The Corpus Callosum

The Sunday Times in the UK is reporting on efforts to being criminal
charges against a doctor who claimed that the MMR vaccine caused
autism.  Millions of children went unvaccinated, and now the
UK has an outbreak of measles.

Continue below the fold…


href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2230936,00.html">Focus:
How a spurious health scare brought an old killer back
The Sunday Times     
June 18, 2006

Brian Deer

As health chiefs last week reported the worst outbreaks of measles
across Britain in 20 years, slow progress was being made in bringing to
justice the doctor who sparked the MMR scare.

At the high court in London, lawyers for the General Medical Council
(GMC) gave the first public hearing to disciplinary charges against
Andrew Wakefield, whose scientific paper published eight years ago
caused millions to shun the vaccination for fear that their children
might contract autism.

The charges against Wakefield, 50, are some of the most extensive seen.
Timothy Dutton QC told Mr Justice Silberman that the GMC, the body that
regulates doctors, was considering 10 counts of serious professional
misconduct.

They include publishing “inadequately founded”
research, obtaining funding “improperly” and
subjecting children to “unnecessary and invasive
investigations” without proper ethical approval.

Early next year these and other charges will be heard by the
GMC’s fitness to practise panel. Empowered to strike
Wakefield off the medical register, the hearing is expected to last two
months and will be one of the most high-profile adjudications seen…

This surely will create quite a stir.  It won’t put the
controversy to rest, though, unless perhaps it can be shown that some
data were fabricated.

Comments

  1. #1 Dan R.
    June 18, 2006

    I don’t think this is a criminal trial. Its a hearing by the GMC (the equivalent of a State Medical Board).

  2. #2 Joseph j7uy5
    June 18, 2006

    You are correct. I read it again and it is not a criminal process; it’s a civil process. A US newspaper probably would not have used the word “charges” or the phrase “bring to justice” in that context, so I jumped to a conclusion. Thanks for pointing that out.

  3. #3 FhnuZoag
    June 18, 2006

    I doubt this procedure will produce any real benefit.

    To many in the tabloid scaremongering media here in the UK, the MMR issue has already become a matter of faith. To such people and to their audience, meta studies, large scale investigations and so on and so forth mean nothing. All that matters is that a certain cute looking kid got autism some period of time after having a MMR jab, and the parent believes that the vaccination was to blame. Or rather, disbelieves that in fact no one was obviously to blame, that their tragedy was just a random stroke of massively bad fortune.

    No weight of evidence can overturn personal anecdotes to these people. All they see is people that the media told them have destroyed their children try to protect themselves and their material assets. An investigation into Wakefield will just reinforce their conspiracy theories. Mark my words.

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