The big F… December 2, 2012
An inspirational article written by one of my favourite Doctors.:
DR JAYNE LM DONEGAN MBBS DRCOG DCH DFFP MRCGP MFHom
GP & Homeopath
In my opinion, the biggest barrier to intelligent management of childhood
illnesses is fear which comes in many forms:
- Fear of trusting our own judgement and intuition because we have been lead to believe that only the ‘professionals’ are qualified to make decisions about our children,
- Fear that diseases that were once regarded as part of growing up are now ‘killers’,
- Fear that without high tech interventions our children will suffer disability or death ,
- Fear of symptoms such as fever, cough or rash,
- Fear that without paracetamol or ibuprofen, our children will all have febrile convulsions,
- Fear of every rash, that it might be meningitis
- Fear of allowing cough and mucus to run its natural course (out of the body)
- Fear that the world outside is full of random bacteria and viruses that are just waiting to strike our children down,
- Fear that without antibiotics, no child will come through an illness,
- Fear that without 99% bactericidal soap our children will be infected by dangerous germs in their environment
- Fear that without vaccination, no child will reach adulthood.
We even seem to be afraid nowadays that our children cannot cope with fresh air, so we keep them cooped up in over heated houses instead of putting them out to play in all weathers as our grandparents and great grandparents were
It is not surprising that there is so much fear in the realm of healthcare, or more accurately, disease care. If you feel this way, it is because that is how your doctor, health visitor and practice nurse feel too. Unless they have studied an alternative health philosophy, all they know about infectious disease is ‘The Germ Theory of Disease’ – all those bugs are out there waiting to get you, and if you don’t have the latest antibiotic/vaccine/ antiseptic/ bleach your child’s toys three times a week, you will contract a hideous disease that may be mild in some cases, but could, without doubt, attack and harm your child, leaving them disabled or dead.
No wonder so many of us reach for the bottle of paracetamol, sterilise our houses, don’t allow our children to pick up food they have dropped on the floor, and vaccinate with 25 different vaccines by the time they are 13 months, according to the latest schedule (29, if your child gets the BCG and Hepatitis B vaccine)
We are also encouraged to fear by the sensationalist handling of disease in the media. We hear horror stories about an increase in
cases of measles as if it were the black death. If a child can be found who has died, the story is paraded four times an hour on news bulletins and splashed across all the newspapers with the savage delight of a pack of hounds pulling apart a fox at a hunt. Any attempts at finding out the circumstances of the case, the prior state of health of the child, details about their treatment before or after reaching hospital are met with absolute silence – the idea seems to be to promote fear, not understanding. Even a visit to a farm is clouded with dire warnings of ‘Deadly E.coli risk’!
Does this fear matter?
Yes it certainly does, because a frightened parent is a stressed parent. The immune system is a delicate, sensitive and wonderfully intelligent apparatus. A child, and even more so, an infant, sees the outside world through the lense of their parents feelings and understanding. It is only later that they take their first independent steps along the path of self knowledge.Common sense tells us that stressed mothers cause stress in their babies, and this has been confirmed in studies. Stress causes outpourings of steroid hormones which, after an initial boost, cause a lowering of the effectiveness of the immune system.
So you enter a vicious cycle,:you fear that the worst will happen to your child, this lowers you child’s ability to cope with their day to day life, and when they get ill, lowers their ability to cope with the illness, then they go on to get complications and there you have it: a self fulfilling prophecy.
So what can we do?
We can put our feet back firmly on the ground, take a nice calm deep breath in, and an even longer one out and look at the facts. If it were really that difficult to reach adulthood, none of the human race would have reached the twenty first century. And if you look back at recorded history, the real killers throughout the ages have always been: war leading to famine causing pestilence and then death – the three horsemen of the apocalypse.
Worldwide, clean water has saved more lives than any other single intervention.
I believe that every parent inherits the ability to care for their child, in much the same way as we inherit the colour of our eyes, hair or skin. All the tools we need are inside us already, all we need is practice in their practical application.
