William Larsen: Use your God-given reason | TheUnion.com

William Larsen: Use your God-given reason

I missed my chance to speak at the recent Nevada County Board of Supervisors meeting, so I offer this account of my experience with both science and the medical application of scientific fact. This is a deeply personal story, and I ask those opposed to COVID-19 vaccines to at least consider what I have to share.

In 1979, my wife and I were blessed with her first pregnancy. At the time, we were passionately opposed to Western medicine, particularly as it related to the birth process. Consequently, we rejected the very concept of a hospital birth, opted for a home delivery, and hired one of the two local midwives who were in practice at that time.

We still ardently support home births, but unfortunately, our situation was one that demanded hospital intervention. Our midwife, zealous in her belief but lacking medical proficiency, bungled the situation and our baby died in the birth process.

Three years later, we conceived a second time. We definitely went the medical route this time with a skilled obstetrician delivering our precious daughter via C-section. One interesting thing about this birth is that my wife was given every drug under the sun, and yet our baby scored a perfect 10 on her Apgar test measuring a newborn’s health.

One anti-vaxer speaker at the recent Board of Supervisors meeting elaborated how God would punish the board and Dr. Kellermann for their transgressions. While neither she nor I have the right (or wisdom) to speak for God, it has always seemed to us that we were getting a divine message in our daughter’s perfect score: Trust our reason and not our emotions in such critical life choices.

Years earlier, scientific medicine saved my own life. In 1969, I was struck by three AK-47 rounds in Vietnam, one that went through my left lung, and one that shattered my jaw.

When I awoke in the hospital a couple of days later, I was hooked up to a feeding tube, chest pump sucking fluid out of my lung and a couple of IV tubes. Without that skilled, scientifically evolved medical treatment, I would have died.

Later, in Okinawa, I was blessed with a super talented oral surgeon who performed the first of three operations on my jaw. Without that incredible treatment, I would have very likely been disfigured.

Fast forward to the 1990s when I was diagnosed with both glaucoma and macular degeneration. At one point, my inter-ocular eye pressure soared to a level where my doc said flatly, “You will be totally blind within a year if we don’t fix this.” And she did, through a surgery opening a hole in the inner eye that allowed the fluid to be released. My vision was saved, and I didn’t even need to continue with the eye drops that had sustained my vision for years.

It’s been the same with the wet macular degeneration (for which there was precious little treatment at the time). Again, medical science saved my vision when a brilliant scientist made the discovery that using a drug that blocks the formation of new blood vessels in the colon could be used for wet macular degeneration.

My vision, which had severely deteriorated by the time this treatment was available, was restored. I could not be more grateful for this scientific discovery.

For sure, the treatments can be difficult and painful when a needle is poked deep into the eye and the medicine is released near the retina (I’ve had 26 injections thus far). Like a vaccine, this is an invasive procedure that anyone would preferably avoid, and I dislike having a chemical injected into my body. But years later, I can still drive, read and see the faces I love.

I am appalled that so many people utilize medical science for their medical ills yet rebel against this scientifically sound vaccine. Is it 100% safe? Of course not. Nothing is. But the personal and societal benefits vastly outweigh the risks.

Surely, as I have learned in the bitter lesson given by my two children — one dead, one thriving and alive — it is time to use our God-given reason in this matter rather than our egotistical emotion. I say thank you, Dr. Kellermann!

William Larsen lives in Nevada City.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


Kendra Clark: Beware of the gift card scam


On a recent afternoon, I made a grocery run to the Raley’s in Grass Valley. I scored a decent parking spot, then navigated my way through the tangle of shoppers and carts and cars.

See more