Autismum

By day: mum of an autistic tot. By night: mum of an autistic tot.

The Patriot Nurse

The world of made up science is full of colourful characters. Perhaps this is why their nonsense gets so much attention. People are listening to and acting on the advice of Jenny McCarthy, Polly Tommey and the like when, really, the correct response should be to pat them on the head and send the poor misguided (and that’s being kind) souls on their merry way.

Recently, a new figure has emerged to persuade parents out of protecting their children from vaccine preventable infections. She calls herself the Patriot Nurse. One look at her very scruffy blog will leave you with the impression that the Patriot nurse is a rather paranoid Patriot Nurse. Her numerous You Tube videos are guides to what to do when the SHTF (shit hits the fan).

I really couldn’t care less if the Patriot Nurse wants to share her conspiracy theories, recipes for coleslaw,  or  what she recommends storing and stashing in your bunker ready for the day that  said shit hits the metaphorical fan. What I do object to, however, is the Patriot Nurse’s pronouncements on vaccines. Freedom of speech is precious and, yes, to paraphrase, I would defend her right to spout this bullshit but let’s put things into some context. She believes that her training as a  nurse makes her opinions somehow authoritative. No.

I’m not the only one who feels this way. For another take on the Patriot Nurse visit the wonderful Shot of Prevention.

The Patriot Nurse first came to my attention via a facebook group for mothers who vaccinate their children and take an evidence based approach to childcare – often miscontrued as  just a “pro-vax” group. Indeed it was another nurse,  whowas utterly, “appalled by her name-calling [of scientists as] ‘geeks with beakers’,” as well as almost everything else that comes out of the Patriot Nurse’s mouth when it comes to vaccines, who introduced the Patriot Nurse to many of us.

In the video itself the Patriot Nurse shows no indication of ever having been exposed to even the most basic principles of pharmacology such as dose-response nor the fundamentals of chemistry such as molecular structure or what exactly a compound is.  The Patriot Nurse knows not the difference between an adjuvant and a preservative and yet pontificates and generalises well beyond her expertise on matters far more complex. Scarier still, there is some evidence emerging that the Patriot Nurse cares for new born babies and their mothers though this remains to be substantiated. Judge for yourself, then read on for a refutation by  a Canadian nurse at a large teaching hospital with an additional background in biology on behalf of Nurses Who Vaccinate:

I’m also a nurse, and I have some serious objections to what you’ve stated in this video.

1) You talk about the additives present in vaccines.

As we all know there is no mercury in vaccines – there was never mercury in vaccines. There WAS thimersol, which is a mercury compound. Table salt is a chlorine compound. Basic chemistry teaches us that simply because something has a compound in it that might be dangerous on it’s own doesn’t mean that it’s dangerous in all cases. H2o is obviously not dangerous, but take away that “o”, and it becomes combustible.

This is thimersol: C9H9HgNaO2S
This is mercury present in fish – methyl mercury: [CH3Hg]+

You give an example of a tuna sandwich. You claim that because the “gut” is a semi-permeable membrane that eating fish with mercury would be different than injecting mercury.

Two issues:

a) As discussed, there is no mercury in vaccines. And the two types of “mercury” you’re discussing are not molecularly similar.
b) The gut does NOT stop mercury from reaching the bloodstream. In fact, Health Canada states: “When fish or other foods contaminated with methyl mercury are consumed, approximately 95% of the methyl mercury is absorbed through the stomach and intestinal tract, then transferred to the blood stream and distributed throughout the body.”
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/contaminants/mercur/q35-q42-eng.php
Meaning that ingestion of mercury is not a protective mechanism.

Aluminum is the most abundant element in our environment. We ingest sizable amounts of it on a daily basis. Aluminum is more plentiful in breast milk than vaccines; an infant will ingest more aluminum from breastfeeding than all the childhood vaccines put together.
“During the first 6 months of life, infants could receive about 4 milligrams of aluminum from vaccines. That’s not very much: a milligram is one-thousandth of a gram and a gram is the weight of one-fifth of a teaspoon of water. During the same period, babies will also receive about 10 milligrams of aluminum in breast milk, about 40 milligrams in infant formula, or about 120 milligrams in soy-based formula.”
http://www.chop.edu/export/download/pdfs/articles/vaccine-education-center/aluminum.pdf

