I wish I had more time to write about this tonight, but I just had to post something on the lawsuit filed today (January 4, 2012) in a Texas trial court by Andrew Wakefield, the disgraced British former physician whose 1998 Lancet article created the modern vaccines-cause-autism myth. Wakefield is suing BMJ (the former British Medical Journal), Brian Deer, the author of a January 5, 2011 (Happy Anniversary!) BMJ article, and later follow-up article, that detailed Wakefield’s falsification of data and fraud in the Lancet article, and Fiona Godlee, a physician and editor of BMJ who authored an editorial in the same issue.
At first I wondered if the news of the lawsuit was just a bad rumor, but the available copy of the complaint has all the markings of a document that has actually been filed in a court.
My quickie analysis/prediction, subject to the usual caveats that I haven’t had a lot of time to research this and I have purposely over-generalized and simplified the law: There are quite a few hurdles for Wakefield to clear to be successful. First, he has to show that the Texas courts have jurisdiction/power to conduct the trial in the first place. Wakefield is suing a British publication and two citizens of the United Kingdom in Texas because he resides in Texas now. In the United States, a court has jurisdiction or authority over a defendant only if the defendant has sufficient contacts or involvement with the state in which the court sits. Wakefield claims that Texas courts have jurisdiction over BMJ, Deer and Godlee because they “direct[ed] a significant and regular flow of publications . . . to institutional and individual residents of [Texas]” and because they committed a tort (a personal wrong) against him, and he is a resident of Texas.
A publisher of widely-disseminated material isn’t subject to the jurisdiction of every court where the material may end up. Either the specific article involved must have been “directly aimed” at the state, or the publisher must have sufficient “contacts” with the state to give the state’s courts jurisdiction over any case involving the publisher (for example, the New York Times can be sued in New York, even if it is being sued for a car accident that one of its employees causes in Pennsylvania, just because it’s based in New York–or is it New Jersey now?).
Many courts have held that merely publishing materials that may end up in a given state is not enough to subject a publisher to the jurisdiction of that state’s courts. The publisher must have “directly aimed” the allegedly defamatory material at the state. The mere presence of the target of an article is not enough. Although a famous U.S. Supreme Court case held that an article about an actress in California was enough to subject the publishing newspaper to a libel lawsuit in California, a recent federal appeals court decision noted that in that case the article was about the actress and her career in California, and wasn’t based on the actress’s mere presence in California. Although this article is about Wakefield, who now resides in Texas, it wasn’t about Wakefield’s activities in Texas. It was about Wakefield’s activities in the United Kingdom, where all of his defendants are. I don’t know if the BMJ’s circulation is enough in Texas to give the court “general” personal jurisdiction over any case involving the publication, but I doubt it.
If Wakefield gets past the jurisdictional hurdle, he then has to battle the First Amendment. I have no doubt that Wakefield is a “public figure” and the issue of the safety of vaccines is a public issue. Because of that, the First Amendment’s protection of public discourse on items of public import requires that Wakefield prove “actual malice,” which means that he must prove that the authors and publishers of the BMJ article knew that the defamatory statements were false or that they made the statements with reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the statements. Wakefield actually alleges in his complaint that the authors knew the statements were false. Saying it in a complaint is one thing. Proving it is another. Proving someone’s knowledge is a hard thing to do. Not impossible, but very hard.
Another hurdle facing Wakefield is the legal concept of “res judicata,” which roughly translates to “we’ve been through this already.” (Some legal nit-pickers may claim that the real translation is “the thing has been adjudicated,” but don’t you believe them.) The concept goes something like this: once you have had a “full and fair opportunity” to litigate some claim, issue or fact in one court, and have lost, you don’t get to litigate it again, even in some other court. Wakefield has already been through a huge proceeding before the United Kingdom’s General Medical Council in which he lost his license to practice medicine. He had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the matter there. The Council found that he had falsified elements of his Lancet article and that he had abused developmentally disabled children (there’s a guy you want to bring home to mom).
My major question on this point is whether Texas considers results of administrative proceedings to have “preclusive” effect. Some states say that a finding by an administrative agency has the same effect as a finding of a court. Some states say that only court proceedings count. If Texas is in the former group, then Wakefield will have a tough time getting to trial. Any Texas lawyers who can answer that one?
