“I Swear I Heard a Strange Popping Noise as Her Brain Misfired”

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The below, recounting 4th year medical student _Haliax_ witnessing his attending physician’s interaction with a mother who did not want to vaccinate her children because, you know, 9/11, chemtrails, and other conspiracy theories including vaccine conspiracies, has been making the rounds of the Internet (Facebook, etc.) as a screenshot. So of course, before posting it, I wanted to verify the authenticity of that screenshot, and of the source. I have now done so.

The below was originally posted on Reddit, in the AskReddit subReddit (known to the Reddit crowd as simply a “sub”, as in “in the AskReddit sub”), in response to a post titled “Doctors of Reddit, what are some of your anti-vax parent stories?” It was posted by the user who goes by the username of _Haliax_. It was originally posted in May of 2019, however this particular response seems as apt today as then. Here’s the post:

4th year med student reporting in.

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Had a rotation with a pediatrician where we ended up in the classic encounter with an anti-vaccination parent.

This lady was a conspiracy theory magnet. She casually mentioned everything from 9/11 to chemtrails. Of course she loved the idea of the vaccine conspiracy as well, opting to not protect her one year old to stick it to big pharma.

I relayed all of this to my attending after my exam (I would see the patient first, gather history and do my exam to present to my attending physician). He got this sort of lazy smirk on his face that screamed “watch this”.

We go back into the exam room and we cover all of the important bits of a well-child encounter. Growth charts, behavioral milestones, nutrition, sleep…

And then we get to vaccines. She lists approximately 15 reasons why vaccines are more dangerous than the disease they protect against (lol) in addition to the various evils of the pharmaceutical industry.

My attending listens quietly until she’s done with her soapbox (about one eternity later), and then interjects with:

“Have you considered the possibility that anti-vaccine propaganda could be an attempt by the Russians or the Chinese to weaken the health of the United States population?”

In a moment of catastrophic cognitive dissonance, I swear I heard a strange popping noise as her brain misfired. It actually broke her. The allure of the increasingly ridiculous conspiracy theory was just too strong.

She ended up agreeing to a modified vaccine schedule. I was flabbergasted. My attending just grinned at me in response. To this day I’m not sure the medical ethics of the situation are totally palatable, but goddamn the result was amazing.

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1 thought on ““I Swear I Heard a Strange Popping Noise as Her Brain Misfired”

  1. Funny, but also very serious. And it makes sense. Glad it worked out.
    After all as in the song Rasputin “Oh, those Russians.”

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