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Dear PROVE Members,

As you know, on February 15th, 2001, NBC's television drama ER contained a highly controversial story line about a family who chose not to vaccinate their children, and one of the children contracts measles and dies from complications while the doctors on the show lash out at the mother and categorically deny any risks posed by the vaccine.

NBC's lack of responsibility, compassion and sensitivity about a very real problem is highly disturbing.  Measles containing vaccines do sometimes injure and kill children.  A death or injury from a vaccine is just as awful as a death or injury from a disease. 

Anyone wanting to read some of the MMR vaccine adverse event reports can do so at

Here is one that would have been a more realistic basis for a story line.

VAERS ID 105905
State FR
Vaccine Type MMR
Vaccination Name MMR II
Manufacturer MSD
Age in Years 1
Sex M
Lab Data biopsy brain measles inclusion bodies; Reported Text pt recv vax 1997 & pt exp encephalitis & was hosp; COD encephalitis, viral & measles inclusions bodies were found @ the brain biopsy;investigation found type 1 virus;
Life Threating Illness Y
Died Y
Recovered N
Disability Y

Families across the country are lashing back in their letters to NBC.  I am forwarding just a small sampling to our readers. As these letters demonstrate, parents concerned about vaccine safety are hardly the blubbering idiots portrayed by NBC's ER (which is supported with vaccine manufacturers' advertising money).

Pass this on to anyone asking you questions about this latest pharmaceutical stunt so the truth can shine.

Also, it is not too late to send your letters to NBC.  Go to, and on the right side there is a scroll box where you can select "your favorite show".  Click on "ER" and then scroll to the bottom section entitled "Contact Us", and click on "Email ER".  There is an online form where you can let the producers know what you think about this episode.


I've been a faithful ER fan for years. It's the ONLY show I have ever been able to say that about. Last night was my last viewing. I was actually watching the show in my daughter's hospital room. She was admitted suffering from yet another side effect from one of the horrible treatments she received for her autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease caused by the MMR vaccine. I'm thankful she was so sedated from her pain medication that she missed the whole show. We usually watch it together.

I found it sadly ironic that in the same show you showed such compassion for the man suffering from lupus, the disease that my daughter's hemotologist believes she is developing. Are you even remotely aware of the connection between the vaccine and autoimmune diseases? You could have at least had the sensibility to catch that sad insult. After your condescending and reprehensible treatment of the parents, you cut immediately to a vaccine commercial. You left me spinning with nausea. Now I leave your viewing audience.

Shame on you.

Sara Smith


As a pediatric physician in the alternative health care field, I am becoming increasingly alarmed by the growing incidence of chronic, debilitating auto-immune and immunodeficiency diseases in my pediatric patients. It is not merely coincidental that the disease symptoms presented by these helpless children, whose ages vary from six months to seventeen years old, either started or became severely aggravated shortly after a vaccination or series of vaccinations.

It is very frustrating, if not infuriating, to witness such a biased and obviously unethically promoted view of vaccination in a recent ER. You people have not done your homework. If, at a minimum, this promotion was a public service message courtesy of a government regulatory agency in need of more regulatory control over the lives of its people, your message is little more
than propaganda for the sake of "the end justifies the means". If, on the other hand, this advertisment was an attempt to educate your audience about the benefits of vaccination, your message will end up benefiting the pharmaceutical industry far more than it will the millions of children who are at high risk for adverse reactions and/or long term consequences from our
very reckless mandated vaccine policy.

For your information, there is not only plenty of measurable scientific evidence to suggest that our reckless vaccine policy is dangerous; there also exists a number of ethical premises upon which the very notion of health is predicated (such as: "Doctor, do no harm") that lead intelligent people to question whether the application of our reckless vaccine policy is flawed.

Without considering or weighing the pros and cons of vaccination, one need only understand that the fundamental issue of importance in this vaccine controversy is the right of consent. You have not only done a disservice to people by insulting our collective intelligence with your biased view (and incomplete facts) of this controversial medical procedure, you have succeeded in leading us further down the slippery slope towards political expedience and moral decay by condoning the repression of our constitutional freedoms.

This particular ER program was another example of ignorance on display in the media and another reason why more and more rational people are turning television off and looking for news in other places.

Toni Krehel

I am a long time fan of ER but I was shocked last night by the inaccuracy of the measles story line. First of all to portray the parents in the light that you did is unconscionable. This is 2001. Not only do parents have a right to make an informed decision for their child it is their responsibility.   Did
the people who wrote this story  have any idea that there are children being injured every day in the United States from vaccine reactions. In 1986 Congress passed a law to compensate these individuals. This government program has paid out over $1 billion to children who have been injured and killed by mandated childhood vaccines, including the measles vaccine.  To flat out say
there is no connection between autism and vaccination is a lie and disservice to your audience.

