5.31.2010

Wakefield Barred by the British General Medical Council: Roundup

If you're going to join the fiery debate about Andrew Wakefield's barring by the British General Medical Council, then you need to be clear about why he was barred: for unprofessional conduct (e.g., taking blood samples from children at birthday parties), and conflict of interest (e.g., having his research funded by "lawyers for parents seeking to sue vaccine makers for damages"). This is a man who swore to do no harm but kept his fingers crossed behind his back during the oath. He is an embarrassment to scientists and doctors of principle.

It doesn't matter how charismatic or well-intentioned Wakefield is, or even if his research had had some validity (it didn't); the man showed "callous disregard" for research guidelines and scientific ethics. He deserved sanctioning. Anyone who claims differently is also claiming that ends justify means, and needs to stay the hell away from any discussion that contains the word "science" unless it's followed by the word "fiction."

A roundup of week's reactions to the GMC's actions, both directly and tangentially related to Wakefield's official sanctioning:

•The man himself. Don't look into his eyes!

  • If you're looking for one Wakefield fiasco link to send your family and friends, I suggest this cartoon timeline (it could have fawned less over journalist Brian Deer, though I agree he deserves praise).
  • I also recommend Anthony Cox of Black Triangle's excellent Wakefield: One Less Crocodile in the Swamp, which reminds us, "[Wakefield's] book, sickeningly playing on the words used by the GMC, 'Callous Disregard' has even been been timed to make best use of the [GMC verdict's] publicity." (Hat tip: Liz Ditz.)

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for linking to my post. I think a bit of explanation may be in order. Here it is: http://writeeditrepeat.blogspot.com/2010/05/matter-of-magnetisim-not-really.html

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  2. Hi Lylah,

    I left this comment on your post as well:

    Thanks for responding to my post, and clarifying that it is what Wakefield said rather than his personality that commanded your attention. I was responding to your initial statement that you (paraphrasing) approached the interview with the intention of hammering him but ended up listening. I do apologize - sincerely - if you feel I represented you as anything other than professional.

    I have been following the Wakefield/vaccines saga for years. The points he brought up about autism & vaccines are not just BS, but well-documented BS, from a science perspective. And Wakefield has unrepentantly caused so much harm to public health that it is very frustrating to read non-damning things about him written by a smart person.

    Dr. David Gorski from Science-Based Medicine wrote a long but information-rich post breaking down the Wakefield camp mindset, explaining, among other topics, why there has been "more than 5,500 claims filed by families seeking compensation for children believed to have been hurt by the MMR vaccine" (Vaccine court is complainant-friendly and pays petitioners' legal fees no matter the verdict, as long as the complaint was filed in good faith):

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=5392

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  3. Thanks for all the great references regarding the Wakefield saga. It saddens me to read how one irresponsible man has managed to influence so many people and create a dangerous anti-vaccine movement. However, I'm glad you referred me to Emily's commentary regarding the plea to buy his book. Her piece was pure entertainment. Thanks for ending on a high note..with the wit I enjoy reading on both your blogs. Christine from Shot of Prevention

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  4. UGH, Jenny and Jim are heavily supporting him on twitter. That right there is enough to make me run in the other direction.

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  5. @Christine, had to write the roundup. Don't miss Liz Ditz's compilation of immediate Wakefield reactions:

    http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2010/05/lots-of-autism-news.html


    @Statia, glad to see you back! Jenny also wrote the introduction to Wakefield's book, so she's invested in it. I wish she'd take her energy and work towards common goals. But controversy sells, even if it's manufactured.

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Respectful disagreement encouraged.

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