The great American naturopath Herbert Shelton was fond of saying: “happiness, contentment and cheer should be cultivated with as much care and persistency as the gardener exercises in the cultivation of his plants.”
So cultivate self confidence, optimism and faith. Faith in yourself that you have been endowed with everything necessary for your
present task, and faith that you and you children have been born into a supportive world where there are many more good people than bad, and abundance of what we need rather than lack.
© 2008 Dr Jayne LM Donegan
Dr Jayne LM Donegan
MBBS DRCOG DCH DFFP MRCGP MFHom
Are childhood infections a good thing? October 10, 2011
Here is another article written by Dr Jayne Donegan and posted with her permission. See her website for more interesting articles on childhood illness and vaccinations.
“My interest in vaccination stems from my concern for child – and adult – health safety issues. It is important that every parent has sufficient information to make an informed choice about vaccination that is right for them and their family.” ~ Dr Jayne Donegan
ARE CHILDHOOD INFECTIONS A GOOD THING?
GP & Homeopath DR JAYNE LM DONEGAN MBBS DRCOG DCH DFFP MRCGP MFHom
We vaccinate against lots of childhood diseases now because we are told that having the diseases is a bad thing and leads to thousands of deaths. However, when we look at the figures from the Office for National Statistics, we see that 95% of the people who used to die from measles stopped dying before the vaccine was introduced in 1968 and similarly 99% of the people who used to die of whooping cough. The mortality rate for tuberculosis fell no differently in countries that did and did not use the BCG vaccine.
Scarlet fever, rheumatic fever and typhus were deadly killers. They all disappeared without a vaccine. Why?
Because the good old Victorians realised that if they did not take steps to clean up the cities after the massive move from the country to towns in the eighteenth century, everyone – rich people included – was going to die in epidemics. They cleared slums, introduced new minimum standards for sanitation, they built railways to bring fresh fruit and vegetables into the cities, they built sewers and piped water supplies (the ones that we still rely on now) and they arranged for the dead to be buried outside of towns.
Why did vaccination catch on in such a powerful way?
It was all to do with Pasteur and his ‘Germ Theory of Disease’. He said ‘The germs are present in the disease, therefore the germs cause the disease’. However, meeting a germ is no guarantee of catching the disease, that is why all the people on a bus where one person has ‘flu don’t get the ‘flu. It all depends on their susceptibility.
What is susceptibility?
It is the state of your immune system. If you are healthy and happy, you live in well ventilated housing, drink clean water and food which is not full of artificial sweeteners, additives and hormones, you spend enough time outside and somebody loves you, then you will expel completely or have mild forms of most infectious diseases.
Pasteur himself said on his death bed ‘The soil is everything; the germ is nothing’, but no-one seems to remember this as we all rush helter-skelter towards protecting ourselves from the monster who lurks without rather that strengthening our immune system from within.
A well known saying in the science of immunology is that ‘autoimmunity is the price one pays for the eradication of infectious diseases’1
This is because our immune system has evolved through the challenge of infectious diseases. Yes, they were scourges when they first arrived but they have been our travelling companions for a long time – it is not in their interest to wipe us out – who else would they have to infect? It’s a two way street. We let them infect us and they make us strong.
The way children learn what to do with their immune system is by being exposed to lots of viruses and bacteria and learning how to deal with them (as in ‘You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die!’). They learn what is ‘me’ and what is ‘not me’ so that their immune system is able to protect rather than attack them.
We see all too commonly now the effect of denying children natural exposure to these diseases in the rise in the incidence of asthma, eczema and autoimmune diseases such as diabetes.
A study by Ronne in the Lancet (1985;1:1-5) showed that adults who had had natural measles with a rash had a lower incidence of various cancers, including cervical cancer. West (Cancer 1996;7:1001-1007) showed that girls who had had clinical mumps as children had less cancer of the ovaries.
Scientists nowadays are talking about trying to make a vaccine of ‘dirt’, to simulate the effect of having childhood illnesses because they see how weak everyone’s immune system is becoming – city children are being told not to visit farms in case they die of E. coli. For goodness sake, a child comes in contact with E. coli every time it wipes its bottom!!!
