This mother purposefully not having her children medically treated for pertussis has got to be a joke

I’m not laughing.

Someone on Facebook posted this blog post (Update 11/4/15: After deleting the post, then the site, the post and the site are back. The link has been updated.) from a naturopath who apparently lives in Michigan. In it, Heather Dexter, describes how she used no modern medicine to treat her children’s whooping cough. Why? Because antibiotics and vaccines mess with the microbiome, or something.

Her blog post begins by telling us that she home-schools her three children, and that other families may not be able to do what she did. Then she tells us how the children developed whooping cough, along with a diary of sorts of their symptoms and what she did to “treat” the infection.

At 14 days, she writes:

“Madilyn’s cough had progressively gotten worse. I decided I was not doing enough. The regimen I had her on was not nearly what it could have been. So I intensified it.”

At 21 days:

“Lucien, my 3 year old son, began coughing. Yes…it happened to be the same exact cough Madilyn had started with nearly three weeks ago. At this point, Madilyn’s cough was beginning to scare me. She would wake in the middle of the night, multiple times a night, coughing so hard that she would puke over the side of her loft bed, followed by turning purple and then finally gasping for air. It was at this point that I realized this was no ORDINARY cold. I was in need of a second opinion… some non-parental help.”

So did she go to a doctor? Nope:

“I scheduled an appointment with one of my best friends and colleagues, Sarah Mokma of Rooted Well, who is also a Naturopathic Doctor. I left the appointment feeling confident that once again I had this all under control. I jumped on Amazon, placed an order, and headed to our local health food store to get the natural remedies I didn’t have on hand.”

Medicine from Amazon. That’s awesome!

“Madilyn had been coughing for 60+ days. We hadn’t slept longer than 2 hours in months. UGGGGGH. Sleep, it’s for the select few parents who probably drug their kids or lock them in their rooms. How I just wanted to sleep for six hours straight for just one night, it would have been miraculous. The term “walking dead” described the new me.

It was during this time, the first week in December that my husband, Scott, sat me down, looked me in the eyes and said, “I trust you, but I am scared that one of our kids is going to die. You know it is just a matter of time before Millie develops whatever it is that Madilyn and Lucien have. She’s only 9 months old. It’s going to be bad, Heather. I think we need to go to the hospital. What are you thinking?”

Part of me felt blind-sided and hurt, unsupported and ready to blow…that was the exhausted me. I took a deep breath and looked away, thinking before I spoke. I knew he had always been and still is the logical one. I react emotionally, instinctively, often times before my mind has fully connected with my words. My truth just seems to spill easily from my mouth, a lot of times without the sweetness of being sugar-coated…just bluntness, pure honesty. However, I have learned that my truth does not belong to all of humanity. Each person is entitled to their beliefs and logic or training.”

It was upon reading this that I decided that this must be a joke. No one puts their children — and whole family — through this for that long without being absolutely insane. And, in a truly delusional fashion, she tells us that vaccinated people (vaccinated with an acellular — meaning no viable bacteria — vaccine) are the ones causing the whooping cough outbreaks:

“There were outbreaks of Pertussis left and right across the west side of the state of Michigan, solely stemming from vaccinated populations. School systems were sending home unvaccinated kiddos until their parents chose to vaccinate them or obtain a waiver signed from their doctor. This was being done in Grand Rapids and in Traverse City, as well as other populations near us. Wait what? Yes, the vaccinated population was responsible for spreading the bacterial infection known as Pertussis.”

And this:

“By mid-January, Madilyn was doing great. Lucien was turning the corner, for the better. He was now only coughing moderately throughout the day and waking only a couple times a night. But Emilia’s breathing had now reached the scary point. She was now coughing until she puked, often times turning purple in the process. This was followed by crying, which would cause the process to repeat itself until often times she would just fall asleep due to pure exhaustion.”

Seriously, what the hell? Ah, but she did it! After months of putting her children through hell, there was this:

“It took a good 120-150 days from the start of the coughing for each of them to eliminate the bronchial damage and lung weakness caused by the bacterial infection, Pertussis. We spent hundreds of dollars on natural health products and consultations with various Naturopathic Professionals. It was a living HELL. Every day. It had an intense effect on my marriage and relationship with my husband. It caused me to question everything I knew about Natural Health.”

And what does she say to her detractors? This:

“I just want you to ask yourself… How did people make it through for thousands of years? How did they get through the Spanish Influenza, the Black Plague, fevers and other ailments?