Also, I have to question whether the BMJ article has really caused any damage to Wakefield’s reputation. In order to recover some money damages, Wakefield has to prove either that he suffered some actual damage to his reputation or that the article damaged him in his occupation or profession, in which case he would get at least nominal damages. I don’t think he’ll be able to prove that he suffered some damage to his reputation given the horrible worldwide reputation that he has. Given the highly-publicized findings of the British General Medical Council a year before the articles in question, it’s hard to believe that the articles caused any additional harm to his reputation. In addition, I don’t think that he will be successful in proving that the defamatory statements concerned his occupation or profession because they concerned his medical research as a physician–and he’s no longer a physician. (Interestingly, one of the statements in the articles that Wakefield claims is false is “now apparently self-employed and professionally ruined, [and] remains championed by a sad rump of disciples.” I didn’t know that “rump” was the collective noun for a group of disciples. I thought it was “flock.” You learn something new every day.)
OK, I really must go. I may try to update and clean up this post in the coming days. Comments, critiques and corrections are greatly encouraged and invited.
45 responses to “Quickie news: Wakefield sues British authors and publishers for libel–in Texas”
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Good points. I have comments about the impact of the Texas anti-SLAPP statute here. http://www.popehat.com/2012/01/04/andrew-wakefield-sues-bmj-and-brian-deer-time-to-test-out-the-new-texas-anti-slapp-statute/
Excellent post, Ken! Anybody who comes across this comment should go and read Popehat’s post.
LOLed @rump of disciples. Just think of the implications: Jesus and his rump.
Very interesting. You know the case and the law. I’m impressed!
“Rump” meaning “remnant”.
As in “Rump Parliament” – what was left of the English Parliament in 1648 after Pride’s Purge.
Thanks for the info, John. I blame my lack of knowledge on this on my low-quality American-public-school world-history education. All I remember of European history from my American education is that some people were unhappy with English rules on religion in the 1600s, and so left England to come to the New World. A century and a half later, their descendants and others signed the Declaration of Independence to escape some guy whose last name was “Third” or “Thethird” or something like that.
And, I must say, you Brits (are you British, John?) have such colourful language!
Have to confess that I had to look up how the Rump Parliament came about (it is something like 55 years ago that I “did” it in school). 🙂
It was in the lead up to the trial and execution of Charles the First. The Wikipedia article seems to be pretty accurate.
And yes – a true Brit.
Dr Wakefield abused disabled children?! Wow! Just when I thought I heard it all! Oh well… just goes to show the extent of Murdoch machinery brainwash. Anti-Wakefield myths are nowdays expanding on self-perpetuating basis, as if pushed from the inside by dark matter. This last push by BMJ and Deer wasn’t even needed.
Wakefield didn’t give evidence to the General Medical Council of the UK when it heard the case against him and took his license to practice away. He didn’t appeal against their decision. He has not sued in the UK.
These are opportunities to challenge the accusations which he did not take. Does that have any significance for this libel case?
It won’t affect the application of “res judicata” principles, because all that’s required is that the person had an opportunity to litigate the issue fully. If the person gives up the opportunity, the findings can still be used against him/her.
But this brings up another point. Given that the BMJ, Deer and Godlee “knew” that the GMC had found that Wakefield committed fraud after Wakefield failed to present any evidence to refute it, it becomes even more difficult for Wakefield to prove that they “knew” that he hadn’t committed fraud.
In my book, “Order[ing]nvestigations ‘without the requisite paediatric qualifications’ including colonoscopies, colon biopsies and lumbar punctures (‘spinal taps’) on his research subjects without the approval of his department’s ethics board and contrary to the children’s clinical interests” [Wikipedia, citing GMC findings] is child abuse.
@ Mum, You represent his “sad rump of disciples” well. If you think a single newspaper owner can “brainwash” the GMC and every public health agency/organisation in the world, you do represent well.
You should not insult this mother – according to her synonym here she is talking from the horses mouth and you should respect that. The media is a very powerful tool used and abused to manipulate people and indeed to protect those people and companies that profit from the manufacture of vaccines. If you like you can also call me a sad disciple and it seems that you do not have any other arguments at hand. I would call this mother a brave, conscious individual who has probably gone through hell – she should be respected and able to share her opinion without being insulted.
Very interesting, Thanks for unpacking some of the US legal issues, esp. for us non-US people.
I was struck by Wakefield’s describing himself as a ‘physician’ (or at least referring to his ‘reputation as a physician’ in the complaint) given that:
(i) he had been barred from practise as a physician in the UK (disbarred for gross misconduct by the GMC) well before the articles complained of appeared;
(ii) he had (as far as I have heard) never even applied for a medical license in Texas (or any other US state).
BTW, the GMC’s Fitness to Practise hearing on Wakefield was done under the same ‘criminal standard of proof’ (in essence, ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’) used in criminal legal proceedings. The GMC has now switched over to the less stringent ‘civil standard of proof’ for Fitness to Practise stuff, but Wakefield’s marathon hearing was under the old rules.