Doesn’t vaccination have the same effect as natural infections?
No? Why not? Because when we vaccinate we give a different form of the organism, in a different dose, at a different age and by a different route to natural infection. This tends to sensitise rather than immunise.
We are all told not to give babies below the age of six months citrus fruits, nuts, wheat or unmodified dairy products by mouth to avoid allergies; yet at the age of eight weeks (or, in the case of Hepatits B vaccination, one day) we inject them, not only with the unnatural organism, but also with mercury (thiomersal), aluminium and formaldehyde – all quite poisonous.
● Vaccination stops children having their childhood illnesses at a beneficial age (3-4years).
● Children are now susceptible to rubella and mumps at just the age when girls can conceive and boys can be made sterile.
● Antibodies from vaccination are of poor quality compared to those from natural disease.
● They do not cross the placenta to make young babies immune with the effect that children less than one year are more susceptible.
This is when babies are most likely to suffer neurological damage from whooping cough and is precisely what is happening today. Because of the plethora of deaths in young babies from whooping cough, the Department of Health added a whooping cough ‘booster’ to the pre- school vaccination program and in the USA they have already added another shot to the school leaver program – when will it stop?
Are childhood diseases nice to have?
Are they hard work for the parents?
Do you have to know how to support your child through these illnesses rather than suppress them with paracetamol or ibuprofen and non indicated antibiotics so that they come out of them stronger rather than weaker?
Is it worth it in the long term?
I believe so.
We cannot escape these illnesses. They have been with us too long. They are part of why we are who we are. We can run but we can’t hide. The more we try to fight them with vaccines and antibiotics instead of living with them and strengthening ourselves the more we weaken our immune system and become susceptible to a whole host of pathogens – listeria, legionella, Lyme’s disease, cyclospora, not to mention the AIDS virus that no-one had heard of a few decades ago.
© Dr Jayne LM Donegan 2002, revised 2010
MBBS DRCOG DCH DFFPRHC MRCGP MFHom
1 Wilson AG, Duff GW, Genetic traits in common diseases, BMJ 1995; 310:1482-3
To book a telephone or in person consultation to discuss health or vaccination issues, or if you would be interested in hosting a lecture or workshop in your area, please call: T/F 0044 (0)20 8632 1634 leaving your details clearly or email: email@example.com
This article first appeared in The Informed Parent 2009
‘Vaccination – the Question’
‘Vaccination – the Science’ (for practitioners and very interested parents)
‘Vaccination and Travel Medicine’
‘What do you do if you don’t Vaccinate (and also if you do)? Supportive treatment of Childhood Illnesses’
* ‘Mumps, Measles, Rubella – Which is better: The Disease or the Vaccine?’
‘Tetanus and Treatment of Cuts and Grazes’ ***** Focus on Meningitis – How Can You Avoid It
‘How to Raise a Healthy Child (and Parent!)’ *** ‘Homeopathy for Children – An Introduction’
‘Oh Happy Days! Food Refusal, Bed Times and other ‘Parental Learning Opportunities’
© Dr Jayne L.M. Donegan MBBS DRCOG DFFP DCH MRCGP MFHom
Telephone/Fax 0044 (0)20 8632 1634
Vaccination – The Doctors Dilemma March 16, 2011
Since I’ve had children I have put more thought into the use of chemicals (unnatural baby soaps, shampoos, creams, powders, etc) . I know the skin is a giant sponge (hence hormone patches and nicotine) and I want to protect my little ones from harm and disease in any way I can…chemicals cannot be good.
But what about vaccination? My children are unvaccinated, and ‘the establishment’ often makes me feel nervous and guilty about it as I am not medically qualified therefore I should not be making this decision. But should I? Am I doing it in the best interest of my child? After all, with vaccinations and all, childhood illnesses and diseases are on the rise. Autism, autoimmune diseases, Leukemia…
With the permission of Dr Jayne LM Donegan MBBS DRCOG DCH DFFP MRCGP MFHom, I am posting her article. I found it an interesting read, and hope you do too. This doctor has done her research!
