Respectful Insolence

The plot thickens.

Earlier, I discussed how disgraced, struck-off anti-vaccine physician Dr. Andrew Wakefield, deciding that being humiliated once by the courts in a libel action wasn’t enough, has apparently decided to have another bite at the apple. Given that he was so thoroughly humiliated in the notoriously plaintiff-friendly (for libel cases, at least) British legal system, it beggars imagination that he or his attorneys would think that he has a prayer of prevailing in Texas, but sue Brian Deer Andrew Wakefield has done anyway. His legal complaint accuses investigative journalist Deer of libeling him in his article published a year ago in the BMJ that found that he had committed fraud in the research he published in 1998 in The Lancet in which he claimed to have found a link between the MMR vaccine and what later became known in antivaccine circles as “autistic enterocolitis.” Never mind that by that point Wakefield had already been struck off the British medical register by the General Medical Council and ousted from his position at Thoughtful House. Never mind that by that point, his Lancet paper had been retracted. Never mind that a combination of all of those things had, in my opinion, destroyed what little respectability from a scientific standpoint was left of Andrew Wakefield’s reputation. Apparently, if this lawsuit is to be believed, Deer’s article was so damaging to Wakefield’s reputation that he had to act. A year later. By filing a lawsuit that has very little chance of succeeding. As Popehat and The Skeptical Lawyer point out, jurisdictional issues alone make bringing such a suit problematic, to say the least.

As you have probably surmised, I’m very suspicious of the motivation and timing of this lawsuit. Why did Wakefield wait a whole year? Were the trolls commenting after this post, who kept trying to goad Brian Deer into commenting about “child 11″ in the Lancet trial working in a concerted fashion to try to get Deer to say something in public that would help Wakefield’s case? In retrospect, I have to wonder if that’s the case.

In the meantime, here’s a curious link I missed the first time around and sent to me by one of my regular readers. This link is with the Autism Trust USA. Poking around, one sees that Jake Crosby and his parents, as well as other Age of Autism hangers-on, are involved, for instance on this tour of Lake Travis in July. Now look at this webpage describing the National Board. Note that Carmel Wakefield, Andrew Wakefield’s wife, is on the board and the executive committee. Note that Imogon Wakefield (apparently Andrew Wakefield’s daughter) is on the Junior Advisory Board. Now look at who else is also on the Junior Advisory Board.

Anna Christine Parrish.

Who is Andrew Wakefield’s lawyer bringing the libel suit?

William M. Parrish.

Coincidence? Possibly, but I tend to doubt it. Is Christine Parrish William Parrish’s daughter? Inquiring minds want to know! It would be a reasonable guess to conclude that she is, although it’s possible that Christine just shares a last name with William Parrish by coincidence. It’s also possible that Andrea Parrish, who signed the We Support Andrew Wakefield petition, is also related to William Parrish, but she might not be, either.

It makes me wonder, though.

One of the biggest questions about why Wakefield is suing now is how he’s able to afford to sue. I could be wrong, but I highly doubt that there would be a decent lawyer willing to take his case on a contingency basis, given how infinitesimally small his chances would be of prevailing and ultimately getting paid enough to make it worth his while. So bringing this suit can easily rack up some huge legal fees for Wakefield, who is currently pretty much freelance. It’s hard to imagine how Wakefield can afford to pay for this lawsuit. There are a couple of possibilities. Either he has a wealthy backer (or wealthy backers) who are fronting the bill for his legal consultations and fees. Alternatively, maybe Parrish is taking Wakefield’s case pro bono because his daughter and Wakefield’s daughter are both on the Junior Advisory Board of the Autism Trust USA. Maybe Parrish is a true believer, hence his daughter’s presence on the board. Who knows? Maybe it’s a combination of the these possibilities.

Either way, the plot thickens, and, sadly, the Andrew Wakefield saga is not over, as much as I wish it were.

ADDENDUM: For those of you who were wondering if this is real, it is.

