Really? None of my Business

I don't know, maybe it's the rise of all this reality tv and regular folks with a penchant for displaying themselves baring their daily lives in both contrived and naturalistic settings that has led people to think they have a right to all sorts of information. Maybe. Maybe it's that folks blog, facebook, myspace, and tweet about their lives where the wide world or a select portion of it can read the information at their discretion. Maybe that accounts for why some folks think they have the right to demand private medical records and all sorts of background information on others.

Whatever it is, as bloggers continue to post about the Polings and comment on the case, it's more than a bit disconcerting to think that folks feel completely free to demand information of the Polings. The comment section got heated enough at Rudy's section that Handley had to mention it and pull comments from the piece, which saw Hannah's mom commenting to Allison Singer's comment regarding Hannah's diagnoses. Twyla provided a link to the decision, in case you've been in a vacuum and haven't already devoured it.

The idea that if somehow the Polings provided full medical records on their daughter, questions would end is as unlikely a thing as the AoAers giving up the fight and admitting that their various half-arsed ideas were as half-baked as they really are if they finally got that study of unvaccinated versus vaccinated kids and it was shown that unvaxxed kids had higher rates of autism.

This isn't an argument that's going to end ever. There's always going to  be someone from either extreme end who has to keep it going in some odd-balled attempt to whip it out and see whose bits are bigger. It isn't even an interesting argument once you've watched it play out over months and years.

The Poling case is irrelevant to the larger population; it is a specific case that applies to one person. And it isn't any of our business what the details are; it really isn't, and if you think you have a right to it, you don't. It's a court case that was settled as a table injury and it's NONE OF OUR BUSINESS.

It is a table injury (page 2):

The Polings were diligent, they followed through, and their case was settled. It is not okay that it took them so many years to reach a resolution. For something that was set up to be a quick and fairly painless process to provide parents whose children have been damaged by vaccines, it failed here, especially since it was a table injury.

And to continue a pissing contest just to keep it going is so beyond pointless that it makes me wonder if it was always about the pissing contest instead of actually making a difference in the world at large.


Emily said...

I'm gonna have to differ on this one. When they went on the Today show or whatever it was and all over the news media, etc., they made themselves public figures, which in turn made their situation the public's business. Her father, if I remember correctly, was an author on a paper describing her case. They make specific assertions that other people fling from their own bully pulpits, and I think it's OK to request proof of that information. Someone seems to have made specific information available to David Kirby and no one else, and that's political at best.

That said, had the parents requested privacy and maintained it and not formed themselves into public figures, I'd agree with what you're saying 100%.

As I've noted, no matter what happened to Hannah Poling, given the multifactorial etiology of autism and her clear mitochondrial disorder, she cannot be the avatar here. http://daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com/2008/03/deadly-history.html

KWombles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KWombles said...

:-) I can respect that difference of opinion, but do you really mean that anybody who goes on the Today show and speaks about anything is therefore obligated to make their lives and all their personal information public? Or is it that the Polings specifically have made their story open to the public and therefore have an obligation to show evidence for claims? Well, they did that with the court, and the court ruled. If the court doesn't make that information public, then the court has decided the public doesn't have the right to access it. And whether they choose to give it to one party or not doesn't open them to the obligation to do so for everybody. It's their information, their lives. Now, can folks take that lack of transparency and file it appropriately? Absolutely. But it still doesn't mean any one in the public sector is entitled to that information. They can ask all they want (and depending on how they do it, they may sound every bit as, umm, bad, as the AoAers with their demands regarding Offit and others).

Yes, I linked in an earlier post to his case study on his daughter, in which he failed to disclose it was his daughter and he had filed with the vaccine court. The editor was rightly disturbed by his failure to report his conflict of interest, and like many caught in a clear conflict of interest, Poling refused accountability.

And with some of the less than stellar things he's said over the years regarding autism, vaccines, etc., I can understand holding him accountable for his words, and I suppose that folks are right to be suspicious of their willingness to announce certain things but not prove them.