There is evidence and studies are ongoing at the National Institutes of Health, the Institute of Medicine and the M.I.N.D. Institute to name a few. You have done a great disservice to your viewers by presenting such a biased story.   About the only thing that was accurate were the way doctors treat parents on this issue. Many parents are berated by health care providers for exercising their informed consent rights on the vaccination issue which pushes parents away from their health care providers.  I would like to know why your producers would think that the life of a child that dies from a disease is more valuable than the life of a child who dies
or is permanently injured by a vaccine? 

 As a viewer I have to wonder who brought this storyline to ER. I'm sure it was only a coincidence that the first advertisement was for a new childhood vaccine, Prevnar. You sold out and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Kathi Williams
Co-Founder and Director National Vaccine Information Center Vienna, VA


You've gone too far. As a registered nurse, disabled with an 'undifferentiated connective tissue disease' and severe peripheral sensory neuron disease because of multiple vaccines including: influenza, DPT, hepatitis B and MMR series - mandated as a condition for clinical practice - I have a "desk job" which affords me the option of working flexible shifts.  Uncharacteristically, I was home to see the 'ER' episode February 8, 2001, including previews for February 15th promising something outrageous in the way of infectious diseases.

'Lordie, what now?' I pondered. 'Small pox?' It was obvious that the Vaccine Machine had reached into their deep pockets and bought an episode of 'ER.' I chose to work my usual preferred evening shift and avoid watching the exaggerated infectious disease scenario, to miss this episode that promised further insult and condescension to vaccine casualties like myself.

It was my responsibility to do professional fee abstraction for the ER at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in 1997, and for 15 months reviewed an average of 150 pediatric' ER medical records per day, 5 days a week. I never read of one incident of death from wild measles virus presenting to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Emergency Room.

On the other hand, there were countless, daily reminders of the pervasiveness of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism, Asthma, Diabetes, metabolic and other chronic disorders in this generation of vaccine mutated children. Are we going to tamper and promote chronic disabling conditions in our society by terrifying them with horror stories of infectious disease epidemics when we've barely shaken hands with human genome prototypes?  Your ties to your sponsors, the promoters of Prevnar, were shamelessly transparent.
May I suggest, as a way of making amends with the increasingly large autoimmunity and otherwise vaccine-injured community - how about a story line about Dr. Green's pathology report, owning up to the fact that his malignancy is seeded with SV40? That Dr. Green was one of the hundreds of millions of citizens, 100 million in the U.S. alone, infected +/- 40 years ago from the polio vaccine that was contaminated by Simian Virus 40. You might win back a few of us, your Former Fans that you've offended.

If it is sensationalism you're after. Give credit that a few of us out here can still appreciate subtlety in ethical issues. 

- Disappointed RN, CPC


I have been wondering over the years why ER and other medical shows haven't gone near this issue regarding the vaccination controversy.  You have chosen to air one side of the controversy.  Why not go to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System and select 1 of the thousands of reports of children who have reacted to a vaccination, been rushed to the ER in full blown tonic/clonic seizures, brain swelling, projectile vomiting, edema, rash all over the body, fever, etc.  Have the ER crew valiantly try to save the child but fail.

Then {the doctors would} console the parents saying that most children that survive this sort of
vaccine reaction are left severely damaged and maybe this outcome was best for all. And as the parents slowly leave the hospital, Elizabeth Corday does a little research and finds that same lot of vaccine given to the child that died had 136 other reports of vaccine reactions, of which: 68 were rushed to the ER, 2 had life threatening conditions, 19 were hospitalized, 1 was immediately and permanently disabled, 19 had unknown recovery, 3 had no recovery, and 5 died, and the FDA new this, but didn't recall the vaccine.  Then Elizabeth Corday would throw down her stethescope in outrage and say "those bastards".

Barabara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center could be your medical consultant/expert.

Michael Framson


I am writing to you today because of the ER episode in which a non-vaccinated child died on your show.  My suggestion to you is that you do your homework on vaccines.

You see, my son is vaccine injured.  He is one of the victims of vaccination. We should all be allowed to do our homework and decide what is best for our children and protect them the best way we know how.  The way you portrayed the family was wrong. I am an educated person from the medical field. The condescending tone you used to the family was disgusting.

My son is severely and permanently brain injured. He had many complications following his vaccinations.  He eventually had an aneurysm rupture in his brain, he died three times and was resuscitated, his aneurysm ruptured a 2nd time 10 days later. He was only 4 months old.  He was hospitalized for over 4 months and he was not expected to live many, many times during this stay. No one can understand the pain that this can cause.  Since this happened to my son I have done extensive research and have been sickened by what I have uncovered.  My son will never receive another vaccine.  I will not play Russian Roulette with his life again. 