The Doctor’s Dilemma
DR JAYNE LM DONEGAN MBBS DRCOG DCH DFFP MRCGP MFHomGP & Homeopath
Having trained as aconventional medical doctor,qualifying from St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, University of London, in 1983, all of myundergraduate teaching and postgraduate experience in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Family Planning, Child Health, Orthopaedics, EmergencyMedicine and General Practice led me to being a strong supporter of the Universal Childhood VaccinationProgram. Indeed, I used to counsel parents in the 1980s who didn’t want to vaccinate their children against whooping cough – which was regarded as the ‘problematic’ vaccine in those days. I used to tell them that there were, indeed, adverse reactions, associated with the vaccine – I was not one of those doctors who would gloss over such unpleasant details – but that we doctors were told that the adverse reactions that might occur after the pertussis vaccine were at least ten times less likely the chance of getting complications from having the disease, and that, essentially, the point of giving their child the vaccine was to prevent them from getting the disease. Indeed, I used to think that parents who didn’t want to vaccinate their children were either ignorant, or sociopathic. I believe that view is not uncommon amongst doctors today.
Why did I have this attitude? Well,throughout my medical training I was taught that the people who used to die in their thousands or hundreds of thousands from diseases like diphtheria, whooping cough and measles – diseases for which there are vaccines – stopped dying because of the introduction ofvaccines. At the same time I was taught that diseases like typhus,cholera, rheumatic and scarlet fever for which there are no vaccines stopped killing people because of improvements in social conditions. Itwould have been a logical progression to have asked myself why, if social conditions improved the health of the population with respect to some diseases, would they not improve their health with regard to them all, but, the amount of information that you are required to absorb during medical training is so huge, that you just tend to take it as read and not make the connections that might be obvious to someone else. ‘It was a received article of faith for me and my contemporaries that vaccination was the single most useful health intervention that ever been introduced ‘and when my children were born in1991 and 1993 I unquestioningly –well that is to say I thought it was with full knowledge backed up by all my medical training – had themvaccinated, up as far as MMR,because that was the right thing to do. I even let my four-week-old daughter be injected with an out of date BGC vaccine at a public health clinic. I noticed (force of habit, I automatically scan vials for drugname, batch number and expirydate) that the vaccine was out of date and said, “Oh, excuse me, it looks like it’s out of date”, and the doctor answered matter-of-factly ,“Oh don’t worry, that’s why the clinicwas delayed for an hour, we were just checking that it was OK to give it, and it is”, and I said “OK,” and let her inject it…… my poor daughter had a terrible reaction, but I was so convinced that it was all for the best that I carried on with all the rest of them at two, three and four months.That is where I was coming from –even my interest in homeopathy didn’t dent my enthusiasm for vaccines, so far as I could see, it was the same process – give a small dose of something and it makes you immune – no conflict.
So what happened? In 1994 there was the Measles Rubella Campaign in which seven million school children were vaccinated against measles and rubella. The Chief Medical Officer sent out letters to all GPs,Pharmacists, Nursing Officers andother health care staff, telling us that there was going to be an epidemic of measles. The evidence for this epidemic was not published at thetime. In later years it seems that itwas predicted by a complicated mathematical model based on estimates and so might never have been going to occur at all.We were told, “Everybody who has had one dose of the vaccine will not necessarily be protected when the epidemic comes. So they need another one.” Well, that’s OK,” I thought, “because we know that none of the vaccines are 100%effective.”
What did worry me, however, was when they said that even those who had had two doses of measles vaccine would not necessarily be protected when the epidemic came and that they needed a third. You may not remember, but in those days there was only one measles vaccine in the schedule. It was a live virus vaccine, so it was like coming in contact with the wild virus, just changed slightly to make it safer and leading to immunity. Since then, ofcourse, the pre-school dose has been added because one dose didn’twork, but in those days there was just ‘one shot for life.’