As far as I recall Wakefield parted company with the Thoughtful House clinic in Austin shortly after the GMC judgement, and thus well before the articles complained of. The public statements at the time described his rather unexpected departure from Thoughtful House as voluntary…. but I guess the departure might also arguably suggest his reputation in Texas was busted well before the BMJ and Deer let rip with all the details Wakefield is now suing over.
Thanks for the info! From the way you describe the GMC proceedings, the application of res judicata principles to them seems even more likely.
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The real injustice in the Wakefield case is that Richard Barr (the solicitor who paid Wakefield to attack the safety of MMR vaccine) has not lost *his* license to practice law in Britain.
I wonder if anything can still be done about that!
I’d love to hear from a British lawyer (barrister/solicitor) about that. In the U.S., at least in all states I know of, there is no “statute of limitations” on a complaint about an attorney’s misconduct, and any person in the world can make a complaint about an attorney’s misconduct.
Anybody know more?
The SOL in Florida is four years. I know this from experience, as we filed a complaint with the Florida bar. It’s printed on the complaint form.
What confounds me the most about this case is why Wakefield would subject himself and his backers to discovery. Can ‘t wait to see those emails.
I’m keeping a list of responses at Wakefield’s Latest Legal Action: A Roundup. I think it is curious that the Wakefield faithful have been silent.
I doubt that res judicata will bar this claim, because the issues decided in the GMC disciplinary hearing were different from the alleged defamatory statements in the January 2011 BMJ article. Nevertheless, I don’t think Wakefield will get too far with this case due to jurisdictional and anti-SLAPP issues. I have to admit, though, that it would be fun to watch the scrappy Brian Deer defend the case.
“You should not insult this mother – according to her synonym here she is talking from the horses mouth and you should respect that. The media is a very powerful tool used and abused to manipulate people and indeed to protect those people and companies that profit from the manufacture of vaccines. If you like you can also call me a sad disciple and it seems that you do not have any other arguments at hand. I would call this mother a brave, conscious individual who has probably gone through hell – she should be respected and able to share her opinion without being insulted.”
Okay Tina I will call you another sad disciple if you believe that anyone with an autistic child should be allowed to disseminate fallacious information unchallenged. Yes, the media is certainly responsible for extremely poor and biased reporting with regards to Wakefield and other vaccine-autism claims but we also have to take responsibility for our own fact-checking and letting go of beliefs that are demonstrably false, like the commenter I responded to. The vast majority of parents of autistic children do not believe that vaccines were causal and endure just as many, if not more challenges than the Wakefield-idolising-Mum. Yes she can share her opinion, but so can I.
If she was talking from the horse’s mouth, then she is a parent of one of the few children in the study, not a parent of an autistic child. That seems highly unlikely.
The Lewis Report published today.
Click to access david-lewis-bmj.pdf
For those who find AoA a mere irritation.
Patricia, isn’t that the same David Lewis who passed on missing datasheets to the BMJ? Files that provided more evidence that Wakefield was changing the data.
Here is an interesting comment on that report:
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Beliefs. Or as people in science refer to them, “assumptions.” Now assumptions are very dangerous things. They make you dismiss ideas out of hand. The problem is the world doesn’t run by our assumptions or our beliefs, it runs by its own rules. And sometimes they are just damned complex. Now I came across Wakefield’s work while studying my own health problems – and I can assure you that if you ever read the article (before they pulled it) and know the slightest bit of anything about gastric disorders, it is obvious that the correct procedures were used. (For legal people this is all covered quite well in Prof Walker-Smith’s acquittal, including the allegations of deliberate fraud and data manipulation.) The correct diagnosis and treatment of these children is vital – without it the pain many of them suffer is far worse than the temporary pain of correct medical procedure. If we vilify doctors for questioning vaccines then we do not deserve safe vaccines – and we will not get them.
And no – I did not simply “believe” Wakefield – I researched both sides of the story, but one was an obvious tissue of lies, withholding information, and half truths, including what appears to be theft and breach of privacy. The other side appears to stack up.
1) The MMR vaccination in Britain changed due to encephalitis cases
2) There is a link between maternal allergies/coeliac and autistic children
3) coeliac is known to cause “Autistic like” symptoms – so presumably other bowel problems can have similar effects, which in all reasonableness could be quite serious given the latest discoveries in ataxia and other neuropathies.
