Respectful Insolence

Via Black Triangle, I’ve come across an article about a real medical hero, a man responsible for the development of many of the vaccines we have today. Indeed, it can be argued that this man, Dr. Maurice Hillman, may have saved more lives than any other physician in history. Those who remember him describe his reaction to the controversy stirred up by Andrew Wakefield:

The MMR was introduced into the UK in 1988, but became increasingly controversial following Andrew Wakefield’s study published in the Lancet in the late 1990s, which linked the vaccine with autism.

That study has now been discredited, and Dr Wakefield faces the prospect of serious professional misconduct charges.

However, the fall-out from the paper resulted in MMR uptake rates dropping to levels which experts warned could lead to a measles epidemic.

Dr Adel Mahmoud, President of Merck Vaccines, recalled how this affected Dr Hilleman.

“It saddened him to see that knowledge was twisted in such a way to play in the hands of the anti-vaccine movement and not really appreciate what vaccines are all about.

“They are about protection of individual, but also protection of the society so you achieve ‘herd immunity’.

“Maurice believed in that and it really pained him a lot to see what was happening in the UK.”

Dr Paul Offit, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Children’s Hospital Philadelphia said: “I think it’s sad that this tremendous achievement got taken up as a controversial one when it was frankly never controversial in the medical community.”

Sadder still is the return of measles in the U.K. with a vengeance, thanks to the decreased vaccination rate due to the science for hire that Andrew Wakefield did.

Comments

  1. #1 epador
    June 24, 2006

    Somewhere in there there should be a lawsuit against Wakefield…

  2. #2 David Edwards
    June 24, 2006

    Oh there will be in time, don’t worry … the tragedy is that any lawsuit will probably be a direct result of children dying from the resurgence of measles and other diseases that should have been kept in abeyance, but which were allowed to return to haunt us because Wakefield flushed everything that his M.D. stood for down the toilet when he sold his soul to the anti-vaccine lobby. Unfortunately, the chances of that lawsuit extending to the people who cash the cheques from jumping on that bandwagon are slim.

  3. #3 Common Sense
    June 24, 2006

    “Dr Paul Offit, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Children’s Hospital Philadelphia said: “I think it’s sad that this tremendous achievement got taken up as a controversial one when it was frankly never controversial in the medical community.”

    Hey, I agree with Offit here. It is very sad that it is not more controversial in the medical community. It tells me that doctors are far too concerned about following the CDC and AAP’s recommendations than they are about using their common sense and listening to ALL parents.

  4. #4 Catherina
    June 24, 2006

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=14613687

    [35-year measles, mumps, rubella vaccination assessment in France]

    RESULTS: In France over the period of time considered, almost 2 million meningitis, 60 000 encephalitis, 170 subacute sclerosis panencephalitis and more than 5600 neurological sequaela including more than 600 deafness cases have been avoided as a result of the MMR vaccination programme. Moreover, 590 000 pneumonia, more than one million of acute otitis media and 300 000 orchitis, 3000 rubella infection cases occurring during pregnancy have also been avoided. Overall, more than 12 000 deaths that have been avoided as a result of the MMR vaccination.

    That is only in France – even more lives were saved in the rest of Europe and in the US. Every child who dies of measles these days is one too many!

  5. #5 Wade Rankin
    June 24, 2006

    Hey, you left out the really choice Offit quote from the article:

    “I don’t think we would ever be able to make vaccine as quickly as he made it.
    “How did he do it? He basically ignored regulatory agency at the time. He knew he was going to make the vaccine safely and he got it done.”

    How telling is that statement. It’s not like the regulators are really doing all that much to get in the way, but even that seems like too much for some people.

  6. #6 Common Sense
    June 25, 2006

    Wow, Wade. Thanks for pointing that quote out from Offit. What a complete twit he is. To Offit, ignoring regulatory agencies is a heroic deed. Poor Offit now has to deal with all these silly agencies (as pathetic as they are) telling him what he can do and can’t do … Poor guy. My heart bleeds for him. Frightening….

  7. #7 clone3g
    June 25, 2006

    Wade Said: It’s not like the regulators are really doing all that much to get in the way, but even that seems like too much for some people.

    That was then and this is now. I’m not defending Paul Offit or the way the MMR was developed but why the double standard here Wade? The Geiers don’t seem overly concerned with regulatory agencies nor do most of the DAN! doctors you are so fond of.

    You’ve rarely missed an opportunity to bash Offit so I’m curious as to why you hold so much animosity toward the man? Did he cause your child’s autism or something or is it just what you do when you are in the Chelation/Biomed camp? What is it about Paul Offit that bothers you so?

