118 Should medical people be required to take flu shots?


Tom Garrett 4 years ago

This is not the first time this question has come up in the news, but the rampaging flu season has once again brought it to the fore. American hospitals are increasingly requiring doctors and nurses to get flu shots, and firing those who refuse.

"Where does it say that I am no longer a patient if I'm a nurse," asks Carrie Calhoun, a longtime critical care nurse in suburban Chicago who was fired last month after she refused a flu shot.

In Rhode Island, which has a mandatory vaccine policy for health care workers, more than 1,000 workers recently signed a petition opposing the policy. Their labor union has filed suit to get rid of the regulation.

The reason hospitals insist on flu shots is obvious, but just in case you have any doubts, Dr. Carolyn Bridges, associate director for adult immunization at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the strongest evidence in favor of them comes from studies in nursing homes, linking flu vaccination among health care workers with fewer patient deaths from all causes.

Cancer nurse Joyce Gingerich is among the skeptics and says her decision to avoid the shot is mostly "a personal thing." She's among seven employees at IU Health Goshen Hospital in northern Indiana who were recently fired for refusing flu shots. Gingerich said she gets other vaccinations but thinks it should be a choice. She opposes "the injustice of being forced to put something in my body."

And your feeling about it is...?


John Lemon 4 years ago

Tom; Rather like Seat Belts or child innoculations prior to attending school, isn't it ! To comment directly: I would hate to think of my death being linked to a health worker who carried a virus. Wouldn't that be ironic?


Pat Randall 4 years ago

There are more things to worry about health care workers than having them take flu shots.

Two years ago I was given a prescription after a cardiac ablation at a hospital in the valley by the Hospitalist. Before I could get it filled I was called early the next morning by one of my drs. that warned me not to take the drug as I would not live to take a second one. Hospitalists should be thrown out of the hospitals and have your own dr. take care of you.

How about the volunteers, repair people, cleaning people, ex-ray technicians and anyone else that works in the hospitals? Are they required to have flu shots?


Tom Garrett 4 years ago


I can't answer your last question, but I think it is a legitimate one. Just as John says, when health workers who come in contact pass on a disease to them there is something wrong.

It is obvious that when people go to a hospital they are not in the best of health. It is also obvious that they are more vulnerable at that moment. And it is even more obvious that a large percentage of those people are going to be elderly, the most vulnerable portion of any population.

The job of someone working in a hospital is to help to cure illness, not to spread disease. How anyone in that posititon could conceivably not want to take a flu shot is beyond me. I'd require anyone in the place, even the janitor, to take shots. It's a choice. You do not have to work there.

If I were running a hospital, or any place that deals with ill people, you would either take your shots or you would be fired. Exceptions? Only for those who become unable to take their shots before they apply for the job. There could be allergy problems or something, i suppose. But they would then be required to wear a face mask (as is done now in some places where exceptions are made). I would not. however, require them to tell patients that they were wearing the face mask for their protection. That seems a bit over the top. Not necessary.

I think a lot of this goes back to the time when flu shots included live virus and there were always a few people who got flu symptoms from them. That's not true anymore. maybe some of the nurses, who seem to be the ones who object the most, need to get up to date.

And, of course, there are those want to make everything a legalistic matter, and every rule a civil rights issue. We could do without those people entirely. I do not understand that kind of self-centered attitude. Some things are obviously right and others are just as obviously wrong. It does not take a genius to tell them apart. We waste too much time fighting lawsuits from people who do things just to win some %$#@! stupid legalistic argument. Like Christmas decorations. Why the devil are some people so determined to interfere with other people's enjoyment of life? Would it bother me if the city put up something about Islam on some Islamic holy day? No! Why should it? This is a land of freedom, not a cage in a nuthouse. How does it hurt to help someone else to feel good?


Tom Garrett 4 years ago

I wonder?

I am NOT in favor of everyone suing everyone, but what if it could be demonstrated that someone caught an easily communicable disease in a hospital? For example, suppose someone went into a hospital for a stay that kept him or her there long enough so that it could clearly be shown that the time he or she spent there was longer that the latent period of the disease? And what if it could be shown that the most likely vector was some employee, especaily some nurse who carried the disease because she refused to take a flu shot?

Forgetting the moral issue, which should be enough to convince any care giver to want to take her shots, what about the legal issue?

I think someone would have a multi-million dollar case, don't you?

So if you were running a hospital, what would your hiring policy be?


Pat Randall 4 years ago

I had lots of answers typed. Posted it and was told I had to register. Had already sent emails this morning. Don't know if it was the Roundup or SuddenLink but someone needs to get thier act together.


