Andrew Wakefield – what were you expecting to happen?

28 Jan

The first of Andrew Wakefield’s days of judgement unfolded today amid hectic scenes of supporters running screaming from the room as the inevitable damning judgements were read out.

Wakefields action was proven to be dishonest and misleading, he was found in breach of managing public finances and that the funds he was in control of were not used for their intended purposes and a whole myriad of others. One of the most shocking is that it was found proved that:

You caused Child 2 to undergo a programme of investigations for research purposed without having Ethics Committee approval for such research.

And thats Andrew Wakefield’s career toasted in the UK. Read the whole thing at your leisure.

I would have gotten this post to you sooner but I was accompnying my two step-daughters to their H1N1 vaccinations as the decisions were being handed down.

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10 Responses to “Andrew Wakefield – what were you expecting to happen?”

  1. sheldon101 January 28, 2010 at 21:22 #

    The decision was kinder to Wakefield than it should have been when it held that Wakefield wasn’t dishonest on some issues.

    Otherwise, it was pretty much what was expected. Obviously, Wakefield knew what was coming as he didn’t attend the hearing.

  2. David N. Brown January 28, 2010 at 21:26 #

    I have no doubt that Wakefield engaged in fraud and misconduct well beyond the MMR/Autism hoax. I find it very interesting that the ruling mentions a “stipulation” that Wakefield not work with patients. Might this be because he was already suspected of injuring patients?
    I also find the first two or three pages absurdly defensive. They seem designed to placate Wakefield and/or followers, perhaps in fear that he will file lawsuits.

  3. Socrates January 28, 2010 at 21:55 #

    I’m expecting Wakefield to drag this out for at least as long as the rest of his professional career.

    I’m sure there’s no end of Courts that will hear his protestations of innocence.

    And just who were all these kids at his son’s birthday party and why did he want their blood?

    And the thing about ordering non-clinically indicated lumbar punctures (good ole wiki):

    The lumbar puncture procedure was taken to the United States by Arthur H. Wentworth M.D., an assistant professor at the Harvard Medical School, based at Children’s Hospital.

    In 1893, he published a long paper on diagnosing cerebro-spinal meningitis by examining spinal fluid.

    His career took a nosedive, however, when the antivivisectionists prosecuted him for having obtained spinal fluid from children.

    He was acquitted, but he was disinvited from the then forming Johns Hopkins Medical School where he would have been the first professor of pediatrics.

  4. Liz Ditz January 28, 2010 at 22:59 #

    As I often do, I’m collating blog responses to the decision. This post is there:

    Andrew Wakefield: Dishonesty, Misleading Conduct, and Serious Professional Misconduct: Blog Posts Approving of Verdict; Blog Posts Critical of Verdict

  5. Laurentius Rex January 30, 2010 at 13:47 #

    Unfortunately the propensity to abuse is institutionally inherent within the medical system.

    Whilst a newbie will be subject to the most rigorous ethical procedures when starting out on a research career, the dubious ethics of experimentation are often overlooked for old hands, who the institution know can produce papers in all the right journals, so the proverbial blind eye gets turned.

    Wakefield seems though to be a thoroughly rotten egg even in a rotten system that allowed him to go under the radar for so long.

    Indeed the system is pretty much incompetent in even dealing with Wakefield, because he continues to abuse his privilege and the system is insufficiently robust to deal with him in the same way a Judge and Jury might in the criminal courts, The GMC does not have that power.

    Any other Dr without Wakefield’s Texan backers would have been struck off long ago.

    I do wonder if Wakefield actually fell foul of criminal law, and whether passing a file to the DPP would result in his extradition.

    Sooner or later this whole rotten edifice of DAN Dr’s and bogus qualifications will fall apart, when all the abused kids grow up and the prosecutions and lawsuits start flying. It will be too late then though.

    It is only possible because there is no decent medical oversight in the USA where a miscreant can just run across the state line in pursuit of ever laxer board certification, and when runs out there is always Mexico.

  6. David N. Brown January 31, 2010 at 07:07 #

    Laurentius,
    Talking about “no decent medical oversight in the USA” is definitely a provocative line of argument. It is, at least, true that frauds “migrate”, but it isn’t so simple as just a “run across the state line”. In particular, moving into a different state doesn’t automatically protect a fraud from prosecution for previous activities. Also, a more subtle problem is that some INDUSTRIES are more regulated than others. I suspect that “fraud migration” commonly involves moving from one “trade” to another ahead of increasing regulations. Approximately uniform regulation IS an achievable goal, it just takes a while.
    Meanwhile, from “the other side of the pond”, a lot of attention has been given to the UK’s “plaintiff-friendly” libel laws (covered in my own “Wakefield’s inquisition”), which strike me as almost a vestige of “code duello”. Ultimately, I suspect the US and UK are simply to different for useful comparison. Best just to say that our pasts and our present circumstances have left us both with problems.

  7. Laurentius Rex January 31, 2010 at 10:33 #

    Mr Brown, I wholeheartedly concur that on this side of the pond, our libel laws leave a lot to be desired and are long overdue for reform, I also concur that there is too much secrecy in our Government as well.

    However that still leaves the fact that when it comes to medical and academic fraud the United States is a leaky bucket.

    The degree mills are one part of the problem, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diploma_mill

    and the lack of the federal equivalent of the GMC here, because self regulation doesn’t seem to work.

    It is all too easy to claim a faux authority with bogus qualification, rigged ethics review boards, proprietry journals in order to create the superficial appearance of being above board.

    The existance of all this loose regulation allows bad characters within the DAN crowd to sneak papers into the literature and citation counts.

    Sometimes peer review seems rather lax when this happens. The wonder is though how Wakefield got an article into the Lancet at all, so the blame is not entirely on the United States. However long it has taken we at least have the mechanisms to acknowledge that it was done dishonestly.

    I would like to see this Country put our house in order and reform libel law so that it cannot be used to suppress due process and threaten academic freedom, on the other hand I would like to see academic and medical certification tightened up in the USA to the extent that the likes of Andrew Wakefield can neither practice medicine nor hold a position on any board.

  8. David N. Brown February 1, 2010 at 00:06 #

    Part of the problem for federal-level regulation in the US is the size of the jurisdiction: We have the second largest land area and third-largest population of any country in the world.
    Establishing a US equivalent to the GMC would not be an easy measure to pass. Expansions of federal power have always met resistance. A more modest and workable goal would be to set more uniform standards for state regulators. I don’t think either would be especially effective in fighting the worst fraud. A major problem (as you allude to) is that many frauds operate outside the medical “establishment”, where both government and private-sector monitoring and supervision have a limited reach.

  9. angryblacautie October 15, 2010 at 00:18 #

    Breaking news: Famous “High Functioning” Autistic Woman now claims to be Multiple Personality Disorder

    YouTube – 1210donna’s Channel Channel of Donna Williams, international bestselling author, artist, with autism recently diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder

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