Privacy is an important point for all of us. I blogged for a long time under a pseudonym in order to protect my child’s privacy. The subject is important enough to me that when I noticed what I considered to be a breach of privacy by Andrew Wakefield and his “Dr Wakefield Justice Fund”, I wrote to them with the information in order to give them the chance to correct this. To explain: the “Dr. Wakefield Justice Fund” posted documents from Mr. Wakefield’s defamation suit filed against Brian Deer and Fiona Godlee. One of those documents includes the full names and birthdates of seven of the patients seen at the Royal Free Hospital in the 1990’s.
I sent the following email to one of the contact email addresses for the “Dr Wakefield Justice Fund” (firstname.lastname@example.org).
if you aren’t already aware of this, you may want to know that in this document:
[link redacted by me for this article]
You have made public the full names and birth dates of seven patients seen at the Royal Free. Given the complaints levied against Mr. Deer for, as I recall, publishing the first names of the Lancet 12, I thought you might want to take the effort to redact that document.
I sent this Friday of last week and so far have received no response and no correction has been made. I have not made an effort to find and remember the names of the “Lancet 12” so these names are unfamiliar to me (with the exception of two last names). I did a quick internet search on some of the names and did not find them linked to Mr. Wakefield or MMR in a relatively brief search, so this seems like a true breach of privacy. I’ll note that in the GMC hearings names were occasionally spoken but the court kept to a standard of anonymizing child and parent names in the transcript.
I would encourage the “Dr. Wakefield Justice Fund” to redact that and any other documents which contain such information.
By Matt Carey