Enduring Memories: Prof John Walker-Smith recalls his life and the Wakefield affair.
Note: Enduring Memories, Prof. Walker-Smith's memoir, is now available in the UK at The Village Bookshop.
By John Stone
‘Looking back I am astonished that I was able to study as many as 116 child autopsies during the period 10 October 1967 to 11 August 1969. That so many children should have died in a children’s hospital during this period of one year ten months shows how much we have advanced during the following thirty years. During my last five years at the Royal Free not one child died of a gastroenterological cause.’ [John Walker-Smith, Enduring Memories, 2nd edition 2012, p. 113]
The corollary of this arresting statement was not only did John Walker-Smith live through those years he was at the very centre of the developments that enabled so many lives to be saved. It is an even more remarkable achievement when you consider that during those last five years Walker-Smith’s department was a place of tertiary referral and that many of the most intractable cases in the country would have been referred on to his department. As we know, in one of the most shameful episodes in modern British history (the nearest comparison being the mysterious death of David Kelly), and with the connivance of the medical and political establishment, within four years of his retirement the department dismembered, his name publicly tarnished while a journalist with no medical qualifications – and a political agenda - made accusations in a national newspaper, meanwhile accessing children’s private medical records with state connivance.
As an Anglophile Australian, growing up in Sydney, perhaps no early experience could have prepared Walker-Smith for this better than taking part in a school production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, with its time-serving, politically correct politician Sir Joseph Porter KCB (‘I polished that handle so carefullee/ That now I am the ruler of the Queen’s Navee’), of which a delightful photograph - one of many – appears in this memoir. This is a deep book which tells you a great deal about places and times, by someone who thinks penetratingly about things – many things, not only medicine but religion, art, literature, international affairs. But Walker-Smith is also someone for who the care of children was always of paramount importance, for who the churning accompaniment of political machinations, and in-fighting were never welcome. It was this that led him to leave Australia in 1972 and to move his department across London fatefully – as it turned out – in 1995 from the administratively blighted St Bartholomew’s Hospital in West Smithfield to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead. Inevitably, and in spite of the importance of the rest of this history it is this episode on which the most curiosity will focus.
And it is, of course, the point where the clash between science and medicine, and politics becomes most acute. It is hard to summarise all the issues here, but what is fascinating is the question why, from an early stage, were the politicians and the UK Department of Health not only keen to dismiss any connection between MMR and autism but also to dismiss any between autism and bowel disease, stepping well beyond you might think their competence or normal brief (what, we might ask, did they know?). Walker-Smith quotes his letter to the Chief Medical Officer of the time, Sir Kenneth Calman:
“I was personally very dismayed by your letter of 27 March 1998, especially after our cordial meeting with the Minister at Richmond House. I was not surprised by your robust defence of MMR vaccination but I was very concerned not only by your attempt to completely discredit our reported association between ileal lymphoid nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis and autism but your targeting of me personally on page 5 of your letter. It almost seems as if someone in your department has looked through my publications seeking to discover inconsistencies and so undermine my personal credibility as the senior clinician in the Lancet letter
“There are many factual errors…(p217)”
Why, we may ask, was it necessary to attack the gut autism hypothesis in order to defend the vaccine programme?
About this Walker-Smith is in the end deliberately non-committal, but some clues lie in his reflection on the O’Leary findings:
“Since the work has been published, criticism of a technical nature has been made. Such a situation poses a difficulty for a clinician where one does not have personal technical expertise, one has to make a human judgement based upon the quality of the person doing the work and his reputation. For me I have complete faith in the integrity of his findings and the quality of the work coming from John O’Leary’s laboratory. However his findings are merely a beginning. Scientific rigour demands these must be confirmed independently in another laboratory.
“O’Leary’s work was completed and ready for publication in March 2000 but was only published after an agonizingly long wait in the journal Molecular Pathology , in 2002, long after I had retired. The finding of measles genome in tissue from our children with autism in this publication does not prove anything, but mean there was for the first time hard evidence concerning measles virus in children with autism who have bowel inflammation. There was now a case to answer concerning the possible role of measles in the gut inflammation of children with regressive autism. Yet there was no evidence whatever to link the measles virus or MMR directly to autism itself.”
