An Illinois pediatrician who committed suicide is reported to have left a message saying that he falsified records and lied about the vaccination of children.
The note was written by Dr. Van Koinis, 58, wrote and expressed regret at falsifying vaccine reports for his young patients, the Chicago Tribune reports. He ran a practice in Evergreen Park near Chicago.
Investigators believe that Dr. Koinis was known in the community to help parents forge their children’s vaccination records for school. Illinois law requires all students to provide proof of vaccination for preventable communicable diseases.
“He was known to be interested in homeopathic medicine and, to our knowledge, it was known that people who were against vaccination could go to him,” said Tom Dart, Sheriff of Cook County.
The doctor was found in September with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
His farewell letter reportedly expressed regret at the doctor’s decision to forge vaccination documents and revealed that he had committed the forgery in the past 10 years. The doctor had been a licensed practitioner in Illinois since 1991.
“The length of time he mentioned and the fact that he was so focused on regretting something and committing suicide made us think it was pretty serious on many levels,” said Dart.
Dr. Koinis is also indicated by the note, which only mentions the falsified documents and nothing else.
“He was incredibly sorry for what he had done and it was the only thing he mentioned in the farewell letter. It was this and only that,” Dart told WBBM.
It is not believed that Dr. Koinis refused to vaccinate children with parents who wanted to, but investigators are encouraging families who visited the doctor to check that they had received the correct vaccinations from another doctor. This check can be done by blood tests.
The alleged conspiracy to fake vaccination records is currently under investigation. However, the authorities indicated that no charges had been filed at that time.
Mr. Dart asked the parents to recognize the importance of vaccinating their children before going to school.
“I don’t care about your personal feelings about vaccinations, children need them,” Dart told the Chicago Tribune. “You can’t go without them arbitrarily. You clearly can’t fake documents or encourage them to be falsified and pass them on, so we’re moving along that path.”
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