TETANUS KILLED WOMAN AFTER FALL IN GARDEN
"Yorkshire Post" February 26, 2003
A rare disease, which has been largely wiped out in the UK thanks to immunization, killed a 61-year-old woman after it got into her system through a face wound. Sheila Creighton fell on a bush in her garden, cutting her face. She was taken to hospital where the wound was cleaned up and stitched. But she was forced to seek further help when her face began to ache and she had difficulty moving her jaw.
Several medical experts who saw Mrs. Creighton, most of whom had never seen a case of tetanus before, failed to diagnose the disorder, which attacks the nervous system, leads to spasms, and can kill. It was only after she collapsed several days after the fall that tetanus was diagnosed. She was treated in the intensive care unit at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, but efforts to save her failed and she died in April last year , four weeks after the fall.
An inquest in Huddersfield was told yesterday that the disease was extremely rare in the UK. Figures for 1999 showed that there were only three reported cases and only one resulted in death.
Deborah Tooley, specialist registrar in anesthetics and intensive care at Pinderfields, who treated Mrs. Creighton in the later stages of the illness, said [Mrs. Creighton] could not speak. But by asking her patient questions [Ms. Tooley] had discovered Mrs. Creighton had had a tetanus jab in 1995.
Prior to that she indicated she hadn't been immunized for about 20 years. But the inquest heard conflicting evidence that her GP notes showed she had been immunized in 1991. The hearing was told that if Mrs. Creighton of Milton Road, Liversedge, near Dewsbury, hadn't been immunized for 20 years before 1995 she wouldn't have been protected.
Pathologist Patricia Gudgeon concluded that Mrs. Creighton's death was due to pneumonia and brain damage caused by tetanus, which entered her system through a contaminated wound.
Mrs. Creighton was first treated at Dewsbury District Hospital on March 28 .
Dr. Ed Walker, a specialist in emergency medicine at the hospital, said she had a clean wound that was treated and dressed. Notes he was given showed she had been vaccinated in 1995 and because of this and the type of wound he had decided she did not need another. Yesterday, recording a verdict of accidental death, West Yorkshire coroner Roger Whittaker said he couldn't criticize the various medical experts who hadn't diagnosed tetanus. He said they had made considered judgments. It wasn't until later that all the symptoms materialized.
He called for a better system, which would allow doctors to quickly get information about patients' immunization records.
Speaking after the inquest Mrs. Creighton's daughter Janet Creighton said the family was keen to raise awareness of what could happen if people were not immunized. (HUH? SHE WAS IMMUNIZED!) "We want to make people aware that this can happen and urge them to check records with their doctors and make sure that they are covered. It could happen to anybody," she said. Mrs. Creighton's husband Ronald said his family had done research and it appeared that those born before 1961 were especially at risk, because that was when routine tetanus immunization began [in the UK].
Hillary Butler on Tetanus:
Actually I disagree. You husband is not an equal parent in the decision. Why? Because if something went wrong, he would not be the one to look after your child, to invest 100% in the emotional struggle and care of that child. That person is always the Mother. And often the fathers just walk away. So, IMO, its actually more weighted in your favour. Unless he is prepared to sign a legally binding document stating that in the event of permanent damage, he will foreclose his career, and life, and take over all the childcare from you, and free you to take on a money-earning career.
Sounds harsh, but I see this all the time.
Tetanus is another one of those things which I spent years researching. I have a long tome which is not in a format to put it into E, so you will be spared another Sheri post. Instead you will get a tome of a different kind. No, I would not have the vaccine, and in making that choice, this is some of the information I would have thought about. I'm not putting it all, otherwise I'd be here writing, in a weeks time...
The first is that Australia did a study the results of which were published in the New Zealand Doctor 18, March 1993, pg 23. This was the first time a study like this had ever been done..., to see what the antibody levels were in people 10 years after their last booster. Here is what the medical article said:
Too many tetanus shots Some people having tetanus boosters already have antibody levels more than 8,000 times (eight thousand) the protective level needed, suggesting Australia's regime of a booster every 10 years is in need of a change. Community physicians say Australia should adopt the UK regime which advises after five doses, further boosters are unnecessary.