People, your ancestors have used natural remedies since the dawn of time to heal all things. Pharmaceutical creations have only been around for about 150 years. Most prescriptions have spent somewhere around 10 years from start to finish, including testing phases, before being allowed on the market to be used in experimentation on your family. We have no idea what the long term effects are going to be for all of these quick fix medications on our kids.”

Thing is, a lot of people didn’t make it through those thousands of years. A lot of people didn’t make it through the Spanish Flu or the Black Plague. It’s like a survivor of a war telling us that wars are not deadly because tons of people survived them.

After reading all this, including her lies and misrepresentations about antibiotics and vaccines, I can only hope and pray that this is all a spoof. I hope that no person can be so delusional and cruel so as to willingly put children through whooping cough (or a disease as she describes it) for months. And I hope that even naturopaths whom she consulted were not as deluded as to say that this is a normal thing.

If it’s real, and I have no indication at this point that it is not, it is very, very, very close to child abuse.

I hope this is a sick joke.

I'm a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Public Health program at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. All opinions posted here are my own, of course, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my school, employers, friends, family, etc. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen

25 thoughts on “This mother purposefully not having her children medically treated for pertussis has got to be a joke

    • First, they’d have to find her real identity, her address (assuming that she is indeed in their jurisdiction), then petition the courts to seek the homeopathic “doctors” records, if any, to verify untreated pertussis.
      If verified, then she may lose custody of her children, even money, she’d retain custody until one died of diphtheria or other infection.
      This entire debacle of neglect, in the form of proclaimed best care, has played over and over again, to the harm of multiple children and parents in some cases, imprisoned.

      Honestly, she should lose custody, permanently, of all of her children, including those born after the initial neglect of evidence based medical care.

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      • They’d only have to find her real identity and address; it may be that the website is sufficient to identify the locality for a report. CPS does the rest. A report to CPS only involves suspicion of abuse or neglect. It doesn’t require an investigation or evidence (though there is plenty of evidence to provide).

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  1. I do not think it was a joke. The entire website is still up, but the article itself has disappeared…. or has it? Nope. Archived and PDF versions easily available.

    The author is Heather Dexter. This is the intro to her “story”

    “My Journey in Natural Health started 2007, when I became pregnant with my oldest child, Madilyn. Prior to that I was a traditional McDonald’s eating, vaccine accepting, birth control pill popping, mainstream high school science teacher who believed GMO’s were a great thing for our farmers. Madilyn Changed my World from the inside of my body.”

    http://likemindedmamas.com/about/heather/

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  2. People like her need to be in jail, not endangering newborns. Can you IMAGINE?? This woman wascrawling with Pertusis and running a HOME BIRTH business???

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  3. I got whooping cough as a child. My dad was anti vax, said he’d prefer me to be dead rather than autistic…

    My mum snuck me to a hospital where she stayed with me puking blood for weeks. The doctors protected her from my dad who wanted to discharge me, said I was making up my symptoms.

    I survived despite doctors and my mother being convinced I would die.

    I still suffer from that event now. When winter comes I tend to get chest infections easy and my throat tears from coving faster than most. My immune system isn’t all is cracked up to be whilst at the same time my doctors now think I may have an auto immune disorder. Im diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Hypermobility, Hemiplegic Migraines, Non Epileptic Attack Disorder and Asthma.

    My doctors think at least some of these are good to the awful whooping cough I had. My mum got me fully vaxxed after that with help from doctors. My dad didn’t even notice.

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  4. A recovering naturopath responds:

    Obviously, Heather does not understand that immunity acquired through a vaccine is both real and true immunity. And, it is much, much safer than the illness her children contracted.

    I can only assume that Heather does not vaccinate her children. Her stubborness to refuse medical treatment for her children seemed to have no other purpose than a self-serving one.

    http://www.naturopathicdiaries.com/naturopath-lets-her-kids-suffer-with-whooping-cough-child-abuse/

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Her personal website has her phone number and address….someone needs to show that blog to child services.

    [Redacted to hide Heather Dexter’s office number and office address.]

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  6. Just a reminder that reporting to CPS remains confidential. Anyone who reports is covered by that confidentiality for safety. So it’s unlikely that someone would post publicly that they reported or plan to report. Anyone who has commented here should feel free to report. The phone numbers are generally listed by state.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see that. I’m done trying to keep up. She’s probably going to redact it some more. Maybe she’ll consult an attorney to know what to change?

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  7. Has anyone reported the 2 “naturapathic doctors” she consulted that then encouraged her in this horrible stance?

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