Why did the vaccine fail?

In the novel Ten Days, when the doctor asked Anna if her terribly sick baby, Eddie, had received the “meningitis” vaccine, she couldn’t remember…too many vaccines, too much worry while he was in the intensive care unit.  But, that question terrified her.  What if she had forgotten the appointment to get the vaccine and he was sick because of her error?  That was more than she could bear—to be responsible for his horrible illness.

How could she keep her children safe?

In my book Ten Days,  Anna was devoted to keeping her children safe.  She believed that if she watched them like a worried wren, fed them the right foods, read them the right books, kept them warm and well rested, made sure they and their environment were spotlessly clean, her sons Chris and Eddie would stay healthy and grow up to be perfect human beings.  Her belief was based on common sense that no one would dispute. Failure to be careful would be foolish. Taking risks with her children was unthinkable. So she dutifully, faithfully followed all the good-mother rules, plugging the electrical outlets, locking up the household chemicals, bleaching away the fungal stuff on the bathtub grout, vaccinating the kids.  Surely, because of her vigilance, she would be rewarded with children that didn’t get sick, at least not seriously sick.

Is medical care infallible? Can it ever be infallible?

In my novel Ten Days, Anna was in a bind. Her baby was sick and she needed the health care professional s to keep him alive, to make him better.  She wanted to believe—completely believe—that medicine is infallible, that the doctors, without a doubt, would treat Eddie in the right way so he could return to the healthy, delightful six month old he was earlier.

Why do we believe?

Asking about beliefs may seem an unusual question from a physician-scientist. Don’t scientists operate strictly from facts? Yes, up to the limits of the facts. Beyond that, we must rely on suppositions or informed guesses or… beliefs.