WATCH: “Someone Took Offense” Fired Tennessee Health Official Explains How She Was Ousted For Sharing Information
Dr. Michelle Fiscus was contacted by medical providers and questioned about legal and ethical rules for providing vaccines to minors who were showing up to seek vaccination against COVID-19 without parental permission. She in turn reached out to the Office of General Counsel for legal information. When she received that, she passed in on to providers. Then, she was fired. Why? “Someone took offense.”
Anti-vaccine activism is at the center of Fiscus’ story, which she tells in more detail below. “Providers started to reach out and ask what they should do if a minor showed up asking for a vaccine without a parent,” she says, explaining the steps she went through to get the most accurate legal information in response. However, after she issued her memo, citing a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling from 1987 affirming that minors over age 14 can be given medical treatment without parental consent, if a doctor deems them mature enough to make their own decisions, “someone took offense.”
She says that person posted the memo on social media, and it blew up from there, with Republican lawmakers attacking her and even calling for the dissolution of the Tennessee Department of Health.
The Tennessean reports that Dr. Fiscus was fired on Monday, as the Delta variant of the virus continued to surge across the state, noting also that the information in her memo was not new:
The details of the Mature Minor Doctrine have been publicly available on the health department’s website since at least 2008. The doctrine was established in 1987, according to the health department.