I suggest that you do your homework, read the package inserts, and hopefully you will never need to deal with vaccine injury personally.  

I also noticed that you ran an ad for Prevnar during this show. You can view a 33 page research paper on this which shows all the conflicts of interest in getting this vaccine approved. I would be happy to supply you with this research paper. It has killed children already. No child should be expendable in the name of the public good.

When one child died from getting locked inside a trunk of a car the world was mortified and made changes in automobile manufacturing. The result was a release latch inside the trunk. One child's death was one too many.  Why does this rule not apply to my child?  To the millions of vaccine injured children?

Because shows like yours mislead people about the truth.  

I am shocked that you would run something like this and I am never going to watch your show again. I truly believe that you owe the entire vaccine injured community (there are millions of them out there) an apology.  

Tammy Carrington

How much research did the writers for this script do on MMR's & Autism?  The actor, Anthony Edwards who plays Dr. Mark Green - (CAN - Cure Autism Now Board Member) was he ever asked about Autism?  Does anyone on one's staff have a child who has suffered from receiving a vaccination or even died from receiving one?

I have a child who was born without traces of Autism.  He developed "normally"; however, after receiving his MMR shot at 14-15 months of age - within a few amount of weeks, he started to lose speech and as time went on - he developed Autistic Traits.  Fortunately, today (3 1/2 years
later), he still is weak in the speech area but has dramatically improved in other areas due to  our intense therapy approaches, supplementations, testing, gluten/free - casein/free diet and other approaches as well.

He has had a colonoscopy and an endoscopy - he is currently having tests run in Ireland which is a Measles Virus Detection Analysis Report.  He has had DMSA (heavy metals detoxification) treatments to remove the vaccine parts of Mercury that is in the MMR shot.

I understand that TV scripts cover only a short version of the truths.  However, though my thoughts will more than likely be overlooked - I do feel that how one portrayed the family on the
show which aired (Feb. 15, 2001) regarding MMR vaccination truly did an injustice to families regarding their decisions not to vaccinate.  If one really wants to pass judgement - then I suggest that one does an episode on Merck Industries the makers of vaccines and other drugs.

Check on the legal levels of Mercury and other toxins that go into vaccines (aborted fetus tissue is in some vaccines).

I assure NBC that the network will be receiving numerous comments regarding the airing of ER and MMR-Vaccines. Anthony Edwards - please help to educate in this area.  I'm sure you are aware of the effects and possibilities regarding vaccines.

Though I'm not totally against vaccines, I'm against all of the additives that are going into them and the increasing amount of vaccines that one feels forced to give to such small children.

To let one know, I felt somewhat offended due to one's true lack of knowledge regarding vaccines - today.  The toxin levels of heavy metal incased in a vial and injected into an innocent child who doesn't understand what is happening.  As days go by this child could develop high fevers, seizures, lose speech, or begin living a life of dazed looks and withdrawing from the world.  This is AUTISM.  My son lives it and so does his family. We are doing everything in the world to make his world a better reality.  He will not ever receive another MMR vaccine.  His levels of MMR in his blood system (Titer's Test) are extremely above normal - meaning that his body had a
reaction to that vaccine - the tainted MMR shot.

Please ask one's self this question, what if this were my child?  What would I do to make a difference in his world?  Educate people about vaccines and the effects that vaccines could cause.

Contact me for info.  I am an advocate, consultant, and an educator regarding Autism, vaccines, and disabilities.


Darlene Carl


Dear John Wells,

Above, the preamble says the you value opinion and feedback.

I would like to think that that is not some sort of platitudinous garbage put in as corporate weasel-speak.

No doubt in your intent as executive producer and creator of ER - and as a person who can do what you want, was to do your paediatrician a favour.  The programme, about which I am sure you are heartily sick of hearing about, concerns a boy who dies as a result of measles, because his mother makes an informed choice not to vaccinate him.

The problem with this program is that it misrespresents the truth in two ways.

 Firstly, to my knowledge there has never been a death of a child, by measles, to a parent who has conscientiously chosen not to vaccinate.  That is borne out by statements issued in the past by the FDA and CDC saying that the problem of vaccine uptake has nothing to do with choice, but everything to do with delivery of service.

While children who are not vaccinated do get measles, recent medical articles facilely suggest  that we should not have exemptions, because the vaccinated children get it to.  What is a vaccine supposed to do?  Prevent you getting "IT".  So why are fully vaccinated children getting measles?  Could it perhaps be.... that is doesn't work?

