Anti-vaccine nurses and midwives 3

Grant Francis is an enrolled nurse who works in aged care in the Maitland area. He identifies himself as a nurse on his Twitter profile, which is also from where today’s evidence is taken:

Gfrancis 1 twitter bio nurse Maitland

Francis is the husband of anti-vaccination activist Rixta Francis, who is best known for her repugnant commentary surrounding a family who lost a baby boy to whooping cough. Here are just three examples of Francis hideous comments. From January 13 2016:

Francis 33 photo and comment VFA Jan 13 2016 parents killed baby

From January 16 2016:

Francis 39 VFA January 16 2016 photo and comment narcissists

From January 16 2016:

Francis 40 VFA January 16 2016 photo and comment death made up

It is crucial that Rixta Francis’ anti-vaccination activism is highlighted; she is the source of her husband’s misinformation, which he shares on Twitter after having identified himself as a nurse.

Also, at the end of this post, I will include two addenda: firstly, a glorious review of Rixta Francis’ self-published book (the book is promoted by Grant Francis); and, secondly, selections from the nursing codes and guidelines which are commonly breached in these instances.

In addition, I have created a 56-page, fully-linked, PDF document of all evidence which can be downloaded for inclusion in any complaint which readers may wish to lodge about Grant Francis: Grant Francis EN Maitland NMW0001043489.

On April 19 2015, Francis promoted his wife’s delusional Vaccine Freedom Song:

GFrancis 28 The Vaccine Song tweet April 19 2015

Perhaps even more haunting than her lyrics came these words from Francis, himself:

GFrancis 29 sing true my darling wife tweet YT

Some of Rixta Francis’ lyrics include the following:

So sell your shots only to the sheeple.

We don’t want your toxic shots.

There is no proof that vaccines are safe

You cannot show their efficacy either.

Children are injured, babies killed

Because those shots are poison filled.

Dear health care ministers everywhere

We know who pays you for this fraud

And here it is, in all its glory. I apologise in advance, dear friends:


On June 27 2015, Francis promoted his wife’s conspiracy theories about Ebola, including germ theory denialism. The Fiction of Science is Rixta Francis’ blog, as well as the name of her self-published book:

Gfrancis 24 ebola denialism

On July 15 2015, Francis asserts that vaccines are the cause of food allergies in children:

Gfrancis 23 vaccine cause allergies

On July 15 2015, Francis shared his wife’s blog post asserting that vaccines cause childhood cancer:

Gfrancis 22 vaccines cancer

On August 12 2015, Francis shared misinformation about Alzheimer’s and depression. For an aged care nurse this is particularly concerning:

Gfrancis 21 depression alzh

On August 20 2015, Francis again shares misinformation about Alzheimer’s and dementia:

Gfrancis 20 alzh dementia

On August 30 2015, Francis shared his wife’s misinformation about Ebola and immunisation:

Gfrancis 19 antivax ebola

On August 30 2015, Francis shared his wife’s misinformation about influenza immunisation:

Gfrancis 18 flu vax

On August 30 2015, Francis shared his wife’s conspiracy theories asserting that vaccines cause autism:

Gfrancis 17 vax autism

On September 2 2015, Francis shared misinformation surrounding Alzheimer’s and dementia research:

Gfrancis 16 alzheiners dementia

On November 15 2015, Francis posted many anti-vaccination arguments in a conversation on Twitter, even citing emergency departments from his workplace:

Gfrancis 7 vax

Gfrancis 8 vax

Gfrancis 9 vax

Gfrancis 10 vax

Gfrancis 11 vax

On December 2 2015, Francis promotes his wife’s conspiratorial anti-vaccine blog post:

Gfrancis 6 antivax gmo mosq

On December 6 2015, Francis promotes his wife’s AIDS denialism:

Gfrancis 5 HIV AIDS denialism

On December 21 2015, Francis shares his wife’s blog post containing AIDS denialism and misinformation about parasites:

Gfrancis 4 parasites

On December 31 2015, Francis shares his wife’s anti-cancer screening misinformation:

Gfrancis 3 cancer screening does nothing

On January 6 2016, Francis promotes his wife’s delusional, anti-science vanity publication, The Fiction of Science. Please see Addendum 1 for an accurate appraisal of this execrable book:

Gfrancis 2 book promote

On February 13 2016, Francis shares his wife’s defamatory, anti-vaccine blog post in which she accuses researcher Professor Katie Flanagan of being on par with mass murderers. Professor Flanagan is investigating immunisation in the elderly:

Gfrancis 25 vax and elderly

Complaints to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia can be lodged, here.

And remember:

So sell your shots only to the sheeple

Thanks for reading.


