By Erin K Costello
The first post by Martha on December 21, 2018 reads,
"Help. My 9 month old is crying uncomfortably. Thick mucus. She cries harder when she coughs. Fever is only 100 [degrees Fahrenheit/37.7 Celsius] she's so stuffed up she's not nursing.....I thing the mucus is making it hard for her to breathe....We leave for a trip tomorrow morning."
The most recent post by Martha on January 2, 2019, the one that led to this blog post, goes on to say,
"My baby got sick before we left for vacation....so we went to urgent care. She tested positive for rsv and a cloudy ear. We got rx [prescription] for antibiotics for her ear. On Monday I called our pediatrician we talked about not giving her the meds. I decided not to.
Of Friday she had bloody green stool twice in 2 hours. So we took her to to the ER in GA [where OPie was vacationing]. They wanted to take her temp by her anus even though they were told she had blood in her stool. They also wanted to give her Tylenol because she was in pain. I asked if I could give ibuprofen that didn't have dye in it that I had with me. I was treated like an idiot......They send us for xray not telling us why. I assumed it was to check for pneumonia. The nurse practitioner came in to tell us yes it was pneumonia and she needed a shot of antibiotics. My dh [darling husband] told her we were given antibiotics but our dr told us she didn't need them....the nurse practitioner finally checked her anus....she found the tear. And I suggested maybe she was coughing and straining too much....When we got our discharge papers I questioned the antibiotic choice because it wasn't one I heard of....I asked [nurse practitioner] about the antibiotic she said it was common and used it. I said I didn't care anymore . And ignored her and we left.
I knew the next day after some sleep those main stream dumb witch was going to call [CPS] because I questioned everything."
Going by Martha's posts mentioned above, we can deduce her child was very ill on the 21st, and Martha left for vacation the following day, Saturday the 22nd. Sunday, the 23rd, the child was worse while in Kentucky so mom took the child to urgent care. Child tested positive for RSV and a “cloudy ear.” Antibiotics were prescribed but mom waited to talk to their pediatrician the following day, Monday. After doing so, mom decided to withhold the antibiotics from her child. Martha does not state she and the doctor decided this, only mom. She states she and the doctor discussed this, but says “I decided not to.” Then on Friday, December 29th 2018, mom took the child in to the emergency room (E.R.) in Georgia due to blood in the child’s stool. While at the E.R. the child was diagnosed with pneumonia and a tear in her anus. Parents were told the child needs antibiotics but the father claimed their doctor told them the child did not need the antibiotics they were already given……already given 6 days prior to this E.R. visit. Assuming their doctor did in fact tell them or agree the child did not need the antibiotics, they last spoke to the doctor 5 days before this E.R. visit. This child started out with one illness of RSV and a cloudy ear. Five days later, after being denied medication, this child then had pneumonia and a tear in her anal cavity.
At what point do you stop making this YOUR personal choice, and start doing what is best for your child? When does “crunchy” become cruel? When does “natural” become negligent?
These posts were found in the Facebook group Modern Alternative Mamas!. The is a group created by Kate Tietje, aka Modern Alternative Mama (MAM). Kate also made a post regarding this woman’s situation on her personal page. On this post Kate writes,
"Anonymous mom takes her baby to an ER for a possible ear infection. Doctor writes a script for antibiotics, even though most ear infections are viral and clear up in 2 - 4 days with or without antibiotics. Medical literature is clear that in MOST cases, antibiotics are not needed for ear infections and come with very serious side effects.
Mom knows this, doesn't give the antibiotics.
Doctor reports mom to CPS, who shows up at her house.
THIS IS WHY WE DON'T TRUST YOU, DOCTORS!! Because when we have reasonable disagreements and choose different options, you report us and place our families at risk."
It’s obvious Kate left out quite a bit of information on her post, and as usual spun the story to fit the narrative that best suits Kate and her business of selling alternatives to modern medicine. Alternatives such as “shit that does not work” Earthley products. I don’t care to focus on Kate’s post, however. Kate, or MAM, is only a small role in this large play of charlatans. Small or large, though, they all are becoming very dangerous. Many of them have on-line communities, mostly on Facebook, and they use these venues to manipulate followers and convince them to abandon modern medicine and to instead buy their elixirs. Mercola, Tenpenny, Humphries, Wakefield, Erin “nut news,” and many others disown over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines and replace them by pushing products of their own. Products that are not regulated, tested, or approved by any governing agencies.
Along with these Facebook pages, often come Facebook groups associated with one figure or another. On these pages and in these groups there are often rules about conduct, which is to be expected, but also rules about what members or followers are “allowed” to post. In MAM’s group for example, she has quite a bothersome list of rules regarding what’s allowed to be suggested to other members regarding medical care. In her group's files there's a document titled "Group Policy on "Medical Advice."' The document goes on to state (if you wish to skip Kate's cultish rules please skip to the end of the next image),
"TO CLARIFY THE GROUP'S POLICY ON "MEDICAL ADVICE"
We have had many concerns about medical advice in this group, ranging from the idea that is it "too mainstream" to unhappiness that we could "miss something" and ought to err on the side of caution in recommending doctors.