Comments

  1. #1 Lawrence
    January 5, 2012

    @Orac – certainly a more convincing 6-Degrees connection than any of the AoA tripe – this is going to be very interesting.

  2. #2 MikeMa
    January 5, 2012

    @Lawrence,
    It is fun to play the Kevin Bacon game against them for a change.

  3. #3 Emily Willingham
    January 5, 2012

    Parrish lives 0.2 miles from Wakefield’s house. They are neighbors in a very exclusive Austin neighborhood. I’m guessing that’s part of the relationship. Parrish does not appear to practice law in this realm. Anna Parrish does appear, per Spokeo, to be associated with that family, but she’s given on Spokeo as being in her 50s, which would preclude her being Parrish’s daughter unless he was extraordinarily precocious. On the other hand, Spokeo is often wrong about specifics.

  4. #4 Jen in TX
    January 5, 2012

    “One of the biggest questions about why Wakefield is suing now is how he’s able to afford to sue…”

    AofA made a plea for donations to a mystery “legal fund” a few months back. One wonders if this is what the donations were going towards.

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2011/10/a-request-to-readers.html

  5. #5 Orac
    January 5, 2012

    There is a picture of Anna Parrish on the Autism Trust USA website. She looks to be in her teens or early 20s.

  6. #6 Emily Willingham
    January 5, 2012

    I imagine she is the daughter. The people Spokeo has living with each other are sometimes completely nonsensical and far off on ages.

  7. #7 Ren
    January 5, 2012

    The more we peel off the layers of this onion, the stinkier it gets.

  8. #8 Denice Walter
    January 5, 2012

    The Autism Trust will host the “first annual Mardi Gras Festival and Conference” 2/25/12 (@ their website). Diverse activities will include a Talk by AJW… and zip lining! Price range: 75 USD- 1000 to (blank space). Maybe we should go.

  9. #9 Jolo5309
    January 5, 2012

    Based on some googling Anna Christine Parrish is at least related to William Parrish and is most probably his daughter.

    http://wcfish.tributes.com/show/Joseph-Lamar-Parrish-89038660

  10. #10 daedalus2u
    January 5, 2012

    The Popehat post was quite informative. I suspect this whole thing is a scam to get $$$ from supporters. That is why they did it in Texas where there is essentially zero chance of prevailing and not in England where it is “loser pays”.

    The Texas Anti-SLAPP law is interesting. If invoked, Wakefield could be compelled to pay the legal costs of BMJ and Brian Deer in getting the libel suit dismissed via the anti-SLAPP law. Yet another opportunity to scam money from Wakefield’s supporters. I wonder if the BMJ, Deer legal costs are going to be made public? If they were, then the Wakefield supporters could know how much of the donations were going toward the settlement and how much was being skimmed off. My guess is that Wakefield will want the costs to be kept secret, but he may not have the power to do so. It isn’t a voluntary settlement like when Wakefield withdrew his libel suit against Deer, this is a court ordering payment. The BMJ and Deer would be within their rights (I think, but IANAL) to make the information public. Keeping it secret isn’t a condition of the payment, it is a court order to pay.

  11. #11 MikeMa
    January 5, 2012

    More money wasted rather than spent on autism research. As if Wakefield cares.

  12. #12 Prometheus
    January 5, 2012

    Ah! Another possible motivation for the lawsuit! Not only to rally the faithful, but to Hoover out their wallets at the same time – brilliant!

    This also helps explain “the dog that didn’t bark” – why Wakefield is filing the lawsuit in Texas instead of the UK (where libel laws are infinitely more plaintiff-friendly). As I mentioned in a comment on the previous post, I suspect the aim of filing suit in Texas was to lose (or, more precisely, have the suit dismissed) as quickly as possible and so get the promotional benefit of filing a lwasuit as cheaply as possible. This same strategy would also consume as little of the “legal aid” donations as possible, with more left over to cover “other expenses”.