In New Zealand, we recently had an interesting double lesson.  Firstly, a huge measles vaccination campaign using MMR to pre-empt a measles outbreak.  Of the 150,000 children revaccinated, I have documented evidence of 8 children who landed up in ICU with encephalopathy between 8 - 14 days after the vaccine. One child died.  Every parent tells me that the medical personnel tested for every "OTHER" thing that could have caused encephalopathy and got a blank
sheet.  Interestingly, not one child was tested for MMR viral encephalopathy.
Such good science - good medicine, don't you think? So naturally, my documented evidence is classified as "anecdotal" and proves nothing.  Now, why do you think that might be, Mr Wells?  That is real life - and would portay reality far more accurately than your programme.  But ER is about glorifying everything medical theory stands for, not showing another reality, John,
isn't it. 

Shortly after this MMR campaign, I got involved with a family near me, whose 10 month boy got encephalopathy after MMR, and they did all the right things. But did they get a correct diagnosis?  No. He was misdiagnosed as microcephaly.  Fortunately I knew a thing or three, and the child, after evaluation by a knowledgeable doctor,was correctly diagnosed.  Not only that, the child now has government compensation, and is state supported.  That that child, also subsequently developed autism.

But lets also talk about this measles epidemic that was supposed to be forestalled by this campaign - during which some children received their third MMR.  The Health Department said the campaign prevented an estimated 90% of cases that COULD HAVE HAPPENED.  They of course tell the future and have crystal balls which mere mortals don't...  But what they don't tell you, is
that of the thousands of children who did happen to get measles, most were appropriately vaccinated, and some had had 3 MMR shots.  And that some of the children hospitalised had severe measles. What they also don't tell you is that of the unvaccinated pre-school children, very few landed in hospital, none had serious complication - and.... wait for it... most of them caught
it from the vaccinated children. That is actually the most interesting thing about this epidemic - that the early notifications were all in vaccinated children.

Right now, we are in the midst of a whooping cough epidemic.  And guess what.

Nearly all the cases are in fully vaccinated children.  Who by our regulations, are allowed to stay at school, since according to school records, they are protected.  This situation is compounded, because many cases are diagnosed incorrectly, so that these vaccinated infectious children, are
erroneously at school with whooping cough, because idiotic doctors who believe vaccinated children can't get it, won't test for it - they just prescribe steroids for asthma.

And these vaccinated infection spreading children, whose parents haven't a clue that they have whooping cough, are spreading it to all the other vaccinated - and a few unvaccinated children.  The Health Department is aware of this.  Are they doing anything?  Yes, Showing an advertisement of a 6 month old child with whooping cough and saying "Vaccination prevents this..."

My hope for you, and your family would usually be for the best of health. After this program, I  hope that circumstances in the future will bring home to you the reality of what hundreds of thousands of parents in USA are now suffering.  So please, make sure your children and grandchildren are fully vaccinated with all their boosters.  Without you taking this action, you are
less likely to share, or understand, their pain.  

Unless a close friend wakes you from your present torpor. 

Hilary Butler.


I was disappointed in the handling of the measles case in last night's ER episode (2/15/2001).  It included distortions that can mislead the public and, ultimately, affect the health of children. 

The incidence of autism as well as other chronic, auto-immune diseases (asthma, diabetes, etc.) among children is growing at an alarming rate, and coincides with the increase in the number of vaccinations routinely given to children.  The possible relationship between these diseases and various vaccines has been recognized for a generation.  Some physicians have offered
the explanation that the chemicals included in vaccines tamper with the body's immune system, both suppressing and over-stimulating, until the immune system finally starts attacking itself.  New vaccines put forth by drug companies are being accepted by pediatricians and, in many cases, mandated by state laws, without the necessary long-term studies to guarantee safety. 

In last night's episode, the ER doctor dismisses these concerns with statements that there is "no relationship" between vaccines and autism, and that "vaccines improve the immune system."  Parents who take the time to study the risks and benefits, and make their own choice against vaccination, rather than leaving it up to the experts, are dismissed as "fringe lunatics."  The statistic of "1 in 500 children die from measles" does not take into account the previous health of the child, management of the disease, other complications, etc.  In fact, this type of statement is often used by doctors to scare parents who question vaccine safety and make them fall into line.

I would encourage you to balance the scales by presenting the other side of the issue.  You might present an episode where a child dies or becomes severely retarded following a vaccination.  The parents then decide not to give that vaccine to their younger child but are hounded by health and child welfare authorities because of state vaccination laws.  If you want to study some real-life cases for background information, the National Vaccine Information Center at 703-938-0342 or  could surely provide them.  (Believe me, this situation is no more rare than a health child dying of measles.) 

