What Can We Learn from the Tragic Story of Dr. Semmelweis?

Numerous parents have reported that a child of theirs experienced digestive disturbance and a regression in behavior following the MMR vaccine. This observation made by parents has been discarded because “correlation is not causation”. Yet consistent observations of loving parents should give the medical field pause and a reason to do deeper study.

In 1846 Ignaz Semmelweis was an intern at Vienna General Hospital. He noticed that the death rate of women from childbirth fever was 10 times greater if they were under the care of a doctor, instead of a midwife. The doctors had a 15% mortality rate compared to the midwives’ 1.5% mortality rate. [DeLee p. 382] The death from childbirth fever seemed to correlate with the type of practitioner.

Dr. Semmelweis eventually became the obstetrician in charge of all the autopsies done on women who has succumbed to childbirth fever at Vienna General Hospital. He saw a connection between doctors performing autopsies in the morning and then managing the care of women in labor. The doctors and medical students performed internal exams on laboring women with the same hands that had dissected a body for an autopsy.

Dr. Semmelweis wrote letters and gave lectures on the importance of hand washing. This was taking place before bacteria were discovered, before germ theory was understood. He knew there was a connection between hands that had touched dead bodies and the development of childbirth fever (also known as puerperal fever). But few believed him. In fact he was ridiculed and scorned by many in the medical profession. Women continued to die.

According to an account in Sherwin Nuland’s book, The Doctor’s Plague, young women coming to Vienna General Hospital were aware of the mortality of women in labor whose care was directed by doctors. They begged to have midwife care. They saw a correlation. They knew they had a better chance for surviving childbirth with the midwives.

In the book, Genius Belabored: Childbirth Fever and the Tragic Life of Ignaz Semmelweis, Theodore Obenchain writes: It seems incredible that so many seemingly intelligent people of medicine could have been so grievously wrong for so many decades.

Ever since the MMR vaccine became part of the immunization schedule in 1979, parents have observed the side effects of the MMR vaccine. Not every child, but enough children to raise a red flag. (see my story)  

The observations by the parents are not off the wall. In fact the studies done on 834 children leading up to the licensing of the MMR vaccine showed gastrointestinal symptoms in a significant percentage of the children. But these symptoms were only followed for 42 days, despite some children continuing to have symptoms.

When parents brought their observations to Dr. Andrew Wakefield, he felt that further study was  needed. See the video of Dr. Wakefield (and the argument against him) that took place on Australian 60 Minutes. Click here.

The CDC did do a study with the purpose of proving that there was no link between the MMR and autism. Whistleblower, Dr. William Thompson, who participated in the study states that pertinent data was destroyed.

In the past five years research on the microbiome has led to discovery of a connection between the gut and the immune system. What impact does the MMR have on the gut (gastro-intestines)? Is there a connection to the regressive behavior that some children experience?

It scares me when I consider the number of children that have chronic illnesses, the number of children on the autism spectrum. Parents will continue to pursue answers. The government and the medical field must look deeper at the concerns parents are raising.

DeLee, Joseph B. M.D., Obstetrics for Nurses, Philadelphia; W.B. Saunders Co. 1927

Nuland, Sherwin B. M.D., The Doctor’s Plague: Germs, Childbirth Fever and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis

Obenchain, Theodore M.D., Genius Belabored: Childbirth Fever and the Tragic Life of Ignaz Semmelweis, Tuscaloosa; The University of Alabama Press, 2016

Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration. Reference Nos 76-316, 77-303, 77-304

The Best Blueberry Pie

Blueberries are appearing in the grocery store. They are from the southern states–it will still be a while before the Michigan berries are ripe. Even though they are not from Michigan the blueberries are lovely, and so I made a family favorite pie.

Pastry:

1 cup flour

1/8 tsp. salt

1/3 cup butter (5 +1/3 Tblsp.)