    I imagine that Wakefield’s speaking engagements aren’t covering the mortgage on his home in that swank Austin neighbourhood, so he could really use the extra dosh.

    Funny, I always think of myself as being cynical, but apparently I’m not half as cynical as St. Andrew of Austin.

    Prometheus

  13. #13 lilady
    January 5, 2012

    The Autism Trust USA is an offshoot of the Autism Trust UK charity. Dan Burns, the parent of a an autistic child is the driving force of the USA charity…he was interviewed on television and they have plans to build a “village” in Austin specifically for autistic older children to live and to have employment.

    It seems that Jolo5309 has found the memorial notice for the father and grandfather of William Parrish and Anna Christine Parrish…so they are related.

    There is this on the Autism Trust USA website about the charity:

    Disclaimer: The Autism Trust USA is a tax exempt organization qualified to received tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers, or gifts. Contributions are decuctible (sic) under the IRS tax code. The Autism Trust USA is not a chartered bank or trust company, or depository institution. It is not authorized to accept deposits or trust accounts and is not licensed or regulated by any state or federal banking authority.

    They are a tax exempt charity, required to file forms yearly with the IRS…and required to show salaries and expenses on that form. Is Andrew Wakefield drawing a salary? Carmel Wakefield, as a board member is not permitted to draw a salary and not permitted to charge “fees” for consulting work performed for the charity.

    In order to maintain “tax-exempt” status, the charity itself as well as their employees and board members cannot engage in any politicking.

    I’ve been on the boards of two charities that provide services for the developmentally disabled and they do receive tax dollars support through state and federal legislators…the so called “member items”.

    The attorney Parrish has merely drawn up a preliminary complaint for Wakefield and served it through international mail under the provisions of the Hague Convention. The U.K. is a signatory to the Convention. I suspect that if Andy wishes to continue his lawsuits, that he will need a different attorney who is a specialist in libel and slander law…for which he is going to need a bundle of money.

  14. #14 lilady
    January 5, 2012

    @ Lawrence & MikeMa: We started out with six degrees of separation and are narrowing it to five degrees of separation…as opposed to the six degrees of separation and expanding it to sixty, then six hundred degrees of separation.

    There really is a difference in our musings at RI and the tortured, convoluted paranoia at AoA.

  15. #15 daedalus2u
    January 5, 2012

    The whole case for “damages” hinges on what Wakefield’s business/profession is, and how that has been damaged by these articles. To prove and quantify damages, Wakefield has to show that he has lost income as a result of these publications.

    I think that means he would have to disclose his sources of income, and his attempts at practicing his profession(s) which have been thwarted by the adverse publicity of these publications. If Wakefield is claiming loss income as a researcher, how many research proposals has he submitted for how much and to whom? Did any of those rejections cite the BMJ publication as a reason? What do the funding agencies that evaluated the proposals say was the reason for their rejection?

    He doesn’t have a medical license in the US (or the UK now) and hasn’t practiced for many years, so non-income from not treating patients isn’t because of the BMJ publication of a year ago.

    My guess is that Wakefield lied to the lawyer that is bringing the case, and that lawyer didn’t do a proper due diligence and analysis of the case before filing the complaint.

    Maybe Wakefield is planning to settle with BMJ and Deer with secret terms (secret because Wakefield will pay them to settle rather than allow this case to go through discovery and litigation) and in public pretend that BMJ and Deer paid him but it took gigantic legal efforts to do so, so send in more money.

  16. #16 MikeMa
    January 5, 2012

    @lilady
    You are right of course that we are playing a much more interesting version of the game. With the quality of the posts, posters, and general openness here as compared with AoA, I never had any doubt our game would be of much higher quality and result:)

  17. #17 Clark Baker
    January 5, 2012

    Whether ORAC knows anything about medicine or science is unclear, but he knows NOTHING about how to conduct an investigation.