Aluminum – regardless of route of entry is excreted very efficiently by the kidneys.
“Most of the aluminum that enters the body is eliminated quickly. Though all of the aluminum present in vaccines enters
the bloodstream, less than 1 percent of aluminum present in food is absorbed through the intestines into the blood. Either way, most of the aluminum in the bloodstream is immediately bound by a protein called transferrin, which carries aluminum to the kidneys where it is eliminated from the body. About 50 percent of aluminum in vaccines or in food is eliminated in less than 24 hours; 85 percent is eliminated in two weeks and 96 percent is eliminated in three years. The ability of the body to rapidly eliminate aluminum accounts for its excellent record of safety.”
http://www.chop.edu/export/download/pdfs/articles/vaccine-education-center/aluminum.pdf

2) You state that vaccines “bypass the gut, which is our natural defense mechanism”.
Many pathogens bypass the gut, so I don’t see how this is relevant.
I assume you’re trying to make some point that vaccines bypass the mucous membranes. And? We vaccinate against the diseases we do, in part, BECAUSE we are susceptible to them as they EASILY bypass our innate defenses. Your mucous membranes cannot kill a pathogen.

3) You trot out the autism canard.
As we all know, the big concern was thimersol causing autism. After the removal of thimersol from vaccines, the rate of autism went UP – which is not what we would expect to see if thimersol was a causative factor. There have been so many studies showing zero correlation between vaccination and autism that I’m amazed every time I even see this brought up.
Have you seen the scientific studies showing a DROP in autism amongst vaccinated versus unvaccinated children?
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2010/09/13/peds.2010-0309.full.pdf+html?maxtoshow&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT&fulltext=vaccine+mercurfy&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT
http://resources.cpha.ca/CCIAP/data/1017e.pdf
http://www.safeminds.org/research/library/20021107.pdf
http://www.pediatricsdigest.mobi/content/113/2/259.full
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18180424
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14519711
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15342825

So, either you’re mistaken about vaccines and autism, or you believe there is a worldwide conspiracy of biomed professionals who want to poison your kids.

4) You talk about the vaccine schedule.
Did you know that despite the increasing number of vaccines available, there is a smaller amount of adjuvant and pathogen per vaccine. The load on the body is actually LESS than it was 20 or 30 years ago.
“Despite the increase in the number of vaccines over recent decades, improvements in vaccine design have reduced the immunologic load from vaccines, such that the total number of immunological components in the fourteen vaccines administered to US children in 2009 is less than 10% of what it was in the seven vaccines given in 1980.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccine_controversies#Vaccine_overload

5) You state that vaccines cause “over-stimulation”. Of what? The immune system that encounters literally thousands of pathogens on a daily basis?
“Vaccines do not overwhelm the immune system; conservative estimates predict that the immune system can respond to thousands of viruses simultaneously.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908388/?tool=pmcentrez

6) You then go on to discuss allergies and autoimmune disorders, stating that you couldn’t figure out anything OTHER than vaccines that could have caused a spike in said conditions.
I must point out that simply because YOU can’t think of something doesn’t necessitate that there ISN’T something. I am a nurse with an additional degree in biology. I respect and love nursing. But we are not scientists. We are not immunologists. And we shouldn’t be speaking authoritatively on the causative factors of allergies or autoimmune disorders – that’s not within our scope.

“Only in a few rare cases,however, has autoimmune pathology been firmly associated with particular vaccines.”
http://image.thelancet.com/extras/02art9340web.pdf

7) You talk about breast milk being the only thing necessary to protect a neonate. Breast milk can only provide antibodies to a child for things that the mother is immune to. If the mother has never HAD MENINGITIS she does not have antibodies to pass on that will protect her baby from meningitis.
It’s also well known that anti-bodies in breast milk taper greatly at the 6 month mark.

Vaccines are safe and effective. Scientific study has shown this to be true, beyond a shadow of a doubt. No vaccine – or any medication – is without its risks, and I would encourage you to speak to your physician if you are having doubts or have questions. Remember that anyone can post anything they wish on the internet – be it true or not. And simply because something SOUNDS authoritative does not make it correct.

Of course, whose advice you follow on such matters is your call. You can put your faith in the paranoid rantings of the Patriot Nurse, PlayBoy models and inconsequential actresses or base your opinions on the overwhelming body of scientific evidence that shows, though not perfect, for the vast majority of human beings that receive them, vaccines are safe and the best protection against potentially disabling and deadly diseases that infect us.

Comments on this post are more than welcome. The Patriot Nurse does not extend the same courtesy on her You Tube video.

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33 comments on “The Patriot Nurse

  1. Krissy M.
    17 January, 2012

    Great post! What this woman is doing is DANGEROUS. I hope this is brought to the attention of her employers.

