Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Chiropractic anti-vaccination: Parents sue when player is benched

I shed more light on this situation after the article...

Parents sue when player is benched

Boy's religion-based decision to refuse tetanus shot prompts suit

Dolores Orman
Staff writer

(July 8, 2005) — HENRIETTA — The parents of a Rush-Henrietta High School student have accused the school district of violating the teen's constitutional rights.

Howard and Barbara Hadley of Henrietta claim in a federal lawsuit that the district didn't allow their son, Harry, 16, to play lacrosse this spring after he refused to get a tetanus shot on religious grounds. They are seeking $1 million in damages.

The Hadleys had obtained a waiver from immunizations under the public health law for religious reasons in September 1998 for their three school-age children, according to the complaint filed June 22 in U.S. District Court.

The children have attended Rush-Henrietta schools since then "without ever having been immunized," the complaint said.

Harry had been playing school lacrosse since he came to the district as a seventh-grader, according to the complaint.

But in early March, the boy's junior year, a school nurse told him he had to get a tetanus shot to play lacrosse. The teen did not get the shot because of his religious beliefs.

District officials contend that a child's right to a public education under law doesn't cover athletics, and so the Hadleys' immunization exemption covers only academics.

The Hadleys' lawyer disagrees.

"That's an arbitrary distinction and a violation of freedom of religion under First Amendment rights," said Patricia Finn of Sparkill, Rockland County.

George DesMarteau, the school district's attorney, declined to comment on the lawsuit because it is a matter in litigation. However, he did state the district's position on immunizations and sports.

"The district believes that statutory provisions that require enrollment of students lacking normal immunizations due to sincerely held public beliefs are not applicable to the medical determination of fitness for participation in sports," he said.

"The district operates from the premise that it has an obligation to screen students (for sports) to ensure that these students are physically capable of participation without undue risk of injury or complication from injury."

Howard Hadley, who is a chiropractor, said he and his wife have four children — Harry, who is the oldest; a daughter who just finished eighth grade; a son who has completed sixth grade, and a 2-year-old daughter.

They are Catholic and are members of Guardian Angels parish in Henrietta.

Hadley emphasized that their belief about vaccinations is their own, noting that the parish doesn't teach it and the Roman Catholic Church has no opinion on it.

"It is a personally held, sincere religious exemption that we have," Hadley said. "We do receive medical care when it's needed, but not in this manner."

He said this paragraph in the complaint accurately reflected their religious belief regarding immunizations: "We feel that when God created us, He gave us everything we need — an immune system that works beautifully. We believe that the power that creates has the power to heal. Immunizations show a lack of faith in God."

Harry was allowed to practice indoors with the lacrosse team for about four weeks after his refusal to get the shot, according to the lawsuit. But when the team moved outdoors in early April, he wasn't allowed to practice or to play in any games, the suit said.

Playing lacrosse is important to Harry because he hopes to obtain a college lacrosse scholarship, according to the suit.

"The restriction imposed upon me by the school, prohibiting me from playing lacrosse, is affecting every aspect of my life and I believe it is very, very unfair," Harry is quoted in an affidavit.

The suit seeks a temporary restraining order that would allow Harry to play on the Rush-Henrietta lacrosse team while the case is pending. Finn said she will seek the restraining order near the start of the 2005-06 school year.


Okay, here's what's at stake:

We have a chiropractor acting like a real chiropractor. Chiropractic has historically opposed vaccination, surgery, antibiotics, and generally been antagonistic towards medical doctors and medical science. Many chiropractors still maintain these attitudes.

This chiropractor is making anti-vaccination decisions for his children, thus placing them at greater risk.

The lawyer in this case specializes in such cases. She works for the National Vaccine Information Center, a disreputable anti-vaccination organization:

Patricia Finn, Attorney at Law
Law Offices of Patricia Finn
PO Box 151
Sparkill, NY 10968
Telephone: 845-398-0521
Fax: 845-818-3690


Our firm specializes in the unique area of immunization law and securing our clients vaccine exemptions. We are considerate of the special needs of individuals seeking exemptions from immunizations and those who have been injured from vaccines.

Patricia Finn

Practice Areas: Vaccine Exemption; Vaccine Injury; Immunization Law; Religious Exemptions; Public Health Law; Civil Rights; Personal Injury.

Her website has a list of typical, one-sided, anti-vax links.

Here is another case:

Temporary vaccine exemption based on "chiropractic religion."
A federal district judge has issued a temporary injunction ordering a local school district in Syracuse, New York, to permit 5-year-old girl Victoria Turner to attend school even though she has not been immunized. Her mother, a chiropractic assistant, is claiming that Victoria should be excused on religious grounds. The tenets of this "church," which was founded by a chiropractor, state that its lay members "shall be composed of those seeking spiritual and physical health combined by unequivocal adherence to the principles of the Congregation and the laying on of hands on their vertebrae." They further state that the use of medication—whether by ingestion, injection, application, or inhalation—is a sacrilege. The injunction will last until the case comes to full trial, but the judge indicated that the family is likely to win its case. [O'Brien J. Girl stays in school without shots: Judge says Liverpool district must admit child until court rules on mother's case. Syracuse Herald American, March 14, 2001.]

More information:

Chiropractors and Immunization

Chiropractic anti-vaccine

Chiropractic Anti-Vaccination Arguments


The Religious Exemption to Vaccination

The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association recommends this link.

chiropractic vaccination

chiropractic "anti-vaccination"

chiropractic anti vax

SPIN DOCTORs II - Against Vaccines

Interactive Investigation: Vaccination - The Hidden Truth Video

Attitudes toward vaccination: a survey of Canadian chiropractic students