1 Tblsp. + 1 tsp. vinegar

Cold water

Mix flour and salt. (I sometimes will use 1/4 cup rice flour and 3/4 cup unbleached white flour to reduce the amount of gluten.) Cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly. Mix vinegar in 1/2 cup of cold water. Add water with vinegar a tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork. You want the dough to just hold together. Roll out and line a 9″pie dish. Preheat oven to 375°.

Filling

4 + 1/2 cups blueberries

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon minute tapioca

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup honey

Mix the blueberries, sugar, tapioca and lemon juice. Pour into pastry lined pie dish. Drizzle the honey over the berries. Then prepare topping.

Topping:

¾ cup flour

1/8 tsp. salt

¼ cup brown sugar

5 + 1/2 Tablespoons butter

Mix flour, salt and brown sugar. (Rice flour works well in this topping.) Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle this over the pie. Bake at 375° for 50 to 60 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned and berries are beginning to bubble.

Blueberry Pie

Sharing this post with Tuesdays with a Twist.

Mulling Over a Verse from Proverbs on the 4th of July

The Scripture of the Day (from I-Bible) is: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

I mulled over this verse as I spent time in the garden, thinking about the 4th of July. A history book mentioned that one of the founding fathers of our country, Patrick Henry, had made reference to this verse. 

Patrick Henry is known for his “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. He also wrote the following message:

“Whether this [the American Revolution] will prove a blessing or a curse will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise they will be great and happy. If they are of contrary character, they will be miserable.

Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation (Proverbs 14:34].

Reader!—whoever thou art, remember this!—and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself and encourage it in others. P.Henry.”*

Lately much attention has been given to the sins of our nation. It is part of our history. I have thought about the history recorded in the Bible. The sins of Adam, Eve, Abraham, Jacob, King David are all recorded. 

The Bible doesn’t erase the bad stuff. We live in a broken world and we all sin. But the Bible doesn’t stop there—doesn’t stay mired in the sins. Instead we are directed to confess sin, repent and then go forward with forgiveness.

Jesus came to be a sacrifice for our sins so that we could pursue righteousness. As we reflect on the birth of our nation, we can each give thanks for our blessings, acknowledge our sins, repent and pursue righteousness . Patrick Henry had wise words for us.

May you have joy and peace this holiday weekend! 

* Patrick Henry, Patrick Henry life, Correspondence and Speeches, ed. William Wirt Henry (New York: Charles  Scribner’s Sons, 1891), Vol. I. pp. 81-82.

Sharing this post with Anita’s Inspire Me Monday link-up

Is a Clinical Trial of 42 Days Enough to Establish Vaccine Safety?

In the 1960s and early 1970s many babies were sacrificed to produce the rubella vaccine. Hysterotomy was performed on women who chose to have an elective abortion in order to provide fetal tissue. The research took place over a period of years.

This rubella vaccine (included in the MMR) was approved in the U.S. by the FDA in 1979. The approval was based on study groups, comparing 3 different preparations of the live attenuated rubella virus for effectiveness. The 834 children receiving the MMR were followed for 42 days. Just 42 days to assess the safety for administering to all toddlers. 

Why was there such a dramatic efforts to develop this vaccine? In 1964-65 there was an epidemic of rubella in the U.S. that caused birth defects in pregnant women. Dr. Stanly Plotkin isolated the rubella virus from aborted fetal tissue. 

Currently, the virus strain (RA 27/3) found in the rubella vaccine most commonly used around the world was developed by Dr. Stanley Plotkin and colleagues at the Wistar Institute.19 The RA27/3(rubella abortus,twenty-seventh fetus, third tissue extract) virus strain was obtained from a female human fetus in a series of twenty-seven abortions in the United States:

Scientific research was devoted to producing a vaccine. The first vaccine was developed from kidney cells from a monkey. But a couple of researchers at the Wistar Institute in Pennsylvania were pursuing a vaccine that could be grown on human cells. 

