Southern California pediatrician, Dr. Bob Sears, whose claim to fame is his stance against mandatory vaccinations for children in his home state and the federal vaccination guidelines, may lose his license to practice medicine due to allegations of medical negligence.
To answer the allegations, the first step in the process is for Sears to attend a settlement conference where he may be able to reach an agreement on appropriate disciplinary action via negotiations with the medical board. If Sears and the medical board are unable to reach an agreement during the settlement conference, then a hearing would be held before an administrative law judge whose responsibility it would be to recommend a decision. The judge could recommend dismissing the case, a reprimand or probation for the pediatrician, or suspension or revocation of Sear’s medical license. The judge’s recommendation will then be given to the state medical board whose 15 members have the final say on what disciplinary action, if any, is to be taken.
Complaint Filed Against Dr. Sears After He Wrote Note Excusing Two-Year-Old From Any Future Vaccinations
The immediate issue at hand prompting the allegations of medical negligence against the Orange County pediatrician stem from a case in which Sears wrote a note for a two-year-old child, excusing the child from any and all future vaccinations based solely on the child’s mother’s recall of the after-effects of vaccinations the child had received when he was two-months-old and at three-months-old.
The state medical board alleges Sears failure to check into the child’s medical history or to do any testing on the child before making such a sweeping medical excuse for the child to not be protected against serious disease in the future constituted medical negligence on the part of Dr. Sears.
In June 2015, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 277 into law a requirement that all children attending day care, kindergarten and 7th grade who attend public or private schools, with the exception of home-based or off-campus education, must be vaccinated against certain infectious or dangerous diseases unless that child has a doctor’s note to the contrary. California became only the third state in the country, along with Mississippi and West Virginia to ban childhood vaccination waivers based on religious objections.
Proponents of SB 277 pointed to public health officials’ concerns that due to the many vaccine waivers sought by parents, the state’s population had weakened defenses against communicable diseases, among them the outbreak of measles that began at Disneyland and infected more than 150 people, many from other states and two people from other countries.
“The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases. While it’s true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community.”
The new law, which took effect with the beginning of the 2016 school year, does allow physicians to excuse children from certain vaccines based on allergies, compromised immune systems or other medical necessity, something that perhaps is as much at issue in the allegations against Dr. Sears at this time as the stated allegations of medical negligence.
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