Martha Fitzgerald


I'm quite sad to say this, as a loyal viewer and fan of ER, but I believe the Thursday, February 15 show was the last one I'll ever watch. And, unfortunately, I'll most likely give up Will and Grace as well as the West Wing and Law and Order and Law and Order SVU.

In your thinly disguised propaganda piece for vaccine manufacturers ER just goes beyond anything a reasonable, fair-minded production should do. You vacated the principle I wrongly believed was one of the tenets for ER.

I have not always agreed with the story lines of certain characters and, frankly, this is the last
straw.  When you portrayed the woman who was into herbs as slighly kooky and astral, I let that pass, when you have had highly medicated, technical, overly complicated births, I've let those pass. I mean after all, I expect you to portray the allopathic opinion as this is an "ER" docu-drama. But the vaccine episode was the end. The only accurate part of this story line was the condecension and pretentiousness as well as the closemindedness and parroting of the physicians.

This wasn't a case of strong arguments on both sides where a doctor disagrees with a patients desires or doctors differ about treatments -- those story lines catch you and make you think -- that is one thing I've always admired about the show, it's ability to put people between a rock and hard place with no definitive answer.

Not only was the vaccine information presented inaccurate and highly inflammatory, but it was
delivered so condesending and patronizing as to make me feel physically ill.

It only takes a short look to determine that physicians are not always correct in what they believe
and do -- vaccine doses, administration schedules and formulas are as different around the globe as the languages and colors of the people who inhabit this planet. This is not the proven, safe, effective treatment physicians would have us believe it is.

In addition, your portrayal of this woman as a blabbering ninny is uncomprehensible and unforgivable.  In the time I have been researching this subject and making decisions (going on 11 years now), I have found people who opt out of the vaccine roulette game to be intelligent, educated and VERY concerned about their children. They know and understand concepts and
information that would make you shrink and hide in the closet. For most of us this has come at a dear price.

For me, my first son became quite ill the day after his first shot. I thought he was going to die. From that day, until the time I quit doing what our pediatrician told us to do,he was one sick child.

For many of us parents, this can be categorized under the heading "More than We Wanted to Know." I was brought up in a midwestern state by a highly-educated mom who was a physical therapist and convinced me that any other approach was just quackery. I did not come
to CHANGE my beliefs easily or quickly. (Which BTW, I think most of us conscientious objectors are converts) 

It was only after much agony and strenuous research I discovered the dangers and issues associated with this process.  (11 years ago there WAS NO internet for us, just a few books and a couple of people willing to question this). Just like the woman in your story line I was LIED to! I live in Minnesota where it is a parents' free choice to opt out of this dangerous and untested practice. Guess what?!?!? NO ONE, not one single person advised me I had the right to opt out of
this. Why would the doctors and others have to lie if this was such a great, safe, effective thing?

It is this dissociative, mechanistic view of the world that causes the problems. I too have been patronized by the John Carters, Deb Chens and Cleo Finch's of the world. In most cases I was well into adulthood before these children were out of their diapers!

In this case, I have a free choice to discontinue viewing a tv show blatantly bought and paid for by big drug money.

Celia Cezzium


From Feat

The Mean Spirit of NBC's ER Episode
Commentary and Letters

     It is perhaps, the most overused cliché in medical television drama. The patient lies motionless on a platform in surgery or the emergency room surrounded by medical types in high drama. Everyone is racing to resuscitate a cardiac arrest.  "Clear!" shouts the rescuer.  Paddles are slapped down on the victim's chest.  The lifeless body arch in response to the thumping
sound of electricity supplied with a jolt.  The pulse is checked.  Nothing. Again, "Clear" is shouted and another jolt is hopefully applied, this time with some success. "I'm getting a pulse!" shouts a tech or nurse.  Cautious sighs of relief are passed around to everyone in room, and also to the loved ones observing from a distance.  Most of the time the viewer can guess whether the patient is going to make it or not depending on the context of the plot.

     On last night's episode of NBC's ER, this cliché played out again with a handsome blond-hair, blue-eyed, nourished, four year old boy with morbid complications from measles.   The mother explains that she intentionally did not have her children inoculated out of her concern over possible vaccine side effects.  Autism is specifically mentioned.  The boy gets his heart restarted, but he remains unconscious and motionless.

     "Is he ok?" asks the frightened mother.  "Yea, he's doing fine," the doctor sarcastically sneers back without looking at her.  Portraying the mother as suburban and articulate highlights the contempt.  This is not white trash operating from ignorance.  No sir, this is one of those educated
moms who gets her information on vaccines and autism from questionable sources on the Internet and not the family pediatrician. Every word of dialog that addresses the mother from that point on is expressed with utter contempt.  The writers could have added the phrase "you stupid,
irresponsible twit" to end of every sentence spoken to her.  The boy dies shortly thereafter. You couldn't make it any more heavy handed without having the ER set morphing into a Smack Down Wrestling event.