So the first thing maybe, is go have a titre count done.
But lets look at this titre thing. Way back in the 80's there was a study done in the Scandinavian J Infect Dis 1983: 15;303 -306, which looked at soldiers who had been given heaps of tetanus vaccine. Their antibody levels were way too high as well, and what they discovered was that "repeated exposure to an antigen, or an overdose of antigen, will not continually enhance the immune response and may lead to inhibition or telerance at either T or B cells level.. in addition, a possible feedback effect stimulated by the high level of toxoid antibodies may suppress, as Stevens
and Saxon have illustrated, the production of more antibodies at a later date"
Okay? Do you understand the implications of this?
It came out loud and clear in The Journal of Family Practice, 1997, Vol 44, No 3, pg 299 - 303 when a 29 year old man was admitted with severe generalised tetanus despite having had a primary series and two booster injections. And his levels were only 100 times that considered protective, not 8,000 times as per the Australian study!!!.
Now, if you look at the New Zealand scene, where it was pointed out in the New Zealand Medical Journal (24th November 1994)that most people over 35 are unlikely to have had a vaccine, since it was only inroduced in 1960, then you have to ask yourself why every over-40 year old, isn't dropping
dead with tetanus. In 1987 a serum survey showed that just over 50% of the 60-65 group had immunity to tetanus. 83% of the 20-29 year olds, 64% of the 30 -35 year olds. And the stats aren't that much better today. I understand they are even lower for the USA than for here. So where did the people with immunity get it from? Many were not vaccinated...see later...
Now, if you have a look at Tetanus in America, one of the most interesting articles is a 1969 one from the New England Medical Journal, Volume 280, Number 11, March 13. And on pages 570 there is a really interesting decline graph for mortality rates, which shows that the mortality rate plummetted dramatically from 64/100,000 in 1900to 8/100,000. in 1940. By 1950, with most mothers still unvaccinated, it was 4.5/100,000.
Not that Tetanus was ever a very common cause of death before hand anyway, in relation to all the other things that historically could do you in. Marasmus was a much more common killer of children than neonatal tetanus ever was... for instance.
They say that it may have been the use of anti-toxin from 1923, but I know far too much about antitoxin to believe that!!! Antitoxin can kill all by itself, primarily because it is made in horses, and has horrendous side-effects in its own right. And some people treated with anti-tetanus toxoid, will die of the toxoid side-effects, but that is the risk you take, if you think yu have a chance of dying anyway.....
But the article also recognises that the anti-toxin is not the only reason, because they cover their bums by also talking about improved obstetric techniques and neonatal care. And I would have to say wound care also. But the graph is pretty amazing.
In interesting study in the American Journal of Public Health, August 1984, Vol 74, No 8, showed that in 1,900 adults over 20 years of age, the overall percentage immunised was 38.6%. Now if, in 1979, in american, only 38.6% of adults were immunised, what are the factors which operated then to prevent thousands of adults daily dying from tetanus?
And obviously there are people still around in USA who still have never been vaccinated. and haven't died yet. But let's look at something else as well. As to why tetanus has always been a rare disease in civilian communities in places like America.
The medical profession has always stated that a person does not acquire natural immunity to tetanus. But the funny thing is that in 1975 in Dakar, in the proceeding of the 4th international symposium on tetanus, they talked about "latent" natural immunity causing reactions to primary immunisation. Then there was the study in JAMA Nov 19, 1982, Volume 248, No 19, in which a large number of the unvaccianted Amish showed serological evidence of immunity to both diphtheria and tetanus.
(Incidentally, the same was though about rabies (that there is no natural immunity), until a recent study showed that in Alaskan trappers who had never had any vaccine, they too had antibodies. Poof goes that theory)
Now, New Zealand should be THE prime hot-bed for tetanus. Everywhere you turn, you fall over horses, etc etc - cows, sheep dogs. opossums, you name it. And even here, Tetanus occurs sometimes, but not often. And what has been most interesting to me is in WHOM it occurs. Recently, I was able to to a bit of poking into the lives of 4 self-confessed tetanus sufferers who were in the stats. And every single one of them had factors in their lives which pre-disposed them to tetanus. One had even had a 3 primary 1 booster schedule, and she ate refined foods, drank, smoked, and did recreation drugs. Well, hey. What state was her immune system in!!! didn't stand a
chance at doing its job...