4) the correct way to diagnose serious bowel problems is with a biopsy
5) All I hear from the other side of the table are “quack” and “fraud” allegations with heavily emotive language about how one man put the vaccination industry at risk. The science is out there, guys. And I mean it’s really out there. I wouldn’t have believed it myself, but I’ve been forced through circumstance to change my tune, re-evaluate those beliefs and come to understand many of them are about as scientific as stating “multinational companies are not interested in making money.” Because you can believe it if you like – but it doesn’t make it true.
I did read the paper shortly after publication and while on the surface the procedures used to diagnose some kind of novel GI pathology seemed legitimate, as a molecular biologist, I found the assay methodology and results interpretation shoddy.
“the Justice’s decision was merely that Walker-Smith was an unwitting dupe, not that abuse of children didn’t occur.”
how does saying the GMC had “inadequate and superficial reasoning and, in a number of instances, a wrong conclusion” say in any way the Walker Smith was a dupe? Please show me the wording that implies this – I swear I didn’t see it.
Again: “the correct way to diagnose bowel problems is with a biopsy.” Walker-Smith ordered those biopsies. So choose – he was either complicit or a dupe – but not both.
As for two sides? Why not. I actually disagree with this “standard medical practise” although goodness knows enough of my friends have had the procedure done – Talking about unnecessary and worthless procedures one of them had it done to check for coeliac even though she’d been GF for months and most of her symptoms had already cleared up – until they told her she wasn’t coeliac and she ate bread:(
There’s a reasonable quantity of evidence that the officials did know about encephalitis risk – they just didn’t care enough until – or blindly supposed the benefits outweighed the risks – I’ve seen other sources claiming it was cheaper than the American counterpart but this seems relatively thorough. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1544592/Vaccine-officials-knew-about-MMR-risks.html If you’re keen you look up the Japanese furore over the same vaccine.
There are several theories about brain inflammation/ overgrowth/ autoimmune issues causing autism http://www.webpediatrics.com/autism2.html & this is worth a look – even though it’s quick to shoot down a vaccine connection without any evidence to back up the conjecture – it’s still an interesting observational study pointing to something odd happening post partem – and curiously synchronously timed. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?volume=290&issue=3&page=337 does it prove squat? No – but it’s still interesting.
“I can look on PubMed and so can you and find hundreds of legitimate studies that question vaccine safety and produce results of adverse effects. ” So have I, that’s my point – although most authors very carefully state something along the lines of – this isn’t what it looks like…
Also have you seen this study? Do you know that the funding for the university was put at risk by it and it was pulled? Even though the researcher was saying – let’s not get excited… http://www.wakehealth.edu/News-Releases/2006/Wake_Forest_Researcher_Warns_Against_Making_Connection_Between_Presence_of_Measles_Virus_and_Autism.htm
obviously this study wont end up in Pubmed… it was pulled – and from what I can gather it was funding pressure issue.
Some interesting studies – 1) because you asked for it
There is a link between maternal allergies/coeliac and autistic children
secondly: full blown coeliac is not required for neurological damage… so therefore… think about the possible consequences for a moment. http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/126/3/685.long
I think that’s everything – except for your very first comment that “I found the assay methodology and results interpretation shoddy.” I have to admit – it’s been awhile and the study so long ago disappeared from it’s home at BMJ that I can’t even remember that bit. All I remember thinking is that he was being too conservative in his interpretations, and that he was looking for something new – when likely the results are nothing new at all but likely undiagnosed coeliac and/or related immune disorders.
so yeah – I can respectfully disagree with everyone. Why not? I’d also like to leave you with this http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19726464.100-autism-payout-reignites-vaccine-controversy.html basically because any stress including illness, vaccinations etc can trigger mitochondrial disorders (known to lead to gut problems and in this case “brain damage that included features of autism” So it is possible some of the parents are right – kind of – and the stress of the jab triggered am underlying disorder.
oh and coeliac/gluten intolerance and autism – man – the choice (apart from the earlier maternal link… – http://www.examiner.com/article/can-celiac-disease-be-mistaken-as-autism-one-boy-whose-autism-was-cured
Of course my personal favourite (which seems to have been taken down)
is the Tehran University of Medical Sciences study where around the world newspapers shouted “No Link Found Between Autism And Celiac Disease” Case closed. Really? Read the paper if you can get your hands on it, read about ataxia and dermatitis herpetiformis – and tell me the study wasn’t pointing just a little bit in the maybe direction (remembering most autistic kids aren’t regressive – remember damage done in the womb)
This is the ruling http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/english-court-exonerates-mmrautism-doctor-uk-general-medical-given-sound-thrashing/
“There was a good deal of evidence, to which I refer in greater detail below, that Professor Walker-Smith and his team were undertaking what any reasonable body of medical practitioners would categorize as research – but also that he intended and genuinely believed that what he was doing was solely or primarily for the clinical benefit of the children.”