      Considering that this publication is the most-read, highest profile independent source of information on autism and vaccines on the Internet, the program's references are to you, our readers, and to us, the FEAT newsletter.  We had a role in killing that beautiful, innocent little boy, is the implication.

    The mean spiritedness of NBC's ER message can only add heat, not light to the public conversation now going on about the safety of vaccines.  The desire for parents to make informed decisions about their children's health should be encourage, and not vilified with comic book theatrics like the ER production.

    The autism community demonstrates every day its commitment to a fair handed and competent education of ourselves on the issue of vaccines and their safety.

    With the incidence of autism being at its historical high, it is only a matter of time before someone close in the family of an ER writer or producer has an autistic child.  It is only a matter of time before someone in the family of a programming executive at NBC gets autism.  And when that happens we suggest that you avoid your own spin and theatrical productions; it won't help you much.  We suggest you come here to get a balanced presentation of the facts on vaccines and autism.

    When you come you will find a responsible commitment to the facts, and not theatrics and scare tactics, if you read this newsletter.

      You will find that we do not sneer sarcastically at families who suddenly find themselves with disasters like autism or any of the other possible side effects of vaccines, no matter where you come from, hometowns or Hollywood.  We won't bash you - simply because at the least, you have now become one of us.  It's just a matter of time.
Lenny Schafer

      From the early letters, a number of readers noted the contradiction of ER Show star Anthony Edwards and character Dr. Green, being connected to this production.  Edwards is a high-profile supporter of autism research and works closely with Cure Autism Now (CAN).  Often it is asked, "Why didn't he say something to someone about this awful presentation of parents concerned
about autism?"
Jon Shestack of CAN provides following explanation of Edward's role.
      I have spoken with Anthony Edwards who did not agree nor endorse that storyline and was in fact distressed by the patronizing dismissal of family concerns about vaccine safety. Evidence of this is that Tony's, character, Dr. Green, did not participate in that story.
     The idea for the episode rests totally with John Wells who is the executive producer and creator of the show and who basically gets to do what he wants. That he was influenced by his pediatrician, the American Academy of Pediatricians, the National Institute of Child Health, and vaccine manufacturers is possible and even likely but totally beyond Tony's sphere of influence.

      First the vaccine commercial with the episode (who say's advertisers don't pay for Hollywood scripts), then the worst case of scare tactics I have ever seen on TV. ER and those associated with that program should be ashamed of themselves. Bought and paid for to the highest bidder. At the
very least they should disclose in the credits the names of the scriptwriters from Merck who wrote this fiction.

     First Hollywood makes "Rain Man" and tells us it's about autism, later we find out the character the story is based in part, on someone who is not even autistic!  Now tonight Hollywood does it again, this time serving as the mouthpiece of the vaccine manufacturers and their cronies in the public health department telling us about autism and MMR, nothing based on science mind you, only scare tactics designed to coerce parents into vaccinating their children at all costs.
    Hollywood should stick to what it does best: making cartoons.

Rick Rollens

      WOW!!  I can't believe what I just saw on ER tonight.  Did you do your homework?  What a pathetic display of misinformation.  Do you have any idea of how many families are touched by horrible reactions to vaccination (including death)?  If your actors were aware of the truth would they agree to portray this information in the light it was presented?  I find the timing of this program quite ironic with all the controversy over the validity and safety of our current vaccination program.  I sure hope you are prepared to present the other side of this story.

       A funny thing happened to me about a month ago.  I was at one of our local elementary schools to do a presentation.  During the two hours I was there two students presented to the school nurse, one with mumps and one with measles.  Both were vaccinated.  What's up with that?
You lost a viewer.

Yvonne Wood, D.C.

From Mothering Magazine

Mothering Editor Calls for Boycott of NBC's ER
Following the February 15, 2001 airing of an episode of the hit television show ER in which an unvaccinated child dies from measles, Mothering Editor and Publisher Peggy O'Mara has called for a boycott of the program because of its misrepresentation of families who choose not to vaccinate and because of the show's obvious ties to vaccination manufacturers.

Her letter to the network:

17 February 2001

To the Writers of ER:
Journalists around the world are threatened, tortured and murdered for telling the truth. As journalists in the US we have immense privilege not enjoyed in many other countries. With this privilege comes a responsibility. You especially, the writers for ER, have a privileged platform from which to tell the truth and instead you have used your privilege for propaganda.

