Dr. Robert Sears (Dr. Bob) is one of the more well-known Defeat Autism Now (DAN) doctors. This is a group of alternative medical practitioners who “treat” autism with a number of untested (and, thus, unproven) methods such as supplements, chelation, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and others.
As a DAN practitioner, it won’t surprise most readers here that Dr. Bob takes a different view of vaccines than the mainstream. Dr. Bob Sears has a book out on alternatives to the standard vaccine schedule, The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child. This approach has not been without criticism (for example, The Problem With Dr Bob’s Alternative Vaccine Schedule).
Dr. Bob has been associated with an outbreak of measles in San Diego, California a few years back. In specific, that the “index patient”, the child who was infected abroad during a family trip, was a patient of his practice. Note that people did not say that the child spread the infection in his office. Instead, According to the radio show “This American Life” and a short article in his hometown newspaper, the Orange County Register and, later, Seth Mnookin‘s book, The Panic Virus, note that the child who imported measles into San Diego from Switzerland was a patient of Dr. Sears.
Dr. Sears has recently (as in the past few days) contested this idea that the “index patient” for the San Diego outbreak was seen in his clinic. Which, as I noted above, is not what was discussed in, for example, The Panic Virus. In a comment on the Huffington Post blogs, Dr. Sears wrote:
“I will set the record straight. I was NOT the pediatrician who saw the measles patient and let him sit in my office. As far as I know, that occured in a San Diego pediatrician’s office. I don’t know whose. I was not involved in that at all. I haven’t read Seth Minooken’s book, NOR have I ever even spoken with Seth. So I’ve no idea what he’s said about me in his book. I actually had no idea that any of you were even wondering about this. No one’s brought it to my attention before this. I heard something about some journalist writing a book about vaccines, but hadn’t bothered to read it”
This brings up the question posed by Seth Mnookin in his book, The Panic Virus: “Who Decides Which Facts are True”.
Well, Mr. Mnookin is providing us with information to decide for ourselves. Mr. Mnookin provided the links to “This American Life” and the Orange County Register. In addition, Mr. Mnookin has provided us with a brief discussion of the exchanges between Dr. Sears and himself. All this in his article, Bob Sears: Bald-faced liar, devious dissembler, or both?
As to whether Dr. Bob Sears has ever spoken with Seth (emphasized with an all caps “NOR” in Dr. Bob Sears’ comment on Huffpo), Mr. Mnookin provides readers with a link to audio from one of his interviews with Dr. Sears. Mr. Mnookin wrote:
Now, there are a number of odd things about Sears’s comment. First, he denies something that I’ve never accused him of—not in my book, not in an interview, not in a speech: letting a patient infected with measles sit in his office. Then, he misspells my name, which is either an illustration of how little he cares about getting things right or of his deviousness (or both)—because while I assume it’s true he’s never spoken to Seth Minooken, he most definitely has spoken to Seth Mnookin. You don’t need to take my word for it; as you can hear here, I actually taped the interview. That interview was just one part of a long series of back and forths I had with Sears and various staff members in his office. I think they’re revealing—and, in light of Sears’s claim that he’s never spoken to me (or someone whose name sounds an awful lot like mine), they’re worth discussing.
Readers can read what Mr. Mnookin felt was “worth discussing” in his article: Bob Sears: Bald-faced liar, devious dissembler, or both?