March 2020

A recent article in Lake Healthy Living magazine (A Healthy Debate About Vaccines, September 2019) suggested that there is a debate about childhood vaccination. The article was, in my opinion, a well-intentioned but misguided effort that misrepresented the issue as a real debate. This is my response, as a physician, father, and grandfather.

If there is a sacred maxim in medicine, it is this, “Primum non nocere”. It means, “above all else, do no harm”. The reality is that doctors harm patients all the time. Not knowingly, not on purpose, and certainly not out of evil intent. It is an inescapable fact that the art and science of medicine are no more or less perfect than any other human endeavor.

A common thread throughout the course of human history had been the presence of illness and disease. Parallel to this has been the constant striving to relieve the suffering derived from these, beginning with the earliest healer or “medicine man” invoking the spirits he perceived and using those plants and animals available to him, progressing to the physician of today armed with the most advanced tools science can provide.

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