San Francisco doctor under investigation for allegedly unlawful vaccine exemptions for children

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is investigating a physician who may have unlawfully provided medical exemptions that allowed parents to avoid vaccinating their children, his office said in a press release Wednesday.

The City Attorney issued a subpoena Wednesday for anonymized records from Dr. Kenneth Stoller, a physician who runs the Azzolino Concussion Clinic in Nob Hill. Stoller earned his degree from the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine and received a license from the Medical Board of California in 1984, according to records. He is widely quoted on websites and in videos espousing anti-vaccination views.

Between Jan. 1 and May 3, the Center for Disease Control reported 764 individual cases of measles in 23 states — the highest number of measles cases recorded in the U.S. since 1994. Measles was declared eliminated in 2000.

Stoller has 15 days to respond to the subpoena, which seeks medical records to investigate whether Stoller created a “nuisance” — defined as anything injurious to health — by providing medical exemptions to parents of children who did not have legitimate medical conditions that prevent them from getting vaccinated, the press release said.

Rick Jaffe, who is representing Stoller, told SFGATE Wednesday that he doesn’t “see how the city of San Francisco has the authority to seek the medical records of patients, whether they’re de-identified or other.” Jaffe said he is unaware of any precedent in which a medical decision between a physician and patient constitutes a public nuisance.

“I think it’s idiotic, and I think it’s a political ploy,” he said.

Under SB 277, which took effect in California in 2016, students attending any public or private school in California must be vaccinated unless they are provided a medical exemption signed by a physician. Grounds for a medical exemption include undergoing chemotherapy or being allergic to vaccine components. Parents cannot cite religious or personal beliefs as a reason for not vaccinating their children, the law stipulates.

The City Attorney’s subpoena also directed Stoller to redact all personal identifying information from the documents that could be used to identify individual patients.

“There are children who have serious medical conditions that prevent them from getting vaccinated,” Herrera said in a statement. “The scary thing is those are the kids most at-risk when somebody engages in medical exemption deception.

“If someone uses a medical exemption they don’t qualify for and introduces unvaccinated children into that environment, the kids who legitimately can’t get a vaccine — and ultimately the general public — are the ones in real danger.”

Stoller is an advocate of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a treatment that delivers oxygen to the body in a pressurized chamber. Its proponents claim the therapy can treat a variety of ailments, including autism, diabetes and cancer, though these claims have not been clinically proven, the Food and Drug Administration warns.

Stoller has also written a series of books, including a memoir chronicling communications with his deceased teenage son and “Incurable Me,” which, per its Amazon description, argues that “the best evidence in medical research is not incorporated into clinical practice unless the medical cartel has the potential to make large amounts of money promoting the results of the research.”

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/kenneth-stoller-vaccines-medical-exemption-13829577.php.

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