For those of you who are new to the autism-vaccine saga, the Chicago Tribune keeps sinking to new lows with its coverage. In November, they had an article that described an ugly divorce in which a disgruntled father was fighting for custody of his autistic child. Now this past March 4th, they came out with part 2 in that family's personal drama. This time the father is suing the Defeat Autism Now! doctors, "family-practice physicians Dr. Anjum Usman of Naperville and Dr. Daniel Rossignol of Melbourne, Fla. — are prominent in the Defeat Autism Now! movement.....Both have spoken to groups of parents at autism conferences and trained other physicians in their methods." HERE
Being prominent in the DAN! movement, speaking at autism conferences and training other doctors has the potential for making you a prime target for possible trumped up lawsuits. The child is reported to be "a playful, funny and outgoing 7-year-old" per his father in November 2009 yet the Tribune reports the father "alleging they harmed the child with "dangerous and unnecessary experimental treatments." I need to insert here that my daughter is also a patient of Dr. Usman so I consider myself very fortunate for that as well as more than a casual observer in this story. Both of these doctors, Usman and Rossignol. are passionate and tremendous in their care to our children and commitment as medical doctors. I find myself suspicious of this lawsuit on many levels.
While googling to find the Tribune article, I instead found Orac's site. Who is Orac? Well, suffice to say that he has some mysterious desire to want autism to be only a genetic disorder. He gets upset if you discuss vaccines or the environment as causative factors. The usual suspects of the neurodiverse world and the assorted anonymous Wackosphere characters were hanging out at his site with their typical sarcasm and "blood-thirsty" DAN! comments. Orac though was beyond his usual histrionic self as his comments were pointed at the exact wording of the lawsuit. He actually had the lawsuit in a pdf file for the taking on his site! Now how, within hours of the Trib posting and to be exact, the Trib article by Patricia Callahan was posted online at 5:19 p.m. CST, March 4, 2010 and Orac had his pdf and blog up at March 5, 2010 3:00 AM. Appears to be quite bizarre and a bit suspicious?
What makes this even more concerning is that Dr. Usman herself had not received the lawsuit, all 46 pages to be exact, yet anyone could obtain it from Orac. The question remains how did Orac get it and who gave it to him? He is a vocal critic of the research on the environment/vaccines causing autism reality and spends an inordinate amount of time protesting research and treatments as he blogs to what appears to be an agenda, and now displaying lawsuits to try and shut them up. But why?
Included in the suit are the names of the attorneys. Another odd thing is that one is from California and happens to have been spotted on a website with Dr. Stephen Barrett. I had written about Barrett here. Also, the Tribune has covered this divorced family now twice though they are not famous in any way except they have a child with autism. Here we have some regular folks, not stars and not politicians yet their personal saga of autism is all over the big, old Chicago Tribune, not once, but twice. How come I have missed the tales in the Trib of couples divorcing with children of cochlear implants or alternative cancer treatments bashing it out and dragging their Loyola Hospital doctors into it?
I find this all to be strange, odd and worthy of questions. I'll end with some comments posted to the Tribune in their latest soap opera drama passing as news. There are so many children who have been struck down into a medical illness called "autism" and THAT is the story the Tribune keeps purposefully missing.
My daughter is a patient of Dr. Usman's and I have nothing but praise and sincere appreciation for the care and medical treatment we have received. Megan, who just turned 17 this week, regressed after a series of vaccines as a toddler. She lost language, began to withdraw and then started to exhibit symptoms of autism, loss of eye contact, repetitive movements, and isolation. More importantly, she began to have one illness after another, have pain and GI distress for years. Dr. Usman was the only doctor who actually helped my daughter these recent years, after numerous office visits to pediatricians, a neurologist, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and so on as they offered nothing but psychoactive medications or worse, institutionalization.
My daughter had intense GI pain and an inflammatory response due to food allergies, chronic bacterial infections, mitochondrial dysfunction, originating from a huge body burden of toxic metals, high viral titers, and an impaired immune system. Megan's existence has changed from one of head banging, biting, lashing out at others to a new, pain-free life filled with joy, laughter, and an increased ability to learn at school, where she has been promoted from the more severe, 1:1 classroom to an independent track, where she is learning how to type on the computer.