The other three ate the usual white flour, white sugar, coke, biscuits,very little fruit and vegetables.....
One one was what I would call reasonable healthy, but he smoked like a train - which as I showed him from the med lit, suppresses the immune system considerably, especially in the airways and gut area...
Now, someone here said tetanus is only a risk with rusty nails /horses etc.
It would be wonderful if that were so, but it isn't.
For a start, 5% of us carry it in our guts, happily replicating. In fact, at one time, the best way to get tetanus in the medical literature was to have a hemorrhoid dealt with. Until they got wise to that one..
Tetanus is ubiquitous in our environment. It is everywhere, on everything.
Where do you think it comes from on the rusty nail? Why do you think it is that the highest rate of tetanus in vaccinated people is in homeless drug shooters?
Go get some dust from your mantle-piece tested and it will be there, 10 to the power 6. It is found in bullet wounds, human bite wounds (!!) on your carrots - you likely eat it every day. There is nowhere that tetanus is not. In your carpet, on your soil, and often, on your skin. And if you don't believe me, read the medical literature.
And far from rusty nails being the most common cause of tetanus, that is
not true. Rusty nails account for less that 40% of tetanus. Most tetanus
comes where there is no discernable "portal of entry". It has even been
identified following ear-ache (which left me somewhat gob-smacked --- did
the kid have grommets? and the thing shoved in the ear to "look see",
transfer Tetanus Clostridium? That wasn't even considered...)
Lets look at a bit more history from the medical literature. It has always been known that war-time historically showed up the highest rate of tetanus. Far higher than in civilians. Bullet/schrapnel wounds and all, and the stress of fighting.
Boer war .28 of every thousand wounded got tetanus.
Crimean war 2.0 per 1,000
Am. Civil war 2.0 per thousand
Western front (Flanders horse country WWI average 1.47/thousand wounded. 2nd world war varied from .06 - .43 per thousand. ( and not everyone there was vaccinated either. In the paper on the American Tetanus cases, most who got tetanus had been vaccinated....)
(The difference between the 2nd WW and the first has nothing to do with the vaccine in my opinion. The second world war was in many ways, far more hygienically fought. Where were all the mud-filled trenches, and ghastly living conditions in the second world war, compared to the first? Those who
know their history will see that right away...)
Now, the question should be, not why did the few actually GET tetanus, but why didn't the other 998 per thousand wounded get it? Especially when you realise that it was days, if not weeks, before those wounded people got any serious attention. When you read about weeks in stinking ships amongst the wounded from Gallipoli on their way to hospital in EGYPT as well as the substandard treatment, you have to wonder why they all didn't die.
The answer lies IMO in the unique susceptibility of the individual. That a vaccine can confer immunity is not the question that needs to be answered. The medical profession attributes the decrease in Tetanus SOLELY to vaccination which is grossly misleading.
I mean, look at your family trees? Did all your great-grandparents die of tetanus? Nope. Did they never get exposed to it? ACtually, they had far more wounds likely to have harboured it, than we do today...
A good read of the medical textbooks of the 20's gives some idea as to one chief reason..... In a study done in 1919-1920 by Dr Harriette Chick of the lister Institute, and other working in Pirquets clinic in Vienna, showed that "nearly all children in Central Europe were more or less rachitic"
Remember Rickets? Remember being lined up with cod-liver oil and black-strap molasses. (Last year, there was an article which shows that rickets is rising again in the USA....)
Most older people living now can remember the free milk, cod-liver oil by the spoon-full. One here has already made derogatory comments about it.... Even in the rich communities in London in the 30's there were still over 30% of children with definable nutritional deficiencies...
Now, its interesting in that light, to know that there are studies which show that when you vaccinate people whose nutritional status is not good, at least 30% do not respond to the vaccine, even when given highly concentrated fluid toxoids (Med J Aust, Aug 7, 1976). Again the work by Chandra shows that their rate of non-conversion to the vaccine gets higher with the degree of malnutrition, and that malnourished mothers pass on such low levels of IgG that the babies' passive immunity is virtually nil.
