Thursday, October 13, 2011

How reliable is data gathered by doctors?

While these case reports are not in the medical literature I would argue that they are more trustworthy then those written in journals in that, 1) they are not anonymous and 2) they are the exact words of the patient or parents impacted by the adverse event. The government keeps a database of adverse vaccine reactions known as VAERS. One parent had a very succinct critique of this program which I will reproduce.

The horrible realization is that VAERS is not accurate. Prior to Gardasil, I did not know what VAERS was. When my daughter became ill, I found out about VAERS by research performed on the internet. My daughter’s doctors did not even know what it was and they did not file a report until I filed one myself and told them they were obligated by law to file a report. How can the #’s be accurate if doctors don’t file the reports? I even had to explain what VAERS is. Shouldn’t VAERS and the adverse side effects of vaccines be taught in medical school or shouldn’t the doctors receive periodic newsletters from the CDC explaining VAERS and its importance?
It is the same thing that we have seen in ME/CFS: If you rely on doctors to report something (heck, they are even obligated by the law!), then doctors will underreport it. Doctor won't have the time to write reports, won't take the time, will be skeptical as to a causal relationship, will be skeptical to the significance of the symptoms and attribute it to other 'causes' (It's "the flu", it's "the weather", it's the patient's imagination, etc.)

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