An angry divorced father is not a reason for this attack. Dr. Usman is a doctor of integrity and medical hope for an epidemic of children who on paper, have a list of behaviors though in reality, they are medically ill and have been abandoned by the American Academy of Pediatrics and most standard physicians. Instead of believing this angry father and his very suspicious legal team it is time for the Tribune and the media to believe us, the parents who have witnessed first the regression of our children and now the healing that only the Defeat Autism Now (DAN) doctors are providing.
Comments from the Tribune website:
"Dr. Rossignol is my son's physician and has been the most caring and professional doctor we have had the opportunity to work with. He has caught problems with my son that have been previously overlooked by the other MDs in our life and he has given my son back his voice. He is always cautious and backs his recommendations with lots of research."
"When no other doctor would help unravel the numerous medical conditions afflicting our son, both Dr. Rossignol and Dr. Usman realized that all was due to a single cause, mitochondrial disease. They took the time to research and integrate science from numerous, specialized journals to discover what is effecting these children and how we can treat them safely and effectively as possible. The simple fact is, they are ahead of their colleagues, and brave enough to ask questions, seek answers, integrate and utilize proven science to help alleviate the suffering of these children, in an extraordinary effort to help them make progress in communicating, responding, and relating to the world around them."
"I'm the mother of a 7 year old with ASD. At 12 months our son was engaged and reaching all developmental milestones. 10 days after his MMR shot, he regressed: seizures, eye contact lost, vocalizations ceased, motor development halted, visual abilities regressed, sensory issues and severe diarrhea emerged. The worst, we could not console him as he lost all connectivity with his family and the world. While investigating his unraveling, we learned that he also had a stroke and "gliosis, brain inflammation. All the doctors ignored the real possibility that he had Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis as a result of his vaccination. Instead, an Autism diagnosis was slapped on and his real suffering and pain ignored. With little support from mainstream physicians, we pursued biomedical interventions with both Dr. Usman and Dr. Rossignol, the two doctors your paper so carelessly disparage in a series of articles that can best be described as a witch hunt, not a journalistic endeavor fairly revealing two sides of a debate."
"Before Dr. Usman, Noah could not speak so it was easy for one to judge his repeated groans and moans as the actions of a mentally defective child, rather than a little boy in excruciating pain. He now has over 100 words. Thanks to probiotics, enzymes, and a gluten-casein free diet, his bowels have improved dramatically. His skin conditions have disappeared. This would not have been possible if not for Dr. Usman."
"My five year old son has been a patient of Dr. Rossignol for two and a half years now. He is the most thorough doctor we have ever worked with. Our pediatrician, neurologist, psychiatrist, etc., declined to run basic bloodwork or even acknowledge that my autistic three year old was chronically ill when he was missing forty plus days of school a year due to constant vomiting, fatigue and repeated viruses. It was Dr. Rossignol who discovered my sons severe reflux. Dr. Rossignol who ran blood work and discovered he was anemic and severely deficient in Vitamin D. Dr. Rossignol who discovered my child was developing a pectus due to nutritional deficiencies. How could his pediatrician miss a pectus? Our ped might as well have been treating my child over the phone, sight unseen, for all help they gave my son. My son was in the 15-20th percentile for height/weight consistently since his one year check up. Now, at five he is in the 60-70th percentile after the gfcf diet and cutting out food allergies. At two he slept about five hours a day, now he sleeps twelve hours a night. At five and a half he no longer meets the diagnostic criteria for a diagnosis of autism, Asperger's or any other ASD. We owe this in large part (VERY large part) to Dr. Rossignol and his fantastic standard of medical care. Not only did my son survive chelation, but he is recovered and thriving."
"A DAN! Doctor found that my Autistic son's white cells were attacking his brain, a common condition in regressive autism. This doctor stopped that brain autoimmunity in it's tracks and I will be forever grateful. A pediatrician or neurologist would not have even known they SHOULD test for this because they do not treat Autism. Yup, you heard me: neither pediatricians, neurologists, or The Chicago Tribune treat Autism"
Teresa Conrick has two beautiful daughters. When she is not teaching, she is researching the biomedical implications of autism, both past and present.