Respectful Insolence

NOTE: There is a followup to this post here.

Last night, I had a function related to my department to attend, which means that I didn’t get home until after 9 PM. However, two blog posts have come to my attention that demand a response from me because they involve an old “friend” of the blog. This “friend” is someone whose scientific and medical misadventures over the last eight years since I became aware of him are legion. This is someone whose “biomedical” treatments for autism were based on an unshakeable belief that mercury in thimerosal, the preservative that was used in many childhood vaccines until around 2001, after which it was removed from most of them, was a major cause of autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), as well as a variety of other neurodevelopmental disorders. These blog posts compelled me to write at least a brief little post (by Orac standards, of course; by anyone else’s standards it would be a full length post), no matter how tired I was or how early I had to get up this morning to give a talk and handle my clinic. The reason is that someone who should have nothing to do with teaching students in any science-based discipline has been revealed to have been a preceptor who taught at least one student in epidemiology. I wish I were kidding, but I’m not.

The subject of these two blog posts, as longtime readers of this blog have probably guessed, is Dr. Mark Geier. Geier is well known among those of us who take an interest in the antivaccine movement and the biomedical quackery that has sprung up around it to profit from the fears of antivaccinationists, for whom no form of quackery is too quacky to subject their autistic child to in the name of cleansing him of the toxic evil effects of the vile vaccines that made him autistic (in their minds), up to and including injecting dubious “stem cells” into the cerebrospinal fluid of one’s daughter. What Mark Geier and his son David Geier, the latter of whom has no medical degree but nonetheless has been observed dealing with patients in a way that very much appears to come uncomfortably close to practicing medicine, came up with a—shall we say?—new and unique hypothesis regarding the cause of autism. At least it was new in that no one had ever thought of it before and unique in that no one with a real scientific background found it the least bit credible, mainly because, on a scientific basis, it wasn’t the least bit credible. Basically, the idea—I refuse to dignify it by calling it a “theory” or even a “hypothesis”—was that the mercury from vaccines and other sources was being chelated in the brains of autistic children by testosterone. Their “solution” to this nonexistent problem was to combine two forms of quackery, chelation therapy and chemical castration with a drug called Lupron, together to treat “vaccine-induced” autism. This was not a case of two tastes tasting great together, for sure. Yet, the Geiers, pere et fils, made the rounds of the “autism biomed” conference circuit and managed to attract a significant following, getting parents to let them treat their autistic children this way with an expensive drug that basically shut down the production fo sex hormones. It was this “treatment,” such as it was, that led me to an early Orac classic nearly eight years ago, Why not just castrate them?

Not surprisingly, there were so many holes in this idea that the only place it could be published was in the vanity journal Medical Hypotheses. Not the least of these was simple chemistry. The Geiers based their concept of “testosterone sheets” binding up all that mercury and making it unavailable to be chelated on a paper from 1968 that looking at the crystal structure of testosterone and mercuric chloride derived from crystals made by boiling equimolar amounts of testosterone and mercuric chloride in hot benzene,. Let’s just say that these are not physiologic conditions, but that didn’t stop the Geiers from speculating that testosterone binds mercury and that lowering testosterone would free up the mercury for chelation, even though there was no evidence for this concept at all. None of this stopped the Geiers from starting up a cottage industry franchising their clinic in several states and chemically castrating autistic children in the hopes that it would make their chelation therapy work better. Given that chelation therapy doesn’t do anything for autism other than put the child at risk for fatal cardiac arrhythmias due to low calcium, what they were doing was doubly unethical and doubly dangerous. That lack of ethics was compounded by their setting up a “research institute” to study what became known as their “Lupron protocol,” all apparently in order to set up an IRB packed with their cronies to rubberstamp their research, such as it was.

Eventually in 2011, the state of Maryland pulled the wings off these quacks and took emergency action to take Mark Geier’s medical license away and charging David Geier with practicing medicine without a license. Matt Carey provides a nice summary of the two decades’ worth of quackery perpetrated on autistic children and how they got away with it. Fortunately, as of last year, the last state in which Mark Geier held a license to practice medicine revoked it, but a lot of damage had been done.

With that background out of the way, let’s see what our friend ANB tells us:

Administrators at the George Washington University School of Public Health allowed Mark Geier, is a notorious anti-vaccine activist known for chemically castrating disabled children, to supervisor a graduate student. Geier is currently banned from practicing medicine.

Graduate students are required to complete a practicum under the supervision of a health professional, called a site preceptor. The school’s site preceptor handbook sets out requirements for a practicum site:

In general, a practicum site has the following elements:

  • Serves a public health or health services mission or supports a department with such a mission
  • Addresses significant public health or health services problems
  • Offers students the opportunity to learn from public health professionals in a supervised environment

Like ANB, I’m going to refrain from identifying the student and ask you not to as well. I will either delete or edit comments that name the “preceptee” of Dr. Geier’s. In the meantime, here’s another take on this from Reuben at The Poxes Blog:

When you go to school at the George Washington University School of Public Health, you are required to do a practicum (professional experience) at a site that is relevant to public health when you’re getting a master of public health (MPH) degree. A few friends of mine have gone there, and they did their practicums at DC DOH, at Maryland DOH, in Virginia, at hospitals, community clinics… Somewhere where they could learn about public health practice.