But of course dismayingly the path has been blocked, and even by O’Leary himself. In 2008 the paper by Hornig paper, of which O’Leary was signatory, confirmed the findings:
“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.”
The Hornig paper (which was a very small study) had one instance of measles RNA in an autism case, and one in a control (but all cases had bowel problems and had received MMR) confirmed in three laboratories, including O’Leary’s. This reflected the findings of the earlier paper which also found some positive results among controls, but what is beyond comprehension is why this paper rejected further investigation: surely the presence of measles RNA in the cases where it was discovered remained of potential significance at least for those cases, and the reasons for not continuing the investigation nonsensical. The lesson of course is that if as a doctor or medical researcher you pay attention to parents’ reports of adverse vaccine effects you do so at your professional peril: normal ethical or scientific criteria simply cease to obtain. While Walker-Smith may deplore Andrew Wakefield’s preparedness to take part in the dean Zuckerman’s legendary press conference who could seriously doubt that wheels of retribution would still have gone into motion.
Retribution, of course, finally came in the form of a certain journalist and consumed eight years of Walker-Smith’s retirement. He was placed in the firing line surely simply because as lead clinician in the Wakefield Lancet paper the accusations had to be placed at his door as well as Wakefield’s in order to bring Wakefield down. And now, of course, that he has been completely exonerated in the English High Court many of the findings which were shown to be false still stand anomalously against his colleagues Wakefield and Prof Simon Murch with no attempt by the GMC to rectify the matter.
At the hearing Walker-Smith spent no less than 27 days on the witness stand. He reflects on the GMC “courtroom”:
“I found this “chamber” to be a deeply deceptive room. I regarded the absence of traditional symbols of justice to be highly significant. There were no visual assurances that justice would be done in this room. It seemed to me that the purpose of this room was to deceive the defendants into thinking that this was a room where normal “business” meetings would be held. The implication was that the Hearing was a normal business meeting. This was far, far from the reality, as all the lawyers and panellists knew from long experience. I saw it as a dishonest room where a defendant might be lulled into a false sense of normality. Thereby entrapment by the prosecution might occur. The chairs and the tables had stainless steel fittings. These came to symbolize instruments of torture in my mind. Indeed by the end of cross-examination I came to regard the room as a “Torture Chamber”.” (p.226)
Those of us who sometimes attended can recognise this room but it was relentless questioning of the prosecuting attorney that was even more tortuous than the chairs, relatively and sometimes inexplicably unprotested by the defence lawyers. Walker-Smith writes under the sub-heading ‘The Central Mystery:
“The central issue for me over all the years from the time of the first complaint had been made to the GMC by the journalist, was the following. Who or what was behind the decision ab initio to take his complaint against me so very, very seriously? Other related questions remained unanswered, for example: Why was I pursued in such a zealous way by the GMC/prosecution? Was there a department or organisation behind these decisions? I could not understand why I had been forced to give evidence, especially in cross-examination, for such a long time. I asked myself were the charges against me so heinous that they demanded so great a time and such intense cross-examination? Once again I pondered the central mystery of the Hearing for me. Was there another influence behind the GMC, an invisible Deus ex machina?” (p232-3)
But was it ever a mystery? When Brian Deer’s original allegations were unveiled in the Sunday Times in February 2004 they came supported by none other than the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who remarked to ITV "I hope now that people see the situation is somewhat different from what they were led to believe", and the Chief Medical Officer (by that time Sir Liam Donaldson) who went on the BBC and said "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".
As Cherie Blair’s style guru, Carole Caplin (who whatever her eccentricities and failings lived close to the centre of power in the early Blair years), wrote a few days later:
“Ever since concerns about a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism first surfaced more than seven years ago, it's been crystal clear that extremely powerful forces would like nothing better than to suppress public debate about the issue and discredit anyone questioning MMR.
“These forces consist of very senior Government health bureaucrats, who advise our politicians, and leading figures in the British medical establishment, who advise the bureaucrats.
“Senior civil servants and doctors are people who do not like their authority challenged in any way.”
"None the less, it is beginning to look as if, as Neurologist Peter Harvey points out in the same issue [Lancet 14 February], there is now "a step-by-step cascade of evidence" linking the MMR vaccine to some cases of autism.