    • Rick
      26 April, 2013

      Well said I am an Australian who made a comment in response to that patriot nurses youtube talk, her response back to me was something like this, get a life and fuck yourself. I thought what a rude arrogant person this is. To me she sounds very paranoid about life and insecure and yet she has all these high powered assault weapons at her disposal. I also find it hard to believe that she is giving advise about lots of different things to people through youtube and her web page which she also sells lots of stuff. I think this person needs to start to think what possible harm she could be doing to people. Thanks for your time.

  2. PediatricRN
    17 January, 2012

    While sometimes it may seem easier to ignore youtube posters and Facebook pages that post misinformation, ignoring these sources of propaganda poses a credible threat to our communities. A nurses’ job is to educate and advocate for the patient. When a registered nurse ignores the substantial medical studies & the mountains of scientific validity of immunizations, and would rather rely on personal blogs and anti-science websites to promote incorrect views, the public health is placed at risk.

    I am very glad that the ‘real’ nurse took her time to debunk the many myths and misconceptions of science. Learning and education doesn’t end in nursing school. Nurses must continuously update their knowledge and bedside skills using credible sources of information. In regards to immunizations, I suggest that nurses check out The American Nurse Association- http://www.anaimmunize.org to keep fresh with current vaccine data.

    I do hope that any patient of the the “Patriot Nurse” was remedified and educated in the true pro/cons of vaccinations and the very real threat of vaccine-preventable dieases.

  3. Karen
    17 January, 2012

    The disease-riddled cole slaw recipe will come in handy during our days of militia rule.

    In all seriousness, though, I lovely breakdown on how a call to authority is a logical fallacy on a good day, and a hysterical joke on a day with an anti-vaxxer.

  4. M O'C
    17 January, 2012

    I think it’s time the Patriot Nurse went into her bunker xx

  5. CanadianNurse
    25 January, 2012

    Good morning angry supporters of The Patriot Nurse.

    No one is debating your RIGHT to choose whether or not to vaccinate. But if you have the right to NOT vaccinate, then a patient – especially parents who will be giving birth to a vulnerable neonate under your care – should have the right to choose whether or not you act as their nurse.

    NO one is after TPN’s job. A science writer for a legitimate science zine contacted her work to verify her identity. Which is exactly what a responsible writer does before publication – verifies a source.

    Non-vaccinating nurses at other hospitals have to take isolation per-cautions(gloves, gown, mask). This is to protect them and protect the patients. Regardless of whether YOU think vaccines work – science sure thinks that they do, and the employers have a right and a duty to protect those under its care.

    TPN is a sham. She states in her video that saying this comes as a great cost to her as a nurse. If she so firmly believes in her anti-vaccination rhetoric – so much so that she would post it online AND STATE THAT SHE WAS A NURSE – then she should be well aware of the potential consequences.

    All of you crying “free speech” are being deceived. TPN has deleted EVERY SINGLE comment that was not entirely supportive of her. You can’t claim that her free speech is in jeopardy while she refuses that right to others.

    TPN make a video. A stupid video. In which she makes very very basic scientific errors. She was called to answer to those errors on her page, on this blog, on Orac’s blog and elsewhere. She refused to do so. She is not interested in having a dialogue. She had her little diatribe and that was that. NO ONE is so special that they can make sweeping, erroneous statements without recourse.

    I know that you anti-vaccination activists have a lot of other anti-vaccination friends online. But the fact of the matter is that 94% of people are still vaccinating. You’re a blip on the radar. You’re the new “trendy” thing to be against. But when it comes down to it, all but a handful of people are intelligent enough to realize that:

    1) there is NOT a global conspiracy of scientists and doctors trying to poison your children
    2) a few bad nurses or doctors do not discount the whole of the scientific method; nor are the opinions of a few more valid than the opinions of millions
    3) researching vaccines on Google is NOT equal to going to post-secondary education for 10+ years to be a physician, pediatrician, immunologist or what have you.

    TPN is not a martyr. She is a nurse who is expected to uphold the ideals and principles of her nursing organization and employer. And seeing as those things adhere to evidence-based medicine – and she doesn’t – she now has a problem. She brought it on herself. It was her choice not to vaccinate, and it their choice (and DUTY to the public) to deal with her how they see fit.

    • Ros
      29 January, 2012

      Thank you. Very well said. I hope the anti-vaxxers read it!

      • M O'C
        29 January, 2012

        Thanks Ros. Unfortunately if you have a look at the comments over at Shot of prevention it’s pretty clear they haven’t! xx

  6. dan
    26 January, 2012

    this is one misinformed pot deciding to call a kettle misinformed and black.

    • M O'C
      26 January, 2012

      least we know she is a misinformed nurse now – I had my doubts

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  8. Pingback: Tit for tat « Autismum

  9. CarolSue
    18 June, 2012

    It was an opinion of hers. (TPN) Everyone has a right to their opinions. She states she is not responsible, its just HER OPINION!