    Having conducted thousands of criminal, civil and military investigations since 1980, it was clear from the onset that Deer’s so-called investigation resembled more of a hit-piece than a real investigation. As such, it was the perfect pretext for the kangaroo court known as the medical board review.

    ORAC’s outrage is also telling. Since truth is the best defense in such cases, Deer’s defense should be extremely easy – unless, of course, he lied to destroy Dr. Wakefield’s career.

    Because I have been involved in more than 100 criminal, civil and military cases involving medical and scientific incompetence since 2009, I am not at all impressed that ORAC is funded by the DoD, NCI or any other US government agency. And having recently cleared a US Marine of criminal charges by impeaching a top military infectious disease expert, I’d say that ORAC’s outrage is likely based upon his fear that he will be eventually be discovered as a charlatan as well.

    If ORAC is telling the truth, nothing would preclude the use of his real name. The fact that he blogs on this pharmaceutical marketing website is telling.

    Clark Baker LAPD (ret)

  18. #18 lilady
    January 5, 2012

    Hmmm, maybe we are at 4.5 degrees of separation now. Posted on today’s AoA:

    Touch, See, Feel, Move: The Brookwood Community in Texas and the Autism Epidemic

    -Guest Journalist Dan E. Burns (of Autism Trust USA fame)

    Mr. Burns describes his visit to Brookwood Community, which was parent-funded for start-up money.

    I know of parent groups in New York State, which, impatient to get the State to move to develop a group home, did hire an executive director and fundraiser and put up their own “seed money” for the down payment of a group home, for their own children to reside in. They were not huge complexes such as the Camphill Village “communes”, one of which is located in Copake, New York, where I visited about 15 years ago.

    BTW, the inhabitants of the group home pay off the mortgage with their SSI payments.

    Mr. Burns wrote this article that was published at AoA on the very day that Orac informs us of the lawsuit instituted by Wakefield…coincidence???

  19. #19 Den!s
    January 5, 2012

    not to wreck the thread but….

    woot!, just had my herpes zoster vaccine (shingles). The only part I didn’t particularly like was the cost of $188, but whatever, a small cost compared to not getting shingles

  20. #20 Liz Ditz
    January 5, 2012

    My recollection that the begging at AoA for a legal defense fund was for some vaccine-refusing family in Texas, whose children were taken by Children’s Services because of … (refusing vaccines?) or something.

    It is very curious that none of the Wakefield faithful have spoken up.

  21. #21 MikeMa
    January 5, 2012

    @Clark Baker,
    Bullshit. An investigator of your ‘caliber’ should have dug a little deeper.

  22. #22 Orac
    January 5, 2012

    Methinks Clark Baker reveals the level of his investigative skill by his apparently not having figured out who I really am, something I daresay at least one-third to one half of my readers know.

  23. #23 Lawrence
    January 5, 2012

    @Clark Baker – I second the bullshit. You obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

  24. #24 Marry Me, Mindy
    January 5, 2012

    I don’t know, folks. Maybe we should listen to Clark. If there’s anyone who knows all about carrying out an investigation so botched that it can’t deflect accusations of falsifying evidence, it is the LAPD.

  25. #25 MI Dawn
    January 5, 2012

    Now, now, fellow minions. Don’t be so hard on poor Clark. He’s LAPD (ret) you know, so doesn’t have access to all the awesome stuff active duty officers have. AND, the website he linked to is SO VERY IMPRESSIVE! Vaccines have TOXINS you know! AND he just managed to IMPEACH a top government Infectious Disease official. Aren’t you impressed? I sure am!!! I’m gonna run right out and support his website.

    Besides, it’s just SO HARD to figure out who Orac is. I mean, it’s not like he has a “friend” who posts on another blog under his real name, or anything….

    (/sarcasm, for those who are deficient in tone-reading…)

  26. #26 Matthew Cline
    January 5, 2012

    @Clark Baker:

    ORAC’s outrage is also telling. Since truth is the best defense in such cases, Deer’s defense should be extremely easy – unless, of course, he lied to destroy Dr. Wakefield’s career.