"This could explain the assault on Dr Wakefield's integrity. The validity of his original findings, it is claimed, may have been compromised by a conflict of interest involving research funds that he failed to disclose. This might be relevant if it were true, but it is not, as anyone can check for themselves: Dr Wakefield acknowledged the source of his funding in 1998. It would seem that neither the Government nor the medical establishment can afford for Dr Wakefield to be vindicated – and they are getting pretty desperate."
And it may be added that Harvey, who sadly died a few days ago, never recanted.
Two years further on a former chief scientist at the Department of Health, Peter Fletcher, spoke up in a Mail on Sunday report:
“A former Government medical officer responsible for deciding whether medicines are safe has accused the Government of "utterly inexplicable complacency" over the MMR triple vaccine for children.
“Dr Peter Fletcher, who was Chief Scientific Officer at the Department of Health, said if it is proven that the jab causes autism, "the refusal by governments to evaluate the risks properly will make this one of the greatest scandals in medical history".
“He added that after agreeing to be an expert witness on drug-safety trials for parents' lawyers, he had received and studied thousands of documents relating to the case which he believed the public had a right to see.
“He said he has seen a "steady accumulation of evidence" from scientists worldwide that the measles, mumps and rubella jab is causing brain damage in certain children.
“But he added: "There are very powerful people in positions of great authority in Britain and elsewhere who have staked their reputations and careers on the safety of MMR and they are willing to do almost anything to protect themselves."”
For them the destruction of the reputation of John Walker-Smith – a man who only achieved good for countless children with his methodical and humane work - was an insignificant price in their alleged war on disease: they could walk away from the children without inspecting the damage, and they took punitive action against anyone who did not follow their example. The powerful message was there for entire profession, perhaps even more menacing to those who could see that it was cruelly unjust.
In 2002, two years after his retirement, and two years before Deer unleashed his allegations Walker-Smith wrote to the Lancet:
“Am I too naïve to ask all people of goodwill on both sides of this debate to speedily agree on an independent research agenda that will finally resolve this matter? Such an agenda must involve non-epidemiological research focusing on the bowels of these children. It is self evident that this whole question is going on far too long and is causing so much heart-ache in parents.” (p.219)
He certainly was too naïve: a decade on there is still no agreement and many children have grown to adulthood in constant pain, the ignored collateral damage of public policy. But this is a fascinating book.
Enduring Memories by John Walker-Smith can be purchased from The Memoir Club . Once in the site, click "INDEX AND SEARCH, AUTHORS, WALKER-SMITH." And at http://www.thevillagebookshop.co.uk/1.html
Very sick children with bowel disorders get examined and treated by a gastroenterologist ... it ain't rocket science.
ps ..and they got better.
Posted by: A Rocket Scientist | November 13, 2012 at 07:54 AM
It is really not amazing that Prof Walker-Smith, without resort to the records, elided certain details in 2003 (we don't remember things as they happen, we remember them after they happen) but it is also absolutely no surprise that when checked against the record he did not jump the gun on anything but followed ethical procedures to the letter - it is just what you would expect, the perfect professional at all times, and this is what Mr Justice Mitting found.
Only the other week Deer was trying to pretend that Mitting's judgment was on technical grounds (ie he was unable to accept the GMC's findings because they had failed to provide reasons), but actually Mitting reviewed all the evidence and found the GMC to be quite simply wrong as well as incompetent. So now Deer is trying something else to get off the hook, which also does not work and is contradicted by the record. I do believe time is running for him and his nonsense (which only Matt Carey at LB/RB could possibly endorse).
Posted by: John Stone | November 12, 2012 at 08:32 PM
John Stone reports:-
"I have seen that Brian Deer has posted an article on his site (also reported on LB/RB) trying to make capital over how John Walker-Smith altered his account of his dealings with Andrew Wakefield between the two editions of the book."
Brian Deer's website article is the most appalling drivel. How DARE he deliberately continue to 'smear' Professor John Walker-Smith after his High Court exoneration by Justice Sir John Mitting.