  10. CarolSue
    18 June, 2012

    And I see you moderate and your posts also! HMMMMMMM hypocrisy?

    • Autismum
      9 September, 2012

      Oh not that again. Next.

  11. cia
    18 January, 2013

    I love the Patriot Nurse and her videos! I can’t believe that you said that thimerosal, 50% ethylmercury by weight, is totally safe. See book The Age of Autism for anayses and studies that say you’re wrong. I’m outta here. This site is from a different world than that of most of us.

    • Autismum
      18 January, 2013

      Yes I live in the realm known as reality. Not surprised you like the patriot nurse the paranoid credulous fantasist pretty much sums up her target viewer. Bye Cia. See you when my next posts are about a year old, no doubt.

    • Rick
      26 April, 2013

      I have two autistic kids, I would rather listen to a specialist in that area than a so call expert on youtube like that paranoid, world is ending rude patriot nurse!

  12. lilady
    20 January, 2013

    Autismum…CIA keeps “promising to leave science blogs”…then returns or sends sock puppet in to comment.

    Do try and stick the flounce, CIA.

  13. Father Time
    30 January, 2013

    I’m fed up with smug, delusional idiots (I know of no equivalent but gentler term) who refuse to acknowledge established facts which conflict with their own fantasy worlds. Do your homework and you will find that the “Canadian Nurse” is either abysmally ignorant or just enjoys contradicting herself and lying. Perhaps she is on Big Pharma’s payroll.

    • Autismum
      30 January, 2013

      The pharma shill gambit. How original. *yaaawn*

  14. Sandra Workman
    23 April, 2013

    While most my be willing to take what you say as gospel some of us are questioning what has come out of mouths of the government, the medical field, the school system, etc., ad nauseum. Between the poisons in the vaccines, and the water supplies, the GMO food supply, don’t blame us for beginning to wake up from our sheeple trance. Some of us may not be as well educated as doctors, nurses, or teachers (like the ones who punish children for gun shaped pop tarts or legos). But we will question, search, and study so we can come to our own opinions. So make fun of us if you like as in your last post “The pharma shill gambit. How original. *yaaawn*” but that really just makes you look very juvenile. By the way my Great grandson is autistic. My daughter, granddaughter, and I have all been doing a lot of research.

    • Autismum
      23 April, 2013

      I look juvenile and the idiot playing the pharma shill card doesn’t? OK.

  15. Sandra Workman
    23 April, 2013

    Wow, that’s all you can say to that whole post that I wrote. That must have taken a good deal of thought. You probably had to call on all of your educated brain cells for that one.

    • Autismum
      23 April, 2013

      You know what? I’ve been called a pharma shill, a pharma whore, Orac’s bitch and in my real life a union puppet and a disgruntled social worker. I’m having an identity crisis! So, let’s be really clear here, shall we? I am a mother. My child is autistic. I think it’s disgusting that someone would endanger the lives of newborn babies by offering their parents stupid advice and I also care that people would accuse an individual of doing that without thoroughly checking they had the right person. People on “my side of the fence” were, in my opinion, far too quick to identify the Patriot Nurse by name without verifying her identity.
      Yes the shill crap is boring. It’s lazy and proof you are not up to taking me on in matters of fact.

      • Sandra Workman
        24 April, 2013

        Okay, I’m glad to see you’re really capable of more than one liners. I never said you were a “pharma shill”. That came from another blogger.I just objected to your one line answer. Thought it was a little beneath an educated person. Now that I see that you believe what you say, let me say this. While I disagree with your opinion, I do respect you and your right to having it. Try treating each blog with that same respect. I know it’s hard to not show some anger when dealing with so many people (each with their own opinion). But when you have your own page and open it up to comments, you have to be prepared for that. I personally couldn’t do it and I’m told that I have the patience of Job. I am 70 years old and have had 5 children, several grandchildren and now 2 great grandsons. They have all been vaccinated. But if I had to do it all again, they wouldn’t have been. There has been enough neurological damage done that I have drawn my own conclusions and also done a vast amount of research. Do I have a PHD after my name. No, but with all the reading and searching I have done, I sometimes feel I should have. Do I want one, no. I am too old to care about empty titles that some institutes give out for frivolous accomplishments. Good luck in all you do and try to keep an open mind. You’ll be happier and more content if you do. And God bless your son. Autism is not a defect. My great grandson is perfection personified.

