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Refuse vaccines and risk dismissal by doctor

It's not unusual for a patient to change doctors. Doctors retire, families move, insurance changes.

And sometimes, patients get fired.

"Discharging parents from a practice is never easy," says Thomas Tryon, a pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo. "I never did it without disappointment that I'd somehow failed to communicate enough with the family."

But done it he has, as have other pediatricians.

Missed appointments, rude or threatening behavior and nonpayment of bills are some of the reasons cited ā€” but one that's becoming increasingly common is parents' refusal to allow their children to be vaccinated.

Tryon and colleagues surveyed 900 pediatricians in nine Midwestern states and found that 21% have discharged families for refusing vaccination. About 60% said one in 20 families in their practice refused or requested altered vaccine schedules; 4% said a majority did. Tryon reported findings last month at a meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
 
 

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