Of course Deer imagines himself to be better qualified than distinguished experienced gastroenterologists, histopathologists and of course High Court Judges. His vile invective shows Deer up for the ignorant fool he really is. This is Deer's take on biopsy samples:-
"His(Prof Walker-Smith's)team had permission only to take two biopsy samples from children for research purposes, but no permission had been granted to perform any research procedure on these or on any other samples, which would require separate applications to the hospital's ethics committee. Research by Dr Amar Dhillon, on up to seven biopsies from each child admitted, was performed without ethical approval.
It should be noted that Andrew Wakefield did not have ethical approval to receive biopsies from clinicians, research on biopsies, publish findings or do anything whatsoever with regard to the children enrolled in the above project for his 1998 Lancet paper."
Er Brian.....Dr Wakefield was leading the research, therefore the two EXTRA biopsies were intended for his research team. This is EXACTLY what my grandson's parents were told when they signed the ethical consent form at the Royal Free Hospital in 1998. As for Dr Amar Dhillon, he was a clinical histopathologist at the Royal Free. Believe it or not it was Dr Dhillon's JOB to analyse biopsy samples.
But of course I forgot Brian. YOU can do it better!!
Posted by: Jenny Allan | November 12, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I have seen that Brian Deer has posted an article on his site (also reported on LB/RB) trying to make capital over how John Walker-Smith altered his account of his dealings with Andrew Wakefield between the two editions of the book. The answer to this is quite simple: the new version is more detailed and complete. In 2003 Prof Walker-Smith could not possibly have anticipated the lengths that someone would go to to try and trip him up, but the fact is the later account is fully supported by the documentary record, as Judge Mitting established in the High Court. The earlier version does not provide evidence that those findings were mistaken, but clearly in the intevening years Prof Walker-Smith has had all too many opportunities to revisit the record, so it is not in the least surprising that he has updated the account.
Posted by: John Stone | November 12, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Here are just a few of Justice Mitting's observations about the GMC's work in reaching their decision:
"The GMC’s case was that he [Dr. Walker-Smith] was conducting research which required Ethics Committee approval. His case was that he was conducting medical practice which did not. Accordingly, an unavoidable and fundamental question which the panel had to answer was: what is the distinction between medical practice and research?
Both parties made careful and extensive submissions about the issue to the panel....
The panel’s conclusion that Professor Walker-Smith’s conduct was contrary to the clinical interests of child 2 depends upon the conclusions analysed above. Because they are inadequate or wrong, this conclusion falls with them....
It is in its findings on the clinical issues in the individual cases of the Lancet children that the most numerous and significant inadequacies and errors in the determination of the panel occur. In no individual case in which the panel made a finding adverse to Professor Walker-Smith did it address the expert evidence led for him, except to misstate it....
On the premise that the panel was right to find that the Lancet paper was addressed to the general reader and that it was the interpretation of the general reader which mattered, I am as well qualified as the panel to construe its meaning. Further, I am entitled to and do, apply the familiar canon of construction used by judges in construing documents: to read and construe the whole document, not just selected words. Thus construed, this paper does not bear the meaning put upon it by the panel....
The panel’s findings adverse to Professor Walker-Smith on the Transfer Factor issue were perverse. Miss Glynn, wisely recognising the lack of any proper foundation for those findings in the panel’s reasoning, submitted, correctly, that these charges were subsidiary and should not form the real focus of this appeal. I agree, but the panel’s findings do require analysis, because it went on to find that, in this respect, as in others, Professor Walker-Smith’s conduct amounted to serious professional misconduct. There was no basis for that conclusion....
It is puzzling that any charge was brought – against Professor Walker-Smith alone – in respect of child JS. In the event, the charge gave rise to an inadequately reasoned conclusion of serious professional misconduct which, on the evidence available to the panel, was wrong...."
Posted by: Carol | October 15, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I see what you are saying Jenny but when it goes wrong and they get it wrong as with JWS who is accountable... I would imagine the Government must be responsible and accordingly would have to compensate when it goes wrong as with JWS...Also the ones who got it wrong are left just to carry on and probably get it wrong again...
Posted by: Angus Files | October 15, 2012 at 12:43 PM
I have been asking this question of compensation for Prof WS for some time. I can only conclude that this gentle man is of the old school who would find the very thought rather aggressive and "unprofessional". I do however wish he had pushed his lawyers for it.
It isn't the money Professor Walker Smith, it is the principle, and the GMC should compensate you for what it put you through.