      • Autismum
        24 April, 2013

        Bless you too and I hope you will take a few minutes to look around this site at my perfect Pwd (an affectionate term meaning pudding – he is edible!) Xx

  16. Sandra Workman
    24 April, 2013

    I did. He’s gorgeous. Be well and be blessed always.

    • Autismum
      24 April, 2013

      Thank you

  17. Deb
    9 July, 2013

    I have read your article here on The Patriot Nurse and what you think of her opinions on vaccinations. I’ve also read all these posts. I do feel that anyone who has experience doing something can speak with SOME authority on a subject. Having credentials (degrees, etc.) also provides credibility to a person’s knowledge of a topic.

    My biggest concern with the Canadian nurse’s post is that she seems to imply doctors and clinical studies are the final authority on a topic. Is that why people get a second opinion from another doctor on a diagnosis? Have you ever heard of a scientific study done that was later (after more data was collected and studies done) determined to be, well, wrong?

    I believe that a person can voice their opinion on a topic, based on their experience, training and credentials and be taken seriously, even if they aren’t the FINAL authority on a topic. The value of sharing different opinions, is that a society with open dialog expands our knowledge, educates us, and draws us together to find solutions to problems, cures for diseases, strategies for disorders, etc.

    However if this article and subsequent posts are a small window into the world as we know it, I have to say we are all busy being polarized, winning arguments and passing judgment on others’ opinions. How does this get us closer to where we want or need to be? Here’s my question: is it possible to agree with some of what a person says without totally buying into all their philosophies? I believe so, but it’s much harder to HEAR them when their delivery is mean or hateful.

    I do understand if you have an autistic child that you are passionate about people being misinformed on topics like vaccinations, and frankly I appreciate the fact that you are willing to put your opinions out there and mediate a forum on an important topic. However, people are much more likely to hear your opinions (while they are gathering information during the formation of their own opinions) if your delivery is kinder and less dismissive of their experience, training and credentials.

    • Autismum
      17 July, 2013

      anyone who has experience doing something can speak with SOME authority on a subject. Having credentials (degrees, etc.) also provides credibility to a person’s knowledge of a topic.

      But not, according to you, in the Canadian Nurse’s case because she implies “doctors and clinical studies are the final authority on a topic.” What does the Patriot Nurse offer us in their stead? Opinion. Her’s. That’s it. I’ll take peer reviewed, replicable (and replicated) studies over an individual’s opinion on a YouTube video any day of the week. If you found any truth in that which the Patriot Nurse stated about vaccines then you have not consulted those studies, did but couldn’t comprehend them or you are just plain gullible.
      Whether or not vaccines are safe and effective is not a matter of opinion – they are. The science has settled it.
      Whether or not vaccines cause autism is not a matter of opinion – they don’t. The science has settled it.

      I believe that a person can voice their opinion on a topic, based on their experience, training and credentials and be taken seriously,

      Yes they can and do. Whether it is right to do so when you are ill informed on a topic that, should people take your advice, may cause them and others great harm, is entirely another matter. And yes, I am judgemental. I have and will continue to condemn such stupid opinions because they are stupid and because they can do harm. If you want a live and let live society then promote vaccination so that we might all stand a better chance of living and arguing for longer.

      I do understand if you have an autistic child that you are passionate about people being misinformed on topics like vaccinations, and frankly I appreciate the fact that you are willing to put your opinions out there and mediate a forum on an important topic. However, people are much more likely to hear your opinions (while they are gathering information during the formation of their own opinions) if your delivery is kinder and less dismissive of their experience, training and credentials.

      “If” I have an autistic child? Did you not see the name of this blog? Jeez. If I were dismissive of other’s “training and credentials” then why would I quote another nurse directly? Why would I have studied neuroscience? Why would I warn people about crank blogs and uneducated opinion and direct them to sources written by people who actually know what they’re talking about after years of study and research in *relevant and specialist* fields? Your criticism holds no water. And, I’ll state this as kindly as I can: you can shove the tone policing.

  18. Becky
    2 December, 2013

    I am friends with TPN and listen to a lot of her video’s.. That being said my kids have had all or 90% of their vaccines one left that is 12 so has a few more to go.. I even had him get the HPV series shots.. We don’t usually do the flu shot thing.. Anyway I would like to hear more on why Autism is on the rise? I get the whole debate on vaccines… I’m not a trained anything lol just a mother my 12 yr old shows some signs of Autism not as severe as some but has issues… I think talking about what is really causing autism would be a better way to go about it…Seems everyone on all web sites like to debunk other peoples/doctors research when really it should be easier to just post what really is causing the problems…

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This entry was posted on 17 January, 2012 by in Autism, Parenting, Science, Vaccines.

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