Doe rejects medical care, leaving mother with no medical option but to terminate care

What does this mean for patients?

CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen explains.

Now for some basics

The states involved have been experiencing a long-standing measles outbreak due to unvaccinated people and “vaccine hesitancy” due to vaccine science and skepticism about whether there are serious side effects and the benefits outweigh risks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

But the lawsuit is the first major action related to measles in state courts, says CNN legal analyst Steven Brill.

States are under a separate, federal law requiring health care workers, like doctors and nurses, to receive the required vaccinations to work. This was added to the law after the 1996 measles outbreak at Disneyland in California, when 100 people became infected.

Vaccine distrust

The lawsuit was filed in January and named five plaintiffs: Trevor Boss, a pediatrician who cared for a patient who had measles and developed meningitis; Becky Saitz, a home care worker who contracted measles during a care of a mother with pneumonia; Marissa Noriega, a child care worker who contracted measles during a care of an infant; Micheline El-Haddad, a nursing student who contracted measles after caring for a patient; and Amanda Tibbs, a mother of a child with autism.

Eighty-six states have laws on the books similar to Pennsylvania’s, but 19 states don’t require workers to be vaccinated to do their jobs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The federal law of the same name defines a health care worker as a person who provides, “subjecting a patient to health care services that may include care for or diagnosis of infectious disease or abnormality.”

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