It's not too late is it?
Posted by: Patricia | October 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM
At the Leveson Inquiry Ian Hislop humiliatingly admitted to a 'mea culpa' over Private Eye's coverage of the GMC verdicts. This is what 'The Eye' published, (through the critical 'eye' of The Guardian above):-
"In its print article (not available online) the Eye briefly summarised the GMC findings but focused to a curious degree on the reaction of the parents to the verdicts.
"Several parents of the children who featured in the team's original research papers, which was at the centre of the GMC case, stormed out of the hearing in angry protest at the findings – particularly the suggestion that their children's tests were not clinically necessary. Others were in tears."
The Eye goes on to point out that the parents of the children had never complained about Wakefield and that they were not called to give evidence. Why is this such a prominent part of the story?"
So Ian Hislop gets vilified for his accurate reporting, giving the parents' reactions to those GMC verdicts? Shame on Lord Leveson!!
Posted by: Jenny Allan | October 15, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Not to mention Richard Horton revealing only months later in his book 'MMR Science Fiction':
"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)"
None of which stopped Horton giving evidence at hearing as well. But that's the kind of big-hearted guy he is!
Posted by: John Stone | October 15, 2012 at 10:57 AM
The GMC is a 'quasi autonomous' organisation, which like its 'sister' organisations, the NMC (nurses) and GTC (teachers) is supposedly 'independent' of UK Government interference. Believe THAT if you like!!
The GMC is supposed to 'protect' the public from dangerous doctors, but they do nothing of the kind!! Recently it was revealed that a doctor, who is a convicted paedophile, has been allowed to work as a paediatrician. Other doctors, convicted of downloading illegal paedophile images from the internet are still practising medicine. They just got a wee warning from the GMC!!
The only doctors 'struck off' seem to be the 'whistleblowers' who TRY to raise concerns about standards or medications!! In the case of the three doctors dragged before the GMC there was definite UK Government input and instigation:-
"Sir Liam Donaldson, England's chief medical officer, accused Dr Andrew Wakefield of peddling "poor science".
He said the 1998 study was flawed and has been criticised by "independent experts around the world".
"On Saturday, Health Secretary John Reid urged the GMC to investigate "as a matter of urgency".
A spokeswoman for the GMC said: "We are concerned by the allegations and will be looking to see what action, if any, may be necessary."
Sir Liam Donaldson now has a 'cushy' number with the World Health Organisation. Lord John Reid, now sits in the House of Lords. Both of these persons have been 'rewarded' for saving the 'face' of an incompetent UK Department of Health, which, in spite of warnings, introduced a dangerous, not properly tested, Urabe mumps containing MMR vaccine into the UK child vaccine schedule in 1988.
Posted by: Jenny Allan | October 15, 2012 at 10:41 AM
You don't understand what a privilege it is to be put on trial by the GMC!
Posted by: John Stone | October 15, 2012 at 09:56 AM
You would think that John Walker should be compensated for being wrongly charged,damage to reputation at the time,...The BMJ should not be allowed to walk away from this..Is it possible that the Goverment are responsible for the time JW has spent at the BMJ Kangeroo Court ..
I read today of an arms dealer 25 years it took for him to clear his name...
Arms to Iraq miscarriage of justice..
"Henderson was compensated under a century-old voluntary scheme whereby, at the discretion of the home secretary, individuals qualified if they had been wrongfully charged and held in custody. The scheme did not lay down any time limit for being held in custody; for Henderson, it was one night in a cell as he awaited his bail surety; for Edmiston, it was the time he spent in the Old Bailey dock during his trial.
In 2005, the new home secretary, Charles Clarke, agreed that Edmiston should be compensated with no admission of liability on the government's part. Three years later, Edmiston, finally received the money. Neither Edmiston nor Kormornick will say how much, though it is understood to be well in excess of the £2.2m awarded to Dunk."
As the article states sometimes ... it may be worth it, just to know you have beaten the bastards."
Well done JW.