One particular individual, someone we refer to as “the kid”, did his practicum with – you guessed it – the Father and the Son. Well, okay, maybe just the Father, as the Father has been revealed to be the practicum site preceptor for the kid. A major university in the heart of the nations’ capital, one which has graduated some pretty great epidemiologists and public health practitioners, one that is up there in terms of public health research and practice, one that charges students a ton of money for a good quality education, approved a physician whose license was suspended in 2011 and revoked since to be the site preceptor for the kid.

Assuming ANB’s report is true (and, given his track record, I have little reason to doubt that it is), I’m guessing that the Department of Epidemiology at GWU had no idea about Mark Geier’s shady background and probably had no idea that he was in the process of losing all of his dozen or so state medical licenses between 2011 and 2013. But it should have. Don’t administrators there bother to Google the names of applicants for preceptorships? The first page of a Google search for Mark Geier brings up all sorts of information about his history of dubious practices. Or are they so hard up for preceptors that they will allow someone like Mark Geier to be a preceptor to one of their students?

Mark Geier is a physician, but his history and activities should have been massive red flags to tell administrators at GWU that no student studying there should have been allowed within 10 miles of his “clinic.” They should have protected students from him the way the Geiers’ fantastical “testosterone sheets” supposedly protect mercury from chelation. This is a screw-up on a massive scale.

Comments

  1. #1 Sebastian Jackson
    October 24, 2013

    I acknowledge that I am not aware of the rules, but why can’t we identify the student? The student is another person this blog is familiar with, and announced getting his MPH degree on his own blog. (I will not mention his name or his blog’s name to play it safe here.) I am pretty sure we all know who the student is and how corrupt the whole arrangement may be, so why can’t we report it accurately? I’m not out to invade his privacy, but shouldn’t people know the full scope of this situation?

  2. #2 Orac
    October 24, 2013

    Not on my blog. It’s my blog, and I’ve decided that that’s the way it’s going to be. Lest anyone think I was joking, let me reiterate that I meant it when I said I’d delete or edit comments identifying the student. So don’t do it.

  3. #3 Sebastian Jackson
    October 24, 2013

    I respect that, I’m just wondering the reason why.

  4. #4 Lawrence
    October 24, 2013

    Mother of God!!!!

    Unfortunately, it all makes sense now…..

    My poor alma mater….no check for them again this year.

  5. #5 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    October 24, 2013

    @Sebastian Jackson

    The identity of the students is not important to this story. What’s important here is that GWU screwed up and the error should be pointed out to them so that they don’t screw up in the future. What’s past is past, but we can at least try to make a difference going forward.

  6. #6 Mark Lindeman
    United States
    October 24, 2013

    Sebastian, I’m with Orac. The university clearly screwed up here. The identity of the student really is irrelevant to the facts presented here, and allowing people to free-associate on their opinions and speculations about the student would be a major distraction.

  7. #7 David
    October 24, 2013

    Did the student know that he/she was selecting a quack as a preceptor? Usually people have some choice in these matters.

  8. #8 Baron Scarpia
    October 24, 2013

    I’m with Orac on this one; the student’s identity isn’t relevant and one could well consider it unethical to name them for that reason. The student can confirm it if they choose, but it’s their decision.

    Whether the student is Mr X or Miss Y, the real problem is that Geier was allowed to supervise anyone at all.

  9. #9 Ren
    Baltimore
    October 24, 2013

    GWU needs to immediately check their other site preceptors and their qualifications. Immediately. I hope that this was an isolated incident. My site preceptor was the chief of infectious disease where I was working and the chief of the microbiology lab. One of my preceptors had to be someone with a higher degree than what I was aiming for.
    This is preposterous and embarrassing as a graduate of that school.
    Lastly, it is also the responsibility of the student to check the credentials of the preceptor and to not have a conflict of interest with regards to the person or the site or the outcome of the culminating experience. Blame can go all around, but the buck stops at the school, in my opinion. Hope they have not been fooled more than once.

  10. #10 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 24, 2013

    Did the student know that he/she was selecting a quack as a preceptor? Usually people have some choice in these matters.

    Yes, the student was fully in charge of the preceptor selection however said student doesn’t believe Geier is a quack.

    GWU really dropped the ball on this one. It takes little effort to discover what an appalling crank Geier is and the school owes it to its students to ensure they are overseen by competent people.

  11. #11 AnObservingParty
    October 24, 2013

    The student has the responsibility to check the preceptor’s crendentials, lack thereof, or conflicts of interest. HOWEVER, the student is still a student, and the school is the school. The school is responsible for doing their due diligence, and ensuring their student will be taught in a legitimate environment, both to protect the student and protect themselves. While I myself have an inkling the student was aware of at least part of the background of the situation as it unfolded, there are many scenarios where that might not be the case, and that’s where the school should have been to catch it.

    I’m curious as to how this will play out, and if it’s even acknowledged at all.

  12. #12 Baron Scarpia
    October 24, 2013

    The plot thickens –

    On the Faculty at GW is Dr Heather Young. (http://sphhs.gwu.edu/faculty/index.cfm?empName= Heather Young&employeeID=631) Guess what? She has done court ‘work’ with Geier. (http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2011/12/10/is-mark-geier-finished-as-an-expert-witness-in-the-vaccine-court/)

    Indeed, the court judgement refers to ‘the Young-Geier article’. They’ve certainly been collaborators. Young apparently wanted the court to pay her just under a quarter of a million dollars for her work.

    Did she play any role in selecting Geier as a suitable supervisor?

