Doctors Share Their Anti-Vax Patient Horror Stories

Doctors see a lot of stupid things. Like, a LOT. Especially things that can be easily avoided. And when it comes to anti-vaxxers, it's a very big case of "I told you so." Horrible diseases can be prevented with the proper vaccination, but many anti-vaxxers continue to pass on treatment that can save their children's (and other childrens') lives.

ArcaneRuby asks: Doctors of Reddit, what are some of your anti-vax parent stories?

We hope they called CPS.

"We had a 14 year old female come in for abdominal pain one time. She weighed 80 pounds. Looked sickly. Her mother refused to let her eat anything but a handful of things, nothing with very much protein at all. She literally had a binder full of articles about how horrible vaccines are, all the bad things they put in food these days, etc. She had completely brain washed this kid so the kid believed it too. Her labs showed malnutrition, her teeth were horrible. Just a sad case all around."


That doctor has no chill when it comes to anti-vaxxers.


"When I was a med student, I had a parent who wanted to do a 'delayed vaccination schedule'. Basically it means that you get all the same vaccinations but you pointlessly and foolishly do it over a longer time period. The mom had read a book promoting this practice that was unfortunately written by an MD. My pediatric attending had zero chill: 'Is that the book written by Dr __? Yes? Well, then you should know that I was in the same medical school class as Dr __ but I got much better scores than he did.'"


Someone thought they were being smooth.

"In medical school I saw a kiddo whose parents refused vaccines and so when they were given the vaccine refusal form to sign. This form essentially said that the parents understood that refusing vaccines was against medical advice, that their kiddo could get sick from all those preventable diseases, and that the they wouldn't hold the doctor/practice liable for any complications that the kiddo may get from said preventable diseases.

This mom pulled out a sharpie and blacked out the part about the doctor not being held liable. The parents thought that we'd be cool with them just changing that form just for them and they wanted the doctor to be held liable for their moronic choice. Of course this didn't work and they were told to sign the form or they would be discharged from the practice and have to find another. They refused to sign and were told to leave after given a list of other pediatricians in the area."


Sound logic you've got there.


"Had a kid come in for generic upper respiratory virus. Asked mom if he was vaccinated, as is routine. She said no. When I asked why not, her response was "Well my boyfriend was vaccinated and he still got meningitis, so they don't even work"

I told her that's the same as saying your friend got bruised by a seat belt in a car accident, so you don't wear them when you drive."


Go Dad!

"Friend of mine is a military OBGYN. Was at a OB appointment with the pregnant dependent and servicemember. He had just returned from AFG a few months prior.

OB mentions about follow-ups after delivery in 1st year of life, including vaccines.

Wife says: 'I read on the internet that vaccines cause autism, I don't think we're going to do that.'

Husband says: 'I saw a lot of little graves in Afghanistan, sure as sh!t we are getting our kid vaccinated.'"


Why don't people just listen to their doctors?

"Doctor here.

Guy decided to not get a flu shot this year. Ended up in the ICU with flu infection in his brain

He has currently been in the hospital for a month most of which in the ICU. Has likely permanent speech difficulty and left sided weakness."




"I had a kid come in that was super sick. 3 years old and in septic shock. He had the flu and another compounded viral infection (I want to say pertussis). Heart rate was close to 200, respiratory rate in the 50s, blood pressure in the 70s. Kid was so fucking dry that we could barely get IVs into him and I almost had to drill an IO. We dumped a ton of fluids into him, started him on vasopressors and transferred him to the local children's hospital.

I had asked the mom if he was vaccinated and she said "No, vaccines have really bad side effects! They'll make you sick." I explained to her that NOT getting the vaccines had made her kid 10 times sicker than he ever would have been from any mild vaccine reaction. She told me I was a moron and that I obviously have no clue what I'm talking and that's the reason her kid was getting transferred.... She also told me that recommending she vaccinate her kids was racist."


You'd think they'd learn by now.