Pat Randall 4 years ago

First of all get thier qualifications and check to make sure they are real. There are a lot of Drs. and nusrses out there that don't know a damn thing. Check the Arizona Medical Board Nurses registery and see how many have been faking being a nurse. No license of any kind from anywhere. Don't have hospitalists. If a dr is to busy to make rounds then get another dr. I was given a wrong prescription in Mesa, by the hospitalist but Thank God, one of my drs. caught it and called me before I took any. Said I would only take one and not be here for the second one. As for your question, show them your rules and have them sign a contract stating they know what thier job is. Don't have traveling nurses in the ER. Hire permanent people. Have them make sure the person has access to the call button.
Also hire the ER drs. don't have them belonging to a corp. somewhere else. The blood pressure cuffs bother me as they are not cleaned from one patient to another and the strech bands that are put on your arm to draw blood are used over and over. When you check out of ER ask for the results of any tests or pictures they took. I was told one night my blood and urine tests were fine. Questioned them about it as my urine speciman was still sitting in my room. Was ignored and sent on my way.

Cleaning people are a joke. They wet the mop once and mop rooms and the hall until the mop is so stiff with dirt they have to dip it back into the cleaning solution to finish.

I am not taking anyones word for any of this. I have seen it in several hospitals. Believe me in the last 30 years I have see what goes on in a lot of them. All the way to two hospitals in San Francisco and also the hospital at Stanford University in Palo Alto Calif and hospitals in the Valley and Payson. When a patient vacates a room someone comes in and gives it a wipe and swipe and are gone.


Tom Garrett 4 years ago


You paint a grim picture.

And you hit one nail right on the head. If a patient in a hospital is going to be given a prescription I can't imagine why the doctor would not check his or her medical records. Actually, Lolly and I have been lucky, I guess. Whenever we've been in the hospital it was always our own doctor (Dr. Abawi) who came to the hospital and took care of us. It even worked that way when Lolly went into the emergency room; he was right there caring for her. Before that, I have never been in a hospital except for twice in my first hitch in the Air Force; those both turned out to be false alarms and I was right back out. One day the first time and two the second. Except for the two operations Lolly had on her back, which I regret now and which happened long before Doctor Abawi got her, Lolly was in the hospital only for her two deliveries and a hysterectomy. All three were done in Air Force hospitals. They were very good!

Been lucky, I guess.

Your question about training of nurses is an intriguing one. There does seem to be a vast difference in knowledge and experience among nurses at times. It's as though some people (woman, I mean) who seem to have been born for the job, and others who just do not seem all that interested.


Pam Mason 4 years ago

I am not aware of this problem in the USA but it just goes to show you what happens elsewhere. This is part of Daily Mail newspaper story in UK. 1/13/2012

"Fewer than one in ten hospitals check whether nurses from Europe can adequately speak English before letting them work on wards, it has emerged.

Language problems often only come to light when patients find that their requests for more pain relief or different food are not understood, according to an NHS watchdog.

Many hospital chiefs are totally unaware that due to strict anti-discrimination rules imposed by Brussels, it is illegal for the Nursing and Midwifery Council regulator to check the English language skills of nurses trained in EU countries.

Hospital chiefs are unaware that it is illegal for regulators to check the English language skills of nurses trained in EU countries

The Department of Health and the Royal College of Nursing have told hospitals it is their responsibility to make adequate checks but the guidance is not always passed on to managers in charge of recruitment.

Foreign nurses coming to work in England from outside the EU have to undergo rigorous English exams that last up to five hours before they can join the NMC register."


Tom Garrett 4 years ago

That's total madness!

There I am in my hospital bed, and suddenly my head starts spinning, I feel like I am going to pass out, and my heart is thudding. Luckily, three nurses are passing. Barely able to get the words out I say, "Please, help me. I'm dying."

And what kind of answer do I get?

Marie: "Qu'a-t-il dit ?"

(What did he say?)

Gertrude: "Ich habe keine Ahnung, Marie. Ich kann Ihre Franzosen, viel weniger dieses barbarisches Englisch kaum verstehen. Verstehen Sie es, Genevieve?"

(I have no idea. I can barely understand your French much less this barbaric English. Do you understand it, Josephine? )

Josephine: "Me? Capisca l'inglese? Se potessi fare che avrei ottenuto un buon job. Chiunque su per una tazza di caffè?"

(Me? Understand English? If I did I'd get a good job. Anybody up for a cup of coffee?"

Marie: "Que diriez-vous du patient ?"

(What about the patient?)

Gertrude: "Wer interessiert sich? Er zahlt uns nicht. Dieses ist sozialisierte Medizin, sich erinnern?"

(Who cares? He isn't paying us. This is socialized medicine, remember?)

Goodbye, cruel world! :-)


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