they suffer from personality disorders. Thus, if referencing a personality disorder in relation to horrible behavior winds up stigmatizing depressives, the problem isn't the reference, but what clueless people make of it.

That said, it's both unscientific and morally wrong to 'diagnose' any mental state from a few things any individual has written or said. Having been edumacated in semiotics and ideology theory, I'll contend that the focus on the individual subject here is entirely misplaced, and what matters is the objective reality: the behaviors committed, the things written. We can, and should, talk about those things without drawing conclusions about the person(s) behind them. We do not have enough evidence to conclude that Ms. Dexter is a "monster" or even "a narcissistic asshole" in general. But we can argue that what she did by exposing her children to pertussis, and then exposing the children to the public, was monstrous, and that what she wrote about it reeks of narcissism.

While we should not presume to label people we do not know, we have good reason to seek, along with KayMarie, an understanding of how someone's actions and words "can get down a rabbit hole like that". When those actions and words do social harm, we want to do what we can to prevent similar occurances in the future.

I take one of the 'lessons of science' as nothing 'just is' – there are causes for everything, or, in the realm of human behavior 'reasons' if you will. I have known my share of "crappy people" – and have my share of psychic wounds as a result . But as much as I may detest them or feel hatred toward them, I can't think of one who 'is just crappy', end-of-story. There are reasons they are/were the way they are/were, and usually 'beyond their control': volatile mixtures of genetic inheritance and situational/environmental factors. Given this nutsopath's surname, what immediately comes to mind (poetic hyperbole?) is the TV character who became a serial killer after suffering unspeakable horrors as a child...

Whatever 'pathology' may lie behind Ms. Dexter's behavior and speech, there seems to be an awful lot of it going around. Thus, again, I argue the focus on her as an individual in this thread is misplaced. Specifically, the tactic of reporting her to CPS is a bad move. CPS agencies are over-worked and under-staffed. They have far more troubling cases than this they can't begin to get to. Not only will they take no action here, but the 'concerned pro-science' community will generate some enmity among folks we ought to be cultivating as allies.

No, IMHO the ONLY thing to do in response to this case is to fight harder against licensing for naturopaths, and for tighter regulation of naturopathy. licensed or not. We all have limited time budgets, and that's where spending them might do the most good.

The problem, as I see it, is much less Heather Dexter than the social and legal structures that enable this crap in the first place.

From Wikipedia:

In 2005, Board and Fritzon published the results of a study in which they interviewed senior business managers, assessing them for the presence of personality disorder. Comparing their findings to three samples of psychiatric patients, they found that their senior business managers were as likely to demonstrate narcissistic traits as the patient population, although were less physically aggressive.

:-)

In 2005, Board and Fritzon published the results of a study in which they interviewed senior business managers, assessing them for the presence of personality disorder. Comparing their findings to three samples of psychiatric patients, they found that their senior business managers were as likely to demonstrate narcissistic traits as the patient population, although were less physically aggressive.

What about as compared to the general population?

It's kind of amazing that Mrs. Dexter has two grown men in her family who don't have a single vertebrae between them.I wonder if her father is actually a real vet, with the doctorate and all, because he sure doesn't sound like one. I can tell you that if my mom had tried that, Grandpa (DVM U-C Davis) would have kidnapped us and made sure that she never saw us again. (But unlike this lady, my mother has brains.)
And seriously, the husband- how hard would it have been for him to just take the kids to the hospital and then divorce her? Any woman who takes such glee in the suffering of her children is probably abusive to adults as well.
I think any judge who had that post in front of them (assuming they didn't go to Liberty U or any of the other assorted clown colleges) would *immediately* rule against Mrs. Dexter having custody. I think the rest of the family comes in for a lot of blame too.
I'll also add this in the pile of evidence for 'anti-vaxxers only have kids to score social points, not because they actually love the kids or enjoy being parents.'

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

KayMarie @158: Some of it is trying to understand how someone can get down a rabbit hole like that and some trying to make sure we aren’t just as inane.

I get that, I totally do. The desire to pinpoint where someone went so far off the rails of rational thought that they're leaving no survivors is strong in me, too. Some people are just horrible people, though; self-deluded, silly, with a completely out of scale sense of entitlement and their own genius, maybe, but not necessarily mentally ill. When we think "just crazy", however tempting it is, we are substituting an easy answer for a hard one, and unfortunately adding to the stigma those with mental illness suffer under.

By elsworthy (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

@mho, #183 --

"For that matter."

