Dad in Autism-Vaccine Case Speaks Out
Jon Poling, Father of Hannah, Explains He's Not 'Anti-Vaccine'
WebMD News Archive
Vaccine Safety: What Can Parents Do?
His advice for parents?
Poling says they should demand to know a vaccine's safety record before
agreeing to give it to their child, including any known links with metabolic
disorders and susceptibility to injury from the vaccine.
Coming to Terms With Autism
Although Poling has an MD and a PhD and is trained as a neurologist, he
admits it was very difficult to come to terms with his daughter's diagnosis. In
his neurology practice in Georgia, some of his patients are children with
autism, so he is very familiar with the condition. His wife, Terry, is both a
nurse and an attorney.
Even so, he says, they had some trouble initially getting doctors to take
their concerns seriously. When Hannah exhibited symptoms after a series of five
immunizations including nine
vaccines, doctors initially passed them off as nothing serious. But as the
symptoms didn't abate and in fact got worse, as parents, the Polings knew
something was wrong.
"After six months of essentially our daughter being a zombie and gone,
we knew this wasn't going away," he says. "This was chronic. And we had
to come to grips with that."
In the beginning, it wasn't easy, he says. "We had denial," he
admits. She had previously been treated for middle ear infections. "When
Hannah got sick, we thought, 'Her ears are clogged. That is why she is not
As he heard from other parents dealing with the same diagnosis, the initial
denial, followed by difficulty in accepting the reality, was a common thread,