First, we need to clarify the general purpose of online forums. Moms turn to these forums (including this group) to get peoples' opinions and information. There is NO GUARANTEE that any of this information will be correct, especially given that it is impossible to have all the information about the situation. No one in this group is a medical professional and/or functioning in a professional capacity. No doctor-patient relationship between any people participating in this forum is stated nor implied.
Neither group members nor the admin team are in any way legally or otherwise responsible for the advice that is given in this forum. You use it and take advice from it at your own risk.
We advise that if you are seeking actual *medical advice* that you choose to call your doctor or a nurse line in order to get actual medical advice. That is not the purpose of this group.
Be aware of your choices:
*Calling a mainstream doctor of your choice
*Visiting urgent care or ER
*Calling a nurse line
*Consulting a different forum
*Talking to local family or friends
*Doing your own internet research
This forum can not and will not fulfill all of those purposes. If you need advice from another source or system, USE IT. Do not expect to find those other purposes or perspectives represented here.
In general, people in our society are not well-versed in natural remedies and are far too fear-based when it comes to home treatment. Everyone is constantly bombarded with "go to the doctor!" for every little thing - including when it is absolutely no needed (even according to the mainstream).
If anything, our society "lacks common sense" in the way that they are TOO quick to rush to the doctor, not too reluctant. It would be incredibly uncommon, if not nearly unheard of, for people to refuse to go in when truly necessary. It is incredibly common, however, for people to be scared into going in when they do not need to.
The former (not going in when needed) has not happened that we are aware of in this group. The latter (being scared into going in when unnecessary) happens very frequently.
The purpose of this forum is clear: to provide natural/alternative remedies and a safe place to discuss home treatment options. That is the beginning and end of our purpose. We are not providing medical advice, we are not a mainstream forum, and we are not functioning as anyone's sole source of information. Most of the criticism in our "not allowing a mainstream view" comes from the mistaken idea that we ARE functioning as a sole source of medical advice/information and that we therefore must provide all perspectives.
In reality, we are sticking closely to our stated purpose: to provide natural/alternative remedies ONLY. Members will be expected to weigh in on that area. If they choose to ignore the rules, their comments will be deleted and they will be warned ONCE about the rules of the group. Continuing to insist upon providing a mainstream view or arguing with admin will result in removal from the group.
In the RARE circumstance that someone posts about a situation that is potentially serious, members may remind others of the mainstream options and/or recommend that they *consider* them. When this occurs, it needs to be stated in this manner:
"To treat at home, I would ________. If you see signs and symptoms like ________, that could warrant a call or visit to the doctor."
There is no room for comments along the lines of "Doctor NOW" or ER NOW!" or "I have no idea how to treat at home, stop asking for medical advice and call the doctor!" [I thought it wasn't medical advice though?] These types of comments are grounds for immediate removal from the group.
For clarification, this is what the group considers a potential emergency situation:
*Fevers over 105 (over 101 in babies under 3 months)
*Serious trouble breathing (turning blue, chest retractions)
*Broken bones, especially if complex
*Other serious injuries
*Extreme lethargy, inability to rouse/wake, unresponsive
*First time seizures
*Serious bleeding of any variety, including in pregnancy
Most situation that come up in the group are not medical emergencies [I have yet to see MAM confirm any situation is in fact emergent mind you], and will not be treated as such. When these situations come up, people must offer only NATURAL remedies for them. These situations include:
*Fevers under 105 or when the child is behaving normally
*Minor injuries or burns
*Potential ear, sinus, or urinary tract infections
*Chronic issues (may recommend an alternative doctor to help solve the problem)
We will not argue about any of this. We will not entertain "but 102 could be serious...!" We will not allow people to say "But in my *personal* definition, that's an emergency..." This is what we have decided is reasonable.
In the event that we cannnot tell if something is/is not an emergency based on the information provided, we will strive to provide natural remedies FIRST, and use the phrasing above to advise if/when someone may need to be seen. We will not assume is IS an emergency and tell someone to immediately go in.
Any advice that the admin team decides is not in line with our guidelines or is unreasonable is subject to removal, including unsafe natural advise. People who argue the rules or insist on continuing to offer advice not in line with our guidelines will be removed.
If you feel these guidelines are unreasonable now, and that people should not ask for *medical advice* on any internet forum, but only consult doctors, then this is not the group for you. [But I thought this wasn't about "medical advice?"] This is specifically a group for those interested in learning more about natural remedies.
The mainstream view is well-represented everywhere else, so it is important to us to keep this group very focused and on topic, while acknowledging that people may also consult other sources of information if they need or want additional advice.
Thanks for understanding and helping to keep this group on topic."