  13. #13 Baron Scarpia
    October 24, 2013

    Oh, and on her faculty page we find this gem of a paper -

    •Thimerosal Exposure and Increasing Trends of Premature Puberty in the Vaccine Safety Datalink.
    Geier DA, Young HA, Geier MR. Thimerosal Exposure and Increasing Trends of Premature Puberty in the Vaccine Safety Datalink. Indian Journal of Medical Research. (in press)

    From the title alone you can just tell it’s going to be a stunner!

  14. #14 Baron Scarpia
    October 24, 2013

    Oh, and on her faculty page we find this gem of a paper -

    ‘Thimerosal Exposure and Increasing Trends of Premature Puberty in the Vaccine Safety Datalink.
    Geier DA, Young HA, Geier MR. Thimerosal Exposure and Increasing Trends of Premature Puberty in the Vaccine Safety Datalink. Indian Journal of Medical Research. (in press)’

    From the title alone you can just tell it’s going to be a stunner!

  15. #15 palindrom
    October 24, 2013

    This is terrible.

    If I were the director of the GWU school of public health, I think I’d be spending my morning in a closet, whimpering softly.

  16. #16 Eric Lund
    October 24, 2013

    IANAL, but I believe FERPA may be in play here. So even though I guessed (based on nothing more than what I have learned as a regular RI reader) who the student was before I got to the end of the post, and Sebastian @1 all but confirmed that my guess was correct, we can’t say who (s)he is until and unless (s)he self-identifies. There might be significant legal repercussions for whoever leaked/broke the story.

    @palindrom: I’m thinking that somebody in charge of approving site preceptors for GWU should develop, or at least feign, a sudden interest in spending more time with his/her family.

  17. #17 Calli Arcale
    October 24, 2013

    Oh my goodness.

    I have a personal connection to GW, given that I was born there, in their hospital. And my father got his MD there. That GW would allow itself to be associated with Mark Geier in any way, shape, or form is abhorrent. I can only imagine someone had a major lapse of judgement, though I wonder if Baron Scarpia is on to something. Is this a huge oops, or have the university’s standards declined severely in recent years?

  18. #18 Denice Walter
    October 24, 2013

    Every now and then, I read something on the internet and say to myself, “This just cannot BE!”- then in a short while, I read other material that clarifies the situation. For example, I read ( and reported here) that AoA was included in a respected school of journalism’s efforts concerning new media; quickly thereafter, that was uh… *clarified* extremely well. I suddenly understood everything**.

    Thus recently, when I read of a particular student’s latest achievement, I told myself, “Something’s GOT to be off there”. And yes, today we learn exactly what. ( Altho’ I may be a glutton for punishment, I’d be interested in the subject material involved in that practicum).

    So thanks Orac, ANB and Reuben for enlightening me.

    ** No, Isak Dinesen doesn’t have that phrase trademarked.

  19. #19 Mu
    October 24, 2013

    It’s good not to identify the student. GWU MIGHT comment on this story, but if a name is involved, the “confidentiality of student records” curtain will come down hard.

  20. #20 Lawrence
    October 24, 2013

    @Calli – very recently, GWU was kicked off of the US News & World Report’s list of the Best Colleges, because they were found to have inflated the grades of incoming Freshmen….so yes, unfortunately standards is not a high point for the University.

    Of course, it also explains how “you-know-who” was able to hop-scotch across the country while in Graduate School.

  21. #21 AnObservingParty
    October 24, 2013

    Young is also on the EPA advisory committee.

    http://www.epa.gov/scipoly/sap/pubs/biographies/youngh.htm

    She also has this treasure listed: Thimerosal exposure and neurodevelopmental disorders: an assessment of computerized medical records in the Vaccine Safety Datalink. Young HA, Geier DA, Geier MR. Thimerosal exposure and neurodevelopmental disorders: an assessment of computerized medical records in the Vaccine Safety Datalink. Journal of Neurological Sciences. 2008; 271 (1): 11l-118.

    And this is stated on her website, “She also chairs the departmental curriculum committee and serves on the School curriculum committee.”

    This is very upsetting. Don’t tell me GWU isn’t aware of the Geiers or the connection. I mean, it’s Geiers. The only way to scrape lower is to work with Andy himself.

  22. #22 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 24, 2013
  23. #23 Orac
    October 24, 2013

    The only way to scrape lower is to work with Andy himself.

    I’d disagree. I think the Geiers are even lower than Andy.

  24. #24 Gray Falcon
    October 24, 2013

    Seriously, why aren’t the Geiers in jail for human rights violations? They’ve pretty much violated every standard of medical and scientific ethics that exist.

  25. #25 Chris HIckie
    October 24, 2013

    This is rather interesting to me, in that I am now precepting a nurse doing her pediatric rotation with me to become a nurse practitioner. Her university had me fill out an extensive application so I could be “affiliated faculty” and also checked me out on the state medical board site–and mind you this is not a paid position. This university doesn’t have the same level of prestige (or resources) as an institution like GWU does, so it is very, very disappointing to see that GWU clearly did little or no vetting of Geier as a faculty member.

  26. #26 AnObservingParty
    October 24, 2013

    I’d disagree. I think the Geiers are even lower than Andy.

    Allow me to clarify, Dear Leader: I meant more PR-wise. I think his name would raise a few red flags that might spread farther than the Geiers’ reach, at least with my understanding of the vetting process. Actual action-wise, I agree. Andy never chemically castrated kids.