    Where’s the objective and balanced Wade you try to project?

  8. #8 Wade Rankin
    June 25, 2006

    Clone,

    Balance is highly overrated.

    Any balance some may find in my writing comes not by design but by the fact that I am able, by temperament and training, to see both sides of an issue. No matter how many sides I look at Dr. Offit, however, I can’t help but think he is either a shameless hypocrite or a dangerous fool. Other than that, though I have nothing against him. Indeed, I owe him a debt of gratitude. I refer to Paul O. as “the blogger’s buddy,” because whenever I can’t find anything to write about, he tends to open his mouth and give me lots of material.

  9. #9 Orac
    June 25, 2006

    Other than that, though I have nothing against him. Indeed, I owe him a debt of gratitude. I refer to Paul O. as “the blogger’s buddy,” because whenever I can’t find anything to write about, he tends to open his mouth and give me lots of material.

    I notice that you simply launched an ad hominem without actually providing any evidence to support your attack against Offit.

    In any case, I’d take 100 Paul Offits over even a single one of the Geiers any day, any time. One can’t help but wonder what you think of the Geiers’ latest antics with dubious IRBs to “approve” their research. Whatever you can say about Offit (much of which I doubt is truly all that bad), the Geiers beat him 100-fold with their blatantly unethical and bogus “research.” Ditto Wakefield, who’s just as bad as the Geiers, having done his research on the dime of the trial lawyers and filed a patent application on his alternative vaccine before ever publishing his results and without having disclosed his blatant conflict of interest. If Offit’s even come close to matching the level of ethical lapses of the antivaccination warriors who claim that vaccines somehow cause autism, please do tell.

  10. #10 Hey Zeus is my homeboy
    June 26, 2006

    Balance is highly overrated.
    Any balance some may find in my writing comes not by design but by the fact that I am able, by temperament and training, to see both sides of an issue.

    Got to love the “I’m a lawyer and I’m trained to see the things to which every one else in the world is blind.” Yeah, that’s right. No one else has tried to work out the logic behind sitting down on a kid to hold him down and injecting him with the chemical castration drug in order to satisfy some sick sense of self importance. Here’s a hint – the logic is broken, so bring a pogo stick if you want to walk that line.

    People, this is coming from a guy who has taken pains not to look like a dyed-in-the-wool DAN!/woo/homeopathic experimentalist in order not to look so extreme (wouldn’t want to alienate ingratiating readers).

    I just love how some guy with both a self-endearing view of his own IQ and a god complex tries to berate others he sees has competing for the god complex kingship.

    So let’s focus on Wakefield. Looks like Wakefield is primarily responsible for the the measles outbreaks in Britain and elsewhere. Wow, that’s so responsible. Is he responsible for a corresponding drop in autism? Hmmmmm… haven’t seen one, so it’s not looking good for the Wakers team. There’s a guy I want to jump up and defend, whatever.

    Wade, come out of the closet to proclaim your DAN!ish love for all those things extreme. I promise there will be at least 3 people who will still love your blog.

    PS – nice sticker, it might look better on your forehead to cover up the finger-L.

  11. #11 Wade Rankin
    June 26, 2006

    Orac,

    Dr. Offit’s failure to acknowledge his dealings with vaccine manufacturers is pretty well documented in various places. My problem is not just with his ethics, though, but more with the substance — or lack thereof — in his opinionns that so many policy makers and memnbers of the medical profession lap up without taking a critical look. I have covered that lack of substance in a few blog posts, including a debunking of his crying wolf over the isolated legal problems arising from the “Cutter Incident.” Just go to the blog and use the search function.

  12. #12 clone3g
    June 26, 2006

    Whether you realize it or not, Wade, loathing Paul Offit is a calling card for anti-vaxxers. it’s like the secret handshake. Would you have discovered (what you call) his lack of substance and ethics on your own if others hadn’t convinced you that he’s a bad man?

    I know you can think for yourself but and again, I’m not defending Offit, but what is that you have against the man that you are so quick to join in harmony with fundamentalist anti-vaxxers like common Sue?

    If you feel so strongly about the man you should be able to defend your position in ways more substantial than pointing at your blog and telling someone to use the search function.

    Is that how you handle yourself in court? “Your honor, I can’t help but think he is either a shameless hypocrite or a dangerous fool.”

  13. #13 Common Sense
    June 26, 2006

    “I notice that you simply launched an ad hominem without actually providing any evidence to support your attack against Offit”.

    I, too, suggest that you wander over to Wade’s blog to see what he has said about Paul Offit in the past.