So please a little respect for the parents who have to cope with these things and wade through studies to try to find the answers they are looking for. And a little respect for the quacks out there. Sometimes the buggers are proved right – even if it’s for the wrong reasons – and even if you don’t like them. I will defend them to my last breath – it is their right to question. And look for answers. That is science. As a molecular biologist you should be aware of this. And not leap to accusations of fraud on the word of a journalist who seems (from what I’ve seen of him) to be able to miraculously understand print – but not speech.
Read here for more context: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2012/503.html But Justice Mitting’s conclusion:
1) I think a lot of the confusion is that you think I think all autism cases are caused by vaccination – that would be ridiculous.
2) I have similar concerns as you do when it comes to colonoscopies – I wish – in the golden never-never land that ain’t going to happen in a hurry – that simple blood tests will be enough to diagnose most of these “diseases” specifically the AGA and AGG tests and not the ridiculous coeliac test – or the even more ridiculous “gold standard” biopsy which hospitals go for fishing expeditions for all the time – BUT then hospitals go on fishing expeditions all the time, (a hospital took an x-ray of my daughter when I had clearly refused to give my consent – of course it was totally unnecessary) Especially in the case of bowel diseases where the symptoms can be slight – even while the damage is extensive (I’d cite, but really this is textbook stuff and one only has so much time in this world) – so you can decide you know more than people who work in the profession, or because the nuggety and even more offensive than Wakefield – Deer said so, or you can prevent the unnecessary suffering of thousands and thousands of people by condemning the procedure except in extreme cases where there is no obvious gluten involvement. BTW I’ve never cared that Wakefeild studied Crohn’s I always that Crohn’s was a fools disease for people who refused to “believe in” coeliac – what got Wakefield a little bit of respect from me was that he seemed to have realised this at some point and moderated the kids diets to that effect.
3) You seem to think this is purely a vaccine debate – I used the trigger case to show that vaccination can in a few cases trigger an underlying condition – and I’m suggesting that condition for some kids may be bowel problems which then go ahead and set off behavioural problems. And to be honest sometimes I wonder if the bad side effects to the vaccinations may be a secondary symptom of bowel disease in that bowel disease is not only triggered/worsened by stress but it’s also known to stuff up the immune system – which could be why so many kids seem to have problems with the vaccinations (social inference – I seem to have a lot of coeliac friends) but it doesn’t necc. lead to autism.
4) I’d like to re-frame it again as a right to independent research on a sensitive topic debate, e.g. Wakefield thought it was a good idea to separate out the measles and mumps shots (and had the temerity to say so). He also said – and you might not be aware of it – having measles and mumps (wild) in the same year was bad fullstop – and the vaccinations were important in an effort to prevent this from happening (whether this is true or not, I’m not sure I didn’t care enough to find out). Of course he said it at a time when – and we both agree – the MMR vaccine was below par, parents were getting pissy and not just in Britain but in Japan). And that’s probably why it’s constantly couched in those terms. I don’t find them very helpful. And then it gets all tossed in with the “we have too many vaccines” debate which is a separate issue that needs addressing – and I’d be going for the more moderate European stance – but that’s beside the point.
At least to this case. The central case is Wakefield and his senior team were struck of by a medical panel — which has now been proven to have made decisions that were seriously below par. You can fuss and complain but ruining several careers on this one medical paper, because you don’t like Wakefield or you disagree with his analysis – or like the judges at the trial – you feel that some kind of a statement needs to be made to “prove” vaccinations work. But that’s not what the paper was about. It was about bowel disease and autism. Shoot the messenger all you like because it did eventually have implications to the vaccine industry – but why not take Japan and Europe’s lead and take a slightly more cautious line. It doesn’t make you less “scientific” it just makes you more…cautious.
5) for the record the financial gain lie has long since been put to rest – the money went into the Royal Free – believe it or not that’s how most institutions do these things.
So “Quack” = alternative practitioner – personally I prefer the standard med school trained (because that way you know they’re not just snake oilers) – but with other training on top so they’re not so blinkered.
… again all day… seriously?
There are more things in heaven and earth than in either our philosophies. And no I don’t believe in God, but I do believe in keeping an open mind. I’m certainly not going to convict three physicians on the word of a journalist who had financial ties to Murdoch whose son was put on a pharmaceutical board at about … let me think. And that’s really where this became absolutely mental. BMJ can publish him all they like – but they’ve had to recant the whole “peer reviewed” thing because it wasn’t. You can “worship” Deer all you like, and dismiss anything that puts him in a bad light.