On the ER episode that aired February 15, 2001, a child died from measles. This episode portrayed the parents' informed choice not to vaccinate as irresponsible and negligent, and implicated them in the death of their child. Not coincidentally, Dr Carter's implication of the parents' negligence was followed immediately by an advertisement for Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceutical's Prevnar vaccine. Surely you have breached your broadcasting integrity by aligning the message of your episode with the message of your sponsors. In doing so you have breached the truth. Your transparent and one-sided coverage of a very important issue only fuels belief in the "conspiracy" that your character so vehemently derides.

Your depiction of parents who choose to forgo vaccinations as irresponsible and negligent is simply not borne out in fact. In reality, the total number of parents who conscientiously object to vaccines is small, probably less than one percent and they do not "free-ride" on other's immunity. Research at the University of Pennsylvania concluded that parents in general were more likely to do what everyone else did (that is, to vaccinate) than to "free-ride" on the perceived immunity of others. It is the inadequate access to health care of the unimmunized poor that is the greater risk to immunization compliance than is the minority of well-informed and health conscious families who do not vaccinate.

Scientific and ethical oversight supports this view. The Institute of Medicine in their 1997 workshop summary Risk Communication and Vaccination stated "The goal that all parties share regarding vaccine risk communication should be informed decisionmaking. Consent for vaccination is truly "informed" when the members of the public know the risks and benefits and make voluntary decisions."

Your portrayal of the parents ignored and patronized legitimate safety concerns that some parents have about vaccines. It also ignored the legitimacy of informed consent, a tradition in American jurisprudence for nearly 100 years. By definition, a parent's right to informed consent means that he or she must not be coerced into making a decision. Your cooperation with Wyeth-Ayerst in coercing the parents of America is unethical. And, your portrayal of doctors who coerce parents into making such decisions violates the ethical standards of the medical profession.

Your portrayal was further compromised by its blatant association with advertising. It is often the case that the medical establishment places stories in the media prior to a major policy statement or publication. Was this recent ER episode meant to test public opinion for the upcoming American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of the Prevnar vaccine and the subsequent requirement of Prevnar by the CDC?

I can understand the need for the advance publicity. Prevnar is a vaccine for pneumococcal/pneumonia and has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, according to Erdem Cantekin, PhD, professor of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh and an international authority on otitis media, "The big push for Prevnar came from its supposed prevention of otitis media, even though it had not been approved for this use.... This vaccine is the perfect example of profit-driven health care with no checks and balances." Prevnar is one of the most expensive vaccines ever developed and is expected to deliver sales of up to $500 million per year.

Prevnar is made by Wyeth-Ayerst, the same company that made Rhotoshield, a diarrhea vaccine. Rhotoshield was withdrawn from the market in 1999 after reports of numerous cases of vaccine-associated bowel obstruction and amidst claims of conflicts of interest between vaccine manufacturers and governmental agencies that, critics say, knew of the vaccine risks all along.

Your portrayal of the complexity of the vaccine decision was not only one-sided; it was also inaccurate and therefore inflammatory. It was stated in the episode that the death rate for measles was one in 500. While this was the death rate in the prevaccine era, the death rate today is one in 5,000. As there are less than 1,000 cases of measles a year in the US, it would be rare for a US hospital to witness a measles death. To terrorize parents with the threat of such a rare occurrence is unconscionable.

In the episode, Dr. Carter stated that there was no proof that measles vaccine causes autism while, in fact, the evidence that implicates the MMR vaccine in autism is compelling and should be taken seriously if we are genuinely interested in safe vaccines.

It is not uncommon for industry to use its influence in the media to frame stories. Increases in breastfeeding rates, for example, are met with increased stories in the media about the very rare and preventable "insufficient milk syndrome."

During a two-month period in 1994, unusual cases of tragic infant dehydration were covered in The Wall Street Journal, Time magazine and on Prime Time Live. More recently, a 1998 episode of TV's Chicago Hope and a 2000 episode of Law and Order also implicated breastfeeding in shows about "insufficient milk syndrome." "Insufficient milk syndrome," a media euphemism, is totally preventable if a new breastfeeding mother gets appropriate information and support from her healthcare providers.

Tragically, this breastfeeding bashing has not been balanced in the media with public service programming that encourages breastfeeding or portrays breastfeeding advocacy in a positive light. This is particularly ironic in light of the World Health Organization recommendation that all women breastfeed for at least two years. Most babies in the US are weaned by six months.

Likewise, the January 2000 publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics' book on infant sleep, a book that advocates an authoritarian approach to infant sleep, was preceded by the co-sleeping caution issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in September 1999. Most media coverage of these official statements parroted the viewpoint of the government and medical associations.

What co-sleeping, breastfeeding and questioning vaccines have in common is that they are the minority choices that do not make money for anyone. Increasingly, the conscientious viewpoints of a minority of citizens who question the status quo in one way or another are looked upon as un-American. In fact, it is the minority viewpoint that the US constitution was written to protect.