    But, knowing what we know now…who knows if he would have been allowed, regardless. The Geier’s have a BFF on staff, who proudly displays the citations on her page. So who knows if seeing the name “Wakefield” would have raised some questions.

  27. #27 Jeff1971
    October 24, 2013

    Is this the Mark Geier who was teaching an epidemiology student? Mark “I must have missed a zero” Geier?

    http://briandeer.com/wakefield/dtp-garth.htm

  28. #28 Orac
    October 24, 2013

    Oooh. I forgot about that one. :-)

  29. #29 lilady
    October 24, 2013

    I mentioned in the comments that I posted on ANB and on The Poxes blog, about the extended periods of time MPH and MD/MPH candidates were assigned to the County health department where I was employed. Those candidates were assigned to every division within our County health department. The candidates were not assigned to a quack doctor whose license was revoked and suspended in every State, where he had set up his castration-chelation “clinics”…and who had a laboratory in the basement of his home.

    If this “practice” is not a wide-spread practice at GWU, then the Dean of the School of Public Health, should address the issue, by making a public statement for the sake of the reputation of the GWU-School of Public Health and for the sake of other graduates.

  30. #30 Jeff1971
    October 24, 2013

    Special Master on Geiers in vaccine court, Sept 2011

    “In many such cases, special masters have criticized Dr. Geier, or declined to find his opinion
    to be persuasive, because he was offering opinions in medical specialty areas in which he was not
    qualified. These opinions note that while Dr. Geier’s chief area of medical practice has been in the
    field of genetics, he has offered his opinion concerning neurology, epidemiology, immunology,
    rheumatology, gastrointestinology, or other medical specialties in which he did not possess special
    qualifications. Examples of such opinions include Piscopo v. Secretary of HHS, 66 Fed. Cl. 49, 54-5
    (2005) (affirming special master’s determination that Dr. Geier was not qualified to offer a reliable
    opinion on the cause of petitioner’s autoimmune disorder); Pafford v. Secretary of HHS, No. 01-
    165V, 2004 WL 1717359, at *1, n. 2 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. July 16, 2004), aff’d, 64 Fed. Cl. 19
    (2005) (noting that Dr. Geier testified concerning matters that were unrelated to his professional
    background); Pafford v. Secretary of HHS, 451 F. 3d 1352, 1359 (Fed. Cir. 2006)(affirming the
    special master’s rejection of Dr. Geier’s testimony because he lacked proper qualifications in the
    specialty areas in which he testified); Daly v. Secretary of HHS, No. 90-590V, 1991 WL 154573,
    at *7 (Cl. Ct. Spec. Mstr. July 26, 1991) (“Dr. Geier clearly lacks the expertise to evaluate
    [neurologic] injuries and render an opinion thereon.”); Haim v. Secretary of HHS, No. 90-1031V,
    1993 WL 346392, at *15 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Aug. 27, 1993) (“Dr. Geier’s testimony is not reliable,
    or grounded in scientific methodology and procedure. His testimony is merely subjective belief and
    unsupported speculation.”); Ormechea v. Secretary of HHS, No. 90-1683V, 1992 WL 151816, at *7
    (Cl.Ct. Spec. Mstr. June 10, 1992) (“Because Dr. Geier has made a profession of testifying in matters
    to which his professional background (obstetrics, genetics) is unrelated, his testimony is of limited
    value to the court.”); Thompson v. Secretary of HHS, No. 99-436V, 2003 WL 21439672, at *19 (Fed.
    Cl. Spec. Mstr. May 23, 2003) (discounting the value of Dr. Geier’s testimony concerning neurologic
    issues); Bruesewitz v. Secretary of HHS, No. 95-266V, 2002 WL 31965744, at * 16 (Fed. Cl. Spec.
    Mstr. Dec. 20, 2002) (stating that Dr. Geier’s experience “does not qualify him to diagnose
    neurological diseases”); Raj v. Secretary of HHS, No. 96-294V, 2001 WL 963984, at *12 (Fed. Cl.
    Spec. Mstr. July 31, 2001) (finding that “Dr. Geier is wholly unqualified to testify concerning the
    two major issues in this case”); Doe v Secretary of HHS, No. 99-670V, 2004 WL 3321302, at *22
    (October 5, 2004) (discounting Dr. Geier’s testimony concerning an epidemiologic matter because
    he lacks qualifications in that specialty); Weiss v. Secretary of HHS, No. 03-190V, 2003 WL
    22853059, at *2 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Oct. 9, 2003) (concluding that Dr. Geier is not qualified to opine concerning neurological matters); Sabella v. Secretary of HHS, No. 02-1627V, 2008 WL
    4426040, at *29-32 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Aug 29, 2008) (discounting Dr. Geier’s qualifications to
    testify on a neurological issue); Sabella v. Secretary of HHS, 86 Fed. Cl. 201, 218-19 (2009)
    (affirming a special master’s finding that Dr. Geier lacked the necessary qualifications to opine about
    a neurological injury); Lehmann v. Secretary of HHS, No. 89-99V, 1990 WL 608694, at *2 (Oct. 2,
    1990) (discounting Dr. Geier’s testimony concerning a neurologic issue); Riggins v. Secretary of
    HHS, No. 99-382V, 2009 WL 3319818, at *11 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. June 15, 2009), aff’d, 406 Fed.
    Appx. 479 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (unpublished) (finding Dr. Geier unqualified to serve as an expert in the
    subject matter); Masias v. Secretary of HHS, No. 99–697V, 2009 WL 1838979, at *39 (Fed. Cl.
    Spec. Mstr. June 12, 2009) (finding that the decision to retain Dr. Geier concerning a rheumatology
    issue was not reasonable), aff’d, 634 F.3d 1283 (Fed. Cir. 2011); Wadie v. Secretary of HHS, No.
    99-493V, 2009 WL 961217, at *6 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. March 23, 2009) (not reasonable to utilize
    Dr. Geier concerning gastrointestinal and immunological issues); Aldridge v. Secretary of HHS, No.
    90-2475V, 1992 WL 153770 at *8 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. June 11, 1992) (discounting Dr. Geier’s
    testimony concerning a neurologic issue); Einspahr v. Secretary of HHS, No. 90-923V, 1992 WL
    336396, at *10 (Cl. Ct. Spec. Mstr. Oct. 28, 1992) (describing Dr. Geier’s testimony concerning the
    pertussis vaccine as “worthless”), aff’d 17 F. 3d 1444 (Fed. Cir. 1994).

