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UK's Michael Thomas on Media Treatment of the Pain of Aspergers

Read Complaint Filing and Parent Letters in UK's GMC Wakefield, Walker-Smith, Murch Investigation

London At a Press Conference (Advisory HERE) called to announce the imminent filing of Jim Moody’s complaint to the GMC, a letter (HERE) jointly written and signed by parents of eight of the 12 Lancet children (see below), was read out by Mrs Rosemary Kessick (HERE), representing the parents who had signed. The letter emphasised the regard in which the parents’ hold Dr Wakefield, Professor Walker-Smith and Professor Murch. The letter states that the parents were appalled that the GMC hearing had been allowed to go ahead ‘…in the absence of any complaint from any parent about any of the children who were reported in the Lancet paper.

In addition, three parents, who represented four of the 12 ‘Lancet’ children, two of them brothers, made public statements (Isabella Thomas HERE) and (Rochelle Poulter HERE)to clarify the details of their childrens’ involvement and to express their support of the three doctors, whom they consider to be wrongly under investigation by the GMC. 

An additional statement ("My Views HERE), read out by his mother, was provided by Michael Thomas, one of the children involved in the original case-series. Michael, now 17 years old wanted to speak out on behalf of the many children who are not able to tell their own story.

An Open Letter

To Whom It May Concern

We are writing to you as parents of the children who, because of their symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease and associated autism, were seen at the Royal Free Hospital Paediatric Gastroenterology Unit by Professor Walker-Smith and Dr. Simon Murch with the involvement of Dr Andrew Wakefield on the research side of their investigations. Our children became the subjects of a paper published in The Lancet in 1998.

We know these three doctors are being investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC) on the basis of allegations made to them by a freelance reporter. Among the many allegations made are the suggestions that the doctors acted inappropriately regarding our children, that Dr. Wakefield ‘solicited them for research purposes’ and that our children had not been referred in the usual way by their own GPs. It is also claimed that our children were given unnecessary and invasive investigations for the purpose of research, and not in their interest.

We know this was not so. All of our children were referred to Professor Walker-Smith in the proper way in order that their severe, long-standing and distressing gastroenterological symptoms could be fully investigated and treated by the foremost paediatric gastroenterologists in the UK. Many of us had been to several other doctors in our quest to get help for our children but not until we saw Professor Walker-Smith and his colleagues were full investigations undertaken.

We were all treated with utmost professionalism and respect by all three of these doctors. Throughout our children’s care at the Royal Free Hospital we were kept fully informed about the investigations recommended and the treatment plans which evolved. All of the investigations were carried out without distress to our children, many of whom made great improvements on treatment so that for the first time in years they were finally pain free.

We have been following the GMC hearings with distress as we, the parents, have had no opportunity to refute these allegations. For the most part we have been excluded from giving evidence to support these doctors whom we all hold in very high regard. It is for this reason we are writing to the GMC and to all concerned to be absolutely clear that the complaint that is being brought against these three caring and compassionate physicians does not in any way reflect our perception of the treatment offered to our sick children at the Royal Free. We are appalled that these doctors have been the subject of this protracted enquiry in the absence of any complaint from any parent about any of the children who were reported in the Lancet paper.

J.  Ahier
P. Aitken
D. Hill
R. Hill
R. Kessick
R. Poulter
R. Sleat
I.  Thomas
I. T. Thomas


 

 

Comments

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John Stone

Janet

I am sure there are a number of forces at play here, but - of course - denial is also a reflex reaction of medical people who may have inflicted injury. Additionally, I pointed out in a recent article on Age of Autism that at least in the UK ignoring even severe adverse reactions is policy:

http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/04/-british-government-minister-in-idiotic-deception-over-mmr.html

It is therefore a question of a powerful combination of psychological and institutional repression. Also, the implied threat to any doctor who steps out of line and admits risk is automatic, and will have been made much worse by the present hearing. Even should these three good men be cleared their six years of misery will serve as a warning - and, in fact, the burden of proof in any future hearing will be much lower ('balance of probabilities' rather than 'beyond reasonable doubt') the rules having been altered.

This is why it is essential to recognise this hearing for what it is: a brutal, cynical exercise in intellectual censorship and political repression. The fact that the panel are still entertaining long disproved charges only demonstrates their bias, and their intent to find some means to bring the doctors to book however tenuously based.

Janet Keith

My heart goes out to Wakefield and his colleagues. I was so thankful to read the letter of support written by the parents of the autistic children. We must do whatever is necessary to support these parents and doctors who are struggling to heal these children. Too many times parents have noted dramatic changes in their children immediately following vaccines, and too many times these changes were dismissed or discounted by doctors who are taught that vaccines are perfectly safe...they are not looking there. However, you would think that any doctor with an open mind would begin to see the correlation between a perfectly normal child one day and a child regressing into autism after a round of vaccines. Why are they so reluctant to look at it? Are they that brain-washed in medical school?