I guess my point is that calls by some folks over at Lisa Rudy's site for the Polings to come forth with all the medical records is still presumptuous and it wouldn't stop the pissing match. All you have to do to know that without a doubt is go over to Huff and watch the same old folks duke it out over hundreds and thousands of comments on any post relating to autism or vaccines.

They're in there for the fight and to be right, and nothing will get in the way of that right-fighting, and nothing will be made better, easier, whatever for our children while people hammer away at each other over Hannah Poling's medical records.

*forgot to close parentheses

Emily said...

Actually, yes, I do really mean that if you go on the Today show with your child and invite them into your hotel room, etc., and speak publicly in several venues about your stance and publish a case study on your own child--a CASE STUDY with medical details and write from an anti-vax stance in other venues with your imprimatur as an MD--then you have made yourself a public figure and as such, of the public interest. There have been efforts here to make H. Poling some sort of demonstration case for vaccines and autism, and the family has been supportive of those efforts in any number of public ways. They did not limit their public statements to the Today show; indeed, they have played them out in several arenas, including mainstream media, scientific exchange, and elsewhere.

No, I do not think that they are obligated to make all of their personal information public, but if they freely provide specifics to David Kirby (an alleged "journalist") for politicized reasons, then it's a little late, for example, for Ms. Poling to play the privacy card after all of this public display.

KWombles said...

Certainly it's fair to call them out for choosing to play to the crowd that gives them the accolades while choosing to not provide the same information to those who are skeptical of some of their assertions outside of the court case itself.

I don't know that we really disagree here, all in all. Regardless of hypocrisy or not, my point is they are under no obligation to provide the information just because people ask for it. And that when I (at least) see that played out over at Rudy's blog, well, telling the Polings now's the time and place is, well, presumptuous, although others were as demanding. People may want to know, people may want to dig through it all, but it doesn't mean they have any right to demand that information.

In addition, it seems clear that you're not saying ALL people who choose to air parts of their stories on the morning shows have become public figures who have opened themselves up to the prying eyes of the public and should provide endless details. You're saying when the Polings did it to further the vaccine-autism link, they shouldn't be surprised that folks want the Polings' claims to be backed up. Yeah, I don't disagree with that. It just doesn't mean they have to give it.

Ahh, and sure, but in that venue that this particular post was reacting to, it was to me more about the pissing match than it was about broader issues relevant to the larger autism community and our wider community. It was about hammering the other side (and it didn't help that I'd just read some of the comments from Huff Post where they were over there smacking away at each other, getting nowhere). I don't, in the end, understand the need to keep doing that. If there isn't a broader, useful purpose to the action, then it seems to be an exercise of, ummm, self-release, you know?

Are we looking at the case because we want to see what particular mito disorder it was, how prevalent that is in the general population, how often that mito disorder results in that level of issues, so that we can try to look at important research avenues, then I'm all for it. If we're looking at it to look at the whole issue of how to determine if something is caused by the vaccines, how delayed can an adverse reaction be, how responsive should the medical field be to parent concerns, how fast should the vaccine courts provide recompense to injured individuals, then it's a productive debate to have.

In the end, though, if you read the comments at Rudy's, did you see that conversation as being productive and beneficial other than to the people who were finding some self-benefit to hammering away at each other?

Sirenity said...

I love this exchange, between two intelligent and respectful persons who are explaining their differing views to one another without being rude or resorting to mudslinging.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if all dissenting opinions could be shared like this?

Hugs for you both! (Just had to get my two cents in and point out how lovely you both are in your debate)

KWombles said...

Thanks, Sirenity! :-) I enjoy these kinds of discussions tremendously.

Emily said...

As do I. And I know that I can trust Kim enough not to get defensive if I disagree with something she says...and I hope she feels the same way about me.

KWombles said...

:-)I do, Emily. I enjoyed our discussion, and didn't think disagreeing on this issue was a problem.

Besides, insisting on agreement down the line would be boring and getting defensive serves little purpose when you're trying to exchange ideas and understand where differences of opinion arise.

Jawing away at each other and chewing the fat from a position of mutual respect is my idea of fun!