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MMR Scare Doctor Debarred From Practicing Medicine in UK: One Mother’s Response

MMR Scare Doctor Debarred From Practicing Medicine in UK: One Mother’s Response

And so, it has happened.

Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who can be said to have set off an international scare about the MMR vaccine and about vaccinating children in general has been struck off the medical register by the UK’s General Medical Council on the grounds of ‘serious professional misconduct.’ The full text of the press release regarding this decision can be found on the Respectful Insolence blog in a post by Orac  which traces the trail of the now delicensed physician’s role in ‘Vaccinegate.’ (More on Care2.com about this issue by Marc Seltzer.)

So, as someone who’s long known that vaccines had nothing to do in my son being autistic (here’s the video proof) and that the evidence refuting any link between vaccines and autism only grows (and that any such link has always stood on very shaky grounds and well-meant, but anendotal, claims), and who’s written before that all this talk of vaccines as a ’cause of autism’ has been a most unfortunate expenditure of time and attention from the pressing, urgent issues of—

 

  • how can we best educate students on the autism spectrum, to help them realize their full potential and abilities?
  • how can we provide schools, housing, and other environments for individuals on the spectrum that best accommodate their needs (sensory, communicative, and other)?
  • how can we recruit, train, and support staff (teachers, therapists, care workers, and many more individuals) to best assist and work with individuals on the spectrum, to the extent that such is needed over their lifespans?
  • how can we best include and integrate individuals on the spectrum in the community and in society?
  • how can we do all of the above while always respecting their dignity and unique differences?

 

—-as someone who’s written over and over that we need to focus on creating and maintaining more, better, and appropriate services and supports of individuals on the spectrum throughout their lives rather than hypothesizing about cures and causes, on prevention and recovery, you might think I’d be feeling in a most triumphalist mood right now, on seeing the doctor who first fueled the flames about a possible vaccine-autism link being stripped of his license to practice medicine—to do what his job was to do—in the UK.

But I’m not and may I be heckled as hypocritical and ignorant (it’s been done before) for saying so.

What I feel is, a deep fatigue, from having devoted way too much time (especially in the past five years) to discussing and countering claims about vaccines and autism, about thimerosal and mercury, about this or that ‘latest’ method to expunge the mercury or heavy metals or some such from an autistic child’s body, with the aim of recovering her or him from the ‘dreadfulness that is autism. ‘

It was over ten years ago—in 1998—that now delicensed physician Andrew Wakefield started publicly airing his concerns about the MMR vaccine and autism. It was over ten years ago—13, to be precise—that our son Charlie was born. Subtle developmental delays led us to worry during his first year while pediatricians and others counseled us, ‘he’ll grow out of that’ and ‘he’s just a little delayed, typical for boys.’ By the time my son was just over a year and a half, he was clearly different from the other children in his daycare. While it was painful to acknowledge this at the time, in reality, Charlie was greatly helped by early detection, early diagnosis, and early intervention. 

And while I wouldn’t have wanted to hear this when he was little, Charlie needs and will need the same level of care and informed, compassionate attention and support throughout his life. During all the time that parents and practitioners others in the autism community have been batting about theories and treatments and even going to court about a ‘vaccine injury’ ‘causing’ a child to ‘become autistic,’ Charlie has been in school, always in special education classrooms, now in a special school for other children like him. Charlie, despite some extremely difficult moments that have sometimes brought him into the emergency room and that have resulted in EMT personnel appearing, is still with us, and my husband Jim and I intend to keep it this way. Of course, Charlie can’t and won’t live with us forever and I prefer not to over-post on topics such as vaccines because such diverts attention from the real issues and from real individuals on the autism spectrum, like Charlie.

I know that now-delicensed physician Wakefield was on the Today show this Monday, 24th May, morning, and that he has a book coming out that is not, whatever you will hear (and you will be hearing something, trust me, the wheels are turning to ‘get the truth out’ and prove that he’s been made a public pariah)—this book that is coming out is not about autism. It is about the role that, once again, now-delicensed physician Wakefield had in promulgating a most unfortunate idea about autism that will take us many a year to extricate ourselves from.

I would prefer that that time not be when my son is my age (41) and far older. Charlie’s got a long life ahead of him and it would be well that he not have to spend any more of it under the shadow of any discredited, outdated, and unfortunate—and untrue—theories of autism.

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99 comments

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6:08PM PDT on Jun 1, 2010

Medical Conspiracy:I had a 3-in-1 vaccine as a baby my father hesitated but my mother went along from what he told me and I am a bit slow and that could be from the vaccine

1:39PM PDT on May 31, 2010

Too often people believe that their voice should be heard, even if they are ignorant in what they are speaking about. As a father of a 3 year old with autism, I have done vast anounts of research. I have followed the Dan protocal for one year and am now working the Yasko protocol. We have found that there are some genetic mutations that can decrease his body's ability to eliminate the heavy metal burden that his body has to deal with every day. He has extremely high amounts of mercury in his system. As we eliminate the heavy metal, we are seeing improvements in all areas where he was deficient. Where do these young kids get mercury poisoning? There is only one viable way.