The American Academy of Pediatrics minimizes parental concerns about vaccines by labeling them misconceptions. ER suggests that informed choice is criminal. The media and the medical establishment increasingly attack parents who exercise legitimate, informed choice if that choice is controversial. All states, however, grant religious exemptions to vaccination, and parents can claim these exemptions based on deeply held personal beliefs as well as on church membership.

As an editor, I advocate for parents to be able to make personal choices regarding the care of their own family. I am for informed choice. None of us is safe to act on our deeply held beliefs if one of us is unsafe. This is not about vaccines. It is about informed consent. Whatever we believe or choose regarding vaccines is irrelevant to the fact that we all want to reserve the right to choose medical care that is appropriate to the needs of our particular family. Standing by while broadcasters trample on the freedom of parents is something I will not do.

Citizens are not interested in watching television shows that are so obviously compromised. It is bad enough that television programming on the public airways is a vehicle of advertising for the few, but it is doubly bad when advertising is disguised as programming.

If we are to have any impact on the excesses of materialism, we will have to start by refusing such overt manipulation.

ER has misused its position of media privilege.

ER has violated its own standards of artistic excellence.

ER has violated broadcasting integrity by overtly aligning the content of the episode with the interests of the advertisers.

I am calling for a boycott of ER for violating broadcasting ethics in their portrayal of a medical establishment that justifiably coerces parents into making vaccine decisions.

Peggy O'Mara
Editor and Publisher


Your show concerning the unvaccinated child who died of measles, which was highly insulting to concerned parents who have done their homework and are rightly concerned about vaccine reactions, could do much harm.

It is true that measles can be fatal. Perhaps 1 in 1,000 children who gets measles has complications, occasionally resulting in death. Measles is very rare these days, but vaccinated children can get it too. Of cases reported in Colorado between 1987 and 1998 (time interval probably chosen to include the epidemic of 1989-90), 45 were in "exemptors," but 137 were in vaccinated children (see JAMA of 12/27/00). In most cases, the source of the infection was not known or stated, but it was probably not indigenous to the U.S.

However, vaccine reactions can be fatal or seriously disabling too. The safety standards for vaccines are unacceptably low. Testing involves a limited number of subjects, who are generally followed for a very short time.

All medical treatments carry some risk, and the risk:benefit ratio is different for different individuals. Therefore, we believe that no one should be forced to undergo a medical treatment, even if a physician recommends it. Physicians have a duty to present the risks and benefits as
accurately as they can, including an honest appraisal of gaps in our knowledge. Glibly assuming that "absence of evidence is evidence of absence"--when in fact studies of sufficient power have simply not been done--is a profound disservice to patients.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgens passed unanimously a resolution condemning mandatory vaccines at its annual meeting in October, 2000. AAPS was founded in 1943 to preserve the traditional patient-physician relationship. We are not against vaccines per se.

I am sure you are getting positive email from a group of self-styled "quackwatchers," who call anybody who questions any vaccine mandate a "chiro anti-vax quack." They do not represent very many physicians. I have spoken, for example, at hospital grand rounds on this subject, and not one physician has objected to or refuted my concerns about certain vaccines.

Stories that should be of interest to NBC include: 

1. Serious adverse reactions to vaccines (I have a Microsoft Excel data base of 25,000 adverse reactions to hepatitis B vaccine from the FDA and CDC Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, VAERS, available on request).

2. The money trail: state agencies or school districts that get money for forcing children to receive vaccines, and conflicts of interest that compromise the "experts" who testify for mandates.

3. CDC stonewalling on requests for safety data on hepatitis B and other vaccines.

4. Parents or other caregivers jailed for murder when their babies die, possibly from a vaccine reaction, when there is no direct evidence that they ever abused the child in any way. (Was a vaccine history taken in the English nanny case, by the way?)

5. Parents whose children are excluded from school and reported to Child Protective Services because they have exercised a legal and conscientious objection to a mandated vaccine (even against a disease such as hepatitis B that is very rare in children and not ordinarily transmitted in a school setting).

You could be missing the story of the decade, even the century, while being complicit in forcing children to risk harm from inadequately tested vaccines. (And remember, we're not talking about smallpox or other diseases that are common, highly lethal, and very easily transmitted.) Firestone, asbestos, and even tobacco might seem like minor escapades in comparison, in
retrospect. Investigative reporters are needed, but must be prepared for a lot of flak from powerful special interest groups.

You are cordially invited to examine material on vaccines posted on our web site,

Please feel free to call if you have any questions.

Jane M. Orient, M.D., Executive Director, AAPS.

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April 16, 2011

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