Do you think Andrew Wakefield should lose his license to practice medicine.

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Voting closed: 24/02/2010 00:26:45

Should Andrew Wakefield be struck off?

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Offline Geezer

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There ain'ta no sanity clause, and there ain'ta no centrifugal force ĉther.


Offline BenV

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Should Andrew Wakefield be struck off?
« Reply #1 on: 03/02/2010 11:05:57 »
Well, children are a vulnerable group, and autistic children all the more so.  He ordered invasive and unnecessary procedures to be performed on these children without appropriate ethical clearance.  Apparently, part of the costs of this research were paid by lawyers for parents seeking to sue vaccine makers for damages (in addition to the £400k that he was personally paid by them), and he had undisclosed conflict of interest in that he had patented a measles jab.

From wikipedia (so trust this as much as you like, and feel free to follow through to the the references here.
The GMC ruled that Wakefield "failed in his duties as a responsible consultant", acted against the interests of his patients, and "dishonestly and irresponsibly" in his controversial research.

Furthermore, it can be argued that he is responsible for severe illnesses and deaths as a result of the huge increase in measles:

Again from wikipedia, so only trust it as far as its references:
In 1998 there were 56 confirmed cases of measles in the UK; in 2006 there were 449 in the first five months of the year, with the first death since 1992. Cases occurred in inadequately vaccinated children. The age group affected was too old to have received the routine MMR immunizations around the time the paper by Wakefield et al. was published, and too young to have contracted the natural disease as a child, and thus to achieve a herd immunity effect. With the decline in infection that followed the introduction of the MMR vaccine, these individuals had not been exposed to the disease, but still had no immunity, either natural or vaccine induced.
Therefore, as immunization rates declined following the controversy and the disease re-emerged, they were susceptible to infection.

Measles cases continued in 2006, at incidence rates 13 times greater than 1998 levels. Two children were severely and permanently injured by measles encephalitis despite undergoing kidney transplantation in London.

Disease outbreaks also caused casualties in nearby countries. 1,500 cases and three deaths were reported in the Irish outbreak of 2000, which occurred as a direct result of decreased vaccination rates following the MMR scare.

In 2008, for the first time in 14 years, measles was declared endemic in the UK, meaning that the disease was sustained within the population. This was caused by the preceding decade's low MMR vaccination rates, which created a population of susceptible children who could spread the disease. In May 2008, a British 17-year-old with an underlying immunodeficiency died of measles.

Having said all this, the fact that there were lawyers willing to pay large sums of money to find a link between MMR and Autism suggests that this is not all Wakefield's fault.  The current climate of celebrity antivaccine publicity may well have come about regardless.  This does not absolve him of his appalling conduct, the borderline abuse of those autistic children he studied or his financial dishonesty.

Should he be struck off?  That's up to the GMC.  But I doubt he'll suffer as a result.  He'll probably never be able to publish in a serious journal again (who would publish work by someone proven to be dishonest?), but he has a hard core following, so will probably just carry on preaching to them.
« Last Edit: 03/02/2010 11:15:44 by BenV »