I was deeply moved by the presentation about Compassion that you shared with our entire hospital. The artist that presented her story about compassion was a beautiful and inspiring account of the importance of compassion.
I consider myself to be very compassionate. In fact, when I started out as an ER registration clerk about 15 years ago, we used to have the patients sign in and sit down. From there, they would be called up to the desk for triage, and then sit down again. Then they would be called up for registration and sit down again. Sometimes they would be called up for a urine sample, and then sit down in the waiting room one more time before getting called back to an available bed. I found this process to be very un-compassionate. And that is why I would take a clip board into the waiting room and write down the patient’s information before I would go back to enter it on the computer. I would also take that opportunity to offer a warm blanket or cup of ice chips…all standard practices at our facility now with bedside registration.
I consider myself to be a valuable employee because of my level of compassion and ability to think outside of the box. And I have gone far in my career here, now making almost three times my hire-in salary. I was one of five employees who helped to create the call center and I now work in the billing department, where I just took a new position this past spring.
Compassion has been a personal interest of mine since I was young. My father taught me compassion, as he volunteered for two tours of Vietnam, where he learned the value of compassion in ways that I never will. It was during that time that he was exposed to massive amounts of Agent Orange, one of the deadliest chemicals that humans have ever created. My father has suffered several different types of cancer, along with diabetes because of this exposure. He is now on full disability from the VA. Since I was conceived after his exposure, I have traces of that chemical in my body as well. There’s a lot of research that would suggest that Agent Orange is to blame for the underdeveloped urinary tract that I was born with or my chronic condition of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Of course, living on the border of a toxic waste site until I was three probably didn’t help either. My family was notified by the feds that the Berlin and Ferrel waste sight was all cleaned up. They also recommended, however, that my brother and I not play in the back yard. To this day, entire families who live in that neighborhood are being diagnosed with cancer. My father walked away from that house and moved our family to Shiawassee County.
Why am I sharing all of this with you? Because I want to be seen as a person, rather than a number. I want you to have compassion for my story.
You see, every year I have full blown panic attacks about the mandatory flu shot. With my history, it is extremely important for my health to monitor the toxins that enter my body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The following substances are found in flu vaccines: antibiotics, egg protein, formaldehyde, human aborted fetal apparatus (dead human tissue), monosodium glutamate (MSG), and thimerosal (mercury).” In addition to these potentially harmful substances, flu vaccines contain many other toxic or hazardous ingredients:
Thimerosal – contains mercury and is linked to autism and other brain injury. Side effects and danger are too numerous to mention.
Aluminum – a neurotoxin that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Side effects and danger are too numerous to mention. Read about aluminum toxicity.
Formaldehyde – Symptoms of low-level exposure include runny nose, sore throat, cough, dermatitis, sleeping difficulties, headache, fatigue, breathing difficulties, sinus irritation, chest pain, frequent nausea, bronchitis, and decreased lung capacity. Signs of acute exposure include abdominal pain, anxiety, coma, convulsions, diarrhea, and respiratory problems such as bronchitis, pneumonia or pulmonary edema.
Phenol (carbolic acid) – Phenol can pose a severe health hazard and should be handled with extreme caution. Phenol is highly corrosive to the skin and readily absorbed through it, whereupon it can affect the central nervous system and cause damage to the liver and kidneys. It is also a mutagen, and there is some evidence that phenol may be a reproductive hazard.
Polysorbate 80 – Allergic reaction like sneezing, coughing, swelling, wheezing, shortness of breath, skin rashes, itching and pain: gastrointestinal problems like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; heart and circulatory problems like abnormal heart rhythm, heart attack, stroke; fertility problems like infertility in women; tumor and cancer growth
Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) – can cause too much calcium in the blood which can lead to kidney stones and kidney insufficiency, metabolized into glycolic acid and can cause profound acidosis in the body
Betapropiolactone – a disinfectant
Nonoxynol – used to kill or stop growth of STDs, but can cause allergic reactions in 3-5 percent of the population
Octoxinol 9 – a vaginal spermicide that can cause chills, confusion, dizziness, fever; lightheadedness, muscle aches, sunburn-like skin rash that is followed by peeling of the skin
Neomycin, polymyxin, gentamycin – antibiotics
So you can understand my concern. I’ve also personally known a woman who encountered Guillain-Barré syndrome as a result of the flu shot. Her story is terrifying.
I get stressed out about this mandatory flu shot every year. It genuinely scares me.
I have turned in documentation from my physician that I have had a reaction of extreme diarrhea after the flu shot. However my documentation was not taken seriously and I was mandated to get the flu vaccine anyway. I also had a very serious case of bronchitis 2 years ago, after receiving the flu vaccine. I was off work for about eight days and experienced difficulties breathing and wheezing unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It was the worst case of flu like symptoms that I had ever had.
I have decided that this year I will not be getting the flu shot. Along with compassion, my father also taught me to fight for what I believe in and to stand up for my beliefs. I believe that you have crossed a sacred line here, by stripping away my freedom to decide what is and is not allowed to be injected into my body.
I have read that the hospital gets a financial reward for having a certain percentage of our employees vaccinated. I also know that this financial reward exists because the pharmaceutical companies lobbied to sell more product. It always comes down to money, doesn’t it? My body is not for sale. And as someone who works in your AR department, I can attest that our facility will survive without it. I’m asking you now to choose compassion over money. Because that is the right thing to do.
So the ball is in your court, Mr. CEO. You have two choices. You can fire this single mom who works two jobs and has diligently worked for your organization long before you came around. But you should know that if this happens, I will not stop. I will have lost the battle, but I will not lose this war. I will take my story public, to every media outlet that I can get my hands on until your policy is changed.
Or you can choose compassion. For me. For your employees who choose not to get the flu vaccine for various reasons. Because I am all done with pushing my personal health aside for this senseless policy. I have zero exposure to patients. There is absolutely no reason behind a mandatory flu shot for employees who have zero patient contact. In fact, there are plans to ban the public from my building altogether in 2018 for security reasons.
I decide what does or does not go into my body. That power does not and should not belong to you.
I hope you choose compassion as I would very much like to continue my career with this organization. But not at the cost of my health, my freedom, or my dignity.