Abortion was illegal in the United States at that time, so fetal tissue was provided by Dr. Sven Gard of the Karolinska Institute Medical School in Stockholm, Sweden.4 Dr. Erling Norrby, who later served as chairman of the department of virology and dean of the medical faculty at the Karolinska Institute, was a graduate student there during this period. He dissected many of the aborted fetuses.

For the initial research the Wistar Institute received dissected tissue from 19 elective abortions done in Sweden. Finland was also participating in the research (35 women had abortions by hysterotomy for one study). 

Timo Vesikari wrote about his part in rubella research. in late 1966, I was incredibly lucky to meet Antti Vaheri (later Professor of Virology) who had just returned to Finland from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia with all the latest knowledge in rubella research . . . An important open question was whether the live attenuated vaccine would cross placenta same way as wild type rubella virus. The crucial study was to be done in Finland, away from potentially damaging publicity in the US, with Dr. Fred Robbins, a Nobel Laureate, as the godfather of the project. Under the seniors I was to do much of work: vaccinate pregnant women prescreened to be seronegative for rubella and scheduled to have a legal abortion a week or two later. The plan was to isolate rubella (vaccine) virus from the products of conception and, in fact, we succeeded in doing that.

A healthy pregnancy of a married couple was selected by Dr. Sven Gard for the abortion–the female fetus that would provide the line of cells, WI-38, for the rubella vaccine.

This vaccine developed off of aborted fetal cells is part of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. The hysteria about the measles has renewed public controversy over the MMR. Even though there is no current concern about rubella, this combination vaccine is the only one available for the measles in the U.S.

Years of research and a multitude of abortions led to the rubella portion of the vaccine. Researchers have a lot invested in this vaccine. Perhaps too much invested?

The concern about rubella was the possible effect that the virus could have on a developing fetus–effects on the heart, eyes, brain–multiple organs. There was great concern about the effect on a growing fetus.

You would expect that there would be similar concern about the possible effects of the live attenuated vaccine on a toddler. At 15 months a child’s immune system is still developing.

In 1979 the FDA approved the combined vaccine for all children based on study groups that inoculated healthy children, age 10 months to 8 years, with three different forms of the rubella vaccine. The focus was on the effectiveness of the vaccine. Children that participated in the study could not have an allergy to eggs or chicken and had to be free of a sensitivity to neomycin.

834 healthy children of various ages were given the MMR vaccine. Some of the children developed fevers and a variety of complaints. They were followed for 42 days and no more–even though some continued to have symptoms. The usual phase III of clinical trials lasts much longer.

The documentation of the studies done during a 4 month period in 1978 were obtained by RFK jr. and Del Bigtree via a FOIA request. You can access the study here.

The controversy over the MMR vaccine remains today because parents are observing side effects in their children that are not being acknowledged by the medical community.

In 1986 Congress passed a law to prevent any law suits against the pharmaceutical companies when a child was injured by a vaccine. No lawsuits, no investigation, no discovery. The only recourse that a parent has is to petition the vaccine court (which is conducted by the federal government). If a parent can supply sufficient documentation of death or disability due to the vaccine, the parents receive a payment from the government. To date the vaccine court has paid out more than 4 BILLION dollars.

Dear reader, please understand that there are legitimate spiritual and medical concerns about the MMR vaccine. In addition to adequate safety testing for pharmaceutical products, informed consent, discussion of risks and benefits of any medical procedure, and religious liberty must be part of health care.

