Sunday, December 29, 2013

How to Not Gain My Trust

Dear Doctor,

You will not gain my trust by pigeon-holing me at an unrelated professional public event and in a loud confrontational tone telling me I don’t know what I am talking about. Do you realize how disrespectful it is to assume that if people just knew what you know they would obviously agree with you?

You will not gain my trust by going on and on with rarely a break long enough for me to get in a word. This was not a respectful rational dialogue between two equally intelligent individuals. Instead it was an overly emotional barrage of highly charged personal experiences bound up with concern for your own children.

You will not gain my trust by not being considerate of time and place. Did you give any thought to the fact that you were in the middle of an organization that has worked very hard to establish trusting relationships between often competing parties by keeping our focus on the ways in which we agree, respectfully sharing information, and focusing on a common goal? Did you take a moment to consider that I was about to get up in front of a room full of people and speak? Luckily I am confident enough to be gracious to you, while not backing down in my defense of parents who you feel make the wrong choice about vaccine, and immediately after still get up and give a caring, warm introduction for a woman I greatly admire. Did you know that about me? No because you don’t know me at all.

You will not gain my trust by not being conscious of who else is around you and how they might be affected by our exchange. Did you know that it was mortifying to me that the evening’s presenter, a professional who inspires me, was listening to you? Did you never give it a moment’s thought that sitting all around you might be parents who have chosen not to vaccinate or are following less traditional vaccination schedules? How do you think this made them feel? Do you think you gained their trust?

As I said to you that night you are obviously sincere in your concern about the potential for children to become ill and die because of parents choosing not to vaccinate. I can tell you care deeply. I too care deeply. It is very important to me that I give out as accurate information as I can to parents and prospective parents. What they do with that information is up to them. I believe in their abilities to make good choices for their children. In the past when it has been brought to my attention that I may have printed inaccurate statistics I have gone back and taken a second look at my original information and, with guidance by far better statisticians than I, I have made corrections as needed. Based on the discrepancies between your numbers and mine I am reviewing my original measles outbreak post, my sources and the original numbers, and will be posting an up-date. I will also be working on a post as to how the medical establishment as a whole lost our trust. Unfortunately you, dear doctor, did nothing to re-gain mine.


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