    “Opinions questioning Dr. Geier’s honesty, candor, or veracity

    “In other cases, special masters have gone so far as to conclude that Dr. Geier is not an honest,
    candid witness. In Marascalco v. Secretary of HHS, No. 90-1571V, 1993 WL 277095, at *5-6 (Fed.
    Cl. Spec. Mstr. July 9, 1993), Special Master Edwards described Dr. Geier’s testimony as
    “intellectually dishonest” and “an egregious example of blatant, result-oriented testimony.” In
    Aldridge v. Secretary of HHS, No. 90-2475V, 1992 WL 153770, at *9-10 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr.
    June 11, 1992), Special Master Abell stated that one aspect of Dr. Geier’s testimony was “at best
    negligent if not a fraud on the court,” and noted Dr. Geier’s “lack of candor or preparation.” In Haim
    v. Secretary of HHS, No. 90-1031V, 1993 WL 346392 at *11, *15 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Aug. 27,
    1993), Special Master Millman stated that “Dr. Geier’s testimony is merely unsupported
    speculation,” and that “Dr. Geier may be clever, but he is not credible.” And I myself concluded that
    Dr. Geier was not offering an honest, candid opinion in Platt v. Secretary of HHS, No. 93-264V,
    2000 WL 1862640, at *13 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Dec. 1, 2000). See also the opinion of a non-
    Vaccine Act federal judge questioning Dr. Geier’s “veracity” in Jones v. Lederle Laboratories, 785
    F. Supp. 1123, 1126 (E.D. N.Y. 1992).

    Opinions declining compensation or substantially reducing
    compensation for Dr. Geier’s services

    In several Vaccine Act cases special masters have substantially reduced or completely denied
    any compensation for Dr. Geier’s services, in light of prior criticisms of Dr. Geier, and/or
    deficiencies in his testimony in the case at hand. In Masias v. Secretary of HHS, No. 99-697V, 2009
    WL 1838979, at *39 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. June 12, 2009), aff’d, 634 F.3d 1283 (Fed. Cir. 2011), the
    special master denied any award for Dr. Geier, because “the decision to retain Dr. Geier was not
    reasonable” in light of past criticisms of Dr. Geier. In Wadie v. Secretary of HHS, No. 99-493V, 2009 WL 961217, at *6 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. March 23, 2007), the special master similarly
    determined that “the consultation with Dr. Geier is not reasonable and will not be compensated.”
    In Stott v. Secretary of HHS, No. 02-192V, 2006 WL 2457404, at *6-7 (July 31, 2006), the special
    master again denied all compensation for costs incurred in retaining Dr. Geier, since his “credentials
    indicate that he is unqualified to participate in petitioner’s case.” In Valdes v. Secretary of HHS, No.
    99-310V, 2009 WL 1456437, at *7 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. April 30, 2009), aff’d in part and rev’d in
    part, 89 Fed. Cl. 415, 424 (2009), the special master again completely denied any award for the
    services provided by Dr. Geier because he was not qualified. Upon review of that ruling, in Valdes
    v. Secretary of HHS, 89 Fed. Cl. 415, 424 (2006), the judge rejected a complete denial of an award,
    but retained a 50% reduction of the amount requested to compensate Dr. Geier, while advising that
    in future cases involving Dr. Geier, criticisms concerning his qualifications should be addressed.
    In Sabella v. Secretary of HHS, 86 Fed. Cl. 201, 218-19 (2009), the judge affirmed a special master’s
    significant reduction of Dr. Geier’s fees. In Riggins v. Secretary of HHS, No. 99-382V, 2009 WL
    3319818, at *6-7 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. June 15, 2009), aff’d, 406 Fed. Appx. 479 (Fed. Cir. 2011)
    (unpublished), the special master awarded only 10% of the amount claimed for Dr. Geier’s services,
    because he was unqualified and his billing was “grossly unreasonable.”
    Significantly, in the Masias case, Special Master Moran observed that the special masters’
    expressions of dissatisfaction with Dr. Geier as an expert have been so common that “[t]here appears
    to be little dispute that a petitioner should not retain Dr. Geier [as an expert] now.” 2009 WL
    1838979, at *39. Then he added that such expressions by special masters were common even in the
    earlier years of the Program, so that even by the year 2002 it should have been clear that retaining
    Dr. Geier as an expert was “unreasonable.””

