By Robin Hausman Morris
I have been worried about the phenomenon of celebrity medicine. Every day, another actor or comedian takes a position on vaccine injury. The notion of an education procured at the “University of Google” is getting old. Not only is it tedious, it’s dangerous. Perhaps health care is being tested in this country, but this epidemic takes on quite another posture.
Dr. Virginia Keane, President of the Maryland Academy of Pediatrics, tells the Baltimore Sun that “We are at the precipice of a crisis when it comes to vaccines.” Dr. Keane states: “Celebrities spread false accusations of danger, perpetuating the myth of a causal link between vaccines and autism. When science does not support their statements, they accuse the pediatric physician community of being in the pocket of the vaccine companies, accepting large grants and small gifts in exchange for our continued support of vaccines.”
I have no doubts that in all communities, financial, medical, educational and every sector of human relations that there are disingenuous characters. Nevertheless, when celebrities “accuse,” we are victims of our own vulnerabilities. I reiterate. Who will be the next subject for accusation, and why are we listening?
I remain steadfast in my concern about the dangers in “celebrity medicine.” It’s vaccines today, what’s in store for tomorrow, I ask. This is not a rhetorical question. When is media clout is justifiable? Actor Dennis Quaid had every right to fight for more stringent hospital guidelines regarding medicine dosage. His twins were given a massive overdose of a blood thinner. His crusade was justified and certainly a win-win for public protection. There was no debate. Quaid did not posture himself as a physician or scientist. The facts spoke for themselves.
However the waters are muddied when panic is fostered by Playboy centerfolds and various career seeking opportunists….and the ironic thing is that I do believe that they love their children. It’s simply that the intoxicating effects of world attention seem to endow them with a “shingle” for sage guidance. Sadly, the limelight is a double-edged sword. It gives us entertainment pleasure, yet canonizes the participants. Whether or not we as a people crave that need for idolatry, it should be relegated to the idiosyncrasies of pop culture, not life threatening perceptions and misconceptions.
Robin Morris is the mother of adult quadruplets, one of whom is diagnosed with autism. Her son has been viewed as “pioneer,” as therapists utilized behavioral interventions with him nearly 20 years ago. Robin’s efforts to elevate autism awareness and support autism research prompted her to join the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) in 2002. Her son’s team, “Paulie’s Promise,” raised several thousand dollars for the premier Walk Far for NAAR in her area. In 2006, NAAR merged with the Autism Speaks. Robin currently writes for Examiner.com and Autism Spectrum News.