Police and doctors are scrambling after a suicide note left by a pediatrician in Illinois suggested that he might not have given his young patients the vaccines their parents had requested, reports The New York Times.
Van Koinis had been a well-known pediatrician in the Chicago area since 1991 and had cared for thousands of children. In addition to his medical practice, he was known to be a proponent of homeopathic medicine, Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart said.
“He was pretty well known for that,” the sheriff said. “It wasn’t a secret.”
However, it now appears that his views on homeopathic medicine may have affected his opinion on modern-day vaccinations.
According to police, Koinis was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound this past September. A note left at the scene prompted further investigation after it revealed Koinis’ troubled relationship with vaccines.
The letter, which law enforcement officials described as “unusual” and “dark,” claimed that the pediatrician had “horrible regrets” over vaccinations.
“In the course of his note, he just made it sound like this was haunting him for a long time,” Sheriff Dart said.
Authorities added that it was not totally clear whether Koinis administered the vaccinations and later suffered remorse over the action, or whether he had secretly not given the necessary immunization shots to his patients.
That said, it seems as if officials are leaning towards the latter after a statement from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office warned that Dr. Koinis might not have provided “vaccinations to children at their parents’ request.”
The details behind Koinis’ actions and motivations remain murky.
“Was he just doing this pursuant to patients’ requests and then lying about the records, where these kids get into schools where you’re required to have immunizations?” Sheriff Dart asked.
“Or was it something where he went beyond that, where people who thought they were immunized were not getting it?” he added.
Fortunately, tests are available that can determine whether vaccinations had been properly administered, and Cook County officials are urging parents who employed Dr. Koinis to look into getting their children checked out.
However, many former patients have sprung to Koinis’ defense, claiming that he was a good doctor and “never hesitated to give vaccinations.”
In recent years, there has been a growing movement expressing distrust of vaccinations. Several celebrities have come out as anti-vaxxers, and even former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson described herself as a “vaccine-skeptic,” as was previously reported by The Inquisitr.
That said, a majority of doctors have emphasized that immunization shots are not harmful and that parents should not worry about misinformation regarding their safety.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.