    People pick and choose all day long about what bothers them the most in this debate. For example, you guys will go on and on about the Geiers, Wakefield, Kirby, Olmsted, etc. but the second anyone asks you about the bogus Danish studies or the lack of transparency in the VSD data and mums the word. You can hear a pin drop. It’s no different. Orac, if you do choose to take 100 Paul Offits over the Geiers, I would urge you to keep your eyes open at all times. With just one Paul Offit you would be at risk for being injected with 10,000 vaccines at one time (try 5,000 flu shots and 5,000 mmr’s). With 100 Paul Offit’s you do the math.

  14. #14 Common Sense
    June 26, 2006

    “Would you have discovered (what you call) his lack of substance and ethics on your own if others hadn’t convinced you that he’s a bad man”?

    Ah, excuse me, Clone. How much research did you do with Seidel’s expose on the Geiers? What did you personally do to discredit Wakefield? Come on. Get over yourself.

  15. #15 Dave Seidel
    June 26, 2006

    Wade, your silence on the Geiers is deafening. Do you really have no comment? As a lawyer, I would expect you to revel in the cavalcade of well-documented facts regarding their alleged ethical and legal lapses.

  16. #16 Calm On Scents
    June 26, 2006

    Sue M telling someone to get over themselves? Now that’s rich!

    Did clone have anything to do with discrediting Wakefield? I doubt it, Wakefield took care of that himself.

    And from what I’ve seen on Kathleen’s blog, I don’t think she needs anyone’s help in her well-executed body slam of the Geiers. What she has done just might land those shady characters where they belong.

    The real question is, 5 months, 5 years, 50 years after Wakee and the Vultures have been exposed as incompetent (already happened, mind you), frauds, and/or criminals, will Sue M, Erik N, Wade R, and John Best Junior still sing their praises?

    I can see it now, a conveyer belt of kids tied down.
    Station 1: tattoo stating NO MMR
    Station 2: chelation injection
    Station 3: Lupron injection
    Station 4: MeB12 nasal spray
    Station 5: Electric Shock to stop the crying
    Station 6: Send urine (squeezed out of pants following shock therapy) to a quack lab
    Station 7: Try a little Zeolite injection for fun
    Station 8: yank ‘em off the belt and put back to station 1

    For those wondering, the Rescue Angel Extraordinaire and buddy of Handley, Rankin, and others advocates shock therapy. I wonder what these people do to their kids behind closed doors?

  17. #17 Common Sense
    June 26, 2006

    “The real question is, 5 months, 5 years, 50 years after Wakee and the Vultures have been exposed as incompetent (already happened, mind you), frauds, and/or criminals, will Sue M, Erik N, Wade R, and John Best Junior still sing their praises”?

    Time will tell how this will play out. I will ask again (to myself due to the deafening silence when this comes up). Where are the “more competent” researchers? Why aren’t they being given access to the VSD data? They should be able to clear it right up, shouldn’t they? Maybe they already have:

    “….we have found statistically significant relationships between the exposure and outcomes for these different exposures and outcomes. First, for two months of age, an unspecified developmental delay, which has its own specific ICD9 code. Exposure at three months of age, Tics. Exposure at six months of age, an attention deficit disorder. Exposure at one, three, and six months of age, language and speech delays which are two separate ICD9 codes. Exposures at one, three, and six months of age, the entire category of neurodevelopmental delays, which includes all of these plus a number of other disorders.” Dr. Thomas Verstraeten, page 40, Simpsonwood meeting transcript.

    But don’t worry they weren’t trying to hide anything:

    “….let me just re-emphasize, if I could, the importance of trying to protect the information that we have been talking about. As many of you know, we are invited here. We have asked you to keep this information confidential.” Dr. Roger Bernier, page 113, Simpsonwood meeting transcript.

    There is one thing that I know will happen in 50 years, when this topic comes up the response will be I can’t believe that people back then thought that it was safe to inject mercury into babies… holy crap!

  18. #18 clone3g
    June 26, 2006

    Sue M: Ah, excuse me, Clone. How much research did you do with Seidel’s expose on the Geiers? What did you personally do to discredit Wakefield?

    Um, yeah. Did you have a point here Sue or is it your usual nonsense? Watch for the IM from Wade asking you not to jump to his defense.

  19. #19 Common Sense
    June 26, 2006

    “Um, yeah. Did you have a point here Sue or is it your usual nonsense? Watch for the IM from Wade asking you not to jump to his defense”.

    I’m not jumping to Wade’s defense. He’s a grown man. I just found it quite ironic that you said this:

    “Would you have discovered (what you call) his lack of substance and ethics on your own if others hadn’t convinced you that he’s a bad man”?