  31. #31 Eric Lund
    October 24, 2013

    And this is stated on [Prof. Young's] website, “She also chairs the departmental curriculum committee and serves on the School curriculum committee.”

    I think I see how Geier got approved as a preceptor. It’s not what he knows, it’s who he knows.

    It’s also quite plausible that Prof. Young is the faculty advisor of the Student Who Must Not Be Named. Said student probably knew (or at least knew of) Geier, who may have recommended Young to the student, or vice versa, or both. As advisor, Young would then suggest Geier as a preceptor (or perhaps accede to the suggestion). As AOP@26 suggests, Geier may be not quite infamous enough (unlike Wakefield) to have raised eyebrows on the curriculum committee, particularly with the committee chairman recommending him.

    That still doesn’t excuse the lack of due diligence in their failure to notice (or willful ignorance of) the status of Geier’s medical license. It just clarifies that Young is probably the person who should be spending more time with her family. Alas, since she is presumably tenured, GWU will have a hard time forcing her to leave, but their conflict-of-interest policies may need an update.

  32. #32 Science Mom
    October 24, 2013

    Jeff1971 @31, so you won’t find that the Geier Boyz had their arses handed to them when they tried to sue some of the firms involved with the Omnibus Autism Proceeding (as representatives for the PSC) for non-payment of their “expert services”. http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2013/10/20/geiers-lose-case-against-psc/

  33. #33 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 24, 2013

    Blech, “so you won’t find it surprising that…”

  34. #34 Eric Lund
    October 24, 2013

    I followed Science Mom’s link @32. That is quite the smackdown from the court. A commenter there mentions that the Geiers have filed an amended complaint, which is apparently their eighth attempt to get the courts to order reimbursement. I know there comes a point at which repeated attempts to litigate a point will earn you a contempt citation for filing a frivolous lawsuit (see Taitz, Orly), and I hope the Geiers have managed to cross that line.

  35. #35 Denice Walter
    October 24, 2013

    OT but are adamant anti-vaxxers inveigling to undermine SB public health measures in any imaginable way EVER truly OT @ RI?

    Today (@AoA) we learn that several anti-vaccine groups are trying to interfere with the NY mayor’s** call for vaccinating preschool/daycare children for flu and pneumonia.

    Devotees are invited to “fight the power’ by phone esp.

    IIRC NYC is a densely populated area wherein most people travel about in sardine tin-like underground trains, eat in surprisingly overcrowded restaurants and spend a great deal of time in close contact with other denizens of the vast metropolis.
    Aren’t flu shots a good idea for small children?

    ** whose excess billions are only matched by his surfeit of
    unusually good sense ( mostly)

  36. #36 herr doktor bimler
    October 24, 2013

    Mark “I must have missed a zero” Geier?
    http://briandeer.com/wakefield/dtp-garth.htm

    That judgement includes the following titbit:

    Graham’s assertion (Appellee’s br. at 88-2302, p. 20 n. 4) that because Dr. Geier already knew about the potential mistakes in his research at the time of his testimony in Graham’s trial, it was Wyeth’s lack of “diligence” that caused Wyeth to fail to discover that fact by asking Dr. Geier if he was mistaken!

    In other words, Graham’s lawyers (the original plaintiff) had argued that Wyeth’s appeal against the original judgement should be dismissed, because Geier had lied in the original case. The plaintiffs accused their own witness of lying (so it was Wyeth’s fault for not catching Geier in the untruth, therefore no new trial, therefore the award based on his fabricated testimony should stand).

  37. #37 herr doktor bimler
    October 24, 2013

    that didn’t stop the Geiers from speculating that testosterone binds mercury

    You would have thought that if mercury atoms are bound so tightly to these hitherto-unknown testosterone sheets that they cannot be detected and show no biological activity, then they’re not doing any damage.

  38. #38 Denice Walter
    October 24, 2013

    ” testosterone sheets” may not be an exceptionally awesome name for a band BUT…
    how about it as a title for a gay-centric graphic novel?

  39. #39 herr doktor bimler
    October 24, 2013

    I’m also imagining a new explanation for Morgellons… they’re actually testosterone nano-tubes.

    Mark my words — when Industry discovers the range of applications for polymerised testosterone, much of the male population will be rounded up and shackled in huge warehouses as a reliable supply of the stuff, immersed Matrix-style in an erotic virtual reality.

  40. #40 Mewens
    October 24, 2013

    Tell me more about this turgid utopia, HDB.

    @Denice
    What’s bizarre here is you make the apropos leap _before_ HDB set it up. I know this is a science blog, but are you a wizard?

  41. #41 Sharon Morris
    Australia
    October 24, 2013

    Truly gobsmacking. I agree with others, The Geiers should be in prison.
    Though I have to disagree with Orac on the Geiers versus Wakefield evil scores. Few if any outside the US autism and skeptic communities would know the Geiers. Wakefield however has been responsible for spreading a most devastating lie that’s repercussions are ongoing, affecting millions. The recent death of a man from Measles in Swansea could be attributed to Wakefield. For me he’s at the top of the pyramid of shonky charlatans rising the autism gravy train.

  42. #42 Denice Walter
    October 24, 2013

    @ Mewens:

    Most definitely.
    Didn’t you know?

