by Jessica Hall
Most parents of unvaccinated children wonder at some
point, "What would I do if my child came down with one of the so-called vaccine
preventable diseases? " A friend and neighbor of mine was in such a situation with
her three year old son. I asked her if she would like to share her experience with our
group and we decided to do an interview.
I was especially impressed with her experience because she is a single mother of three
children, and she took her son to the emergency room at Beth Israel accompanied by her
mother-in-law, who speaks no English and was therefore unable to assist in communicating
with the doctors.
Through this interview I learned that there is no treatment for measles in mainstream
medicine, probably because it is believed unnecessary because of the vaccine. It should be
a comfort for parents to know that there are many holistic treatments for measles. I went
to Barnes and Nobles to look for books on alternative healthcare and found several that
have treatments for measles, as well as the other childhood diseases. I found it
interesting that these books are available at Barnes and Noble, and not only in
health food stores, or specialty bookshops. A list of the books I found, as well as a brief
description of the types of treatments and information they contain, is listed at the end
of this interview.
Tell us about when your son had the measles
He had some fitful sleeps that week, where he had a stomach ache waking up with
nightmares, not really sleeping well. I thought he ate something that didn't feel right.
The next week I picked him up from school and he seemed tired, his eyes were at half mast.
I was walking home with him and stopped at the store. I was talking to a friend and Shuaib
was sitting on a chair and my friend noticed he didn't look well, she asked, "What's
wrong, he doesn't' seem well." I looked at him and his glands were huge (putting her
hands on her neck, under her chin) they were like big balls. I brought him home and he
slept and had a fever. I looked in a book to figure out what was going on and his cheeks
were really red too. He was feverish with swollen glands. His fever was 101-102 throughout
the whole time he had the measles. I had to go to work the next day and I left him home
with my mother. When I got back he had a rash over his whole body. It was pink and
flushed, a red blotchy look, then it started to raise like pimples. I had to bring him to
the doctor, but at that time we had no insurance or Medicare so I brought him to the
emergency room. When I brought him in they put us right away in an isolation room because
he had that rash. It was a dirty unkempt room, really small with a bed in it, to examine
people. So they left us in there for 1/2 and hour before they came (to look) None of them
knew what it was.
Who came exactly?
Doctors, they didn't know, they said they had to get someone who specialized in
infectious diseases to come and look at him, and she was not back from lunch, something
like that. She was a European doctor, apparently she had worked in Europe for many years
and she had seen measles. They (the other doctors) thought it was measles but they weren't
sure. She finally came....
Had you told them at that point that he was unvaccinated?
I told them.
How did they respond? Did you tell them it was because of your religion?
I told them, I didn't explain it, I just said he never had shots. They were upset. Only
one doctor got mean with me. The other doctors were just upset.
Did they say anything to you?
Just the one doctor did, because I wouldn't give him (Shuaib) any Tylenol. He said,
"Why won't you give this to him?" and I said, "I don't think its a big deal
that he has a fever. I want to let his body work through what its going through without
giving him any medicine." He said, "Some kids have seizures with fevers."
and he was yelling at me. He was implying that I didn't care about my child, as if I
didn't care that he was suffering. Then he left and I got really upset.
You were alone?
My mother-in-law was with me.
Was she supportive of you?
She was supportive of me, she doesn't speak any English, so she really didn't know what
was going on at all.
So that's good support....to just be there!
Right! So, after that doctor left I was really mad and I asked her to stay there with
Shuaib. I went after him (the doctor) and I told him, "How dare you yell at me when
my child is sick! Where's your sensitivity?" This was in front of other doctors, and
he said, "I was just trying to help."
Good for you! Did you feel good about that?
I felt good. I was shaking with anger though, I was really disgusted with how he
treated me, just because I have different beliefs. I was also upset about my child. He was
sick and I was nervous. No one could tell me what was going on. We're in this room where
they put people with infections, he's sick and I don't want him to get sicker, and he's
starting to act strange. He's starting to act like he's loosing his speech, he's getting
groggy.....I don't know if its' because he's so swollen or he' s just getting
claustrophobic. I thought he was going to have a seizure of something. It was really
I got panicked, so I put him in the stroller and brought him to the front desk. They
said, "NO! You can't bring him back here! " They were afraid it was airborne. I
said, "O.K., but I'm not waiting in that room anymore, send the doctor
immediately" I wasn't going to wait in that room anymore. So they said, "Please
wait, we're sending someone." They told me to go back, but I couldn't, so I went
outside (with Shuaib) I had my mother-in-law wait with him right there and I went (back
inside) to look for the doctor. I just wanted discharge papers. I could have just left, he
could have had a blood test later (to confirm it was measles) I wasn't thinking.
When I brought him outside I said, "Say MOMMY" because he was just out of it
and he said, "MOMMY" , he said my name immediately, he was talking, he was happy
to be outside, he had his voice back. He was trying to tell me, "Mommy, get me out of
As I was walking back in (to look for the doctor) I saw her walking toward the room we
had been in and I said, "He's not in there anymore. We're outside, were
leaving." She said, "Please stay, I just want to look at him real quick."
So I said, "O.K., you look at him but we leave when you leave." So I brought him
back to the room and she looked at him and said immediately that it was measles and she
said "Can I do a blood test so you can have it documented?"
What was her attitude? Did she know he was unvaccinated?
Yeah, she knew. She was helpful, but at the same time she scared me, she said,
"You know there is a chance that measles can cause encephalitis, it can hibernate in
the brain for years and cause another disease." I asked what that percent was and it
was so small, I just didn't want to hear it.
I said O.K. with the blood test and we left. And I was happy it was measles, in a way,
that he'd had it and built antibodies to it naturally. She told me she had to report it to
the Board of Health, so the Board of Health came to my door several days later.
How many people came?
Two, a man and a woman.
What did they want?
They wanted to know where he had been. They wanted to know where he got it, if anyone
at his school had had it. I said no.
Did they ask you to notify the school?
Yeah, and I did, but no one else got it. I kept him out of school though, even the week
What did it look like as it progressed?
The rash go red and bumpy all over his body, then it got brownish, and then it faded
over the course of several days. He had a fever, 101-102. The rash didn't peel, it didn't
It says in the book I have that it will peel.
But it didn't match exactly the symptoms in my book.
I really admire your courage, and the way you dealt with that. A lot of people are
terrified of the day they might be in a situation like that. You really had your wits
about you to be able to deal with things as they occurred. That's something that happens
to a lot of us when were thrown into a difficult situation, our child is ill, we're
scared, we loose our ability to think rationally.
I was scared of the system, the DOH, I was afraid they might think I was negligent,
that someone might react in a very horrible way. There was nothing legally they could do
against me,,, and I knew that.
I think its really important also that you addressed the doctor who yelled at you. Its
important for people to do that because nothings going to change until people start
responding, and letting doctors know how we feel, how we want to be treated, otherwise
they may never even think about it. I've heard so many times how people have been
dissatisfied with how they've been treated in the hospital, I ask "Did you tell them,
did you write a letter?" As a parent you're so busy you have so much to do anyway, to
think about writing a letter, dealing with an unpleasant situation, I can see why people
don't want to do it, but it's so important, because they'll never change, they'll have no
Its very hard to raise children living with that type of attitude, the medical
profession and their attitude toward natural healing. The reason I brought him was because
I wanted to know what it could be. The rash didn't scare me, but his glands were so huge I
knew it must be some kind of infection.
You needed a diagnosis...
But that's the last time I go to the emergency room for something like that. Now I've
applied for health insurance for my children.
Books on Alternative Healthcare that address Measles