Seems like someone must have shouted "Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!" recently returning Brian Deer to the scene. He certainly thinks he's the ghost with the most.
By Katie Wright
Like many of you, I am sure, I am so sick of this “Lancet” business. All this whining and cataclysmic carrying on about a 13 year old pilot study which made absolutely no conclusive claims. As if any of this nonsense changes that fact that 70% of ASD kids have GI pain and almost 50% of kids are now developing normally and regressing into autism. If only all of THIS were a hoax! If only I could say to my son, “snap out of it kid, I am on to you!” How Christian pulled off the incessant diarrhea I am not yet sure…There must have been some fraudulent trickery involved. Maybe Brian Deer needs to investigate!
Speaking of Brian Deer, what is with this oddball character? Why do I cringe when I watch him on TV, even with the volume muted? Is it his bizarre persona, the weird facial expressions, the constant blinking? Deer has such a creepy je ne sais quoi quality about him. He is obsessed with Dr. Wakefield, like a crazy jilted suitor. Deer reminds me of the protagonists in those old “Lifetime” movies about stalkers. He non-stop rants in his interviews, talking about himself as much as Wakefield. Deer’s interviewers all have the same quizzical expressions when watching this guy in action. You know they are probably thinking, “this guy is really strange. Why didn’t my producers warn me?”
I love how we are supposed to believe THIS guy, not the parents whose private medical records his absconded with to his apartment, or lair, as the case may be. Deer can really dish it out, calling Dr. Wakefield all kinds of names, accusing him of causing worldwide panic, alleging that his 1998 pilot study has contributed to hundreds of deaths. Yet in turn, Deer complains about the mean autism Moms, these housewives, who have the nerve to ask him who is financing his “investigations.” These mothers shout at me, he complains! They call me all kinds of names! What a baby. Maybe it is their children who are the victim in all of this, rather than Deer’s fragile ego.
When asked about why autism is rising or what is causing autism. Deer responds, “I don’t know, I am not a doctor.” Fair enough. Yet why did the British medical authorities hire this squirrelly “free- lance” journalist to “investigate” and evaluate the complex medical records of sick children with autism? Insane. Why doesn’t our government hire Jane Brody, who writes a health column for the NYT, to investigate brain surgery frauds and report back to the NIH? Why hasn’t the Surgeon General hired Emily Smith (a good detective!) of “Page Six” to investigate hoax heart valve surgeries? Anyone is free to “investigate” and report anything they want but our government doesn’t commission wacky reporters off the streets to evaluate children’s confidential and complex medical histories. Can you even imagine how many personal injury lawyers would retire for life if they worked on this case here in the U.S.?
The saddest part in all this is seeing how Deer’s warped medical “evaluations” of these childrens’ records were taken seriously by any authority at all. Even in 2004 I had to take Christian to countless doctors to get a diagnosis for his GI pain, bloating, strange posturing over table and chairs and frightening diarrhea. I have all of Christian’s records and physicians notes. Some doctors basically ignored everything I said and wrote “diarrhea?” Many took only a detailed genetic history- finding nothing. Some doctors only ran numerous blood tests- finding nothing. Finally one doctor insisted on a spinal tap in order to identify “that rare genetic disease” they believed Christian surely had. Only that could account for his regression and subsequent medical problems! Talk about unnecessary medical procedures. This was all mainstream medicine, which we came to see as an endless fishing trip with no relief in sight for Christian.
In 2005 we asked a colleague of Dr. Wakefield, Dr. Krigsman, to examine Christian. I heard of Dr. Krigsman via a parent of a similarly affected child, who like me, traveled all over country in search of a GI who, a) believed her and b) was willing to help her child. Believe me, this is still a tall order. By the way, Moms of kids like mine pleaded with doctors to scope their kids. We knew there was something medically wrong, even though few physicians would listen. Most doctors will not consider scoping ASD kids because many still believe that autism is a “psychiatric” disorder. Deer and the nitwits at the BMG describe these GI scopes as “a dangerous and unnecessary procedures.” Ha! As if getting an x-ray for a possible broken bone is an “experimental” procedure. Tell that to the kids with the broken bone. Better yet tell him that maybe his bone is broken, maybe not, but it is “too dangerous” to determine for sure.
After being treated by Dr. Krigsman Christian’s GI symptoms got dramatically better. Krigsman never made any promises, in fact he warned us that there is no cure for IBD, but he would attempt to treat the disease and make life more comfortable for Christian. That is exactly what he did.
An unqualified person, with no experience treating ASD children w/ GI problems, could easily look at Christian’s medical records and argue that there was insufficient agreement on his eventual diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease and it was “dangerous” to scope Christian. In this process the relevant experiences of the parents of these children are either totally ignored or marginalized. To endorse such stupidity in 1998 is bad enough but to re-affirm such stupidity in 2011 is incredible. There is so much ignorance, fear and willful disregard of the pain these largely voiceless, autistic children endure. Yet to see such callous ignorance institutionalized and approved as the standard of care by medical authorities astonishes me.
I very much hope we can hear from some of the “Lancet” parents and learn their version of events. I know Brian Deer approached a number of parents using a fake name. Is that even legal? It isn’t ethical. But it certainly is creepy. These poor families. Haven’t they endured enough? After years of trauma simply trying find competent medical help for their sick children these parents find this Brain Deer on their doorstep, probably with all their private medical records under his arm. Maybe these parents have the same questions as I do: How did Deer obtain these confidential records and who is paying for his “investigation?” And how can I get a restraining order? Ha, only half kidding.
Katie Wright is Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.