    Orac was similarly “outraged” over similar libel lawsuits (or threats of libel lawsuits) by chiropractors and homeopaths. Using your logic would lead to the conclusion that Orac thought that the chiropractors and homeopaths might be in the right. In reality this is Orac’s general reaction to libel suits brought against people who criticize alternative medicine and pseudo-science.

    As for Deer’s defense being “extremely easy”: even if the judge throws out the case in summary judgement, it will still take a lot of money and time on Deer’s part. And if it doesn’t get thrown out, and actually makes it to a jury trial, it will take even more money and time. A good example of this is the (in)famous SCO v IBM case, where in spite of SCO’s lawsuit being ridiculous the case dragged on for a long time.

  27. #27 Sheepmilker
    January 5, 2012

    Took me all of 10 seconds using a well-known search engine to find out who Orac was. Should I apply to the LAPD?

  28. #28 Composer99
    January 5, 2012

    If Mr Baker’s claims to be a retired LAPD detective are true, then it appears that university professors aren’t the only ones who can “go emeritus”.

    Sad, really.

  29. #29 lilady
    January 5, 2012

    Jeez…I leave the blog for a few hours and then return to the fun and games with Clark Baker.

    Orac, you landed a real certifiable loon here:

    AIDSTruth.org “Clark Baker Ex-Cop and Homophobic Right-Wing Blogger”

    This bullshit artist also is an AIDS denier, racist, Big Pharma, Big Government xenophobic idiot.

    He’s all over the internet with his conspiracies…a perfect fit for the Wakefield legal team.

  30. #30 palindrom
    January 5, 2012

    Orac @22 — You mean you’re not REALLY a plexiglas box of blinking lights? I’m so …. disappointed!

  31. #31 Chris
    January 5, 2012

    Hmmm… I saw an article on the Autism Trust recently. It was an interview with Carmel Wakefield, in the “Autism File” magazine.

    In several copies of that issue that are in the gift shop of a hospital!!!

    A hospital that has sanitary gel for hands everywhere, signs to encourage people to get the influenza vaccine and had a nurse offer my son influenza and pneumonia vaccines in case he needed them. I am outraged that they are selling an anti-vax rag in the gift shop and will be complaining to them.

  32. #33 lilady
    January 5, 2012

    @ Chris: Now we are closing in…we are closer now to 1-2 degrees of separation.

    I checked the “Autism File” magazine…its found is Polly Toomey…who is also the founder of the Autism Trust U.K. charity…the mother ship of Autism Trust USA where Carmel Wakefield is on the Board of Directors. This magazine has been touted on the AoA website numerous times and the current issue has John Stone’s latest six hundred degrees of separation screed about Brian Deer.

    Founder of the “Autism File” Polly Toomey is a very controversial figure in the U.K. for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is her unabated support of “Team Wakefield”.

    So…I keyed in “Andrew Wakefield” at the “Autism File” and came up with a rather newsy holiday missive written last year by Carmel Wakefield. Carmel fills us in on the Wakefield soap opera as it played out in Texas last year ala the “Dynasty” soap opera, complete with family pictures and the story of the writing of Andy’s book and the road/book tour to hawk the book.

    Carmel also tells the story of meeting Polly Toomey and is grateful for her support. She speaks about her upcoming radio show “Prairie Nights-Autism Media Channel” where she now is ensconced under her “other name” Carmel O’Donnell.

    Chris, you’ve got to Google this radio broadcast…it is full of interviews with all the luminaries and glitterati from the crank autism websites.

  33. #34 lilady
    January 5, 2012

    Oops…forget to mention that the parent company of “Prairie Nights”…Autism Media Channel…is owned by ta da…Polly Toomey. Carmel O’Donnell Wakefield is a big part of the Autism Media Channel…might even be a financial backer.

    I love how AoA goes on and on about USA’s mainstream media being part of the “conspiracy”.

