Gilbert pediatrician furious over daughter's exposure to measles at cancer center

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

GILBERT, AZ -- When Dr. Tim Jacks' wife took their 3-year-old daughter, Maggie, to get routine lab work done after her latest round of chemotherapy, they thought everything went well. That changed when his family got a phone call from a Phoenix Children's Hospital representative telling them that someone with measles had been at the specialty and urgent care center in Mesa at the same time as Maggie.

"There's the father in me that's just pissed off and angry and wanting to protect my family," he said. "Knowing that in this situation there's nothing I could've done different."

While Jacks would like to see Maggie vaccinated, that's not possible while she's battling leukemia. Her compromised immune system puts her at risk for a variety of illnesses.

"One of the best medical advancements in our lifetime is immunization," Jacks said. "And, that has increased life span, it has increased health."

Maggie's 10-month-old brother was also exposed. He is too young to get the measles vaccine.

Jacks said both his kids had a series of shots containing measles antibodies which could provide temporary immunity.

"I've never personally seen measles," he said. "I've studied it and know the signs and symptoms and what to do with it, but I've never been face to face with it. There's a good chance that I will be face to face with it soon enough."

Jacks hopes parents who decide not to vaccinate their kids realize that their decision may jeopardize the health of other children.

He says his son and daughter will spend the next three weeks at home. That is how long it could take for symptoms to appear.

"Because that's the last thing I want to do as a father and as a pediatrician is to spread something like this to anyone else," he said. "I'm going to practice what I preach wholeheartedly."