Addendum 1

A fine example of anti-science fallacy January 6 2016

by Dr Patrick Stokes

This review is from: The Fiction Of Science (Paperback)

I’m not even sure it’s fair to post a review of a ‘book’ like Rixta Francis’ slim vanity publication. It’s so self-evidently inept, and so unlikely to be taken seriously even by Francis’ allies in the antivax movement, that any comment you can make about it feels uncomfortably harsh. Still, insofar as Francis wants her work to be taken seriously enough that she’s put out a book, then she also invites, and indeed should welcome, critique. It’s also worth dwelling on “The Fiction of Science” as a remarkably clear example of one of the key flaws that drive anti-science thinking. I’ll come to that in a moment.

This book sets out to deflate a number of claims made by and on behalf of science. Francis, as quickly becomes evident, doesn’t understand how science as a method of inquiry actually works. There’s no sign of any familiarity with the philosophy of science either; her claim that “Real science means that if you find something that contradicts your theory, you rewrite or discard your Theory” is a classic statement of naïve falsificationism, a view that has been flatly rejected for more than half a century. She complains that most scientific papers don’t actually tell you how they conducted the study, which suggests Francis doesn’t read the scientific literature at all, just second-hand reports of it. Her discussion of the composition of the sun suggests she hasn’t heard of spectroscopy, which seems like a pretty basic thing to know about if you’re going to tell astronomers they don’t know what they’re talking about. The chapter on medical research demonstrates Francis doesn’t know much about the history of science either; apparently Francis thinks diseases only come into being when someone names them, as if, to use one of her examples, no-one had dementia before Alzheimer’s Disease was described as a specific condition.

There are no references provided at all, so most of the empirical claims here are uncheckable and thus worthless. But needless to say the claims run from ‘wrong’ (e.g. the claim evolution has stopped) to ‘not even wrong’ (the claim that scientists ‘don’t even know’ if viruses are alive or not: that’s a conceptual, not empirical issue i.e. an issue about what the word ‘life’ means) to ‘trivial’ (the section on animal intelligence), to ‘offensively wrong’ (the claim that climate scientists deliberately ignore data or that identifying the genetic causes of disease is a waste of money) to ‘dangerously irresponsible *and* offensively wrong’ (the entire chapter on drugs in which, among all sorts of other dangerous advice, Francis dismisses clinically-diagnosed depression as “feel[ing] low sometimes”).

But then, Francis is quite up front that this isn’t meant to be a scientific book and that she’s not a scientist, but instead sees herself as particularly good at ‘critical thinking.’ Charitably, then, we should judge the book by that standard instead.

When we do, things don’t get any better though. Instead of reasoned, careful, and empirically-informed argument, we simply get a series of false entailments, outright non-sequiturs, fallacious appeals to nature and to antiquity (“But a bit of common sense can tell you that something that has been around for so long must be good”), confusions between teleological and functional descriptions of nature (for instance confusing the question of how viruses make us sick with the question of what viruses are “for,” or declaring “The moon gives us light at night and it influences the tides, but of course there are many more reasons why we have the moon. We just don’t know them,” which assumes that things in nature have some ‘purpose’), unnoticed tendentious assumptions (Francis seems to thinks *any* micro-level mutation is disadaptive and therefore evolution can’t get going), confused concepts (declaring evolution is unscientific because science requires an unchanging and uniformly law-governed universe – a regularity which she later denies at least twice – thereby mistaking the stability of scientific laws for the stability of macroscopic objects, as if ‘giraffeness’ has to be an unchanging law of the universe like gravity), idiosyncratic definitions (“in no way can you say that the whole earth is one area. That means that “global climate change” is an oxymoron”), ad hominem, internal contradictions (temperature measurement is so inherently unreliable we can’t prove climate change is happening yet the Medieval Warm Period is an indisputable fact?) and, above all, appeals to ignorance.

A recurring theme throughout this book, and the thing that’s emblematic of so much anti-science thought, is that if Francis doesn’t understand something, then it apparently can’t be understood by anyone else. As one example, after running together evolution and the Big Bang (two entirely separate questions), she argues that abiogenesis is impossible because when you have your dog put down it stops being alive but has the same organised physical structure as it did before death. Francis, as best I can make sense of her ‘argument,’ thinks this means ‘life’ is a mysterious property superadded to matter, and that this makes abiogenesis impossible. Again, if Francis had any familiarity with either biology or philosophy, she would know that life is a functional state: the reason your dog can’t be brought back to life isn’t that some mysterious vital force has left its body, but because once the parts of a body cease to interact in a way that preserves homeostasis, the cells quickly break down irreparably. There’s no real mystery about that. But Francis’ curiosity only seems to extend to asking questions, not trying to understand the answers.