    -btw- the graphic novel will be called “Justin Time”. Wherein Justin, a young dude, meets up with a much older – but very attractive- TimeLord who wants to capitalise on …………..etc”

  43. #43 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 24, 2013

    Today (@AoA) we learn that several anti-vaccine groups are trying to interfere with the NY mayor’s** call for vaccinating preschool/daycare children for flu and pneumonia.

    Hilariously, those “several groups” consist of the same revolving core of our favourite anti-vaxx nutters, excuse me, “vaccine safety advocates”. Gotta love how they pat themselves on the back for “coming together” and of course representing themselves as The Autism Community. As if.

  44. #44 AnObservingParty
    October 24, 2013

    Hilariously, those “several groups” consist of the same revolving core of our favourite anti-vaxx nutters, excuse me, “vaccine safety advocates”. Gotta love how they pat themselves on the back for “coming together” and of course representing themselves as The Autism Community. As if.

    The group should know better than to take on New York, whether it be NYS or NYC. http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/seasonal/providers This is just the first step. Word from those who know, this is merely the first step in placating state unions (many hospitals in the state are state-run) and the next step is total mandate. We know there’s limited evidence in mask-use providing prevention, and we’re encouraged to admit it and say that. If a UNION in NYS (and if you’re from NYS, you know the power of state unions) can’t stop the government’s stance on flu vaccination, a bunch of quacks on a quack website won’t do it. My favorite part of the document is where it states that unless you are actually eating, even the hospital cafeteria is included.

    Although, a recent meeting of IPs from several top-notch cancer institutes have attested that other states are even farther ahead, at least in that the courts are dismissing lawsuits from employees at hospitals downright mandating it: get it or get out.

  45. #45 Shay
    October 24, 2013

    Wakefield however has been responsible for spreading a most devastating lie that’s repercussions are ongoing, affecting millions.

    I’m not sure it’s fair to blame Wakefield, but the spousal unit is enduring parent-teacher conferences this week (poor bastard) and today had a parent inform him complacently that a profoundly under-achieving student was like that because “he got a shot when he was 3 and it gave him autism.”

  46. #46 Alain
    October 24, 2013

    a profoundly under-achieving student was like that because “he got a shot when he was 3 and it gave him autism.”

    underperforming my a**, I’d like to see that parent explain in what exactly we are underperforming; I might lose my temper.

    Alain

  47. #47 Sharon Morris
    Australia
    October 25, 2013

    Sorry to go OT Orac.
    @ Shay, I think it’s fair to say the MMR -Autism link can be strongly attributed to Wakefield. Its been propagated since then by many others, but I think he’s the guy who can take the blame for lighting the match that started the fire, so to speak.

  48. #48 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    October 25, 2013

    @Sharon Morris

    Well, the MMR-autism thing had been percolating in the UK before Wakefield entered the picture. He simply popularized the idea. Granted, he also tried to blame Crohn’s Disease on MMR before he was approached to produce an MMR-autism study to support a law suit.

  49. #49 Shay
    October 25, 2013

    Alain — this student is not autistic. He has never been diagnosed by a medical professional.

    His mother is mis-using “autism” as her excuse for a kid who simply won’t do his school-work.

  50. #50 Shay
    October 25, 2013

    Sorry, hit “send” too soon.

    You are welcome to kick this woman’s gluteals; I know my husband would like to.

    (You couldn’t pay me enough to be a teacher).

  51. #51 Jeff1971
    October 25, 2013

    The MMR autism thing had not been percolating in the UK before Wakefield. Nor did he simply popularise the idea. Shay, you should try to do some basic research before making statements to mislead people.

  52. #52 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    October 25, 2013

    @Jeff1971

    The idea of the MMR-autism connection was there before Wakefield did his infamous, and now retracted, Lancet study in 1998. Remember, there were members of the anti-vaccine group JABS who were looking to sue the manufacturer of the MMR for causing their children’s autism. They found a lawyer willing to cook up a case for them and who paid Wakefield to drum up a study to support that case.

    Wakefield did not originate the MMR-autism idea, but he was most certainly the one who spread that myth far and wide, aided and abetted by the British media.

  53. #53 Jeff1971
    October 25, 2013

    Todd. The cases before Wakefield had nothing to do with autism. JABS was campaigning over permanent brain damage cases, such as Jackie Fletcher’s son. Prior to that there was an attempt to raise a lawsuit over Urabe strain meningitis.

    There was no public concern in the UK over autism and MMR prior to Wakefield.

    Subsequent to Wakefield, the brain damage cases were pushed to the back and autism was substituted as the issue.

    Sorry to be pedantic Todd, but you are incorrect.

  54. #54 Shay
    October 25, 2013

    Jeff — I think you should re-read my post at #45.

  55. #55 lilady
    October 25, 2013

    Jeff1971: I’ve tangled with a few of those JABS parents and with the AoA groupies on other science blogs.

    JABS was the group which recruited parents for the U.K. attorney Richard Barr who was getting set to sue the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine. Barr then located Wakefield who came up with his bogus diagnosis of “MMR vaccine induced autistic enterocolitis”. Barr paid Wakefield $750,000 USD to become an “expert witness” and referred those JABS parents and their autistic children to Wakefield.

    Now, those same JABS parents whose children were part of Wakefield’s “study” claim they are devoted to Wakefield.

    Why didn’t any of those JABS parents testify on behalf of Wakefield during the GMC Fitness-To-Practice Hearing, which resulted in the revocation of Wakefield’s medical license?

