One of the constant themes of the anti-vaccination movement is the displacement of empathy for grieving parents and families. The Australian Vaccination Network have consistently shown that they are more than willing to put aside ethics and decency in the pursuit of their ideology. Whatever it takes: vaccines are to blame for almost all childhood illness and death, and they will go to any and all lengths to show that this is the case.
In October 2011 I wrote At the AVN it is acceptable to harass a grieving family. In it I included this quote from Meryl Dorey, in which she clearly states that anyone who harasses a grieving family will be “ejected” from the AVN:
Meryl Dorey also wrote this on July 30 2010, in the same blog post, A grieving family and baseless accusations:
As it always comes to pass, Meryl Dorey has a worse memory of her statements than those who investigate her statements. So, it should come as no surprise that Dorey reverts to form (a form of which she denies she is capable), to advocate that her followers contact grieving members of families who have lost infants. This is based on unfounded comments on the AVN Facebook page, from one of her followers. The follower comments:
in the past 5 days there has been 5 babies dead of cot death, the one i know i of was 15 months old, how do i find out if it may be connected with immunisations, this is all in my city of bunbury wa?? how do i find out if there is a link??
Note, again: these claims are unsubstantiated. This has never stopped Meryl Dorey from swinging into action. Hang the cost to the families involved:
Personally, I can’t imagine a pattern of thought which leads to one thinking that this is okay. And it certainly makes Dorey’s former claims to be above this sort of cruelty ring hollow.
As noted by a friend, this little episode will become AVN folklore, in time. Facts? Compassion? They have no place in the ideology of the anti-vaccination movement.
The sooner this callous group of people is sent packing, the better.
Update: same day
I was waiting for some correspondence regarding Dorey’s claims regarding paramedics, in her above screed. I’ve heard back from two paramedics (thanks goes to those who know who they are):
“We’re not forbidden. That’s ridiculous. I ask the parents of every child case if their [the child’s] vaccines are up to date”.
“Asking about vaccination is probably question 2 or 3, my experience is this is one of the very 1st things they ask at hospital if/when we transport children to an ED for further care/assessment.”
One day Meryl Dorey will speak on things of which she is aware. Don’t hold your breath.
Update 2: same day
It would appear that the thread on which Dorey advocated that her members contact grieving families has been deleted. In the thread, Dorey denied advocating for such a course of action, despite her clear indications to the contrary (in the above screen capture), and her follower’s inclination to follow her advice (in the screen capture below).
“I have never contacted a family who lost a child and I never would”: one day I may get permission to address this particular claim. One day.
Update August 1 2012
Unfortunately, it appears that someone in Western Australia did follow the advice of Meryl Dorey, and contacted the grieving parents of a deceased baby, to ask them if their bub was vaccinated. This is from the Facebook page of this grieving family. I feel a little ill.
Age of infant — SIDS incidence rises from zero at birth, is highest from two to four months of age, and declines toward zero after the infant’s first year. Mage DT (1996). “A probability model for the age distribution of SIDS”. J Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Infant Mortal 1: 13–31.
I’ve never heard of a child dying from SIDS aged 15 months. I also don’t see how a diagnosis of SIDs could be obtained so quickly (<5 days) given that SIDS is a diagnosis of exclusion requiring a forensic autopsy and detailed investigation the scene of death.
Once again the AVN are seen to revert to the lowest common denomenator. The last thing they should be doing is contacting anyone connected with a death.
They should ask if the children who died had been treated with an alternative therapy. Would the AVN conclude said treatment was the cause? Or did the child face east when getting out of bed? I mean, whatever answer a family were to provide in response to the AVNs ridiculous questions would be irrelevant and certainly could not be the basis of any reasonable conclusion on cause of death. That being the case, the AVN become thugs harassing parents suffering an unimaginably horrible loss.
Quite true. The “ask” about vaccines is passive-aggressive for tell them it was vaccination. Of course the family won’t accept this, so step two is to insist they must know that it’s all a conspiracy. Perhaps do what Dorey did and send hubby to intimidate grandparents. Threats to not speak out.
Then finally attack them for being part of the conspiracy itself. A sad mess.
She would never harass a grieving family? What the hell does she think she’s doing with the McCaffery’s regarding their daughter Dana?
She is such a two faced bitch.
I have worked as the Family worker for Sids and Kids be it years ago and yes I have looked after families where a child 20months death was found to be SIDS. But I agree Mochuck that a complete forensic examination ususally takes longer than five days as toxicology and brain dissection can take a while.
I just keep imagining the scenario……the commenter takes the advice of asking…….
“Hello, I am so sorry to hear about your circumstances and offer my condolences but would you mind telling me if your precious angel was vaccinated?. Sorry why do I want to know? Well, I’ve been told to ask……” Disgusting. That’s all I can say. Good article and points made.
As a mother of a 32 weeker, the lies and half truths in the story about the premature baby are easy to detect.
First of all, I think the parents were probably already skeptical of vaccines, as the recommendation is to vaccinate by actual not adjusted age, so they were already failing to follow sound medical advice.
Secondly, every single time my daughter became very unwell prior to 18 months, we were shipped straight to the hospital or for further testing. Every single time. So that they saw THREE doctors with a newborn premature infant and not a single one sent them for further testing sounds extremely suspicious to me. Either the child’s condition was greatly exaggerated or the doctor’s visits were (probably by our good friend Meryl “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story” Dorey).
Finally, I might be overly reading into it, but the situation where the exhausted family fell asleep reeks of “in the same bed” subtext to me. That means the child, at between 1 – 3 months old, premature and co-sleeping was “suffering” from three globally recognised factors in SIDS deaths. Not only that, I would not be the least bit surprised if it was actually diagnosed that the child had died from accidental asphyxiation, but the parents (or Dorey) passed along the story as SIDS. In the case of the parents, to help combat blame and guilt (and who can blame them if they did) and in the case of Dorey, to add weight to the “SIDS is actually hidden vaccine reactions” crap.
Sometimes I sincerely feel like Dorey pulls out “likely scenario” anecdotal evidence that she has made up to back her up, because more than once I have seen someone who knows a topic in more detail than her explain why her story sounds like utter rubbish. The military vaccination controversy being one such glaring example.
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Look for a link between SIDS and postpartum depression. Sad but true.
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I once asked an anti-vaccination liar whether there was a possibility that a baby’s death (or descent into autism, for that matter) could have been caused by breast feeding if that had happened just before. I was told that this is ridiculous as that would just be a coincidence.
Trying to create a link between vaccines and SIDS is just a notch above defending people who beat babies to death by attributing the injuries in Shaken Baby Syndrome to vaccine damage.
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@mochuck: I can vouch for a SIDS death at 3 days of age (not my child, but my patient in the newborn nursery). Alive at 4:30 am, dead at 5 am. As for over 12 months: yes, SIDS is very rare after 12 months, but I believe it has been listed as a real cause of death (recently, with good autopsies, etc) as old as 18-20 months.
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