Posted by: Angus Files | October 15, 2012 at 09:39 AM
Responding to Deborah Nash (6 September)
Yes, in retrospect I find the failure of the defence attorneys to protest the strategy of the GMC prosecuter, who relentlessly disregarded answers given in good faith, as incomprehensible. As someone who grew up on court dramas where either side of the Atlantic lawyers were pulled up for leading witnesses it was puzzling to watch. I told myself at the time the rules must be different at the GMC but John Walker-Smith's final vindication illustrates the complete failure of process at the time. It was also a complete reverse of the principle of innocent until proven guilty.
We heard that in Wisconsin Brian Deer was trying to pretend that Judge Mitting dismissed the case on a technicality that the GMC panel had failed to provide reasons, and of course nothing could be further from the truth (as usual). Mitting gave the GMC attorney every opportunity provide the missing reasons, and she completely failed. She even put the onus back on the judge to look for reasons that she hadn't been able to provide. Nor did the GMC appeal. It should be said that they have also so far failed to do anything about those findings against Andrew Wakefield and Simon Murch which were tested in John Walker-Smith's appeal and disproven. This, of course, is a convenient place for the medical and political establishment, but it also shows what a stitch up it always was.
Posted by: John Stone | October 15, 2012 at 08:01 AM
A valuable reminder not only of the importance of John Walker-Smith's pioneering work investigating bowel disease and autism, but in reminding us of the profoundly unjust treatment he, Wakefield and Murch received. One of the continuing tragedies of this story, that is at the centre of so many of our and our children's lives, is that today there is in the UK no research being done into the association between autism and bowel disease - a painful and debilitating condition that blights the lives of thousands of autistic children. This is one of the most shameful outcomes of the orchestrated campaign to silence clinicians and researchers who asked legitimate scientific questions of the MMR and the association between gut disease and autism.
Posted by: Martin | October 15, 2012 at 04:04 AM
I sat behind Prof. Walker-Smith while he was being 'tortured', on one particularly gruelling day. When we were eventually dismissed at 4pm, i left the building and was shocked to find tears rolling down my face. Even as I stood and waited for my train, the tears kept coming. If that was the effect of this drilling on me, and I was not the real target, I wondered how the Professor would cope with the bullying day after day!
This tactic of the prosecution was wrong and should never have been allowed.
Posted by: Deborah Nash | September 06, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Perhaps the query into whether live measles virus in the gut factors into autism particularly threatened the MMR vaccine market, and that may be part of the motivation to deny #3 and prevent investigation. With thimerosal, there was the "autism can't be mercury poisoning from vaccines because it does not 100% match mercury poisoning from something else." That may have just been meant to keep doctors confidently using up existing stores at the convenience of big pharma, but I do wonder additionally if there is awareness "on high" that autism isn't the only vaccine or man-made, chronic condition that involves intestinal health and the denial of #2, #3 is driven by a desire to protect the blame-the-genes-and-apply-drugs paradigm for several conditions?
Posted by: Jeannette Bishop | August 19, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Since 1998 the British Medical/Scientific/Political establishment have pursued three agendas with total ruthless,cynicism and cruelty.
1) To deny that vaccines and MMR particularly can cause autism
2) To deny that autism is rising
3) To deny that there is any connection between autism and bowel disease
You might ask if 2&3 were not closely related to 1 why did they deem it necessary to pursue such implausible projects.
Posted by: John Stone | August 18, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Regarding the denial of the clinical (and perhaps reversible) manifestations of autism, maybe some in (or above) the industry suspect or are even aware of a connection of immune and intestinal dysfunction with several conditions that currently, erroneously, fall under psychiatry, frequently involving the lifelong use of dependence creating "anti-psychotics," and then, more drugs to deal with side-effects.
I can't help but suspect this whole autism war is not just about avoiding liability on one or several fronts, but maintaining a lucrative form of oppression.
Posted by: Jeannette Bishop | August 18, 2012 at 12:10 PM
He certainly says something like "I was just trying to treat sick kids", which is what of course the GMC was trying to deny. Obviously he was coming at some of it from a different angle from Wakefield and was certainly very worried about challenging the vaccine programme. But, of course, the powers-that-be were prepared to obliterate him for even listening to the parents. What I think was fascinating was the consistency of the denial from the DH that the children could have GI problems, to the extent of taking out one of the two leading global experts on paediatric gastroenterology - that this too was off-message and still is, even though JW-S was vindicated in the High Court.