Leiva, Rene M.D. “A Brief History of Human Diploid Cell Strains” National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 6.3 (Autumn 2006), 443-451

Vaheri, Antti; Oker-Blom, Nils; Vesikari, Timo; Seppala, Markku “Isolation of Attenuated Rubella-Vaccine Vaccine Virus from Products of Conception and Uterine Cervix” New England Journal of Medicine 286(20) 1071-4. June 1972

Vesikari, Timo “From Rubella to Rota Virus, and Beyond” Human Vaccines and Immunotherapies; 11(6): 1302-1305. June 2015

Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration. Reference Nos 76-316, 77-303, 77-304

photo courtesy of Arek Socha at pixabay.com

Around the World with Prayer

So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Acts 12:5

Do you know the rest of the story? An angel led Peter out of prison and he went to the house where people were praying. When he knocked on the door Rhoda came to the door, but she was so shocked that she did not open it. Instead she went to tell the others that Peter was at the door. They didn’t believe her. When Peter kept knocking they finally let him in. God had answered their prayer in a miraculous way!

Sometimes circumstances seem so bad that we are overwhelmed. Tonight I was at a prayer meeting for the persecuted church. We had information about Christians around the world. This statement was part of the news: A British report ordered by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has concluded that persecution of Christians has reached “near genocidal” levels in parts of the world, particularly the middle east.

What can we do? The Bible instructs us to pray.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

One of our prayer team reflected on what it would be like to be imprisoned for faith in Jesus. She said, “I would want to know that people are praying for me.”

As the apostle Paul encountered trials and difficulties he wrote to the church at Corinth.

You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:11

Paul also instructed the church at Ephesus.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6: 17-18 

We can follow the example of the early Christians and pray for the believers in the middle east, in China, in Africa, in Venezuela, in Haiti and places around the world. We are encouraged to pray.

Continue steadfast in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2

Note: The painting of Peter in prison is by Raphael (15th century)

This post is linked with the Five Minute Friday writing community. The prompt today is: WORLD

Do These Flowers Like Sun or Shade?

Today I made my first trip to the farmer’s market this year. Early produce was set out in abundance: lettuce, swiss chard, kale, asparagus and strawberries. But the first booth I came to had flowers and plants, both annuals and perennials. 

When I saw the sweet williams, I wanted two plants. I asked the man who was selling them, do sweet williams prefer sun or shade? He said, “Definitely the sun”.

I thought about my question. Every plant has its preferences—the soil pH, tolerance for dry periods, sun or shade. And every type of flower is unique. And then there is the color range within one type of flower. All that information is contained within the seed.

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1: 11-12

When we pay attention to the amazing intricacy of the world God created, it is awesome. I give praise and thanks to God.

Why was I drawn to purchase the sweet williams? My Grandmother grew sweet williams (and lilacs). A few of them still grow on the hillside by the old farmhouse. Since trees and bushes have grown up they are in the shade and have become sparse. Now I know that they like the sun. I came home and planted them where they will have lots of sunlight.

Today the Five Minute Friday community has the prompt: QUESTION To see the different thoughts generated by writers or to join in, visit Kate’s site. .

The Healer’s Daughter: My Review

When I think of the Civil War I am saddened by the great battle between the states and the huge loss of life. I am glad that the slaves were finally free. I have never thought much about the years after, the Reconstruction. What happened to the slaves that were freed from the plantations?

After extensive research, Charlotte Hinger has written a novel about a group of former slaves that migrated from Kentucky to Kansas to establish an all-black town. The novel, The Healer’s Daughter, paints a picture of tremendous hardship and perseverance. 

The main character, Bethany, is a strong willed young woman who has some skills in healing but her real passion is teaching. Her mother, Queen Bess, has learned healing arts from doctors whom she assisted on the plantation. I was fascinated by her observation and knowledge of people, her quest to gather medicinal herbs.

Medical care was chaotic in the years following the war. There was no licensing or certification process for doctors. A man might learn as an apprentice and then with limited experience put a shingle out, offering his services.

The story includes instances of normal childbirth, as well as complicated births and tragic situations. The book has intense scenes that caused me to pause and put the book down for a while. It has helped me see how the black family was crushed and torn apart during slavery. Establishing a living as free people was a great challenge.