Everyone writing on this blog should read a book called "Evidence of Harm." It will enlighten those of you who believe that your childs autism was a direct effect of the immunizations, as well as those who are blinded by the media and the CDC into thinking that there is no link. Most of you will have a different opinion of Dr. W after reading it.

For those that believe that immunizations cannot be a factor need to open your eyes and do some actual research before you open your mouths. Before destroying Dr. Wakefields credibility from what you read in the newspaper, look at his actual research. He NEVER concluded that there was a link, but indicated we should exercise precaution.

I hope we all get to the bottom of this. It is the largest epidemic the world has ever seen.

11:26PM PDT on May 30, 2010

If it wasn't for vaccines our kids would be dieing in their droves. every medication has side effects but one has to look at the good it does over the so called "evil". and just because one doctor makes sweeping statements about vaccionations like MMR it doesnt mean it is true. Parents who dont vaccinate are taking terrible risks with their kid's health and lives and the data in top peer reviewed journals prove it.

12:53PM PDT on May 30, 2010

Interesting, thank you

5:10AM PDT on May 30, 2010

Informative article. Thank you.

12:40PM PDT on May 28, 2010

Amen Shondolyn!! I too have a son with a form of autism, Aspergers. Paul (now 11) was different from day one. The higher incidences of autism spectrum disorders is due to better diagnosis. Even though Paul has been in special ed. classes since first grade, I just recently pulled him out of middle school due to the bullying and hazing, and the "boys will be boys" attitude I was getting from his school. When an 11 year old starts talking suicide because of his treatment from the other kids in school, it's time to put some money into educating students and staff about autism. There was no support for this child in this school. He finally was diagnosed at age six, because his kindergarten teacher had 25 years experience in working with autistic children and recognized the symptoms. Before that, I had gotten the reputation of being a "head case" and hysterical mother from his doctors. There is no correlation between Paul's autism and immunizations. He was autistic BEFORE the shots.

8:12AM PDT on May 28, 2010

For the love of milk, could we get over the whole autism is caused by vaccines thing? It isn't. Let's focus on more important issues. Like closing JRC and support for people in the spectrum.
Wakefield is a fraud. Let's simply stop paying attention to him and focus on these autistic children and adults who need our support, empathy and understanding.

7:15PM PDT on May 27, 2010

Taken from the insert of the Energix B (Hepatitis B) vaccine, made by GSK...
Listed under adverse reactions..."Nervous System Disorders: Encephalitis, encephalopathy, migraine, multiple sclerosis, neuritis, neuropathy including hypoesthesia, paresthesia, Guillain-Barré syndrome and Bell’s palsy, optic neuritis, paralysis, paresis, seizures, syncope, transverse myelitis."

Demyelination can happen in the spine (transverse myelitis) but not the brain? If demyelination occurs in the brain, an individuals' learned skills will be lost. New skills will be harder to obtain, if at all possible. Existing neural pathways are destroyed, and new ones may not be able to be created. Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disorder. Autism is a neurological disorder. Multiple sclerosis is on the adverse reaction list of th HepB vaccine insert. Vaccines can cause one, but not the other? So...vaccines are discriminatory? Of course not.

"Vaccines don't cause autism". Really? That's a HUGE statement to make, because autism has a HUGE spectrum, and to state that vaccines can/do never contribute to putting some children on that spectrum is irresponsible.

7:01PM PDT on May 27, 2010

@Kate D...First off, I never stated that "standard vaccines cause autism". What I DID state was that I believe that vaccines CAN cause neurological dysfunction, because they can.

Autism isn't just ONE thing. Every autistic person has their own unique traits that put them on the spectrum.

You state..."How do you explain the discrepancy in the huge numbers of children who are healthy after vaccination?" Is that really a serious question? Everyone is different, thats how. How do you explain all of the lifetime-smokers out there who never get lung cancer? Are you going to state that smoking never causes lung cancer? What an absurd question for you to ask. Different people are affected differently by different things.

Myelination in the human brain begins in the third trimester of pregnancy and isn't complete until mid-life. How one could believe it is wise to INJECT toxins immediately after birth, and continue for the first few years of life, is insane. How anyone could believe that you could continuously insult the human nervous system and never cause damage perplexes me.

The vaccine inserts themselves provide listings of adverse reactions. Not all of these reactions happen to all individuals who receive the vaccines. However, adverse reactions are a possibility after injection. Neurological damage can be an adverse reaction of vaccines. Some children lose the ability to speak. Some have sensory issues. Some have severe gastrointestinal distress. No two are alike.

4:27PM PDT on May 27, 2010

More than 95% of measles deaths occur in low-income countries with weak health infrastructures.

This comes from the World health Organization.

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