Posted by: John Stone | August 18, 2012 at 10:15 AM
So does Walker-Smith say anything like "I was just trying to treat sick kids; I didn't know I was part of Wakefield's study" or "Wakefield fooled me"? Does he say that he didn't know which child had what number in the paper or say that Wakefield lied about the timing of any child's symptoms? Does he disavow any of the Lancet paper's results? You hear all these things from the anti-Wakefield crowd to explain how Walker-Smith can be a good guy while Wakefield is a bad guy.
Posted by: Carol | August 18, 2012 at 09:58 AM
You said...."the minimal and biased press reporting of JWS's High Court appeal was shameful."
There was absolutely "nil" "zero" "zilch" reporting here(Australia) about the appeal not even the courts decision.
And YET! In the media there are still (boarder-lining on defamatory)stories that "rear their ugly heads" about Dr Wakefield whenever the MMR is questioned about its link to Autism!
I thought journalism was about balanced reporting?!
Posted by: AussieMum | August 12, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Another "must" read book on my list.
I attended a "Victorian Autism Conference" last week. There was no mention of interventions such as diet or what actually "may" cause autism.
The "Elephant in the room" was never addressed!
Posted by: AussieMum | August 12, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Excellent article. To this day, pro-vaccine shills continue discrediting the Walker-Smith and Wakefield findings. They love to use the original false charges and shameful decisions by the UK Medical establishment while ignoring the current factual discoveries. It seems the public mind is easily imprinted by early headlines.
I somehwat agree, but with the caveat that they the truth is actively been hid from them. The media that intentionally propagate these lies, IMO serves a more important role.... in their intentional silencing all arguments to the contrary.
As corrupt as the medical establishment is, they're lying ways would have long ago been exposed were it not for the complicity of main stream media.
Although the medical establishment clearly has blood on its hands, so too do these architects of deception who most days go by the name of "main-stream media".
Posted by: Barry | August 11, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Excellent article. To this day, pro-vaccine shills continue discrediting the Walker-Smith and Wakefield findings. They love to use the original false charges and shameful decisions by the UK Medical establishment while ignoring the current factual discoveries. It seems the public mind is easily imprinted by early headlines.
Posted by: Paul Fassa | August 11, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Isn’t it just appalling what’s going on in UK? Unbelievable – almost. The selection of quotes John Stone has published illustrates how far these agencies will go, to protect a questionable, not properly tested vaccine. They do not care whom they destroy in their mission to conceal the dangers of MMR vaccine. Even the media are silenced. [Professor John Walker-Smith’s successful appeal against the GMC decision was a mammoth victory - yet a mere handful of media outlets covered the event.] I’m glad the Professor now has his opportunity to tell his side of the story. Thanks for airing the injustices John.
Posted by: Seonaid | August 11, 2012 at 06:51 AM
Child Health Safety that account makes the hairs on my legs stand up...and probably that isn`t the worst account of neglect and cover up by goverments world wide,to protect the Gold of vaccines...just that time they were caught out..
Shame on them
Posted by: Angus Files | August 10, 2012 at 05:00 PM
An excellent review John, with pertinent transcripts from the book, my order is already in the post!
That such a fine man and eminent Doctor should have to endure 8 years of torture is beyond belief, sometimes I have to pinch myself to be sure I actually live in the UK and not the USSR! Although rumour has it we are in fact thoroughly more monitored here!
One day the catastrophe of not checking why some children are more susceptible to multiple vaccination than others will haunt this country for generations to come.Those responsible who have denied us this research should hang their heads in shame. I am waiting for these criminals, for that is what they are, to be punished through the courts and persecuted the same as they have inflicted on the three doctors, who raised the possibility. Unfortunately we do not seem to have those whistle-blowers that are prevalent in the USA, come on now don't be shy, show the rest of the world what us Brits are made of, where are you?
Mother of a MMR vaccine damaged child.
Posted by: JanP | August 10, 2012 at 01:14 PM
It is worth mentioning the unusual circumstances surrounding Stephen Bustin's evidence against John O'Leary which cannot be independently verified:
Bustin and the manufacturers who retained him seem to have gone to extraodinary and ingenious lengths to destroy O'Leary's credibility, and John Walker-Smith is surely right to be sceptical.
Posted by: ChildHealthSafety | August 10, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Great Review. Thank you John.
