Friday, August 22, 2008

When the State goes too far.... Parents are fugitives

Parents on the run with baby after refusing vaccination

A SYDNEY couple was on the run with their two-day-old baby last night after the Department of Community Services took out a Supreme Court order to have the boy vaccinated against hepatitis B.

The parents, from Croydon Park, fled their home on Thursday to avoid police and DOCS officers after they refused to have their son vaccinated at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. They told the Herald yesterday that they believed aluminium in the vaccine could cause him more damage than contracting hepatitis B.

The child's mother, from China, was diagnosed with hepatitis B several years ago, but both parents believe the illness, which can cause liver cancer and cirrhosis, can be managed more effectively than any potential neurological damage from the vaccine.
Vaccinations are not compulsory in Australia but it is NSW Health policy that parents of all babies born to hepatitis-B-positive mothers are offered immunoglobulin for the child within 12 hours of birth and four doses of the vaccine over six months.

The father, a financial adviser who is seeking an injunction against the court order, said he was told by doctors and midwives on the post-natal ward that they would be arrested and lose custody of their child if he left the hospital without having the vaccination.
The man said he and his wife had then left the hospital on Wednesday after agreeing to visit a GP, accompanied by a DOCS officer, on Thursday to get more information about the risks involved. But when the father failed to show up at 4pm at an Ashfield medical centre, he was told DOCS was removing the baby from his care for immediate vaccination.

"We gathered some things and fled the house," he said yesterday.
But David Isaacs, a professor in pediatric infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital at Westmead and one of the doctors who contacted DOCs, said the case had angered staff because the baby's rights were being ignored.

"I am a strong believer in vaccinations being voluntary but not getting this baby vaccinated is a form of child abuse," he said. "We are talking a potentially major and awful outcome for this child and it is our job to protect children when they can't make decisions for themselves."

Has the State gone too far? Or should this couple be forced to immunize their child knowning the risks with the mother being Hep B positive?

No comments: