The Wakefield Affair and Meadow Syndrome at the GMC: an Open Letter to the President
By John Stone
The GMC hearing against Andrew Wakefield, John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch has finished hearing evidence. All that remains are for panel to hear final summaries next month, and to give its final adjudication sometime in the early summer. It is apparently not possible to address representations to the panel so this letter is addressed to GMC president, Sir Graeme Catto.
Dear Sir Graeme,
I write at this late stage of the GMC hearing against Andrew Wakefield, John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch to draw your further attention to procedural failings in the conduct of the case by the GMC, that the GMC has been politically manipulated, and the central charges are “trumped-up” fabrications which should never have been brought. I would particularly like to highlight the horrific manipulation of the truth, which has a vile ideological tinge to it - redolent of the theories of Dr Meadow and Dr Southall - that the three doctors were engaged in the invention of symptoms of the patients, and instigating uncalled-for interventions. But I would also like to re-visit the political circumstances in which this prosecution was brought.
The claim that such procedures on autistic children were inherently inappropriate recently received a blow with the publication of the NIH study, Hornig et al, ‘Lack of Association Between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: a case control study’. While the results of the study were much more indeterminate than its formal conclusion the study itself was testimony to the fact that in many cases colonoscopy is an appropriate procedure for children with bowel complaints, irrespective of whether they are autistic or not. To believe the prosecution at this hearing Profs Walker-Smith and Murch were responsible for ordering investigative procedures when there was no physical reason, although the association between autism and bowel disease is actually well attested. This was in fact stated by the National Autistic Society ahead of the hearing. I quote their statement:
‘The National Autistic Society (NAS) is keenly aware of the concerns of parents surrounding suggested links between autism and the MMR vaccine. The charity is concerned that the GMC hearing, and surrounding media coverage, will create further confusion and make it even more difficult for parents to access appropriate medical advice for their children.
‘It is particularly important that this case is not allowed to increase the lack of sympathy that some parents of children with autism have encountered from health professionals, particularly on suspected gut and bowel problems. Parents have reported to the NAS that in some cases their concerns have been dismissed as hysteria following previous publicity around the MMR vaccine. It is crucial that health professionals listen to parents' concerns and respect their views as the experts on their individual children.
‘There is an urgent need for further, authoritative research into the causes of autism, to improve our understanding of the condition, to respond to parents' concerns and to enable us to ensure that there are appropriate services and support in place to meet people's needs.’
The statement reflects the tragic predicament of autistic children with bowel disease in this country as result of this unfortunate prosecution, and it will simply not do to blame these three doctors for the continuing cruelty and neglect inflicted on these children by the medical establishment , as evidenced by the National Autistic Society statement. Even if there was no particular association between autism and bowel disease, there would be no grounds for this discriminatory medical practice against those autistic children with GI symptoms which needed investigating and treating.
I was also perplexed to see that the journalist who originally brought these accusations against the three doctors , Brian Deer, place the Hornig study on his website. He perhaps also ought to have noticed the statement in the paper’s discussion which places its own conclusions in an anomalous light:
‘Our results differ with reports noting MV RNA in ileal biopsies of 75% of ASD vs. 6% of control children ... Discrepancies are unlikely to represent differences in experimental technique because similar primer and probe sequences, cycling conditions and instruments were employed in this and earlier reports; furthermore, one of the three laboratories participating in this study performed the assays described in earlier reports. Other factors to consider include differences in patient age, sex, origin (Europe vs. North America), GI disease, recency of MMR vaccine administration at time of biopsy, and methods for confirming neuropsychiatric status in cases and controls.’
So, at this late stage the results of this study, based on patients from the Royal Free Hospital, stands. Moreover, the Hornig paper lends support to the persistent ileal measles hypothesis, by detecting measles RNA in two cases (one of them without autism but both having gut pathology and being vaccinated with MMR) confirmed across three leading laboratories. And on its own testimony the difference in results between the two studies is the difference of selection not of methodology, with a case selection process in the Hornig study which is both opaque and evidently designed to avoid too many positive results. But even if this was not the case, the Hornig study would still testify to the appropriateness and ethicality of the use of these investigative procedures in a sub-group of autistic children.
This bears on the issue of the good sense and fairness of this prosecution. How could it be that two senior paediatric gastroenterologists – without any of the alleged competing interests of the third defending doctor – would order tests on children where there was no clinical necessity, when in fact there are many such children for whom there is? The prosecution has been forced to maintain outrageously throughout that there was nothing clinically wrong with the children - in effect making Meadow style allegations against the doctors of fabricating their patients’ illnesses. Not only is this a repulsive accusation but as both the prosecution and defense cases illustrated, many other experienced clinicians were also involved in these decisions. The GMC has apparently no ethical qualms in making its members answer the most absurd and fanciful accusations, and this is troubling because if such accusations can be made in the first place, can we even rely on the good sense and independence of the panel in rejecting them?
It is essential to raise this issue because at no stage, so far, in the history of this affair have any of the traditional lines of due process been observed, and I note the peculiarly political inception of the prosecution , which began with the editor of the Lancet, Richard Horton, making an allegation and the Secretary of State for Health, John Reid, calling for an investigation – all of which took place on the eve of a hearing into the Legal Services Commission decision to remove funding from the MMR case before a judge – Sir Nigel Davis - who turned out to be the brother of Crispin Davis, who was chief executive of the parent company of the Lancet, Reed Elsevier, and thus Horton’s employer, but also for some months at the time of these events a director of MMR defendant company GlaxoSmithKline . On his own testimony, Horton, was within three days talking with a senior regulator (GMC official) about how a prosecution might be brought against Wakefield, despite his key role as a witness, if such a case was brought (which, of course, it was). I quote from his book MMR Science and Fiction: Exploring the Vaccine Crisis (August 2004):
‘In truth, they (the GMC) had not a clue where to begin. At a dinner I attended on 23 February (2004), one medical regulator and I discussed the Wakefield case. He seemed unsure of how the Council could play a useful part in resolving the confusion. As we talked over coffee while the other dinner guests were departing, he scribbled down some possible lines of investigation, and passed me his card, suggesting that I contact him directly if anything sprang to mind. He seemed keen to pursue Wakefield, especially given ministerial interest. Here was professionally led regulation of doctors in action - notes exchanged over liqueurs in a beautifully panelled room of one of medicine's most venerable institutions’ (p7-8)
When I recently drew this matter to your attention you did not respond but passed the matter on to Nell Marshall, assistant director, Adjudication, Fitness to Practice Directorate’ who wrote back:
‘In short, I can assure you that the instigation of our investigations has absolutely nothing to do with any conversations which ‘medical regulators’ may have had with Dr Horton at the dinner described in his book. If such conversations took place, they were not reported back in to our investigations team who were looking at the case at the time. This being the case, the content of any such discussions had absolutely no impact at all on any of the decisions made about whether to proceed to investigate the case or, indeed, how such investigations should be carried forward.’
But actually this simply makes the point that they did not investigate the case properly, did not look at issues which were in the public domain and bore on the impartiality of both their investigation and their witness – and remained unconcerned when they had it pointed out to them.
Nor, it seems did they probe Horton’s claim against Wakefield adequately. I, myself, was present in August 2007 when Horton told the hearing that he was under the misapprehension that Wakefield’s disclosure of his involvement in the MMR litigation referred only to the period after the publication of the controversial study (28 February 1998). To be sure, Wakefield’s letter was not published in the Lancet till nine weeks after on 2 May 1998, but the letter from Andrew Rouse to which Wakefield was responding - which referred to material already published on the web – was dated 4 March 1998. Now this is quite extraordinary for someone who is not only supposed to be a mentally competent person but is also the editor of a great scientific journal. Horton did not apparently check this out when he made his original allegation against Wakefield in the BBC evening news on 20 February 2004, did not check it out when the Independent newspaper pointed out the existence of the letter on 27 February 2004, did not check it out before writing his book (where the matter is not mentioned), and did not check it out before giving his evidence under oath before the GMC. I believe the GMC have been negligent and incompetent in allowing this to happen.
I also believe that the GMC has been too willing to be at the government’s beck and call. John Reid asked for the GMC to investigate Horton’s allegation on 21 February 2004. On the 23 February 2004 the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, told the BBC:
"Now a darker side of this work has shown through, with the ethical conduct of the research and this is something that has to be looked at".
And the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, told ITN:
"There's absolutely no evidence to support this link between MMR and autism...I hope now that people see that the situation is somewhat different to what they were led to believe, they will have the triple jab because it is important to do it."
So, there was not only a willingness and desire for them to involve themselves, but also to pre-judge the issue. And the GMC has further compromised itself, first of all by appointing Prof Denis McDevitt, who sat on the government sub-committee that passed MMR Pluserix vaccine as safe for use in 1988, as chair of the hearing panel, but also when he was forced to withdraw, appointing in his stead Surendra Kumar, who sits on two medicine licensing authority (MHRA) committees, and has at least until recently owned shares in GSK – be it noted that the MHRA describes itself as a Department of Health agency. However independently Kumar acts, the GMC’s indifference to ordinary perceptions of conflict on the establishment side is remarkable.
John Stone is a member of Cryshame, has an autistic son and lives in London.
Secret British MMR Files Forced Open By Legal Action (HERE)
A Political Trial in London (HERE)
Smoke and Mirrors: Dr Richard Horton and the Wakefield Affair (HERE)
Response to the latest Brian Deer article:
Why is he being allowed to air material from stolen medical records?
Posted by: MinorityView | February 08, 2009 at 11:19 AM
"attracting a loyal following of young mothers..."
Gee, anyone hear of *older* mothers of kids that are vaccine injured? And for that matter, ever hear of any other doc out there doing anything at all for the MMR damaged kids? Other than Krigsman who is often in the same building?
Talk about inadequate resources for a catastrophic disaster.
Posted by: What a pea brain | February 08, 2009 at 10:31 AM
Brian Deer is at it again, Sunday Times just published another 'investigative article' of his - it does not merit a link, but just to illustrate the level of his intelligence:
"...Wakefield has left Britain to live in Austin, Texas, where he runs a clinic offering colono-scopies to American children. He tours the country, giving lectures and speeches against the vaccine, and attracting a loyal following of young mothers..."
Posted by: Natasa | February 08, 2009 at 04:49 AM
Deborah Nash, you mention municipal water's fluoride causing leaky gut. My kids are all big water drinkers, and we have been using a Pur filter--which does NOT filter out fluoride.
Oh, lord, yet another source of toxins for my kids.
What on earth can they drink now?
If anyone has any further advise, please jump in!
And John, great letter! I wonder if DAN can fund a full-page ad in the major papers (London Times, NY Times, Wall Street Journal?) to publish it? Or if you can create a website so that when people google "Andrew Wakefield," THAT pops up instead of the outrageous lies about him and his work that do pop up?
Posted by: Alison | February 07, 2009 at 02:18 PM
The many people involved in the persecution of these good men probably have a Bible in their house or at the very least they have heard of the Ten Commandments which include, "Thou Shalt Not Lie". Maybe some of them would reconsider their serious role in engaging in fraud and injustice regarding the trial of Andrew Wakefield, John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch, if they looked up the following scriptures:
"Woe to the ones who are enacting harmful regulations and those who, constantly writing, have written out sheer trouble, in order to push away the lowly ones from a legal case and to wrest away justice from the afflicted ones of my people...And what will you men do at the day of being given attention and at the ruin...Toward whom will you flee for assistance and where will you leave your glory?" (Isaiah 10: 1-3)
"Serpents, offspring of vipers, how are you to flee from the Judgment..." (Matthew 23:33)
"These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction." (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
"The very despoiling by the wicked ones will drag them away, because they refuse to do justice." (Proverbs 21:7)
"A leader that is in want of true discernment is also abundant in fraudulent practices" (Proverbs 27:16)
"You have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law, namely justice, and mercy and faithfulness." (Matthew 23:23)
"Do not be afraid of them; and of their words do not be afraid because they are obstinate ones...and it is among scorpions that you are dwelling." (Ezekiel 2:6)
"And I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the leveling instrument; and the hail must sweep away the refuge of a Lie." (Isaiah 28:17)
"Our Father who art in Heaven....DELIVER US FROM EVIL. AMEN." (Matthew 6:9,13)
Posted by: Autism Grandma | February 07, 2009 at 11:48 AM
Thank you everybody for all the things you have said. It was a lapse of concentration that I failed to include a link to Martin's account of the hearing on Cryshame:
There are two very important things to be said about it. The first is that it would be virtually impossible to comment on the hearing without him - there would be no other source. I have managed to attend on a very few occasions, though I learnt a great deal on each. The other is Martin's incredible mental stamina to endure it day after day. It is of the nature of the experience that even when it is quite fascinating it remains immeasurably tedious - and I am sure this explains the particular humour of Martin's account, which is born out of the grinding nature of the proceedings. The only consolation is that I believe that the person who suffers even more is Brian Deer. The reality is that while Martin has given an expansive account, BD has so far reported only on the most peripheral details on his website. For the most part I do not believe that what has taken place has fitted his narrative at all comfortably.
This, of course, does not mean that the doctors will be cleared in this infamous proceeding - only that it will take a very perverse view of the evidence to convict them. But then the entire country has latterly dissolved into a mad-hatter's tea party.
In the meantime everyone is in Martin's debt for shouldering this awesome responsibility.
Posted by: John Stone | February 07, 2009 at 11:15 AM
Perhaps we're all too overloaded with the autism struggle, to think of peripheral activities- but I am imagining a great granite wall on which is carved the names of the righteous who have lead the autism battles and among many others are Andrew Wakefield and John Stone. Thats right, John- Carved in Stone. Thankyou so very much for all you do. You inspire us.
Posted by: Cherry Sperlin Misra | February 07, 2009 at 10:01 AM
2004 - "Dr. Hornig is concerned that funding is in jeopardy."
2008 - "a case selection process in the Hornig study which is both opaque and evidently designed to avoid too many positive results."
Did Dr. Hornig relocate to Nevada where this is legal?
Posted by: Columbia-Bunny Ranch campus? | February 07, 2009 at 09:04 AM
Apart from congratulating John on his latest piece, I would like to bring to your readers attention my own continuing reports of the GMC hearing that have been published over the last two years on the CryShame site.
Although I have consistently reported the evidence in the hearing, I have also tried, whenever possible to draw attention, as John has done in his well researched writing, to the very many procedural anomalies associated with the hearing.
These anomalies reached surreal heights during the Evidence in Chief of the third defendant, Professor Simon Murch. While Professor Murch was giving evidence that journalist Brian Deer the main anonymised complainant in the case, had behaved aggressively and rudely towards him during his 'investigation', Deer tried to intimidate the Professor, actually inside the GMC, during a short drinks break.
The GMC's complete acquiescence in this serious offence, made abundantly clear that Deer whose, 'investigation' provided the GMC with over a hundred charges against the three doctors, is being afforded considerable protection by the GMC.
With just over a month to go before the closing speeches from counsel, we might expect a wide range of dirty tricks perpetrated against the defendants with the intention of influencing the GMC appointed and employed Panel (jury) and preparing the public for an unfair set of verdicts at the end of the case.
This propaganda has already begun, with the BBC and ther news media running yet another campaign denying adverse reactions to the MMR vaccination and claiming parents and researchers who raise questions about the vaccine are responsible for putting children in danger.
Finally, I would like to make the point that I made in my interview on The Autism File web radio last week. The case of Dr Wakefield, Professor Murch and Professor Walker-Smith, is not just important within the boundaries of the present autism debate, If any of the defendants are found guilty on the most serious charges, this verdict will herald the end of honest medical research, independent of the pharmaceutical industry, in Britain.
Once again, congratulations John on your article and my admiration for your honesty, clear thinking and analytical understanding without which the strength of CryShame and our campaign generally would be much diminished.
Posted by: Martin Walker | February 07, 2009 at 08:33 AM
In the 10 years since my son was diagnosed, and since being treated by Messrs Wakefield and Murch at the Royal Free, we have had to endure the most horrific treatment at the hands of doctors because NOONE accepts the diagnosis of my son, and this has led to years of repeated accusation of Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy on my part. The failure to treat has left my son severely physically and learning disabled. I have lost count of the professionals who have said that "if this... was available, then he would not have been so severely disabled".
I have lost my career, faced malicious prosecution and near imprisonment, all because my son is disabled.
In the long years of battling for support for my son, and myself, I have come to have a deep understanding and belief in Karma. Of course, I am still a scientist, I do not subscribe to any religion - least of all Buddhism, but at the end of the day, we all need something to cling to which gives us faith.
Karma is best described as the belief that what goes around comes around, that what you do is revisited upon you eventually, and that the universe balances all things - natural justice prevails.
All professionals involved in the MMR scandal have been very sorely treated (to put it mildly), and parents and children have been pushed to the brink of bankruptcy and beyond, desperation, and endured years and years of unnecessary pain and distress.
This will be stopped.
The big institutions of the modern world are falling - the GMC needs to heed these warnings and LISTEN. It too will fall if it doesn't.
Our children are now adults or nearing adulthood. Yet still more babies are being damaged every single day. An entire generation of children now has been irrevocably damaged and we are now moving into a second generation.
This horrific abuse will not be allowed to continue. It can't. Even Mengele was called to account at some stage.
Justice WILL prevail.
Part of that justice is that we need Mssrs Wakefield and Murch to begin researching again to provide safe effective treatments for our children so their pain can finally be eased.
We just need faith and solidarity.
Posted by: Nessie King | February 07, 2009 at 07:14 AM
John - Excellent letter. I do hope they listen to what you've said. May the truth not be ignored, and the whole proceeding thrown out for the reason that it is based on a mountain of lies and NEVER have the ability to be brought forth again.
I would like to point out that it is very sad and angering that what has already happened is this:
"It is particularly important that this case is not allowed to increase the lack of sympathy that some parents of children with autism have encountered from health professionals, particularly on suspected gut and bowel problems..."
We all know this already happens to parents of children with autism when it comes to suspecting issues with gut and bowel issues the parents suspect to be related to autism. It happens with other disorders that are just as serious which involve the gut and bowels and the bladder as well, but parents are not suspecting it is related in any way to autism.
My son Isaac had a tethered spinal cord which caused permanent damage to his bladder and possibly his bowels. When the cord is tethered (his was at the terminal filum) nerve signals don't get to the bladder or bowels to function, and nerve messages from the bladder and bowels don't make it to the brain to signal when it's time to go to the bathroom.
He was seen by a neurosurgeon at OHSU - I'll call him Dr. Nathan (sue me man... it's all in his records!). The "good" doctor ruled out tethered cord before he even received the results of the damn urodynamic study HE ORDERED, which is what found my son had a trabeculated bladder (hardening of the bladder walls), and a diverticuli (yeh in a seven year old). I had talked with the NP who did the study and knew the results weren't back and told the doc so. But he knows Isaac has ASD and some behavior issues...
Guess where he wanted to send my son??? To an effin neuropsychiatrist!!!
Needless to say we found another microneurosurgeon. Dr. Monica Wehby. Yep! When she performed the de-tethering surgery, Isaac's terminal filum was FOUR times the size it should be, tethered, hard (it should stretch like a rubber-band), and streaked with fatty tissue, which is completely abnormal!
Neuropsychiatrist my ass. I should be sueing the good doctor for malpractice!
Completely unrelated to ASD, yet involving the bowels and gut. Complete disregard for anything that could be physiologically wrong with my son, even though he had several documented physical markers of tethered cord. Nope - it's just autism, no cure. He needs a psychiatrist and the ensuing drugs that will no doubt be prescribed.
Someone give me a barf bag. Please.
Sympathy for parents??? How about effective and accurate medical care for our kids, and trust that their parents know their children.
Sorry to go off a bit. Not intended to be a negative nancy comment, just want to demonstrate that this happens or can happen to a child with ASD that is being seen for any disorder other than autism. Blame the autism and there's nothing we can do.
John, again... I pray they listen and that your well articulated letter brings MUCH MUCH MUCH NEEDED change for our children and for Dr. Wakefield and his own family. Thank you for sharing this with all of us across the pond.
Posted by: Angela Warner | February 06, 2009 at 09:12 PM
Thank you John for taking us so logically and factually through the series of events surrounding the GMC case involving the three doctors. No one reading your open letter can be left in any doubt that this whole episode has been farcical in the extreme. For political reasons children with chronic illness are being denied the treatments they desperately need and deserve.
Thank you for your continued relentless fight to help an ignored generation.
Posted by: Janette Robb | February 06, 2009 at 08:14 PM
What I think, irrespective of the Oxford axis is that ramping of the vaccine schedule was being planned in the mid to late 80s (this, of course, was international). With this came ever more ruthless strategies for assertion of the benefits and denial of the risks.
Once they went down this route they had to say "To hell with the consequences", and all the safety systems were removed.
And, of course, along with Lyra's Oxford, there is Inspector Morse's. I was recently reminded of this when responding to an Oxford professor of medical ethics who cited Shakespeare's Richard III as a source for moral authority:
One thing that people tend to loose in Oxford is their humility.
Posted by: John Stone | February 06, 2009 at 07:04 PM
Honest to God....I don't know how these people sleep at night. We are talking about a man, Dr. Wakefield, who has been horrifically attacked for a study he conducted in 1998!!!
Yet...John Stone reports...TEN YEARS later:
"The GMC hearing against Andrew Wakefield, John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch has finished hearing evidence. All that remains are for panel to hear final summaries next month, and to give its final adjudication sometime in the early summer."
TEN YEARS...and...the GMC still requires ANOTHER six months...
As Robert Kennedy asked at last year's rally in Washington, D.C.: DO YOU THINK WE ARE STUPID?
Posted by: Bob Moffitt | February 06, 2009 at 06:34 PM
I am in awe of your energy John Stone and I appreciate all that you do to make people aware.
many thanks also to Gatoqorra
who is very understanding and has a good idea of what we as parents in Britain and Ireland are having to put up with. The government and the medical establishment/cartell have tried to silence us but we have stood our ground in our beliefs that our children were vaccined damaged by the un-safe vaccine MR and MMR11
In 1998 I wrote to Dr Wakefield and explained my son’s situation and he wrote back asking me to get my doctor to refer my son to Simon Murch's clinic
My doctor did this and for some unknown reason Jack’s notes were never seen by Simon Murch or Andrew Wakefield. I was waiting and waiting for an appointment and decided to phone the Royal Free to see what was going on and Dr Wakefield wrote to me apologising but saying that he had never received Jack’s details and that I was to ask my doctor again to refer Jack to Simon Murch’s clinic. The waiting list was so long I had to wait till Jan 2000.
The problems Jack had developed were related to his painful and bloating bowel disorder. The results showed that Jack was not just suffering diarrhoea as an x-ray and blood tests displayed marked faecal loading in his gut colon and intestines. Jack has been on medication ever since to control his bowel movements. He attended the Royal Free in London four times to be observed.
This meant the whole family had to up and root and drive from Glasgow down to London for the much needed appointment and on other occasions flying down
Now I felt I was starting to get somewhere with Jack. I was very impressed with Dr Wakefield and his colleagues and a whole lot of tension lifted from my body because here was an eminent doctor who was prepared to listen to me and actually understood the difficulty parents were having in trying to get help for their children’s devastating condition. At no time was Jack ever treated badly by this clinic and I found the staff to be very sympathetic and understanding of our plight and even arranged that we could jump the long queues to have x-rays done so that Jack would not get too distressed.
They were a great help and it was recommended that Jack go on a gluten and dairy free diet to help with his bowel movements. This I found quite difficult as at the time I did not have enough outlets to buy these sorts of products and Jack was very faddy with his food as I had mentioned earlier. Thank God this was to improve as he got older. He had tests done previously by Paul Shattock at Sunderland University and was said to be a child with gluten and casein intolerance and a classic case of a child damaged by the MMR vaccine.
Jack attended the Royal Free in London four times to be observed.
At his last appointment at the Royal Free in 2003 it was recommended that we take him off the liquid paraffin as it was making his bowels lazy. At this time Jack was not on a gluten and casein diet as it was difficult to change his already limited diet. Two months later he started to have problems again with his bowel and started to have seizures of the most worrying kind. Luckily his last seizure was in Jan 2005 and I put it down to the fact that we have him on this intervention.
In Dec 2001 Dr Andrew Wakefield the specialist who first raised concerns about the safety of the MMR was forced out of his job. He said that he had been asked to resign because of his work and because his research results were unpopular. His research linked the vaccine to
autism and bowel disease in children. He did not wish to leave but he agreed to stand down in the hope that his going would take the political pressure off his colleagues and allow them to get on with the job of looking after the many sick children he had seen. His departure came after a month he was made Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in recognition of his research work. He left his job after 14 years having being told that his ideas were unwelcome at University College London, which controls the Royal Free. That was really sad news for the parents to hear and we all wondered what was going to happen to our children now. As I said before I was still at this time attending the Royal Free and we were not forgotten.
Years later I was to meet this man again and that was when my husband and I attended the General Medical Council Fitness to Practice Panel in London 2007. The panel was to enquire into allegations of serious misconduct by Dr Wakefield, Professor Walker-Smith and Professor Murch, in relation to the conduct of a research study involving young children from 1996-98.
We flew down early in the morning again and we were delighted to see so many people who had turned up to support these men. From all over the globe people came with banners, flowers, guitars and best of all our own load voices. The press was there in force and some very good interviews were held with parents who had managed to come.
I was disgusted at the allegations that were read out in the room as these men were totally innocent of any wrong doing. I was happy to be there to show my support and shake hands with the 3 men and spoke to Dr Wakefield’s wife and Professor Murch’s wife.
Posted by: Joan Campbell | February 06, 2009 at 05:50 PM
Well said John.
I have recently re-read Martin J Walker's splendid essay "To Encourage the Others" in which he reminds us that prior to the introduction of the MMR in the UK safety advice about all single vaccines contained the instruction that there should be a three week period between live vaccinations. When MMR was introduced in 1998 this important precaution could no longer be logically retained. With a triple live virus vaccine on the schedule that original safety instruction was dropped. I believe that this decision was a criminal act.
Posted by: Bill Welsh | February 06, 2009 at 05:42 PM
If children need to be investigated , then investigations need to be done , unfortunatly it is very hard to apply any medical procedure on Autistic children when they are awake this has not been mentioned i dont believe at the GMC , were these procedues nessasary these dr,s are qualified and therefore should know whether these procedures are nessasary
Posted by: Deborah Heather | February 06, 2009 at 05:30 PM
Every other night I wake up in the twins' room, slumped over a bedtime story I've read for the 100th time or my daughter's atlas, then can't sleep until 2 AM. Vaccine injuries have created a strange opportunity to read a lot these days, even if it's just to keep myself from dreaming in Seuss rhymes or about the GNP of Sweden.
It would be really interesting to know what Pullman's radar picked up at Oxford. It's hard to believe the Pullman concocted this story in the late eighties. It was probably intuitively prophetic because it looks like he may have abandoned the theme in the next book in the series, though I'll have to read on to find out.
About celebs in GB staying silent-- too bad Christian Bale doesn't unleash on the GMC instead of squandering his blue streak on the poor lighting guy.
Posted by: Gatogorra | February 06, 2009 at 04:20 PM
Having sat in on the Fitness to Practice Hearing of Dr Wakefield, Prof. Walker-Smith and Prof. Murch my faith in these men has been confirmed over and over again. I have felt nothing but sympathy for them as they have been asked the same questions over and over again and they have answered them with both honesty and dignity. I cannot help but feel that this whole scenario must feel totally alien to these doctors who are good caring men at the top of their professions. I would like to say that I believe that justice still exists in this country but that will remain to be seen!
Posted by: Deborah Nash | February 06, 2009 at 02:27 PM
I have always thought, if I brought my children in with the bowel symptoms they had, WITHOUT AUTISM, they would rush to put them into a series of tests pronto/if not emergency procedures. Just because they have autism, or about our false "belief system" that vaccines can initiate such disasters, that puts the predjudice before the child. How dare they treat HUMAN BEINGS like this? I know of one mom was reported to CPS for taking her child in who had SEVERE gut issues with autism (accused of Munchousen by Proxy), where they felt she was going "overboard" on her concern. The child looked like he was from Biafra for cyring out loud. This was at a MAJOR teaching hospital in Portland Oregon.
Would they like to live with contant diahrreah, constipation to the point of bezoirs and blockages, PAIN untold, the resulatant false transmitters, depression, autism symptoms? Would they be all comfy cozy in their skin if their body was doing this to them? NOT.
I don't think JUST vaccines cause this. I think there is a familial tendency to celiac/IBD with added secretory IgA deficiency. Most kids, AND THEIR PARENTS have allergies to gluten, casein, corn, soy, peanuts, MSG, etc. AND, if your child is constantly ingesting municipal water with fluoride in it, this also flattens villae and causes leaky gut. And, there are more than just measles viruses in the gut, there is spirochetes (lyme said to be called SIBO), pathogens numerous, including klebsiealla, citrobacter, candida, fungi of all sorts, parasites and a host of aerobic growth bacteria. Some studies have even shown paratuberculosis and chrohn's are connected, which means, our milk supply is not safe. So perhaps, they are NOT LOOKING at the total picture? What if we ran an entire viral panel, bacterial panel in all it's array, mycoplasma panel, fungi panel...what would it show then heh? Such a person would go bonkers with the multiple infectious loads our kids have.
Like I said, one time I took my child in, because I noticed a correlation with large BM's with seizures. Within days of grand mals, he would have large movements, and then it would signal to me, a seizure is coming. He was willing to do a colonoscopy, but he was not going to go high in the illium like Wakefield did. Screw that. I even gave him an article from a portland DAN conference, which Rossingal gave the kids vancomycin for AGBN's...his first words were "everyone has that bacteria in them"...right...in the quantiies we have, even E coli?
I never felt so predjudiced in my life. I no longer go to pediatricians, now I go to naturopaths, who know the whole physiology of the gut brain axis. They know infections, and toxins, and what to do about them...even WAY back then, I remember our pediatrician gave us FLUORIDE pills, WHEN my child was being vaccinated....are they freaking kidding? Do they want to make sure my damaged child will be damaged even more? PLUEEZ...
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | February 06, 2009 at 01:52 PM
Yes, I was struck by the hideous parallel too, though I am not a good reader of fiction, and particularly not since autism took over our lives - so I haven't read the trilogy through. I have no idea what Pullman himself thinks about all this, though he ought not to be surprised (if you write what you know about). I can even detect a malign influence emanating from Oxford. Or, perhaps, working in a peripherally affiliated Oxford institution in the early 90s he sniffed something which was going on, and elaborated a cryptic version.
But no celebrities here are sticking their necks out, and maybe they wouldn't get heard if they did. In the last couple of days we have had what in the US is called a "shock-jock" shoot her mouth off about MMR, but I bet her radio station will silence her.
Posted by: John Stone | February 06, 2009 at 01:40 PM
John, I don't think the target of this open letter is going to thank you, though we do, for educating us about what's going on over there and more.
Thinking I was taking a break from "serious" reading, I recently picked up one of the books in Philip Pullman's "Dark Materials" series, "The Golden Compass". The book was written in the early 90's and if Pullman wasn't conscious of what the story implies regarding the "religionizing of medicine" and the medicalizing of power in Britain, then the book is accidentally, horribly prophetic. The children in the story receive "a type of inoculation" and lose their souls. The story could be taken as a closer analogy to the use of lobotomy or psychiatric drugs on children because, in the story, mind control is intentional, but something goes dead wrong in the process (the children do not react to the "inoculation" as the adults do! Fancy that) and the immediate effects of "intercision" which Pullman fabricates are repulsively close to autism.
In the parallel universe which Pullman creates, the British religious-scientific ruling class is almost an exact analogy for the parade of power figures and futuristic-medieval ideology represented by the government and industry in the Wakefield case.
I thought it was interesting that the only real parallel for what you're documenting and what's happening in the Wakefield case is fantasy fiction because there's no real precedent for this, is there?
Keep challenging us. I'm still reviewing some matieral you left in comments from your last post. I feel a little bit like I'm trying to jump onto the running board of a speeding truck in attempting to follow along. But I think many of us sense that not understanding what's happening in the U.K. would be like driving at night without headlights. We wouldn't see what's coming up in the road ahead for us otherwise.
Posted by: Gatogorra | February 06, 2009 at 12:20 PM
Right down the throats of the GMC well done John..the big lie gets bigger
Posted by: Angus Files | February 06, 2009 at 08:12 AM