  34. #35 dt
    January 5, 2012

    The phrase “sad rump of disciples” springs again to mind.

  35. #36 _Arthur
    January 5, 2012

    Matthew, the SCO v IBM case still drags on.

    SCO’s trustee is attempting to re-open the case, which had been put on hold by SCO’s bankruptcy.
    SCO is trying to re-open the case despite having utterly lost the SCO v Novell related case.
    The jurors needed only one day of deliberations to decide that SCO had never bought the necessary UNIX Copyrights from Novell.

    IBM opposed the idea that the case was to be partly reopened, to include only SCO’s claim but not IBM’s counterclaim.

    Three (3) Utah judges in a row have recused themselves from the case.
    Read all about it on Groklaw blog.

  36. #37 Shay
    January 5, 2012

    I wish Mr. Baker would explain how one goes about impeaching a naval officer.

  37. #38 ConspicuousCarl
    January 5, 2012

    > I have been involved in more than 100 criminal,
    > civil and military cases involving medical and
    > scientific incompetence since 2009,

    I think you’re involved in more scientific incompetence than you give yourself credit for.

    > Clark Baker LAPD (ret)

    We’re looking for fewer good men like you.

  38. #39 Ren
    January 5, 2012

    I kid you not… It took me a minute, at most, to figure out who Orac was in real life when I first landed on this blog back during the Desiree Jennings fiasco (also funded by Gen Rescue, by the way). I wonder if that makes me just as smart as Sherlock Holmes in the eyes of Mr. Baker?

    Seriously, where do these people come from?

  39. #40 Chris
    January 5, 2012

    I figured out who Orac was back when we were both on Usenet. It is not difficult.

  40. #41 Harold L Doherty
    January 5, 2012

    Orac will you be appearing as an expert witness in the case? You have made many public comments on the Wakefield Deer BMJ matter. Surely you could offer some expert guidance both medical and legal for the Texas jury?

  41. #42 Science Mom
    January 5, 2012

    Harold, scores of bloggers have written about Wakefield, Deer and BMJ, what does your idiotic question have to do with anything? What makes you think it will even get to a jury?

  42. #43 W. Kevin Vicklund
    January 5, 2012

    I wish Mr. Baker would explain how one goes about impeaching a naval officer.

    It’s the legal concept of impeaching the witness, i.e. sowing doubt as to the reliability of his claims, not the process used to impeach a president. In the case at hand, the lab technician that did the ELISA test for HIV wasn’t fully versed in the details of the chain of custody, basically only knowing what happened after it arrived at the lab. This normally isn’t a big issue, because the Navy is running a medical lab, not a crime lab.

  43. #44 What's that smell
    January 5, 2012

    Saw an interesting explanation for the reason Wakefield dropped the Deer defamation case on a message board today. The gist of it was that the judge forced Wakefield to choose between defending himself against the GMC or the defamation case against Deer. This was posted by a faithful AoA follower, someone who possibly has personal contact with Wakefield.

    I don’t know anything about UK judges or the law system, but this doesn’t pass the smell test for me.

  44. #45 Chris
    January 5, 2012

    What’s that smell:

    The gist of it was that the judge forced Wakefield to choose between defending himself against the GMC or the defamation case against Deer. This was posted by a faithful AoA follower, someone who possibly has personal contact with Wakefield.

    Even though they took place years apart? I posted a an interview about it recently. The lawsuit was dropped before 2007, which is when the GMC hearing started.

  45. #46 rtcontracting
    January 5, 2012

    What’s that smell:

    Saw an interesting explanation for the reason Wakefield dropped the Deer defamation case on a message board today. The gist of it was that the judge forced Wakefield to choose between defending himself against the GMC or the defamation case against Deer.

    That’s hilarious!

    So if this story is to be believed, Wakefield dropped his libel suit against Deer so he could defend himself at the GMC. He then goes on to present no evidence in his defense at the GMC.

