From the October 2004 Idaho Observer:

"Generally accepted" practices

By Hannah Rappaport

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." ~Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

  "Objection your honor! This is not generally accepted practice," Florida State Prosecutor Chris Lerner protested—over and over again—throughout the week-long evidentiary hearing in the State of Florida v. Alan R. Yurko.

Dr. Archie Kalokerinos traveled all the way from Australia at his own expense to testify at this hearing. Dr. Kalokerinos has been in medical practice for 50 years. He has administered thousands of vaccines and studied their effects. He explained how half the aboriginal children he vaccinated during the 60s and 70s died after being vaccinated until he began administering large doses of vitamin C to them. Though this simple, inexpensive procedure instantly reversed the mortality rate of these children, the Australian government was antagonistic toward Dr. Kalokerinos’ work. Dr. Kalokerinos has investigated over 40 SBS cases and is published in world medical literature. When Dr. Kalokerinos began testifying as to his experience relative to vaccine damage and vitamin C, the prosecution’s objection that his expertise is "not generally accepted medical practice" was sustained by Florida District Judge C. Alan Lawson and Dr. Kalokerinos was asked to step down.

"Generally accepted" practices and beliefs have historically retarded courts of law and courts of public opinion. For instance, the world used to be flat, bathing used to cause sickness and blood letting restored health.

The most relevant example of a formerly generally accepted medical practice being replaced by a new generally accepted practice involves hand washing. In 1847, Dr. Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician, discovered that the number of cases of puerperal fever (also known as "childbed fever") was drastically reduced if the doctors washed their hands before treating pregnant women. "His observations went against the scientific opinion of the time. It was argued that even if his findings were correct, washing one’s hands each time before treating a pregnant woman would be too much work. Doctors also were not eager to admit that they had caused so many deaths," commented the editors at the website

For the blasphemy of recommending that physicians wash their hands before treating their patients, Dr. Semmelweis was marginalized, disgraced, ostracized and, ironically, died of puerperal fever in a mental institution. But what was radically new and unacceptable in 1847, has now become generally accepted practice, not just in medicine but in restaurants, households and the refrains of mothers, "go wash your hands before dinner."

Many of the expert witnesses for the defense are brilliant doctors, daring to investigate the minutia of the case in the true spirit of science. Science: The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of natural phenomena. The words discipline and study also figure in the definition of science. These experts in the fields relevant to this case had each examined all the records and histories available. They’d given the case their due diligence and concluded that the confluence of circumstances—a troubled pregnancy, premature birth and contraindicated vaccinations were the cause of baby Alan’s death, not child abuse, as the prosecution insisted. Dr. Buttram testified that he has spent a thousand hours studying this case. He also testified that he has studied 54 cases of SBS and only in four of those cases did he suspect that there might have been some form of child abuse.

Testifying for the prosecution, Dr. Matthew Siebel says that he determined in less than 30 minutes that Baby Alan had been shaken to death by his father. He informed the court that this is the generally accepted practice when diagnosing Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Dr. Yazbak, for the defense, testified that accusing a parent or caretaker of Shaken Baby Syndrome is like playing musical chairs: Whomever happens to be alone with a baby when, because of medical conditions it stops breathing, is the one who is accused of a crime. Therefore, it is the generally accepted practice to automatically attach blame for SBS to whoever is alone with children who stop breathing.

Why does generally accepted practice hold so much authority? When the human race hunted and gathered, we did so in groups; safety in numbers. As we evolved from tribalism to communities and then to civilizations, fear of the dangers outside the protective boundaries of the tribe morphed—you might not be eaten by tigers if you do not comply with the norm but you will surely be ridiculed, and men fear ridicule more than death. But mankind’s deepest potential is to strive for creative expansion and spiritual effervescence. The individual holds a personal nobility not available to the collective. Looking at history, we see that it is the individual who moves mankind forward in consciousness. Gandhi took off his western tailored suits, boldly faced ridicule for donning humble, hand-spun garments and leveraged his own personhood against the entire British Empire.

After excluding Dr. Kalokerinos from the witness stand and listening to what the other astute defense witnesses had to say, Judge Lawson was more open to looking past the generally accepted argument of the prosecution and appeared truly interested in the new wisdom. Judge Lawson’s response to many of the prosecution’s objections is, "this is not a jury trial. I will admit the evidence and, if it is not relevant, I’ll leave it out of my considerations."

In closing arguments the prosecutor ironically made a good case for moving beyond the current generally accepted practice by stating that, at one time, no one would have considered bringing in a social worker as a witness, or asking about the vitamin intake of the defendant. But, according to Lerner, once someone brought those issues into the courtroom, it became generally accepted as valid evidence.

The Yurko case stands as a landmark in the shadowy territory of SBS and medically caused illness and death. There is now a sign posted in this wilderness—as clear as the sign posted in many public restrooms, "Wash Your Hands." The generally accepted practice of accusing parents and caretakers of SBS and obfuscating the truth about the dangers of vaccines is on its way to the place in history where one finds doctors with dirty hands.

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