Indeed, what becomes clear, time and again, is that Francis has asked questions but then either hasn’t tried to find out the answers or hasn’t understood the answers she’s been given, and then assumes this means that nobody knows. In one very telling moment, Francis tells us “Forget it, there aren’t any explanations for these things. Well, maybe there are, but then they are way more complicated than our limited human brains can ever deal with.” Except, of course, that there are explanations for most of the things Francis finds so mysterious. Some of those explanations are partial and tentative, others are much more settled and complete, but in either case their adequacy as explanations doesn’t, in fact, consist in whether Francis personally finds them comprehensible or satisfying.

And that’s the thing that makes this text so useful: over and over again it displays the strange solipsism that characterises so much anti-science thought. The creation of knowledge is a social process; knowledge advances through communities of inquiry, not individuals trying to work everything out for themselves in isolation. But people who are opposed to science very often set themselves personally up as the arbiter of knowledge, and where a body of science conflicts with their pre-existing beliefs or intuitive responses, they assume the latter overrules the former. The inability to understand one’s own epistemic and critical limits is the whole engine room of this book, as it is of so much anti-science commentary. Time and again, Francis assumes her “common sense” trumps the scientific method – except her ‘common sense’ turns out to be a melange of quasi-religious beliefs about the purposiveness of nature, false and often half-remembered empirical claims, and uninterrogated gut responses. She insists that if a scientist can’t explain something to you in plain language, “then you can be sure that either they are dumb, or they have something to hide,” and that “If a scientist tries to get rid of you by stating that you don’t understand anything about science, you know for sure you are onto something.” It never seems to occur to her that some things are just intrinsically hard to understand.

Still, there’s at least one statement in this book I think is 100% true: “Why people study for years at university to learn about other people’s theories is something I don’t quite understand.” Indeed, after reading ‘The Fiction of Science,’ I’m sure she doesn’t.


Addendum 2

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia Codes and Guidelines.

Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia

1 Nurses practise in a safe and competent manner.

2 Nurses practise in accordance with the standards of the profession and broader health system.

Conduct Statement 2

Nurses practise in accordance with the standards of the profession and broader health system


1 Nurses are responsible for ensuring the standard of their practice conforms to professional standards developed and agreed by the profession, with the object of enhancing the safety of people in their care as well as their partners, family members and other members of the person’s nominated network. This responsibility also applies to the nurses’ colleagues.

2 Nurses practise in accordance with wider standards relating to safety and quality in health care and accountability for a safe health system, such as those relating to health documentation and information management, incident reporting and participation in adverse event analysis and formal open disclosure procedures.

3 Nurses practise and conduct themselves in accordance with laws relevant to the profession and practice of nursing.

Conduct Statement 3

Nurses practise and conduct themselves in accordance with laws relevant to the profession and practice of nursing


1 Nurses are familiar with relevant laws and ensure they do not engage in clinical or other practices prohibited by such laws or delegate to others activities prohibited by those laws.

2 Nurses witnessing the unlawful conduct of colleagues and other co-workers, whether in clinical, management, education or research areas of practice, have both a responsibility and an obligation to report such conduct to an appropriate authority and take other appropriate action as necessary to safeguard people and the public interest.

4 Nurses respect the dignity, culture, ethnicity, values and beliefs of people receiving care and treatment, and of their colleagues.

5 Nurses treat personal information obtained in a professional capacity as private and confidential.

6 Nurses provide impartial, honest and accurate information in relation to nursing care and health care products.

Conduct Statement 6

Nurses provide impartial, honest and accurate information in relation to nursing care and health care products


1 When nurses provide advice about any care or product, they fully explain the advantages and disadvantages of alternative care or products so individuals can make informed choices. Nurses refrain from engaging in exploitation, misinformation or misrepresentation with regard to health care products and nursing care.

2 Nurses accurately represent the nature of their services or the care they intend to provide.

3 Where a specific care or a specific product is advised, nurses ensure their advice is based on adequate knowledge and not on commercial or other forms of gain. Deceptive endorsement of products or services or receipt of remuneration for products or services primarily for personal gain, other than remuneration in the course of a proper commercial relationship, is improper.

7 Nurses support the health, wellbeing and informed decision-making of people requiring or receiving care.

8 Nurses promote and preserve the trust and privilege inherent in the relationship between nurses and people receiving care.

