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Sunday, September 11, 2016

More on Sears

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism.

Tara Haelle reports at Forbes that Dr. Bob Sears may lose his medical license for improperly exempting a toddler from vaccines.
But in fact, writing a potentially spurious medical exemption — while serious in itself given the medical notes he wrote — is just the tip of an iceberg in the sea of Sears’ alleged medical negligence and harms to public health. Known as a vociferous, and vitriolic, critic of both California’s mandatory vaccination law SB 277 – promoting “vaccine choice” – and the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule, Sears has made a name for himself by fear-mongering about vaccines while creating and promoting an “alternative vaccination schedule” that skips and/or delays vaccines that are crucial to protecting children from vaccine-preventable illnesses. The very low immunization rates in Southern California, where Sears practices, has been noted as a contributor to the Disneyland measles outbreak in 2015.
The specific charges Sears faces in this complaint are gross negligence, repeated negligent acts and failure to maintain adequate and accurate records, brought by complainant, Kimberly Kirchmeyer, the executive director of the Medical Board of California. According to the accusation, disciplinary actions if Sears is found guilty of the charges run from a public reprimand — little more than a slap on the wrist — to suspension or revocation of his medical license. A spokesperson for Sears responded to requests for a comment with a statement that Sears is not commenting at this time on the charges.
But the charges involve much more than writing a vaccine exemption letter. According to the accusation, Sears failed to test the same toddler for neurological problems after the child was hit on the head with a hammer and failed to investigate alleged vaccine reactions that, if they did occur, would have been life-threatening. He also prescribed garlic for the child’s ear infection despite there being no evidence of its effectiveness. Such departures from the medical standard of care prompt questions about what other ways Sears might be practicing negligently beyond this complaint