SB277 is about to take effect in California. The law, passed in June 2015, removes all non-medical exemptions from vaccinations for California children attending public and private schools.
When Governor Edmund Brown signed SB277 into law last year, here is what he wrote:
It is clear that the Governor of California intended for medical doctors to have the legal right to exercise their clinical expertise to determine what is best for their patients. It also appears clear from Governor Brown’s letter to the members of the Senate that the autonomy of the physician and the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship was the deciding factor in his rationale to sign SB277, rather than to veto this bill.
Notice this phrase:
The Legislature, after considerable debate, specifically amended SB 277, to exempt a child from immunizations WHENEVER the child’s physician concludes that there are “circumstances, including but not limited to, family medical history, for which the physician does not recommend immunization…”
“WHENEVER the physician concludes…”
“Including but not limited to…”
“FAMILY MEDICAL HISTORY…”
Enter Dr. Charity Anne Dean of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.
Dr. Dean sent out the following letter on June 6, 2016 addressed to School Superintendents, Principals and Child Care Center Directors (she CC’d School Nurses):
Charity Dean somehow thinks she is entitled to view the private medical records of not only every child in Santa Barbara County who has a medical exemption (written by their own personal physician), but she also thinks she has the right to review the private medical histories of every FAMILY MEMBER of those children?
The Public Health Department MAY be HIPAA-exempt when it comes to the vaccination records of school children, but since when does the County Health Officer have the right to go digging into the private medical information of family members – or for that matter, of students, beyond their vaccination records?
It seems to me that Dr. Dean needs a bit of assistance in understanding boundaries – and legalities?
Dr. Dean says she is “directing all schools and childcare centers” to hand over the personal health information of school children – and their families – so she can “review each exemption” and “identify any Medical Exemption not meeting SB 277 criteria…”
Dear Dr. Dean: Here is what you need to know. According to SB 277, medical exemptions are at the discretion of the child’s physician. Period. Therefore, any medical exemption written by a physician who has seen the child meets SB 277 criteria.
Dr. Dean also says she wants to “provide helpful information to physicians issuing such exemptions.”
Dear Dr. Dean: Bullshit. If I were a physician practicing in the state of California, and if I had been seeing MY patients and reviewing the individual and family medical histories of MY patients, I certainly would not appreciate your grandiosity. Given that you have not ever seen MY patient, it is unlikely that you could possibly offer any “helpful information” that would alter my professional clinical opinion.
Just who is this Charity Dean and why does she think she has the power to question the clinical judgement of every doctor in California?
According to her Facebook Page, Charity Dean is pals with Dr. Richard Pan.
No surprise there…
What is interesting is that within hours of the posting of Dr. Dean’s letter demanding the private histories of California families, she scrubbed her Facebook page and eliminated all photos and posts related to Dr. Pan, or to her chummy relationship with lobbyists. Thankfully, there are some people who are a bit more… hmm…. “on the ball” than Dr. Dean, and we have some screenshots to help us learn a bit more about Santa Barbara County’s “Health Officer.”
Let’s start with this post from October 16, 2015:
This is a group of photos posted by Dr. Dean from the California Medical Association meeting. Notice what she says about how exciting it is to be forming public policy “on behalf of physicians…” Not on behalf of patients. Not on behalf of the citizens of California. On behalf of physicians. That’s a clue about where Charity Dean’s concerns lie.
Excuse me, but shouldn’t a physician’s focus be on what is good for his or her patients? Okay. She’s a public health physician. So shouldn’t her focus be on what’s good for the citizens of California? She sounds more like a lobbyist than a doctor. Maybe that’s because she’s been spending so much time with lobbyists…
Wait… Is she a doctor? Or is she a lobbyist? Maybe too many cocktails to tell.
If we check further, it appears Dr. Dean’s excitement about drinking with lobbyists may be related to her own political aspirations?
Do you think Dr. Charity Dean may be feeling a bit powerless as the Health Officer of Santa Barbara County? She certainly seems to want to be in the middle of “what’s happening” in Sacramento. And she seems willing to skirt the language of the law and bypass the medical privacy laws of the citizens of her county in order to get to where she wants to be.
Power hungry much?
But wait… Maybe I’m being too quick to judge. Maybe Dr. Dean really is as beautiful on the inside as she appears on the outside. You really do have to admit, she’s a pretty girl. And for some, façade is everything. So, let’s dig a little deeper and see if this is the face Californians (or anyone) might want representing the health and well-being of their children…
Let’s talk about autism. And vaccines. And let’s talk about the huge burden on families with children diagnosed with autism. Many of those families report that their children have been harmed by vaccines. They know it. They witnessed it. They SAW IT HAPPEN. For those families, when a doctor says, “It’s coincidence. The CDC says vaccines are safe,” it’s insulting and it’s a re-living of the trauma they have already experienced.
What is Dr. Dean’s stance on vaccines and autism?
We haven’t asked her. But as the Health Officer for one of Southern California’s largest counties, I think we need to know.
What we have is a photo of Dr. Dean receiving her flu shot in September 2015:
And we have this…
The first comment on Dr. Dean’s post is a not-so-cute little joke about getting “the autism” from the flu shot. See those two “likes?”
There you have it. She “liked” the comment. That’s what Dr. Charity Dean thinks about vaccines and autism. Funny, huh?
Dear Dr. Dean: You are wrong on so many levels.
You are wrong about the language of SB 277.
You are wrong in your belief that you have the authority or the right to examine the medical histories of families of school children.
You are wrong in thinking there is anything funny about vaccines and autism.
For anyone who thinks you might be able to go to Dr. Charity Anne Dean’s Facebook Page and see the above photos for yourself, you’re too late. She has already scrubbed her page. She started the damage control within hours of when the letter she sent was posted by parents of vaccine-injured children.
Dr. Dean: You were wrong in that, too. In the future, if you plan on having a life in the public eye… you might want to start destroying evidence before you go public with your plans to destroy the lives of your constituents.
EDIT: (6/8/2016) – The following video compilation should be helpful in clarifying any remaining questions regarding the language and intent of SB277 regarding medical exemptions.