You can change the mother's name and this story seems to fit so many young mothers today.
Just 5 weeks ago at a family wedding, my niece flew in with a very sick coughing 16 mos old baby and her 4 yr old son.
She insisted on bringing the baby everywhere, to every dinner and get-together.
Did I mention that she refuses to vaccinate or take the children to doctors, relying upon natural remedies usually bought at the local health food store.
The sad part is when she was asking to not bring the baby to her sisters suite (the bride), she thought "everyone loves my children and would want to see them, they won't mind, I won't stay long".

The upshot of this story... for the past 5 weeks I have been coughing... strong spasmodic coughing fits that make you unable to breath and want to wretch.
I'm so annoyed. Obviously my immunity has worn off as I aged.
I wish the husbands of these women would grow some balls and just take their children to an MD. As a mother I cannot fathom the anguish that you would go through if your child died from such a needless situation!

Ugh, must go now...hack hack cough cough :-(

“Standard issue human inanities and cognitive faults” can lead anyone down any number of rabbit holes. I know it is frightening, but it is the truth.

Yep. It can happen to anyone. And in a minor way, it probably does happen to everyone.

I think there's probably more luck involved than it's easy to appreciate, if you're among the lucky ones. Just about everybody's been vulnerable sometimes.

# 159 ann

At least as I understand it, raw dairy offers no health benefits; the statistical risk of harm is low; but the consequences for those who gamble on it and lose are potentially very serious.

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. It does not particularly worry me if some idiot wants to serve it. I don't see it as conferring any benefit other than making one feel virtuous : Still a fool and his/her money are quickly parted. As mentioned, in a developing country I'd not touch unpasteurized milk products.

That being the case (assuming that it is), whether or not the idea scares any particular individual seems to me to be irrelevant to the question of whether or not public health officials are right to say it's unnecessarily dangerous.

My point is that it probably is overstressed as a danger judging by some local reactions I have seen. I get the feeling the public health officials think we are back in the 1930's when unpasteurized milk was potentially very dangerous - TB is not nice. Nowadays there is some possible danger but probably not as much as from slightly uncooked chicken--which can be quite dangerous-- or even improperly stored pasteurized milk in a residence.

By jrkrideau (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

Todd W. writes:

I wonder if any of her children suffered broken or fractured ribs that went unnoticed by her.

Well, she did not recognize that her children had pertussis (and neither did the first naturopath she consulted --it can inferred that the second recognized the disease even if they were just as inclined to prescribe quackery as the others) so not noticing something that can easily go unnoticed would be expected.

By August Pamplona (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

@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.

A quick G--gle search for "raw milk poisoning" brings up quite a few incidents in the US.

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.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 05 Nov 2015 #permalink

PGP, I am confused.

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

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. :-)

@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.

Is Whopping Cough caused by flouride?

By Rebecca Fisher (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

@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.

Um, pertussis?

By James Lind (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

@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.

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!

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

@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.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

@ 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?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

Blockquote fail, argh.

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.

By Frequent Lurker (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

@calle #209

Perhaps someone is lying?

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.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

You must be a gas at parties, PGP.

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

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.

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.

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

@ 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.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

@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.

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.

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...

@ sadmar:

Either Andy or Gamondes herself.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

PGP, you have an incredibly inane collection of prejudices.

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

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

@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.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

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.

By Lighthorse (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

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

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.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

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.

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.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

<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.

Blockquote fail. Prosecco's fault.

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.

@ 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!

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

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.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

@Delphine, #250 --

I haven't heard that in forever. Thanks.

I was expecting Supertramp.

I was expecting Radiohead.

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

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

I WILL GIVE YOU ALL A BIG CLUE

DELPHINETTE'S NAME IS NOT ACTUALLY DELPHINETTE!

:)

bonne fin de semaine

I was expecting Supertramp.

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

"Goodbye Stranger" and "The Logical Song."

Hide In Your Shell

“Goodbye Stranger” and “The Logical Song.”

Negatory on both. I recall quite disliking the latter.

I forgot about "Give a Little Bit."

Can I swap that with "Goodbye Stranger"?

I recall quite disliking the latter.

Aha! But you recall it, doncha?

I'm not conceding.

Ben Carson style.

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

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.

*assumption

Jesus wept

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:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjWI7jq1lbk

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!

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.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

@ 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.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

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).

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

@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.

By stewartt1982 (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

By Gemman Aster (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

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).

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.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

"Me find bug. Me kill bug. Me go home."

Bumper sticker :)

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.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

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.

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?

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

"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

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

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"?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

By Bill Price (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

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

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.)

By dedicated lurker (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

"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. ;-)

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

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.

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.

By moto_librarian (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

@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."

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

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.

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.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.)

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.

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.

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.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

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?

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.

By janerella (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

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

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.

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. :-P

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. :-(

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

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.

Munchausen by proxy comes to mind.

By Robert Parrett (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink