Pregnant nurse chooses baby’s health over flu shot, gets fired

In a Lancaster, PA hospital choosing to protect your unborn child is not a valid reason for exemption from a flu shot, which isn’t even guaranteed to protect against the flu.

Dreonna Breton, 29, a nurse at Horizons Healthcare Services in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is pregnant. Because of having two previous miscarriages, she consulted with her doctor and decide to apply for an exemption to get a flu shot, Fluzone, mandated by her employer and was fired for that refusal.

Penn Live reports that Breton refused the shot after researching the vaccine and making the choice that her baby’s health, especially in light of her miscarriage history, was more important than the iffy vaccine.

“It would be a false statement to say the flu vaccine is known to be safe during pregnancy. I have lost my job, one that I love and am good at, because I chose to do what I believe is best for my baby.”

In a culture of mantras of choice, the decision by the hospital is disturbing. CNN reports:

“The mother of one submitted letters from her obstetrician and primary care doctor supporting her decision, but she was told that she would be fired on December 17 if she did not receive the vaccine before then.

“Horizons Healthcare Services spokesman Alan Peterson told CNN affiliate WPVI that it’s unconscionable for a health care worker not to be immunized and that pregnant women are more susceptible to the flu.”

Dr. Peterson, seems to think that making Breton’s choice for her on the health of her baby is appropriate, further showing that the culture of choice applies more frequently when the choice is the one. His comments, implying a mother has a lack of conscience for choosing not to take a chance with a drug unproven on pregnancies is a disturbing commentary on the lack of choice that actually exists in a co-called pro-choice culture.

Exemptions to the flu vaccine are allowed, but Breton’s was denied. According to Penn Live, when Breton filed for an exemption, she included a doctor’s note which stated,  “In my view getting the flu shot would significantly and negatively impact her health because of the increased fear and anxiety it would create as well as the emotional impact it could cause if she does miscarry again.” But even a medical professional’s opinion was not enough to prevent her firing.

Despite Breton’s offer to wear a mask on the job, a common precaution allowed in exemptions, the hospital refused her this option.  Penn Live continues:

“Sanofi Pasteur is the maker of Fluzone, one of the brands with a packaging insert stating that the impact on a pregnant woman and her fetus are unknown.

Donna Cary, a spokeswoman, attributed that to the fact that results of clinical studies involving pregnant women weren’t included in the research presented decades ago when flu vaccine received government approval.

Because of that, flu vaccine manufacturers can’t state that it’s safe for pregnant women, she said.

However, there is a registry of negative impacts of flu vaccine, and nothing in that registry has prompted the groups such as the CDC to conclude that flu vaccine poses a danger for pregnant women, she said.”

Breton told CNN, “I know that the CDC says to get it, and that’s fine, but it was our choice to avoid the flu vaccine and the unknowns that come with that.”

It seems that in the case of a woman who is also a health professional and consulted with her doctor to make a personal decision, that the hospital could have taken a myriad of other avenues besides firing Breton. Besides the mask, which is a common way to deal with exemptions, the hospital could have assigned her administrative duties, or temporarily reassigned her to an area where she would not endanger patients if she did happen to get the flu. Instead, they refused Breton’s choice to care for her unborn child and made an example of her.

What is truly unconscionable is firing a woman who chooses to protect her unborn child. Sadly, the pro-choice mentality seems to favor abortion choices over choices to protect babies. It should be a mother’s choice, regardless of her workplace, to make the best decision she can to help her baby live.

After years of employment, Breton should be allowed other options besides firing. This wasn’t an either/or decision, but the hospital has made it one, and that’s a sad statement on health care. Breton’s attitude clearly conveys that not even a job is worth the life of her baby. And that is a decision that should be honored, not result in losing a job.

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