LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California pediatrician and outspoken critic of mandatory vaccinations has been placed on probation for 35 months by the state's medical board.
Dr. Bob Sears had been accused of failing to obtain a detailed medical history before writing a 2014 letter excusing a toddler from immunizations. Officials said he wrote the letter after the 2-year-old's mother described an adverse reaction to an earlier vaccination.
He said he agreed to a settlement with the state medical board, which was signed on Wednesday, because "it was likely that I'd get probation anyway."
Sears said the child's mother was afraid that a judge at an upcoming court hearing was going to force her to resume vaccinating her son and needed a letter right away.
The doctor said it ended up taking more than a year to receive the boy's medical records.
"Isn't it my job to listen to my patients and believe what a parent says happened to her baby? Isn't that what ALL doctors do with their patients? A patient's word is often the only evidence we have — as doctors we must trust our patients, the same way our patients trust us to look out for their best interest," Sears wrote .
Sears has authored a popular book on vaccines and advocates a staggered, alternative vaccination schedule that contrasts with recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The doctor had faced punishments ranging from a public reprimand to a permanent revocation of his license.