Conduct Statement 8

Nurses promote and preserve the trust and privilege inherent in the relationship between nurses and people receiving care


1 An inherent power imbalance exists within the relationship between people receiving care and nurses that may make the persons in their care vulnerable and open to exploitation. Nurses actively preserve the dignity of people through practised kindness and respect for the vulnerability and powerlessness of people in their care. Significant vulnerability and powerlessness can arise from the experience of illness and the need to engage with the health care system. The power relativities between a person and a nurse can be significant, particularly where the person has limited knowledge; experiences pain and illness; needs assistance with personal care; belongs to a marginalised group; or experiences an unfamiliar loss of self-determination. This vulnerability creates a power differential in the relationship between nurses and persons in their care that must be recognised and managed.

4 Nurses fulfil roles outside the professional role, including those as family members, friends and community members. Nurses are aware that dual relationships may compromise care outcomes and always conduct professional relationships with the primary intent of benefit for the person receiving care. Nurses take care when giving professional advice to people with whom they have a dual relationship (e.g. a family member or friend) and advise them to seek independent advice due to the existence of actual or potential conflicts of interest.

9 Nurses maintain and build on the community’s trust and confidence in the nursing profession.

Conduct Statement 9

Nurses maintain and build on the community’s trust and confidence in the nursing profession


1 The conduct of nurses maintains and builds public trust and confidence in the profession at all times.

2 The unlawful and unethical actions of nurses in their personal lives risk adversely affecting both their own and the profession’s good reputation and standing in the eyes of the public. If the good standing of either individual nurses or the profession were to diminish, this might jeopardise the inherent trust between the nursing profession and the public necessary for effective therapeutic relationships and the effective delivery of nursing care.

3 Nurses consider the ethical interests of the nursing profession and the community when exercising their right to freedom of speech and participating in public, political and academic debate, including publication.

10 Nurses practise nursing reflectively and ethically.

Conduct Statement 10

Nurses practise nursing reflectively and ethically


1 Nurses practise nursing reflectively and ethically, in accordance with the Code of Ethics for Nurses in Australia, in order to learn from experience and contribute to personal and professional practice.

2 Nurses develop and maintain appropriate and current quality nursing advice, support and care for each person requiring and receiving care and their partners, families and other members of their nominated social network. This responsibility also applies to colleagues of nurses.

3 Nurses evaluate their conduct and competency according to the standards of the nursing profession.

4 Nurses contribute to the professional development of students and colleagues.

5 Nurses participating in research do so in accordance with recognised research guidelines and do not violate their duty of care to persons receiving nursing care.

6 Nurses advise employers and any persons in their care of any reduction in their capacity to practise due to health, social or other factors, while they seek ways of redressing the problem.


Code of Ethics for Nurses in Australia

1 Nurses value quality nursing care for all people.

2 Nurses value respect and kindness for self and others.

3 Nurses value the diversity of people.

4 Nurses value access to quality nursing and health care for all people.

5 Nurses value informed decision-making.

Value Statement 5

Nurses value informed decision-making


Nurses value people’s interests in making free and informed decisions. This includes people having the opportunity to verify the meaning and implication of information being given to them when making decisions about their nursing and health care. Nurses also recognise that making decisions is sometimes constrained by circumstances beyond individual control and that there may be circumstances where informed decision making cannot always be fully realised.

6 Nurses value a culture of safety in nursing and health care.

Value Statement 6

Nurses value a culture of safety in nursing and health care


Valuing a culture of safety involves nurses actively engaging in the development of shared knowledge and understanding of the crucial importance of safety in contemporary health care. Nurses who value a culture of safety appreciate that safety is everyone’s responsibility. Nurses support the development of risk management processes and a practice environment designed to reduce the incidence and impact of preventable adverse events in health care. Nurses also support the open disclosure of any adverse events to any person affected during the course of their care.

7 Nurses value ethical management of information.

8 Nurses value a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable environment promoting health and wellbeing.


Social Media Policy

When using social media, health practitioners should remember that the National Law, their National Board’s code of ethics and professional conduct (the Code of conduct) and the Guidelines for advertising regulated health services (the Advertising guidelines) apply.

Registered health practitioners should only post information that is not in breach of these obligations by:

  • complying with professional obligations
  • complying with confidentiality and privacy obligations (such as by not discussing patients or posting pictures of procedures, case studies, patients, or sensitive material which may enable patients to be identified without having obtained consent in appropriate situations)
  • presenting information in an unbiased, evidence-based context, and
  • not making unsubstantiated claims.

Additional information may be available from professional bodies and/or employers, which aims to support health practitioners’ use of social media. However, the legal, ethical, and professional obligations that registered health practitioners must adhere to are set out in the National Boards’ respective Code of conduct and the Advertising guidelines.



About reasonable hank

I'm reasonable, mostly.
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