Vaccine Thriller Hits Bookstores

Barbara Loe Fisher interviews Fatal"Fatal" author Michael Palmer, M.D.

The idea for this novel germinated after Michael Palmer heard National Vaccine Information Center co-founder, Barbara Loe Fisher, give a speech on the vaccine-autism link at a DDR conference in 1995. DDR is honored to have been a catalyst for this book.


MP: A successful writer needs three things: discipline, love of people and love of words. Most doctors have the first two. My empathy and ability in science were just the right combination to make me a doctor. After reading "Coma" by Robin Cook, I wrote my first book just to see if I could do it. I look for a medical theme, where readers will say: Oh my God, this could happen to me. Those two elements make what we now call a medical thriller. With "Fatal" I realized that not only could this happen to me, it has.


MP: The subject is very controversial. Some doctors say that I am irresponsible and have no right to present this issue publicly in a non-scientific setting. I disagree or I wouldn’t have done it. Before beginning my outline, I read a tremendous amount of information. What impressed me was how little people question. A vaccine is a vaccine; you put it inside people; it prevents disease. That’s it. What could be wrong with that? I wanted to deal with long-range complications of vaccinations. What if over time they do cause autism, MS, diabetes? At first, as a physician and parent, my interest in vaccinations was only perfunctory. After watching my youngest son be so sick during the first few years of his life, I began to question things, including the science behind vaccination. Then I decided to write a medical thriller that asked questions which need to be answered. So in "Fatal" I ask, "How carefully are vaccines really looked at from a scientific standpoint?" I don‘t answer the questions, I just raise them.

BLF: A lot has happened since my book, "Dpt: A Shot in the DarkDPT: A Shot in the Dark" came out in 1985. I think your book could cause quite a stir too, even far beyond health circles. We met at the DDR conference where I gave my first speech about vaccines to the autism community. Some people were outraged.

MP: That was when I began to put things together. Here is this woman, you, telling me that maybe my son’s immune system has been altered by the number of vaccines he got. I see this sequence: he gets these vaccines; he has a reaction to them that affects his immune system; he gets susceptible to infections; he gets chronic ear infections; he gets long term antibiotics. Bill Shaw looks at the organic acids and finds huge yeast overgrowth in his stool; he gets neurologic symptoms from the breakdown products of yeast which are neuroinhibitors. Well, I think, all this is possible.


MP: Being a father is the most important thing I have ever done. I want Luke to grow up intact and happy. I am so excited to see him progress.

BLF: What challenges do parents of children with developmental delays face?

MP: One main challenge: to get their kids through their teenage years with their self-esteem intact.

BLF: It’s easy to lose kids with learning disabilities and ADD. I almost lost my DPT vaccine injured son in his teenage years. When did you realize that Luke was having difficulty?

MP: We noticed the ear infections, but not his behavior. I never thought there was any problem until he was close to two. By three we knew something was wrong and that his language wasn’t okay. Beyond testing, traditional medicine had very little to offer, so we joined DDR and through them the whole autism community.

BLF: What have you done?

MP: Tomatis listening training, sensory integration, traditional speech therapy, acupuncture... the dozens of things parents do all at once. You never know exactly what causes the improvement.

BLF: Wheat- and casein-free diet?

MP: The diets were hard. Luke took an anti-yeast drug, vitamins, Pycnogenol, acidophilus, bifidis, calcium, primrose oil. We had dietary consultations with Kelly Dorfman. We tried homeopathy, cranial sacral manipulation. Name it; we’ve done it.

BLF: How is Luke doing now?

MP: Great! He’s in a demanding mainstream private school getting A’s and B’s with minor accommodations. He still has some organizational, handwriting, and social difficulties. He has a black belt in karate. He’s a wonderful piano player. He is very sensitive and occasionally has meltdowns when frustrated.

BLF: Does Luke know about "Fatal?"

MP: Luke knows I want people to understand that just because somebody creates a vaccine doesn’t mean it is right for everybody. I hope that "Fatal" will raise public consciousness about this issue.

BLF: Anything else your fans should know?

MP: I appreciate everything you and Kathi are doing at NVIC.

BLF: We appreciate what your book does to educate people about vaccine safety.

For more information on vaccines, visit:

[Initially published in New Developments: Volume 7, Number 3 - Spring, 2002]

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Page last modified: February 23, 2009
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