    Not a witness. Not a document. Nothing.

    Great story.

  46. #47 Shay
    January 5, 2012

    Kevin@43 — thanks for the explanation. I was not familiar with the use of impeach in any connection other than a proceedings against an elected official.

  47. #48 ArtK
    January 6, 2012

    @ Smell

    What’s more likely is that the judge (or Wakefield) put the defamation case on hold while the administrative hearing was in progress. The idea being that you wouldn’t want to burden Wakers with having to prosecute the libel case while defending himself. Since the outcome of the GMC proceedings would have a material effect on the libel case, it would make sense to proceed with one and not the other.

    The idea being that had Wakers prevailed at the GMC hearings, he could have restarted the libel case in a stronger position. We all know how well that worked out for him.

    A couple of people have cited SCO v. IBM where similar things happened. Some cases were put on hold pending resolution of others.

  48. #49 Rtcontracting
    January 6, 2012

    I don’t get why AoA hasn’t posted anything on this yet.

    They had the following article a month ago that hints that something concerning Wakefield vs the BMJ/Brian Deer was in the works in Texas:

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2011/12/the-war-on-science-the-british-medical-journal-dr-wakefield.html

    Why drop hints of a lawsuit before it happens only to ignore it later?

  49. #50 Anne
    January 6, 2012

    ArtK, Wakefield tried to put the UK defamation case on hold pending the outcome of the GMC proceedings and the court refused to do that. The judge issued a decision finding that Wakefield was trying to use the defamation case to silence his critics while insulating himself from the “downside” of actually litigating the case. So Wakefield was forced to go forward with the case. There was an article about that in the BMJ.

    Then later, the judge ordered Wakefield to give Brian Deer a bunch of information in discovery relating to the GMC proceeding. If I recall correctly, instead of doing that, Wakefield dismissed the defamation case.

    What I speculate is happening is that Wakefield is waging a vendetta on behalf of himself, Polly Tommey (his colleague at the Autism Trust USA) and others. Also, maybe Wakefield was hoping to be the head honcho at the Autism Trust USA’s “Wellness Center” where ATUSA plans to provide medical services to a captive group of autistic residents. Maybe the ATUSA has an interest in trying to rehabilitate Wakefield’s reputation so it can use him as a figurehead to appeal to the parents of the autistic people for whom they hope to provide a residential placement.

    As others have pointed out, however, it is likely that Wakefield would never have qualified for a medical license in Texas after he was stricken off by the GMC. It’s the same problem he will have with the element of damages in his new defamation case. Long before the January 2011 article in the BMJ that he’s complaining about, his reputation had already died and been set on fire and pushed out to sea.

  50. #51 Autismum
    January 6, 2012

    Anne, I totally agree. It is also to be noted that Tommey and Wakefield’s daughters are heading up the autism trust’s 2012 campaign all about giving autistic people a chance. Laughably, all the literature and promo material has the two pouting youngsters all over it and nothing from any individual with autism. The W. Parish connection is interesting as it would seem this would clear the way for the next generation as it were.
    No doubt, here in the UK we’ll be subjected to Polly Tommey more and more as this gathers pace.
    http://autismum.com/people/warrior-moms/polly-tommey/

  51. #52 Dr Aust
    January 6, 2012

    Anne wrote:

    “Also, maybe Wakefield was hoping to be the head honcho at the Autism Trust USA’s “Wellness Center” where ATUSA plans to provide medical services to a captive group of autistic residents. Maybe the ATUSA has an interest in trying to rehabilitate Wakefield’s reputation so it can use him as a figurehead to appeal to the parents of the autistic people for whom they hope to provide a residential placement.”

    I reckon that is the closest thing to my own crystal-ball read on all this. The description of the envisaged ATUSA residential treatment center on the ATUSA website sounds kind of like a new Thoughtful House…

    Recall that St Andy (officially) ‘quit’ his Thoughtful House gig just after the GMC’s misconduct findings. Though it was announced as ‘voluntary’,there was inevitably a lot of speculation that he had been forced out once the extent of his misconduct was a matter of public record. So rehabbing his reputation with his ‘base’ might suit ATUSA, for the reasons Ann gives.

