Willful Ignorance Kills – In Colorado, a 4-year-old boy is dead after his mother, on the advice of Facebook anti-vaxxers, refused to give her son the doctor prescribed antiviral Tamiflu.
NBC News reports:
Facebook groups that routinely traffic in anti-vaccination propaganda have become a resource for people seeking out a wide variety of medical information — including about the ongoing flu season.
One recent post came from the mother of a 4-year-old Colorado boy who died from the flu this week. In it, she consulted group members while noting that she had declined to fill a prescription written by a doctor.
The child had not been diagnosed yet, but he was running a fever and had a seizure, the mother wrote. She added that two of her four children had been diagnosed with the flu and that the doctor had prescribed the antiviral Tamiflu for everyone in the household.
The Guardian reports:
Health advocates are blaming anti-vaccine propaganda perpetuated online for the death of a four-year-old Colorado boy from the flu earlier this week.
The boy’s mother, Geneva Montoya, admitted in a Facebook post that she refused to fill the doctor’s prescription for Tamiflu, the most common antiviral medication prescribed to treat the flu.
On Facebook, the boy’s mother, identified as Geneva Montoya, wrote:
I am terrified my four-year-old has a febrile seizure at only temp of 102.
The doc prescribed tamiflu I did not pick it up.
According to reports, instead of following medical advice, Montoya treated her sick children with peppermint oil, Vitamin C, and lavender. In addition, members of her anti-vax Facebook group also recommended treating her children with breastmilk, thyme, and elderberry. No one suggested returning to the doctor or going to the hospital.
Around 45 people replied, offering her advice, but none of them suggested getting the young boy medical attention. Instead, they told her to try using herbs such as elderberry and thyme.
In an emailed statement to NBC News, a representative from Facebook said:
This is a tragedy, and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. We don’t want vaccine misinformation on Facebook, which is why we’re working hard to reduce it everywhere on the platform, including in private groups.
Bottom line: 4-Year-Old Najee Jr. is dead after anti-vaxxers on Facebook warned his mother against using the doctor prescribed Tamiflu, urging her to treat her son’s flu with herbs and breast milk instead of taking him to the hospital.