And now we were being told that even two shots of a ‘one shot’vaccine would not protect people when the epidemic came. At this point I I began to ask myself, “Whyhave I been telling all these parents that vaccines are safer than getting the disease and that basically,having the vaccine will stop theirchildren getting the disease – with the risk of complications – it’s not 100%,but that’s basically what theydesigned to do – when it seems that they can be vaccinated, have whatever adverse reactions are associated with the vaccine and get the disease with whatevercomplications may be associatedwith that, even when they’ve had two doses of the ‘one shot’ vaccine? Thisdoesn’t seem right.”
And now we were being told that even two shots of a ‘one shot’ vaccine would not protect people when the epidemic came. At this point I began to ask myself, “Why have I been telling all these parents that vaccines are safer than getting the disease and that basically,having the vaccine will stop their children getting the disease – thevaccines are not 100% effective, but that’s basically what they are designed to do. But now it seems that children can be vaccinated, have whatever adverse reactions are associated with the vaccine and still get the disease with whatevercomplications may be associatedwith that, even when they’ve had two doses of the ‘one shot’ vaccine? Sowhat was the point?.”
If you are wondering how come anyone would have had two doses of the ‘one shot vaccine,’ it is becausewhen the MMR was introduced in1988, many children had alreadybeen vaccinated against measles,but we were told that we should give them the MMR anyway as it would,“protect them against mumps andrubella and boost their measles immunity.”
We were also told that the best way of vaccinating was en masse, because this would ‘break the chain of transmission’. So I thought, “Iwonder why we vaccinate all these small babies at two, three and four months, why don’t we just wait two or three years and then vaccinate everyone who has been born in the meantime, and ‘break the chain of transmission.’
So some things just didn’t seem to quite add up. However it is very hard to start seriously questioning whether or not vaccination is anything other that safe and effective especially when it is something that you have been taught to believe in so strongly.The more medically qualified you are, the more difficult it is, as, in some ways the more brainwashed you are. It’s not easy, or at least it wasn’t then, to start going down a path that might lead you in the opposite direction to all your colleagues and the healthcare system in which you work.
I read some books that could be described as ‘anti-vaccination’. There contained graphs showing that the majority of the decrease in deaths from and incidence of the infectious diseases for which we have vaccines occurred before the vaccines were introduced in the1950s and 60s for example withwhooping cough and the late 1960s with measles. I decided that Icouldn’t just accept what these books were telling me, especially as the message was the opposite to what I had learned up until now. Ineeded to do some research. The graphs in my text books and the Department of Health Immunisation Handbook (the Green Book) appeared to show that the introduction of vaccines caused precipitous falls in deaths fromvaccinatable diseases.
I decided that if I were going toseriously question what I’d been taught at medical school and by my professors, I would have go and get the real data for myself. Accordingly, I called the Office forNational Statistics (ONS) and asked them to send me the graphs of deaths from the diseases against which we vaccinate from the middle of the nineteenth century, when we started keeping records ,until now. They said, “We don’t have them –except for smallpox and Tb, we suggest you try the Department of Health.” Which I did. They didn’thave graphs from the nineteenth or early twentieth century either. They said, “You’d better try the Office forNational Statistics.” “I’ve already tried them,” I said, “They were the ones who advised me to contact you.”
It seems to be getting rather circular,so I called up the ONS once again and told them my problem. “Well,”they said, “We have all the books here from when the Registrar General started taking returns of deaths from infectious diseases in1837, you can come along and look at them if you like.” There was nothing for it. I had to go the the Office for National Statistics(ONS) in Pimlico, with my two young children aged six and four in tow, to extract the information myself. The girls were very good – they were used to travelling/ following me around – and the library staff were very nice; they kindly gave mydaughters orange juice to drink, and paper and crayons to draw with and amuse themselves, while I while I pulled out all the mothy old books from 1837 until 1900, after which, thankfully, there was a CD ROM that could be bought at vast expense and taken home. It was the most user unfriendly piece of data storage that I have ever come across but it was better than having to physically be there day after day. So I went home took all my notes home and the CD Rom and eventually produced my own graphs. I was startled to find that they were similar to the graphs in some of the books that I had recently read.