There is no way around the blinding revelation of the obvious that
1) Bad nutrition is a very serious immune suppressor
2) Immune suppression, or malfunction, is the chief determiner of the severity of tetanus.
And the work by Chandra et all, shows that obesity causes immune changes similar to those caused by malnutrition, so nutritional status is wide-ranging in its implications.
And then there is the hysteria factor which suppresses the immune system as well, which was amply demonstrated in the USA in Johb Paul's book "The history of Polio" where at times when the media hype was bordering on the screaming paranoid, people would be admitted with what they called
Talking of hysteria, rember that hysteria is one of the differential diagnoses of tetanus, as is hypocalcemia, meningitis, rabies, drug withdrawal, strychnine poisoning, and dystonic drug reaction.
"red streaks" may have nothing to do with tetanus at all. When I was in USA in 1993, I got a chigger bite, which the chemist treated with what looked like nail polish, and said it would be just fine. Well, it wasn't. After 4 days, my legs ached, and I had red streaks up to the groin. And while my hosts freaked their heads off, I plonked myself in the bath, took a sterilised 3 inch needle, put a piece of wood between my teeth, and opened it up in a Y shape. The rotten chigger, and pus exploded everywhere....
And within three days, the red streaks had completely gone as had all infection. And since I am fatally allergic to all antibiotics, no, I didn't use them. I let my body do the job it is designed for, with judicious help from vitamin quackery.....
Back to history
There is much made of the fact that the Japanese soldiers in WWII had a lot of tetanus in comparison to the Americans. 14 per hundred.... But when researching this, I was interested to read this "We embarked 284 wounded Japanese soldiers. We found them to be generally dirty, emaciated and with wounds that had been improperly treated." By contrast, the 384 wounded US
solders were described as clean, well-fed with wounds that had been promptly treated.
Aparently this counted for nothing, and that the reason the USA soldiers had escaped "in comparison" was the vaccine. Which makes me very annoyed, because there is another factor they missed out, which is integral to understanding the japanese-- What was not taken into account was that to be taken captive was the ultimate in disgrace to any japanese, and many lost the will to live, and died anyway. Imagine the shape of the immune system of someone with no hope....
Now you would think too, that ALL the US personnel during WWII who got tetanus would have been unimmunised, but not so. There were twelve cases. 6 of them had completed an immunisation schedule, and one had had one shot. And three of the 6 with a completed schedule, died. Three of the unvaccinated suvived. The one who had had one shot, survived. Seems sort of 50/50 to me. (Bull US Army Med Dept, Vol VII, no 4, April 1947). The British records are even stranger, with the immunized often having a higher overall case mortality record than the unimmunsed. In the Lancet, Jan 26, 1946, pg 116 looking at the case Mortality rates, in the "protected" it was 50%, in the Unprotected it was 46.8%, and in the incomplete or doubtful it was 42.1%.
The list of side-effects which I have for Tetanus vaccine is huge, but I won't go into that. What I wanted to reinforce was nutritional status, and some history, but finally to draw your attention to a most interesting study. This is found in the Bangladesh medical Research Council Bulleting, Volume 10, No 1, June 1984.
As I said, a differential diagnosis is Strynchnine poisoning. The first part was to take two day old chicks divided into fur groups with 15 birds in each. Group one got 5 nanograms of strychnine sulphate (SS). Group 2 got SS plus 30 mg of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) Group 3 10 nonograms of SS, and group 4 got10 nanos SS and 30 mg Vitamin C. The results were:
Group one, Wings of all birds stretched, Some walked on toes, others kept jumping but could not walk.
Group 2 - No symptoms
Group 3, Extensor paralysis of legs, opisthotonus and severe convulsions,and all but three died.
Group 4, Extensor paralysis in 3 chicks. No neurological symptoms in others. the affected bird recovered in about 30 minutes after the appearance of symptoms.
Then they randomly assigned tetanus cases into four groups.
No Vitamin C = 72% mortality rate.
Vitamin C 0% mortality rate.
Ages 13 - 30
Vitamin C, 37% mortality
Non Vitamin C 67.8 % mortality rate.