Even a suggestion that the relatively small number of parents who are claiming vaccines caused their children’s autism is ridiculous. Over 5,000 American parents trotted this out in the OAP and failed to make even a case of biological plausibility with numerous claims of causation.
This sounds suspiciously like a Tu Quoque argument. The bottom line is that Wakefield subjected children to unnecessary colonoscopies and lumbar punctures in search of a measles causation. You see he had already made his mind up rather than a true investigation. Respect Wakefield all you like but to demand that others do is preposterous given the egregious abuse and fraud he has committed.
Again, the Poling case is in no way representative of what parents are claiming. There would have to be an underlying immune disorder present for what you suggest to be plausible. So how did all these children with immune disorders suddenly come into being? Also, only a fraction of ASD children exhibit GI symptoms or disorders, your ‘belief’ doesn’t account for the remainder.
There are some key points that you fail to acknowledge; first, Wakefield claimed it was the measles, not mumps portion of the MMR causing his diagnosis of “autistic enterocolitis” (not even an accepted diagnosis by the way). Second, Wakefield filed a patent for a single measles jab and “therapeutic” so he stood to gain a lot by creating fear of the triple jab and lastly, he also started a company, Immunotherapeutics for which he projected would rake in tens of millions of pounds annually testing for measles vaccine virus, diagnosing “autistic enterocolitis” and selling his nostrums. Besides that aseptic meningitis caused by the Urabe strain has a much different presentation and outcome than what Wakefield claimed caused by the measles vaccine strain.
Murdoch was not found guilty of medical or research malfeasance and Walker-Smith’s appeal has no bearing on what Wakefield did. Perhaps Wakefield should have appealed then. The GMC FTP’s decision was not a statement in favour of vaccines; it was a statement against the medical abuse of children in the care of some Royal Free doctors. Please don’t pull that “Wakefield never said it was the vaccines” nonsense. His press releases and subsequent statements and “research” with Kawashima et al. were quite specific about vilifying the triple MMR jab. http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2012/05/andrew-wakefields-many-statements-that-mmr-causes-autism/
No they didn’t. Now why would Royal Free get his entire payoff for him serving as an “expert witness” for Richard Barr’s GSK lawsuit? And the irony is is that Royal Free offered Wakefield a grant to replicate the Lancet work with a larger study group. Wakefield refused.
So much for being open-minded. It is completely false that BMJ recanted their claim of peer-review; that’s Child Health Safety bollocks. Unlike you, I can review the pertinent information that Deer has provided for myself and base my decision on that. You are the one lapping up CHS crap like pabulum and dismissing any criticism of St. Andy when the evidence against him is so overwhelming. What has Wakefield got other than, “I didn’t do it”? For someone who is not defending Wakefield, you’re sure defending Wakefield.
Brilliant postings! Measured and objective and non biased reasoning, and good sense. I don’t know how you have the patience to respond to these posters. I was waiting for someone like Estelle to come back pronto with all her anti Wakefield pro Brian Deer rubbish and it didn’t take her long I see. I lost the will to live after her “Wakefield subjecting children to unnecessary
colonoscopies and lumbar punctures” mantra since it is blindingly obvious she has not kept uptodate with the rulings over Walker Smith’s case in the High Court, where it was once again made abundantly clear to all clear that Wakefield was only a researcher athe Royal Free and did no clinical investigations himself and that Waker Smith did these investigations under his own steam with full ethical permissions and with fully sedated children. Sad woman our Estelle. Carry on please AJP. I enjoy your observations enormously.
AJPonder seems to be overinterpreting the High Court judgement on the GMC Hearing -perhaps under the influence of the online commentaries of the ChildHealthSafety crew and other Wakefield-ites. What the High Court said was that the GMC had not demonstrated that Walker-Smith did not BELIEVE, at the time of the childrens’ treatment, that he was doing clinically-indicated tests. It was part ‘what was in his mind’, and part ‘you must judge this by the standards of clinical testing/research THEN IN PRACTISE’ (i.e. in 1996-8). By current standards of practise and research ethics i) the RFH crew would never have been allowed to run such an obvious ‘fishing expedition’ using such serious and invasive tests by any ethics ctte;, and ii) W-S would have been on desperately dodgy ground pleading ‘clinically indicated’ for such invasive investigations, as by modern evidence-based standards they weren’t. But… things in medicine change a lot in a decade-plus, so it is necessary to judge W-S by the relevant standards of the time, as opposed to with the Retrospectoscope.