    Incidentally, in the same context one might recall that Wakefield’s wife Carmel, now re-located to the US and heavily involved in ATUSA according to their website, was a GP (family doctor) in the UK for many years and remained one until she presumably took early retirement to move to the US. I guess she would be eligible to apply for a medical license in Texas – though it is not that simple, as licensing tests are often involved. Anyway, It will be interesting to see if she ends up fronting some kind of ATUSA center as ‘medical director’, or similar.

  52. #53 Dr Aust
    January 6, 2012

    PS Continuing the ‘ATUSA Wellness Center = Thoughtful House v2.0 ..?’ idea, The Autism Trust USA Advisory Board includes two people, Sarah Swindell and Elizabeth Avellan, who I think were associated with Thoughtful House (Board members?) but left when Wakefield did post the GMC rulings at the start of 2010.

  53. #54 Chris
    January 6, 2012

    Dr. Aust:

    I guess she would be eligible to apply for a medical license in Texas – though it is not that simple, as licensing tests are often involved.

    Licensing tests are always involved. I know a cardiologist who quit working about four to five years ago to deal with her teenage sons. Since one is now doing well at a university very far away, she has to time to go back to work. But first she needs to take some licensing tests.

  54. #55 lilady
    January 6, 2012

    It would be very difficult for either Wakefield to get licensed and practice here…put that as “impossible” for Andy. Most States, as far as I know, request information about your licensing history (i.e.) “Have you ever been reprimanded, sanctioned or lost your medical license in another jurisdiction?”

    Carmel Wakefield nee O’Donnell, has a brilliant media career on Polly Toomey’s “Autism Media Channel”…oh the machinations that Team Wakefield indulges in.

    @ Autismum: Great blog; I enjoyed reading it.

  55. #56 Dr Aust
    January 6, 2012

    @54 @55

    Thanks for the details.

    Lilady, Carmel Wakefield accrued zero reprimands or anything else in that UK that I’ve ever heard of (unlike her husband…), so disciplinary history wouldn’t bar her from getting licensed to practise in the US. However, I’m sure licensing exams would be a major hurdle, as they tend to be for any doctor moving medical ‘jurisdictions’ in mid or late career.

    Of course, St Andy served as Executive Director (? – I think it was) of Thoughful House without having a Texas medical licence…. So I guess that in the autism clinic ‘biomedical underworld’ it might be sufficient for PR purposes to remain a registered (never disbarred) doctor somewhere. Which Carmel Wakefield is, according to the UK Register.

  56. #57 lilady
    January 7, 2012

    @ Dr. Aust: I do know many Executive Directors of agencies that provide services for the developmentally disabled…few are actually medical doctors. Many are licensed psychologists, licensed certified social workers and credentialed in other fields such as health care administration. These agencies all have licensed doctors on staff, well versed in providing professional services to the developmentally disabled.

    Wakefield was the Executive Director of Thoughtful House which did have licensed medical doctors on staff….

    oh wait…Dr. Bryan Jepson, fined $1000 by the Texas Medical Board for allowing information to appear that he was licensed in Texas, before receiving a medical license in Texas.

    and…Dr. Arthur Krigsman, fined $5000 in 2005 by the Texas Medical Board for failing to report a Florida Medical Board Action regarding his failure to document Continuing Education Credit Hours.

    Thoughtful House closed up shop after Wakefield left, and “morphed” into the “Johnson Center For Child Health and Development”.

    (Source: Wikipedia-Johnson Center For Child Health and Development)

  57. #58 lilady
    January 7, 2012

    Dr. Aust…hang around. For some reason my comment about Thoughtful House and Andrew Wakefield’s involvement is stuck in moderation.