By Kurtis Bright

Following the death of her hospitalized infant to whooping cough, mother seeks to mandate vaccinations for all hospital staff.

It’s truly a heartbreaking story: a young mother gives birth to a premature baby six weeks before her due date. Everything seemed fine, as fgood as could be expected anyway. But after four and a half weeks, her baby developed a persistent cough. Finally, one day the baby turned blue and couldn’t breathe. She was revived and hospitalized, but died in the hospital a short time later of what doctors are saying was B. pertussis, or whooping cough.

Who could be so cold-blooded as to blame the poor mother for being upset? It is hard to imagine the grief and pain she must be going through.

But in her grief and in her apparent need to find someone to blame for what is admittedly a tragic loss, the Indiana mother, Katie Van Tornhout is attempting to lash out with a very big stick indeed. 

Convinced that her baby caught the disease at the hospital where she was born, Van Tornhout is hoping to convince the Indiana Legislature to pass a law mandating that all hospital staff keep up to date with their vaccinations, an intrusion that is radical at best, and at worst a ludicrous over-reaction to what may not even have been the original cause of the original problem. 

The final version of the bill, which requires all hospital staff in the state of Indiana who have contact with patients to keep up to date with eight different vaccines– Influenza, Varicella, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis–requires hospitals to fire employees who refuse to get vaccinated. 

Now even assuming that Van Tornhout is correct in guessing that her infant contracted whooping cough at the hospital, it is not only insane overreach to require vaccinations of all hospital staff, it is ludicrous to assume such a move would even have prevented her child’s death.

For one thing, we know from several studies, including a CDC/State of Florida study on pertussis that vaccines are only effective about 45 percent of the time. And the influenza vaccine in 2014-2015 was found to be effective only about 19 percent of the time.

So even with this tremendous burden, this insanely intrusive invasion of privacy perpetrated against thousands and thousands of citizens in the name of one deceased baby–who can’t even be proven to be a victim of their inaction–whooping cough could still occur in about 55 percent of vaccinated workers, and the flu cold conceivably turn up in 81 percent. 

This poor woman’s fate is terrible, made even more terrible by the revelation that this premature baby was the result of her sixth pregnancy–the five previous ones ended in miscarriages. You would have to be a monster not to feel empathy for her.

But to subject thousands of people, an entire industry to unwanted chemical intrusions into their bodies as the result of the death of one sickly child, born to a woman who clearly has issues with carrying healthy pregnancies to term, and, one assumes, giving birth to healthy babies?

That’s truly monstrous.


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