No one doubts that there have been and there are often times when a child was brought in to a doctor's office, an urgent care, or an E.R. when they didn't really need expert medical care. But, so what? What or whom has it hurt when parents are overly cautious concerning the health and well being of their children? Sure, it may be a waste of time. Sometimes it can clog the ER or make urgent care wait times a little longer. However, both of these places see patients on an "as needed" basis, not a first come first serve basis. Therefore patients who present as most acute will be seen first, and those who are do not present as serious or urgent are tended to after the more serous patients. At worst, time is wasted by parents seeking peace of mind. At best though, parents will learn they were right to follow their instincts. How do you know when the trip will be a waste, or life saving? Or better yet, how does MAM know when your trip will be a waste or life saving?
The news is often covered with stories of dead children because the parents didn't think medical care was necessary. There's the Clarks of Calgary, Canada who killed their 14 month old son, John, by feeding the child a strict vegan diet and refusing to bring the child to a single doctor's visit. John wasn't even born in a hospital, he was born at home. There's Mary Welch's parents, who refused to take 10 month old Mary to the doctors due to a distrust of the medical system. Mary died in her crib of starvation. There's the case of Ezekiel Stephan, the 19 month old from Alberta Canada who developed and died from bacterial meningitis, after his parents tried to treat his illness with alternative medicine and seeking help from a naturopath. One case that hits a little too close to home for myself, having a 14 year old daughter, is the case of Emily Hampshire. Emily's mom, Amber Hampshire, refused to acknowledge Emily's diabetis and as a result Emily died from diabetic ketoacidosis. There was also Ryker Roque of Florida, a 6-year-old boy who died from rabies after a bite from a bat went untreated until it was too late. Which brings us to 10-month-old Hope Elizabeth Delozier who died from an ear infection because her parents believed in faith healing instead of medicine. There are also more and more cases of women choosing to have home births, completely unassisted, which result in still births or newborns who die shortly after delivery, like the case of Ginnifer Mitchell.
Then there are cases where the parents weren’t trying to tough it out at home with garlic and elderberry elixir. The case of Rory Staunton, a 12 year old boy who died of sepsis after getting an average cut on his arm during gym class on a Wednesday. By Friday Rory was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) fighting for his life. By Sunday Rory lost that fight and died in the ICU. There are the 172 cases of children who died from the flu in the 2017-2018 flu season. About 80% of those children were not vaccinated. That means 20% of those kids were vaccinated but died anyways, and some of the 80% were too young to be, or otherwise unable to be vaccinated.
Besides the chances of death, what about the kids who do live but do so with irreversible damage. Or what about the kids who suffered through a worsening illness or unnecessary pain because a parent didn’t feel the 104 degree temperature was high enough for a visit, or because a child seemed to be breathing okay in-between coughing spells? Sure, often times these situations are already as bad as they will get and will soon resolve themselves. But, most children will have at least one moment when that will not be the case unless medical care is sought after. How do you know which moment is that moment for your child? Do you wait until the pain of a ruptured ear drum is unbearable for your child, or when your child is near suffocation from what has been pneumonia for a week, or when the fever presents itself with additional symptoms of sepsis before you finally call the doctor or visit the E.R.? Let’s say in all these instances the child survives. Was that additional and prolonged suffering really necessary for you, the parent, to cause and allow to happen to your child? Will the post you get to put up in your “crunchy” mom’s Facebook group be worth irreversible hearing loss for your child, a two-week stay in the hospital for your child, or having to give your child weeks of breathing treatments?
MAM added a link to the comment section of her post on her Kate Tietje page. The link is to a blog post of hers where she asked all parents to ask themselves three questions before calling the doctor. The questions are ridiculous because if any parent knew the answers then they would know what to do for their child and a call would or wouldn’t be necessary. Either way a parent wouldn’t be wasting their time on her shitty blog. So, instead of her questions, I’d like all of MAM’s followers, and other crunchy group members, to ask themselves the following questions right now:
1. Why does MAM care so much whether or not you call the doctor on behalf of your child?
2 Why does MAM, who admittedly has never taken her kids to the doctors or hasn't done so in years, hate all doctors so intensely, even YOUR doctor?
3. Why does MAM want you to use modern medicine as an absolute last option, only after having tried products such as her own with no success?
4. If MAM cares so much about the health and welfare of children, shouldn’t she then want any and all options suggested to scared inquiring parents in hopes of the parent learning of the BEST option for the child, and not so much the best option for MAM?
If your child is not well, no matter if it’s a routine cold or something more serious, please do not seek medical or health advice from any part of Facebook, or any place on-line for that matter (unless your doctor’s office has a website for your to use). Do not listen to people like MAM, who couldn’t even be bothered to take a single formal class on any related subject to health and medicine, and who obviously holds some personal vested interest, or a financial one, in the choices you make. Don’t even listen to any such medical advice I may accidentally give. Please, talk to your doctor or health care provider about the choices that are best for you or your loved ones. If you are ever unsure of a condition, unsure of what to do for an illness, or just unsure or worried about anything when it comes to your health and that of your loved ones, call your doctor. You have nothing to lose by calling, and possibly everything to gain, or at least maintain.
What's The Harm?