Professor John Walker Smith was, is and will always be a great human being and a giant in his field.
Shame on those who tried to blemish his reputation. It is wonderful to see the record set straight and justice prevail.
Posted by: Ed Yazbak | August 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM
The news briefing. It's like a lot of things: the truth is already there in documentary form for anyone who wants to seek it out, but the mainstream only quite shamelessly wants falsehoods. AW was, of course, endorsing the vaccine programme (which still offered a single vaccine alternative to MMR) as it existed, and the option was withdrawn in the succeeding months. JW-S is probably quite right that it would have been better not to have held the briefing at all.
Posted by: John Stone | August 10, 2012 at 12:34 PM
[sorry I do not know where to ask this question about Dean Zuckerman 's role ; and since his name appeared in this not too old article , I dared post here ] "Count III alleges that then Dean Zuckerman falsely denied his knowledge that Dr. Wakefield would, if asked at the press conference accompanying publication, recommend the single (monovalent) measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines as a precautionary measure until the safety of MMR could be further examined. Dr. Zuckerman's claim that he was unaware that vaccines would be discussed at a press conference accompanying publication was false because he had specifically instructed Dr. Wakefield to urge continued use of the monovalent measles vaccine as a safer alternative to MMR. Attachment 2 is Dr. Zuckerman’s Jan. 22, 1998 letter instructing Dr. Wakefield to recommend the monovalent vaccines at the post-publication press conference (“It is vital, in your own interest and that of children, that you state clearly your support for monovalent vaccination.”)." Since A. Wakefield did have such a letter from Mr Zuckerman , It should have been easy [ ???] for him to prove the lies of dean Zuckerman . I have not heard this happened [ or it did?] What happened ? That seems very important to me .
Posted by: Fever | August 10, 2012 at 12:22 PM
people interested will find a review written in 2005 of the first edition (2003) :http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1088242/
Posted by: Fever | August 10, 2012 at 12:06 PM
"O’Leary’s work was completed and ready for publication in March 2000 but was only published after an agonizingly long wait in the journal Molecular Pathology , in 2002, long after I had retired." Two years !? Is it common ? If not : has the then editor in chief been questionned on this duration ?
Posted by: Fever | August 10, 2012 at 11:32 AM
That’s it Mark they look the other way and neglect all the children/adults and stop any treatments by doing so…so it continues with no treatment if you should raise MMR and gastro in the same breath ...as we found out and no treatment for our son ...I hope the GMC and all involved are very proud ...shame on them for stopping treatment for our kids..if yo can`t nail them SHAME them …
Shame on them
Posted by: Angus Files | August 10, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Thank you, John, for your excellent review of 'Enduring memories'. If any doctor was not outraged by what happened to John Walker-Smith then they have not been paying attention. Or they've simply suppressed their outrage and chosen to look the other way. Either way, shame on them, and shame on the medical profession.
Posted by: Dr Mark Struthers | August 10, 2012 at 09:42 AM
As we well know the enmity and accusations made towards this fine medical doctor, clinician and academic professor are now just ashes in the mouths of those that raised them ...
Posted by: Visitor | August 10, 2012 at 09:21 AM
Thanks John the un -United UK gets the gold every time for stabbing people in the back past masters at it....where once JWS led the medical fronts and were the golden boys of meds ..when they question MMR and Autism they are dealt with in the same manner ...well done John Walker for fighting the fight and winning ..one day Andy will win as well..
Posted by: Angus Files | August 10, 2012 at 06:32 AM
John Walker-Smith - A wonderful wonderful man. I pray this excellent book will finally exonerate this outstanding and compassionate clinician in the eyes of the world as well as the eyes of the law, care of Justice Sir John Mitting in the High Court February 2012, who quashed the GMC verdicts and was scathing about the 'inadequate and superficial' examining of the evidence by the GMC.
The minimal and biased press reporting of JWS's High Court appeal was shameful. One terse headline said the GMC verdict was 'fair'. In fact this was from the pre verdict pleadings to the Judge as presented by GMC QC Joanna Glynn. In the US whole newspaper editions had to be pulped after some premature gleeful pro-vaccine news reports.
Posted by: Jenny Allan | August 10, 2012 at 06:29 AM