Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Andrew Wakefield and Cognitive Dissonance.

He made up a syndrome.

He performed unnecessary and risky medical procedures on children.

He received hundreds of thousands of pounds from lawyers for a study to look for that imaginary syndrome, because the imaginary syndrome could make the lawyers a lot of money.

He was horribly incompetent in his research methods.

He lied about what he did.

He sued Brian Deer, the investigative reporter who uncovered most of the fraud. He had to withdraw the law suit and pay the expenses of Brian Deer.

In 2004, when they became aware of the fraud, 10 of the 13 authors of the study had their names removed from that study.

On January 28, 2010, a little over a week ago, The General Medical Council released its verdict.

The Fitness to Practise Panel has heard this case under The General Medical Council Preliminary Proceedings Committee and Professional Conduct Committee (Procedure) Rules Order of Council 1988. It has considered which, if any of the facts not admitted by Dr Andrew Wakefield, Professor John Walker-Smith and Dr (now Professor) Simon Murch have been found proved and then went on to consider whether such facts found proved together with those admitted, would be insufficient to support a finding of serious professional misconduct.[1]

The Panel has accepted in full the advice of the Legal Assessor as to the approach to be taken. The three doctors have nothing to prove, the burden of proof is on the GMC throughout. If the Panel were not sure beyond reasonable doubt, the sub-head of charge was found not proved in favour of the doctor, in accordance with the criminal, as opposed to the civil, standard of proof.[1]

A lot of findings of Admitted and found proved.

A lot of findings of Found proved.

The occasional finding of Found not proved.

A lot of irresponsible – Found proved.

A lot of dishonest – Found proved.

Some crazy people are still defending Andrew Wakefield.

You would have to be crazy to defend that fraud.

Or dishonest and irresponsible.

These people have convinced themselves that vaccines cause autism, even though research has repeatedly shown no connection.

So, in order to protect themselves from having to admit that they endangered their children and other children, they need to defend this, even though Andrew Wakefield has admitted some of the fraud and a court has determined that he is guilty of a lot more.

When people should admit that they made a mistake, some will actually become even more defensive of their clearly mistaken position.

A clear case of cognitive dissonance.[2]

If you wish to read about the research that has been done on autism and vaccines, there are scores of studies.[3] Studies paid for by many different organizations – governments, universities, non-profit groups, and even drug companies. They don’t find any connection between vaccines and autism.

Andrew Wakefield was receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds from lawyers to show a connection. Is it surprising that he did?

Andrew Wakefield was working on a vaccine to compete with the MMR vaccine, so he has another reason he might benefit financially from making false accusations about the MMR.

Andrew Wakefield has shown that he is willing to subject children to risky procedures for no benefit to the children, as long as he makes his money.

There has been a lot written by others on the topic. In the comments the anti-vaccinationists will try all sorts of misleading approaches. Some will claim that they are not anti-vaccinationists, but that they only want safe vaccines.

Vaccines are safe.

How much safer could vaccines be?

There are a some examples in response to Dear Jenny McCarthy . . . at A Day In The Life Of An Ambulance Driver. Another is at Asshole doctor responsible for false MMR/autism claim gets his at Cranky Epistles.

In The martyrdom of St. Andy at Respectful Insolence, there is far more detail about the dishonest and irresponsible conspiracy to link autism and vaccines. A listing of a lot of posts on this topic, even some defending the fraud, can be found in On The Lancet’s Retraction of Wakefield’s 1998 Paper Alleging A Connection Between the MMR Vaccine and Autism at I Speak of Dreams.

The unfortunate thing is that Andrew Wakefield is still making over a quarter of a million dollars a year to spread his lies for Thoughtful House, an anti-vaccination organization in Texas. When it comes to Andrew Wakefield, follow the money – he does. He came to the US, but he is not a doctor in the US.

If you know of Andrew Wakefield pretending to be a doctor, call the police.

And vaccinate your children for their sake.

More information is available at Brian Deer’s website.

Footnotes:

^ 1 Fitness to Practice Panel Hearing
UK General Medical Council
January 28, 2010
Free Full Text

^ 2 Cognitive dissonance
Wikipedia
Article

^ 3 Vaccines and Autism
Science-Based Medicine
Article

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