I was astonished and not a little perturbed to find that when you draw a graph of the death rate from whooping cough that starts in the mid nineteenth century you can clearly see that at least 99% of the people who used to die of whooping cough in the nineteenth and early twentieth century has stopped dying before the vaccine against whooping cough was introduced, initially in the1950s and universally in the 1960s. Ialso realised that the reason the Department of Health’s graphs made the vaccine appear so effective was because they didn’t start until the1940s when most of the improvements in health had already occurred, and this was before even antibiotics were generally available.If you selected only deaths in under15 year-olds, the drop is even more dramatic – by the time whoopingcough vaccine was part of the universal immunisation schedule inthe early 1960s all the hard work had been done.
I now began to realise that graphs such as those featured in the in the Department of Health, Green Book were not a good or clear way of showing the changes in mortality(death) and morbidity (incidence of disease) that occurred before and after vaccination was introducedagainst these diseases.
Measles is the similar: the Department of Health Green Book features a graph that does not start until the 1940s. There appears to be great drop in the number of cases after the measle vaccine was introduced in 1968, but looking at agraph which goes back to the 1900s you can see that the death rate –death being the worst case complication of a disease – had dropped by 99% by the time thevaccine was put on the schedule.Looking specifically at under 15-year-olds, it is possible to see that there was an virtual one hundred percent decline in deaths from measles between 1905 and 1965 –three years before the measles vaccine was introduced in the UK.
In the late 1990s there was an advertisement for MMR which featured a baby in nappies sitting on the edge of a cliff with a lion prowling on the other side and a voice over saying,”No loving parent would deliberately leave their baby unprotected and in danger.” I think it would have been more scientific to have put one of the graphs using information from the ONS in the advert – then parents would have a greater chance of making an informed choice, rather than being coerced by fear.
When you visit your GP or HeathVisitor to discuss the vaccination issue, and you come away feeling scared this is because you are picking up how they feel. If all you have is the ‘medical model’ for disease and health, all you know is that there is a hostile world out there and if you don’t have vaccines,antibiotics and 100% bactericidal hand wash, you will have no defence at all against all those germs with which you and your children are surrounded. Your child may be OK when they get the measles but you can never tell when disaster will strike, and they may be left disabled or dead by the random hand of fate.
I was like that myself, and when the awful realisation began to dawn on me that vaccines weren’t all they were cracked up to be, I started looking in a panic for some other wayof protecting my children and myself– some other magic bullet.
My long, slow journey researching the vaccination disease ecology involved learning about other models and philosophies of health and the gradual realisation that it was true what people had told me all along, that ‘health is the only immunity.’ We don’t need protecting from out there.We get infectious diseases when ourbody needs to have a periodic cleanout. Children especially benefit from childhood spotty rashes, or’exanthems’ as they are called, in order to make appropriate developmental leaps. When we have fevers, coughs, rashes, we need to treat them supportively, not suppressively. In my experience, theworst complications of childhood infections are caused by standard medical treatment which involves suppressing all the symptoms.
What is the biggest obstacle to doctors’ even entertaining the possibility that the Universal Childhood Vaccination Program may not be the unmitigated success that it is portrayed to be? Or that there may be other ways of achieving health that are better and longer lasting? Possibly it is the fear of stepping out of line and being seen to be different– with all the consequences that this can entail, as I know from personal experience . As George Bernard Shaw says in his preface to ‘TheDoctor’s Dilemma’ 1906 : “Doctors are just like otherEnglishmen: most of them have nohonour and no conscience: whatthey commonly mistake for these issentimentality and an intense dreadof doing anything that everybodyelse does not do,or omitting to do anything thateverybody else does.”
© Dr Jayne LM Donegan MBBS DRCOG DCH DFFP MRCGP MFHom 2009FURTHER INFORMATION
To book a telephone or in person consultation to discuss health or vaccination issues, or if youwould be interested in hosting a lecture or workshop in your area,please call: T/F 0044 (0)20 8632 1634 (and leave a clear message)or email: firstname.lastname@example.org