Published June 8, 2016
Where does your doctor’s allegiance lie? Does your healthcare professional listen to your needs and wants as a parent or...
— William Wilberforce
According to an article in Health Impact News, in 2013 a nursing student at Bakers College in Owosso, MI, Nichole Bruff, was expelled from the college prior to her graduation allegedly for asking questions about the manner in which her instructors were teaching students to lie to patients to encourage them to vaccinate. The dismissal was issued with neither a warning nor an opportunity to appeal the decision, and Bruff learned that the action could mean she may never be accepted to another nursing school.
The questions Bruff posed to her instructors stemmed from her need to clarify why a patient’s right to make an informed choice and either accept or decline medical procedures was not applicable to vaccinations as well. Bruff said that it was a contradiction because the American Nurses Association ethical standards and principles she was taught in the nursing program included respecting the patient’s right to refuse, refraining from coercion and encouraging family-centered care.
Bruff filed a lawsuit on April 6, 2015 against the college in the Circuit Court for the Michigan’s Genese County. According to the complaint, an instructor by the name of Connie Smith told students that they must require pregnant women and their spouses to have the Tdap vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) administered before entering the labor room.
When Ms. Bruff asked why this was necessary since it takes at least four to six weeks for the vaccine to become effective, the instructor stated this was just how it worked. She went on further to say that should expectant mothers and their spouses have any concerns about vaccines, students were required to misrepresent facts about vaccinations to gain patient compliance. Ms. Bruff then asked the instructor why would she have to do this since it goes against the ethical standard of the nursing profession and the legal standard for the patient’s informed consent.
The complaint also mentioned another pediatric instructor, Alysia Osoff, who allegedly told students that all children who are admitted to the hospital had to be updated with all vaccinations prior to being discharged. Bruff questioned the instructor by asking why sick children would be forced to receive vaccinations when the vaccination inserts clearly state that children should not be vaccinated while they are ill. Osoff responded by saying that nursing students should do whatever it takes to get the patient’s compliance even if it meant using threats and scare tactics.
According to Bruff’s attorney, Phillip Ellison, “Obtaining uninformed or false consent for a medical procedure under false pretenses is assault and battery under both criminal and civil law. Under Michigan law, patients have the right to refuse any and all medical treatment, including life saving procedures… If a nursing student uses fraud, no consent was obtained and thus committed a battery.”
This case makes it clear that patients’ informed consent rights are being eroded and often being violated by health care providers when it comes to vaccination.
Read the full article at Student Who Refused to Lie About Vaccines and was Kicked out of Nursing School Fights Back with Lawsuit.