    So, Wade has to discover Offit’s lack of substance and ethics on his own without others pointing it out for him for it to be legit criticism. Yet you can use everything from Seidel to bolster your opinions. Sounds pretty hypocritical, doesn’t it?

  20. #20 clone3g
    June 26, 2006

    No, Wade doesn’t need to discover anything. My point was that the name “Paul Offit” would be meaningless to you and Wade if you weren’t opposed to vaccines. Since Wade can’t answer, why don’t you tell us why you have such contempt for the man. Has he harmed you or your family?

    As for my opinions, when have I used everything (or anything) from Seidel to bolster them? Everything sounds hypocritical and ironic to you Sue. You see conspiracies around every corner.

  21. #21 Common Sense
    June 27, 2006

    “My point was that the name “Paul Offit” would be meaningless to you and Wade if you weren’t opposed to vaccines”.

    Wrong. Again. The name Paul Offit would be meaningless to me if vaccines didn’t play a role in screwing up my kids’ immune systems (most likely). Similarly, Geier and Wakefield would be meaningless to you if you weren’t autistic OR if you weren’t interested in autism (not sure about your status). No difference.

    “Since Wade can’t answer, why don’t you tell us why you have such contempt for the man”.

    He’s a moron. Easy :)

  22. #22 Bet Hedging Hg Hypothesizer
    June 27, 2006

    The name Paul Offit would be meaningless to me if vaccines didn’t play a role in screwing up my kids’ immune systems (most likely).

    which means:
    Definitive statement (I think).

    so here’s the summary:
    Sue M. is angry because she thinks that a shot messed up her kids’ health. She’s got no evidence for it, but has collected various facts that glued together can form the picture she wants to see. So she attacks people who support the shot. She has nothing to do with autism, but since there exists a sympathetic ear to her ravings and since no one else will listen, she beats the anti-vax drum there. Ok.

    clone3g et al are angry because Wakefield and Geiers invent science and target the easy marks in order to make a buck. The snake oil hooligans have been thrown out of mainstream science (whether they were ever there is debatable), yet they continue to market their wares to those who are desperate and are reaching out for help. The hooligans have a track record of dishonesty, but that’s no problem for some parents who intend to inject their kid with anything they can get their hands on.

    Ok. Now I got it. Thanks and bye.

  23. #23 Common Sense
    June 28, 2006

    Hey Hypothesizer (Clone, Joe, Bart, or some other ND nerd)

    You’ve clearly been spending way too much time on the ND blogs. You really need to branch out to see what the regular people are saying. Here’s a hint: They are NOT saying that mercury in vaccines is safe.

    I put the (most likely) in there for the sake of the nitwits who attack when you don’t. Of course these same nitwits have no issue with saying “thimerosal in vaccines has NOTHING to do with autism”. Sure nitwits.

  24. #24 Bronze Dog
    June 28, 2006

    You really need to branch out to see what the regular people are saying.

    They’re also saying that psychic powers are real, they’ve seen ghosts, and that Bigfoot lives in my back yard.

    I don’t care what people say. I care what the data says.

  25. #25 Common Sense
    June 28, 2006

    “They’re also saying that psychic powers are real, they’ve seen ghosts, and that Bigfoot lives in my back yard.
    I don’t care what people say. I care what the data says”.

    The places that I frequent DO NOT talk about these things such as ghosts and Bigfoot. Possibly when you only frequent sites which speak of Tom Cruise eating placenta and sites which tell little stories about fishies speaking to each other (and all the people who read these stories think that they are just WONDERFUL), that’s when you need to go out to see what other people have to say.

    Unlike you, I do care what people say on this issue. I do believe parents and what they have seen. I do believe that injecting a neurotoxin into babies is a bad idea. Common Sense, baby, common sense.

  26. #26 Bronze Dog
    June 29, 2006

    The places that I frequent DO NOT talk about these things such as ghosts and Bigfoot. Possibly when you only frequent sites which speak of Tom Cruise eating placenta and sites which tell little stories about fishies speaking to each other (and all the people who read these stories think that they are just WONDERFUL), that’s when you need to go out to see what other people have to say.

    Swing and a miss. CS misses my point entirely. What people believe and what reality is are two entirely different things.

    Unlike you, I do care what people say on this issue. I do believe parents and what they have seen. I do believe that injecting a neurotoxin into babies is a bad idea. Common Sense, baby, common sense.

    Sorry, but I don’t believe something just because people claim to know what they’ve seen. If I did, I’d be buying into magical titanium pendants, Q-Ray, and that chip that allegedly improves your CD sound quality.

    What neurotoxin? There’s no neurotoxin in vaccines that I’ve seen proof of. Show me proof that one of the components is toxic in the amount given.

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