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The Pediatric Forum
April 2006

Dismissing Families: A Critical Issue—Reply

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160(4):452-453. doi:10.1001/archpedi.160.4.452-c

In reply

We appreciate the recent letters to the editor regarding our study entitled “Dismissing the Family Who Refuses Vaccines: a Study of Pediatrician Attitudes” published in October.1 We intended to stimulate a thoughtful discussion about the pros and cons of family dismissal for vaccine refusal, not demonize physicians who choose to sever their professional relationships with patients. Those who dismiss families have reasonable concerns; a more scholarly editorial could have added to the discussion about this very important issue. Unfortunately, in his editorial,2 Dr Hendricks minimized the significance of prevalent acceptance of dismissal and emphasized the use of a formal, somewhat legalistic documentation of parental vaccine refusal. Just as a signed informed consent document cannot take the place of face-to-face discussions with patients about risks and benefits of purposed treatments, paper memorialization should never take the place of substantive discussions and education with families about vaccination risks and benefits.

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