  56. #56 Chris,
    October 25, 2013

    Jeff1971:

    Todd. The cases before Wakefield had nothing to do with autism. JABS was campaigning over permanent brain damage cases, such as Jackie Fletcher’s son. Prior to that there was an attempt to raise a lawsuit over Urabe strain meningitis

    That is what I understand the Legal Aide funds were for, only to be side swiped by Wakefield. Though there seems to some evidence that Wakefield was percolating his hypothesis for a while. I remember seeing a letter he wrote, but I don’t remember where.

    On the LeftBrainRightBrain blog it was noted that some of the families affected by the Urabe strain meningitis and were abandoned by the lawyers are suing:
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2011/09/21/law-firm-faces-legal-action-over-handling-of-mmr-vaccine-case/

  57. #57 GW School of Public Health and Health Services
    October 25, 2013

    The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services is still investigating the claims in this article.
    However, the article gives the impression that Mark Geier was teaching or advising a GW student who was doing a practicum at SPHHS. In fact, Mark Geier was facilitating the use of a non-GW database the student used while doing his/her research, which was not part of a practicum. The student in question was being supervised by a faculty member at the university and the student’s contact with Mark Geier was limited mainly to accessing the information in this database.

    GW School of Public Health
    Office of Communications

  58. #58 Sharon Morris
    October 25, 2013

    I should clarify, my point was Wakefield took the MMR-autism connection and gave it validity, as a Dr. He may not have been the creator but he propagated the idea to an international audience the day he announced it to the media. He set fear into the hearts of parents everywhere, and the consequences have been diabolical.

  59. #59 Orac
    October 25, 2013

    However, the article gives the impression that Mark Geier was teaching or advising a GW student who was doing a practicum at SPHHS. In fact, Mark Geier was facilitating the use of a non-GW database the student used while doing his/her research, which was not part of a practicum. The student in question was being supervised by a faculty member at the university and the student’s contact with Mark Geier was limited mainly to accessing the information in this database.

    You do realize, don’t you, that allowing any GWU student to work with a disgraced, dangerous quack like Mark Geier in any capacity as part of his education at GWU looks just as bad. Your excuse now makes GWU look even worse, because it’s obvious that you’re trying to downplay GWU’s involvement with Geier. Do you deny that Dr. Young collaborates with Dr. Geier and publishes with him? That’s damning in the extreme to the epidemiology program at GWU.

  60. #60 Denice Walter
    October 25, 2013

    Just amazing!
    Why do I get the feeling that the other shoe is yet to drop?

  61. #61 Matt Carey
    United States
    October 25, 2013

    I appreciate that GWU has taken the time to respond here. I have a great deal of respect for the University which is why I was saddened to hear the story above.

    It was claimed that Mr. Geier acted as a “site preceptor”. I believe this information originated from GWU

    Per the GW SPHHS PRACTICUM SITE PRECEPTOR GUIDE

    The role of the site preceptor is:

    Site Preceptor
    1. Visit the Practicum Website
    http://www.gwumc.edu/sphhs/studentres/practicum/index.cfm and Register. (See
    Register: for instructions)
    2. Review and approve the Student’s Practicum Plan
    3. Negotiate payment/stipend with Student, if applicable
    4. Engage student in work and provide constructive feedback and guidance to the student
    5. Provide guidance for professional conduct
    6. Complete the following on the Practicum Website:
    a. Midpoint evaluation form in conjunction with the student
    b. Final site preceptor evaluation of student and practicum
    7. Address student’s reports of problems, including site safety issues and/or harassment

    At the very least, engaging Mark Geier to work with a student on “5. Provide guidance for professional conduct ” seems ironic.

  62. #62 Broken Link
    October 25, 2013

    The fact that the “Office of Communications” feels the need to get involved is a very interesting development. Damage control is taking place here.

  63. #63 herr doktor bimler
    October 25, 2013

    In fact, Mark Geier was facilitating the use of a non-GW database the student used while doing his/her research

    True, Geier has prior experience with facilitating the use and maintenance of databases.

  64. #64 Matt Carey
    October 25, 2013

    My guess is that there will be a paper (or papers) out shortly as part of what is discussed by Brian Hooker in his interview with Curt Linerman

    http://radio.naturalnews.com/Archive-LindermanUnleashed.asp

    About 18 min in they discuss what sounds like the public use VSD database (the same one that Young, Geier and Geier worked with for the petitioners in the Omnibus–at a cost of $250,000. And the attorneys never used the study)

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/why-the-latest-geier-geier-paper-is-not-evidence-that-mercury-in-vaccines-causes-autism/

    <a href="New Study on Thimerosal and Neurodevelopmental Disorders: I. Scientific Fraud or Just Playing with Data?"

    Mr. Hooker, whose case is completing in the Court, posts that he is an “independent researcher”.

  65. #66 Denice Walter
    October 25, 2013

    @ Sara:

    Well, thanks.
    I think that perhaps I should arrange a virtual tour of woo-meisters’ lovely abodes which are available on the internet. Currently: AJW’s Austin grand palais, Mercola’s *pied a terre* in Illinois, Gary Null’s Paradise Gardens ( & others) and Mike Adams’ ( former) Ecuadorian Hacienda.
    It’s all there and easy to find.

  66. #67 Denice Walter
    October 25, 2013

    Ooops! Wrong thread.

  67. […] ethics, it is grossly irresponsible to allow him to serve as a site preceptor for any student. Orac and Reuben Gaines have both chimed in, as well, castigating George Washington University for […]

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