Hinger’s book is based on the true story of Nicodemus, Kansas. From the author’s notes: It was the first all-black town established on the High Plains.

Photo of prairie by Philipp Reiner on Unsplash

This post is shared with Booknificent Thursday. Visit Tina’s site for more book reviews.

Soccer Games and a Town in Kansas

This week I watched some of the FIFA Women’s World Cup while I was sorting papers, clearing up clutter. The athletes ran back and forth across the field. They were bumped and kicked, falling on the ground in pain. Then they would get up and run again in the relentless battle to score a goal. One of the games ended with a score of 1 to 0. 

The goals were few and hard fought. (The USA v. Thailand game was unusual with a score of 13 to 0.)

Last night I stayed up late to finish a book, The Healer’s Daughter, by Charlotte Hinger. The book was about the hard fought goal that a group of former slaves had in establishing an all-black town. The book is fiction but based on the true story of Nicodemus, Kansas. (Stay tuned for a complete review.)

I had been reading a couple chapters at a time—pausing to think about it. It detailed very painful events that took place following the Civil War, the way that some white people treated slaves that were now free. The author exposed evil.

I went to bed thinking about the aftermath of the war and the way the black families had been crushed in the preceding years. Yet this persevering group of people were steadfast in reaching their goal. They establishing a town that is now a National Historical site. 

The soccer games and this book have stimulated me to think about my life as a Christian. Am I steadfast and persevering in following Jesus? When I see my failures do I repent, get up and continue on in faith? 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12: 1-2  

Photo by Philipp Reiner on Unsplash

Kate’s prompt for the Five Minute Five writing community is: GOAL

Book Review: Marilla of Green Gables

If you enjoyed the Ann of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery, you will probably like a new book about Marilla by Sarah McCoy.

Sarah McCoy takes us back to Prince Edward Island when Marilla is just entering her teens. In her author notes, Ms. McCoy explains that she was motivated to resolve a mystery. In the book, Anne of Green Gables, Marilla told Anne that she used to be good friends with Gilbert Blythe’s father—people said that John was her beau. And then Anne asked, “Oh, Marilla—what happened?”

The description of Avonlea is familiar and rich in detail. I recognized the the characters—McCoy does a good job of recalling personality traits. The story starts slowly and I wondered if it would hold my interest. I already knew the Marilla never married. But the story expands with historical details.

The author paints a picture of Avonlea during the time period leading up to the United States Civil War. Canada was struggling with its relationship to the British monarchy, and was also affected by the turmoil in the United States. Slaves that escaped through the Underground Railroad made their way to Canada.

One of my favorite parts in the book was the description of the sewing circle that the women of Avonlea participated in. They came together to visit, to have tea and to sew for a cause.

McCoy has done well in bringing us another story about Green Gables in Avonlea.

This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info

This post is also shared with Literacy Musing Monday. Visit Mary’s site for summer inspiration. Also linked with the Classical Homemaking Party and Booknificent Thursday.


Living Well, Reflecting on the Psalms

Every morning my husband and I read a Psalm together before we begin the day. Today we are on Psalm 115. We have read psalms of praise, lament and remembrance. Memories of crossing the Red Sea and the years in the Wilderness are recorded. 

God’s power over the Red Sea and the Jordan River is extolled. God’s presence, care and salvation is remembered. 

We have challenges and troubles like the people of Israel. But in the midst of difficulties we can say that it is well with us. We are blessed because God loves us and will help us if we call out to him.

O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.

O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.

You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord. He is their help and their shield.

The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron; he will bless those that fear the Lord, both the small and the great. Psalm 115: 9-12 ESV

Note: The photo shows the Dan River–one of the tributaries that flows into the Jordan River from the north. The book of Joshua states that the Jordan River overflows its banks at harvest. But God provided a way for Israel to cross the Jordan: the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap. Joshua 3:13

This post is linked to the Five Minute Friday writing community. Kate’s prompt today is: WELL