But they made one mistake with this. All patients got 1,000 mg of Vitamin C. They did not ADJUST UPWARDS the dose of vitamin C for the bigger body weight. Had they done that, the results might have been different. They did another study looking at the use of B 6, pyrodoxine and found that that also reduced both severity an mortality.
Think on that. Tetanus is a toxin-mediated disease, rather like diphtheria. It is determined by nutritional status, and immune function more than anything else...
But there is another interesting fact. The body, with a wound, puts up "road-blocks" to stop the toxin spreading. It is fascinating to me, that it has long been known that "Wound excision should be delayed until the antitoxin is given, as free tetanospasmin is mobilized into the blood-stream during surgical manipulation." In other words, debridement of wounds breaks open these road-blocks, and floods the system with poison....
I also found in interesting that in the Am J Dis Child Vol 135, June 1981, Pg 571 it says "the mortality in reported cases of tetanus is higher in the USA than in developing countries." Perhaps it is because in the USA the methods of treatment are very invastive, include debridement, tracheotomy - a whole host of things which just can't be done in developing countries, not just because of cost, but also because of infection risk.
Parents sue when player is benched
Boy's religion-based decision to refuse tetanus shot prompts suit
(July 8, 2005) — HENRIETTA — The parents of a Rush-Henrietta High School student have accused the school district of violating the teen's constitutional rights. Howard and Barbara Hadley of Henrietta claim in a federal lawsuit that the district didn't allow their son, Harry, 16, to play lacrosse this spring after he refused to get a tetanus shot on religious grounds. They are seeking $1 million in damages.
The Hadleys had obtained a waiver from immunizations under the public health law for religious reasons in September 1998 for their three school-age children, according to the complaint filed June 22 in U.S. District Court. The children have attended Rush-Henrietta schools since then "without ever having been immunized," the complaint said. Harry had been playing school lacrosse since he came to the district as a seventh-grader, according to the complaint.
But in early March, the boy's junior year, a school nurse told him he had to get a tetanus shot to play lacrosse. The teen did not get the shot because of his religious beliefs. District officials contend that a child's right to a public education under law doesn't cover athletics, and so the Hadleys' immunization exemption covers only academics.
The Hadleys' lawyer disagrees.
"That's an arbitrary distinction and a violation of freedom of religion under First Amendment rights," said Patricia Finn of Sparkill, Rockland County. George DesMarteau, the school district's attorney, declined to comment on the lawsuit because it is a matter in litigation. However, he did state the district's position on immunizations and sports. "The district believes that statutory provisions that require enrollment of students lacking normal immunizations due to sincerely held public beliefs are not applicable to the medical determination of fitness for participation in sports," he said.
"The district operates from the premise that it has an obligation to screen students (for sports) to ensure that these students are physically capable of participation without undue risk of injury or complication from injury." Howard Hadley, who is a chiropractor, said he and his wife have four children — Harry, who is the oldest; a daughter who just finished eighth grade; a son who has completed sixth grade, and a 2-year-old daughter.
They are Catholic and are members of Guardian Angels parish in Henrietta. Hadley emphasized that their belief about vaccinations is their own, noting that the parish doesn't teach it and the Roman Catholic Church has no opinion on it. "It is a personally held, sincere religious exemption that we have," Hadley said. "We do receive medical care when it's needed, but not in this manner."
He said this paragraph in the complaint accurately reflected their religious belief regarding immunizations: "We feel that when God created us, He gave us everything we need — an immune system that works beautifully. We believe that the power that creates has the power to heal. Immunizations show a lack of faith in God." Harry was allowed to practice indoors with the lacrosse team for about four weeks after his refusal to get the shot, according to the lawsuit. But when the team moved outdoors in early April, he wasn't allowed to practice or to play in any games, the suit said.
Playing lacrosse is important to Harry because he hopes to obtain a college lacrosse scholarship, according to the suit. "The restriction imposed upon me by the school, prohibiting me from playing lacrosse, is affecting every aspect of my life and I believe it is very, very unfair," Harry is quoted in an affidavit. The suit seeks a temporary restraining order that would allow Harry to play on the Rush-Henrietta lacrosse team while the case is pending. Finn said she will seek the restraining order near the start of the 2005-06 school year.