Anyway, the judgement therefore falls short of an exoneration, to my mind – it is more “W-S really should have known better, but the GMC didn’t prove he was wicked, as opposed to misguided and letting his enthusiasm run away with him and skew his judgement”. This, BTW, is pretty much what Brian Deer had said about W-S from the outset. And the judgement clearly did not ‘vindicate’ or ‘clear’ Wakefield, who emerged even more clearly as the guiding intelligence and driving force of the whole sorry farrago, or validate his ideas. The underlying point is that W-S was persuaded that there was a legitimate chance of diagnosing a treatable condition in the children (and thus the whole battery of tests were reasonable and clinically indicated) BECAUSE he had been persuaded by St Andy of the latter’s schtick that there was a genuine new and treatable clinical condition lurking in there to be found. If the latter was a mirage, based on St Andy’s conflict of interest and deliberate finagling, then the whole thing collapses.
This is also why St Andy’s ‘previous’ on Crohn’s and vaccines is relevant. He was already, as one anonymous Royal Free surgeon put it “convinced that measles vaccine is the root of all evil”. But of course Wakefield was, and is, incredibly plausible, and W-S was not the only one taken in.
Yes I have heard this theory too, and it is only that, a theory. i.e. that Walker Smith was manipulated by Wakefield. As if. How very insulting to a very fine gastroenterologist, WS is one of the world’s recognised best. And you are suggesting he had no mind of his own in this matter. Well it is the belief of the desperate I guess.
I have had it as usual with this site. Poner’s reply came up on my emails otherwise I would have never have popped back in. Over to you Ponder.
I try to give them kudos for trying to maintain a rational discussion. I’ve been reading alot about how many people process information – and why facts don’t always help the case. What many people actually need is a powerful authority figure to put a case and then they are more likely to respect it. Admittedly apart from about two years of intensively trying to figure out the ins and outs of coeliac I only have a BSc Hons in Biochem/genetics/botany (I got bored if I focussed on one thing – much to the disgust of the lecturers) So I’m hardly an authority figure.
Anyway I’ve pretty much given up on trying to convince people who are happy with their us against them philosophy, evil against good, authority vs hippy mothers who we assume have autistic kids and so therefore are incapable of thinking straight.
Now it’s all Wakefield is such a smooth talker he could take in anybody. Not on the coalface, not like that. It’s insulting. And that after seeing all the evidence they are still taken in – ridiculous. Worse I give the definition of the word theory – and then they jump down your throat for you using the word in it’s colloquial sense (what did they want you to say “I have an hypothesis” in an informal discussion? It’s a stock standard insult to indicate lack of knowledge of science – but truth is I tell my teenage son off for using such specious arguments by twisting common usage.
Now they’re saying the ethics permission wouldn’t have cut it – but missing exactly how ethics law has changed – and exactly what they were lacking, and instead insinuating the worst.
But most of all I’m sick of being called a disciple and a worshipper. Because – and I don’t know how they can’t see it – but maybe they should talk to some of the doctors who have somehow managed to retain a scientific curiosity. (I’d suggest going for some of the more educated of the rapid responses to Deer’s first BMJ “Article” but fat luck finding them. They really helped a tonne with understanding exactly what went on – especially with the clinical notes because I’m pretty sure I can understand science but clinical practice in terms of patient records was outside my knowledge – and interestingly enough these observations were not only what Wakefield was saying but were totally backed up by this current decision. )
We just have to hope – that sooner or later people will be able to have a sensible conversation about gastric issues and or vaccines and or autism without it constantly being overridden by this red rag to a bull phenomenon. I mean they can’t even see that Wakefield was only a researcher – they play up on his money “fraud” even after they’ve been proven false, but what’s the bet they’ve never looked into the financial connections of BMJ, Deer & Offit (another eye opener of the rapid responses I read – damn BMJ for purging them) here’s someone who seems to know more than I do, someone who claims his evidence was taken and misused by BMJ
Click to access david-lewis-bmj.pdf
and hell – I added this because it was funny (in a sad sad sick way) http://articles.businessinsider.com/2009-12-02/law_review/30076683_1_vioxx-merck-fraud-way
“there was enough evidence in the public domain for its shareholders to sue the company for fraud way back in 2001.” WELL before Mr (NB I got rid of the word saint because it was derogatory and I’m above such things – or like to think I am) Deer did anything anyhoo (2005). You gotta laugh or you’ll cry.
Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2009-12-02/law_review/30076683_1_vioxx-merck-fraud-way#ixzz1vsjEet00
The whole thing is sick.
And then there is this
And just in case anyone thought fraud was only Merck http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/business/glaxo-to-pay-3-billion-in-avandia-settlement.html
These companies are making billions – there is SO MUCH at stake. We as thinking human beings (and that includes medical professionals and scientists) MUST be able to say – “um, are you sure this is safe?” because if we can’t we’re screwed. And obviously we can’t because in effect Wakefield little study was hardly world shattering except for that one thing – that tiny question that was apparent in the paper. It ruined his career, two other doctors careers, near as dammit all the sup-ordinates who had to make a stupid statement that they refuted “implications” of the paper because vaccines are safe… That’s not something ANY scientist should EVER do. EVER! It makes me SO angry. And then it’s used to discredit the doctors who wouldn’t sign. I’d strike off the ones who did. Either they were too stupid to see what they were signing – or too weak-willed to stick to their principles. In either case they shouldn’t be in research or in medicine. Anyway. Enough. Enough. Everyone – if you’re sick – if you have autism, diabetes, stomach cancer, low iron, or crumbling bones, autoimmune disorders (and especially if you have a weird family history of such things – with OR without stomach problems or vaccine reactions) get a coeliac test – it might save your life, or your brain – which is much the same thing. BUT even if you test negative – you should still consider you have about a 20% chance of being coeliac – so AFTER the test if you really feel ill or run-down or have manic depression etc it’s worth finding out a little about the diet and go on an old fashioned challenge diet – or if you have the money test for DQ2, DQ8 genes. DQ2’s are the worst, DQ8’s not so bad, (and DQ1’s the next worst – apparently but mostly it’s DQ2 and DQ8 that I wouldn’t muck about with). They don’t mean you have full blown coeliac – but definitely indicate a propensity for it – and a real problem with gluten should it hit your bloodstream (approx 1/3 of people have antibodies for gluten depending on country). Good luck. Stay well. Believe nothing. Everything is but a theory to be disproved, or perhaps an hypothesis…
Patricia, instead of relying upon your personal feelings for St. Andy’s “dreamy looks”, read the transcripts. Dr. Aust explained it quite well since you can’t be bothered with doing some background. Wakefield wasn’t “only a researcher” and that was one of the charges against him and he was found guilty of. Oh did you conveniently forget that or did your sources selectively leave that out? There were no ethical approvals either; again another charge Wakefield was found guilty of. Wakefield also did a splendid job of holding meetings with the Royal Free group separately.
Theory. You keep using that word; I don’t think it means what you think it means. If you can’t use the proper syntax, a valid argument usually doesn’t follow. And lo and behold, it doesn’t. What makes you think that being a competent gastroenterologist precludes one from being duped? Walker-Smith wasn’t the only one snookered by St. Andy either and nearly all of them physicians. Considering Walker-Smith and Murch don’t have much nice to say about St. Andy, it doesn’t seem as though the latter is particularly well-supported by anyone he has worked with at Royal Free. Yet here are his sad rump of disciples still banging the drum.
So AW has “dreamy looks” does he Estelle?! Ho Ho now we are getting to the nub of it all aren’t we.. I have aso heard the expression “posh” applied to AW once on this Forum.
Poor Andrew, – “dreamy looking”, and how about well educated, erudite, charismatic, compassionate, and talented, oh dear, you just can’t handle it can you. And the whole of the staff at the Royal Free were hoodwinked by all these attributes were they, hoodwinked and manipulated, – how about “blinded by his Charismatic personality”? That good enough for you?
But sadly and ironically yes Estelle, you are right on this one score. Several of his fellow colleagues at the RF undoubtedly did suffer from the same complaint as you and your cohorts here, namely envy and resentment that someone so palpably decent could also appear to have it all. They couldn’t wait to shaft him Estelle. You’re still doing it. With outright lies. I can’t be doing with you lot. Sad sad. .
@ Patricia, I see that reference in quotations went right over your head. I can assure you that no one is jealous of a man referred to as the “greatest fraud in medical history”. Still haven’t read the GMC transcripts or reviewed the copious documentation of St. Andy’s fraud have you. I guess it’s easier to maintain your delusion that everyone else is lying except Wakefield.
Just to update what the feeling now is in the UK.
Sure Patricia, a six year-old Daily Fail article which cites a completely unfounded rant. And where is all this evidence Dr. Fletcher claims to have? Oh right, he’s based his assumption on Wakefield. Perhaps you should stay more current; there is copious evidence of the Wakefield fraud.
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