John Fryer

James whoever you are; says:

Simon Murch made our lives total hell, we quite liked Wakefield. We complained but the GMC have done nothing yet.

Not sure what planet you are living on but I understand that Dr Andrew to add respect to his name has been unable to practice his job and has been effectively forced out of his country of birth.

His reputation has been besmeared without one shred of legal sanctions against him.

I always understood a man was INNOCENT until proven guilty.

The ten year battle and current inquiry by the GMC would lead me to believe that something is being done.

Can you explain more fully who you are, what your complaint is and why you think a prolonged inquiry is doing NOTHING?

Heidi N

It is really sad when no one makes a complaint and no one is harmed, and they go after your license. But, when patients strongly say their doctor is wonderful, and governmental bodies still go after the doctor's license, I feel like we are in the dark ages. What year is this anyhow?

Joan Campbell

To James

Seems to me you are all talk and no action.
What a silly remark you made.

An uninformed UK journalist wrongly complained to the GMC about the doctors and the GMC brought charges against them 9 years later.

Maureen F. Yazbak CPNP & F. Edward Yazbak MD, FAAP

Exactly 10 years ago, our dear grandson was admitted to the Royal Free for evaluation and treatment.

His colonoscopy findings were typical of autistic enterocolitis and his biopsy was positive for the presence of measles virus genomic RNA.

His first regression had occurred shortly after his first MMR and his second more serious regression followed his MMR booster after a period of relative improvement.

Such a challenge-dechallenge-rechallenge course has been accepted as ample proof of causation by an Institute of Medicine Committee and by US Courts.

The pediatric vaccines our grandson received during the first year of life contained the full load of Thimerosal injected into infants in 1993-1994.

The care our grandson received at the Royal Free was phenomenal. We will forever be grateful to Dr. Wakefield for including him in his research program and to Professor Simon Murch, his pediatric gastro-enterologist, for the excellent care he provided him at all times.

During the many visits to the hospital, we had the privilege to meet Professor Walker-Smith and be impressed by his emormous knowledge and kindness.

The GMC hearings that have been going on will go down as the most outrageous event in the history of British Medicine.It is time they end with full vindication of these three outstanding physicians and human beings.

Joan Campbell

Parents have to resort to protecting their children by any means and to get the truth out. We trusted the medical profession and they heve treated our children outragiously. I commend the hard work of the 3 doctors and the tenacity of the parents, not just the lANCET 12.

Very powerful comments, thank you

James

Simon Murch made our lives total hell, we quite liked Wakefield. We complained but the GMC have done nothing yet.

Deborah Nash

Thank you to Jim, the parents and everyone else involved in this latest chapter in this long running saga. I hope someone listens and understands that these people have no reason to lie about their experiences at the Royal Free hospital. They want justice for the Doctors and for their children. It is the least they deserve!

John Stone

Curt

We don't yet have published the main text of the complaint, and while unfortunately no one believes that it will stop proceedings it will demonstrate as never before their impropriety. What is deeply troubling as I remarked in my report of the last day of Andy's defence, and which is also thematic to Martin Walker's reports is the fact that the panel at the hearing have never intervened over matters of substance, and that they are still proposing to try accusations which should long ago have been dismissed.

As it is the complaint makes available for the first time extensive transcripts of evidence given at hearing and demonstrating that false evidence has categorically been given in four key issues.

I, personally, believe that the failure to dismiss the evidence at an earlier stage severely undermines the credibility of the panel and the process.

John

curt linderman sr

I spoke with Polly Tommey and Dr. Stotts from England yesterday on "Linderman Live!" and they still don't believe that this will stop the proceedings. The politics will not allow this and to me, it's reminicent of denying for so long that there was something wrong with the vaccines, to a point that they can not change their stance now without losing all credibility.
I do think that's what is happening here in the GMC hearings as well.

Jack

What a great letter by Micheal Thomas.

This development has to put an end to this nonsense.

I so badly wanted to shake Wakefield's hand and thank him when our paths crossed at the DAN conference in Atl, but I was carrying two cups of coffee and was afraid I'd accidentily burn him.

Seonaid

Congratulations to these parents who have had the courage to speak out in support of the three doctors from the Royal Free - and also to describe exactly what happened to their children after administration of MMR vaccine.

If there remains even one grain of justice in this system of ours, these parents should finally be listened to.

Jeanne

Yeah, what Jake said!

Thanks for this post. Viva Wakefield!

Twyla

Excellent statements!

Jake Crosby

Of course, neither the views of autistic people nor their parents are given any creedence. But those of a sham journalist with an undisclosed COI, a judge who's a brother of a GSK employee, and a GSK stockholder who chairs the GMC panel investigating the three doctors are. The UK government is rotten to the core, though it's not much better here in the US.

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