"I had a mother bring her child to see me as a new patient. When I saw that he wasn't vaccinated I asked my nurse why not and she told me that the mother had a "religious exemption." When I entered the room, I asked the mom what the religious exemption was and she said "oh, well when he was a baby he had a rash from the hepatitis B vaccine." I kindly told her that I couldn't care for her child because he was not only a risk to my staff, myself but also to other patients in my office. She went off on me and ranted about "how she can not believe that every doctor's office that she calls refuses to treat her son because he isn't vaccinated." And that "the only doctor in the county that will see him can't see him for almost 2 months." I kindly stopped her and said "if I was one of a few that refused to treat your child, I would understand your frustration. But don't you think there's a message that not a single doctor in the entire county (save for ONE doctor who did some really questionable practices, think essential oils and stuff) will treat your kid? That maybe there's a valid reason behind it?

Yeah, she definitely wasn't happy and left."



"I'm not a doctor, but an RN in public health. I recently had a mother call me to ask me if it was a smart idea for her child should get the MMR vaccine. Why was she asking this? She was worried that would make his autism worse."


Some people, man....


"I'm not a medical doctor but a mental health therapist, went to do a new client intake and while asking the mother about the kid's medical history, vaccination records etc she said he was not vaccinated because vaccines cause autism and she didn't want to risk her son getting it, then when I went to meet the kid within 5 seconds of laying eyes on him I could tell... he was autistic. Worst part was that when I told her she became very upset and started yelling at her husband saying he must have gotten the kid secretly vaccinated and then immediately ran out the house and took the kid to the emergency room for "testing" and just left me and the dad in the living room just kind of staring at eachother. Never answered my calls or texts again after that and I had to get DCF involved."


Well that's frustrating.


"My sister and I are both biomedical scientists. I study intellectual disability and autism related disorders. My sister studies viruses. You could not ask for two more appropriately-specialized people for this discussion.

My sister-in-law is still anti-vax, and she is not a fan of us lol. She's a nurse and a mom, so she thinks she knows better than the people whose literal job it is to be on the cutting edge of healthcare.

If I try to disagree with the nonsense she pulls off Facebook, she insists she "needs hard facts, not just opinions". If I offer her proof through well-sourced research, she's "here for discussions, not research articles".

Some people can't be reasoned with."



"This one time this lady came in for a check up. The child had not been vaccinated yet and I told her she needed to vaccinate him. She said that she didn't want any needles touching him because she didn't want him to get autism from the needles. She wanted him to get an ass spray of the vaccine. To this day it left me very confused and I told her we didn't do that so she left. Maybe an anti-vax but idk anymore."


But brain damage for your daughter is fine?

"I've told this story before, but the worst was when I was in medical school. The woman actually brought her daughter in to get catchup vaccines. Why? Because her other daughter was in the ICU with fulminant meningitis from a vaccine-preventable illness, hanging on for dear life. The nurse there sat her down and told her point-blank that she rarely sees this disease because people are vaccinated for it. The mom couldn't understand how her girl had contracted it. We asked if she knew anyone who wasn't vaccinated. Apparently no one in her church vaccinated, and several had been sick recently. She couldn't believe the source could be them. The kicker? She also brought her son to clinic, but refused to vaccinate him, saying "he's my only son". No matter how we explained it to her, she believed giving her son the vaccine would result in brain damage."


Sound logic.


"Child A had an absolutely horrible time with chicken pox; to the point that I thought he might not make it.

So what does she do? Intentionally expose Child B to it."


This one's just sad.

"Not a doctor, but have taught one girl who's parents are anti-vax. Being anti-vax doesn't just affect health, but it affects a child's social development too.

Girl was sick for most of her life and missed out on school. Therefore, she missed out on socialising with her friends. Caused her to be anxious about coming to school and thus caused more absences. Apparently her mum would have to drag her screaming child out of the car everyday.

The girl becomes very sensitive about jokes children make and parents call in to demand that those who 'teased' their daughter be reprimanded. Those peers are talked to and turns out, it was a stupid joke about poo that children her age make.

Girl couldn't handle being around other children who joked and continues missing out on school because she was being teased.

What do parents do? Pull her out and home-school her instead."


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