Carilion Clinic: Fictional Television Drama Causes Concern Among Pediatricians

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fictional Television Drama Causes Concern Among Pediatricians

The American Academy of Pediatrics is expressing alarm about the possible consequences of an episode of the ABC television show Eli Stone.
The show, about an attorney who has visions due to an inoperable brain aneurysm, includes a storyline about a trial in which the jury grants a large award to a women who claims a vaccine caused her child's autism. The AAP is concerned that this may discourage some parents from vaccinating their children, putting them at risk for devastating childhood diseases.
Most vaccine/autism issues revolve around thimerosal, a preservative containing ethyl-mercury, which prevents bacterial contamination of the vaccine. Several studies have shown thimerosal to be safe, including one recently reported in the journal Pediatrics, that found the mercury compound is pumped out of the baby's body too quickly to do any damage. The FDA has studied and approved thimerosal, and states "widespread rejection of vaccines would lead to increases in incidences of serious infectious diseases like measles, whooping cough and Hib bacterial meningitis." "The critical message is that vaccines are safe", said Alice Ackerman, MD, Chair of Pediatrics for Carilion Clinic Children's Hospital. For more information about autism and vaccines, visit the AAP's web site.