California Doctor Skeptical Of Vaccines Put On Probation By Medical Board
The debate over vaccination comes to a head as the Medical Board of California issues 35 months of probation to Dr. Bob Sears.
Sears, a pediatrician in Orange County, wrote a doctor's note exempting a 2-year-old boy from all the childhood vaccinations without asking for basic medical information.
A Probation Over Wrongful Vaccine Exemption
According to Los Angeles Times, the board initially threatened to revoke the doctor's medical license for his offense. Now, they've decided on a lesser yet substantial punishment.
"It's not a trivial decision, it's not a slap on the hand," Dorit Reiss, a University of California Hastings law professor, states in LA Times. "It really is strongly limiting his ability to practice ... he's a doctor under supervision now."
The board also noted that Sears failed to follow through with standard neurological testing after examining the child's head injury that reportedly came from being hit on the head with a hammer by the father, according to Ars Technica.
Sears will be able to practice medicine, but he's also required to take 40 hours of medical education courses a year and an ethics class. He will be monitored by another doctor and prohibited from supervision.
Sears' Take On The Probation
The physician maintains his innocence, especially for taking the boy's mother at her word when she told him her son had an alarming reaction to immunizations in the past.
"Isn't it my job to listen to my patients and believe what a parent says happened to her baby? Isn't that what all doctors do with their patients?" Sears wrote in a Facebook post.
He adds that while he believes he did nothing wrong, he accepted the settlement knowing the board can slap him with a probation either way.
"The challenge with medical board cases is that even if I win on all aspects of a case, the medical board can still exercise its authority and put me on probation anyway," Sears continues. "I win, or lose, a trial before a judge, then the medical board decides the punishment based on how they see the facts."
The Vaccine Debates
In 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill implementing strict vaccination requirements following a measles outbreak in Disneyland. The bill specified that personal or religious beliefs do not exempt from vaccinations. Instead, a doctor's note is required for exemptions.
According to ABC News, Sears wrote a book on vaccines, advocating an alternative staggered vaccination schedule that is in stark contrast with the recommended vaccination schedule of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.