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A Medical Maverick’s Fate

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The attempt to wipe Andrew Wakefield, MD from the face of the medical community for honestly reporting his findings trying to help his patients

The General Medical Council of UK has now removed Andrew Wakefield, MD from the medical registry. This follows their January 2010 findings from the Fitness to Practice and Investigation Committee report. And, it follows the February 2010 action by the Lancet medical journal to retract the article published in 1998 by Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues. The GMC investigation was prompted by an inquiry from Brian Deer, Sunday Times columnist. The Sunday Times is owned by a board member of GSK, the makers of the MMR vaccine mentioned in Dr. Wakefield’s published research.

Medical mavericks are far enough ahead of their time to suffer for it. And, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a noted gastroenterologist and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and author of over 130 original studies, who was never anti-vaccine, was an unlikely maverick. In 1995, to quote Dr. Wakefield “A mother called me and said a child is developing perfectly normally and then had their MR vaccine. The child became extremely unwell, high fever for days and upon recovery was never the same. The child deteriorated into Autism – lost speech, communication, language, inter-action. I said, I’m terribly sorry, I’m a gastroenterologist, you must have rang the wrong number. I knew nothing about Autism; when I was in medical school, it was so rare – we were not even taught about it. And she said, No, you don’t understand my child has terrible bowel problems; he’s having diarrhea 12 times a day he’s lost continence; I know he’s in pain but he can’t tell me he’s in pain. He’s hitting himself, banging his head, biting himself and attacking people and I know this is because he is in pain.” Click here to read further a about Dr. Wakefield’s story in his own words http://www.rightsidenews.com/2010053010367/health-and-education/dr-andrew-wakefield-on-the-autism-vaccine-controversy.html.
His team found 100 other children with nearly identical stories. Twelve were tested further and written up for publication. Children have now been found in five other countries with similar sets of experiences. When Dr. Wakefield treated the first child and others for their bowel disorders, their behavior improved. That was what initiated propelled Dr. Wakefield to look further, to study and to present his information. He had no anti-vaccine agenda. His genuine interest to help his patients led him to study the safety of the MMR vaccine which resulted in his preparation of a 250-page report finding the safety studies “appalling” “totally unsatisfactory”.
And as many parents who have questioned the link between their child’s immunization and subsequent changes in behavior and learning ability, to question vaccines is fraught with many political pressures.
One of the most amazing facts of this whole story is that Dr. Wakefield’s original merely suggested further research specifically regarding the linkage between the MMR vaccine and autism. 19 papers were published on this research by Dr. Wakefield.  It is this one study that generated a maelstrom of criticism, years of uproar and controversy, and a final effort to wipe Dr. Wakefield from the conventional community for his desire to help a patient, then more patients, and his scientific curiosity, and researcher’s duty to look further, report everything found, and suggest there was more to be learned. ANH-Europe has published an excellent overview of the events surrounding the GMC action against Dr. Wakefield was never a suggestion from a parent that Dr. Wakefield had harmed a child either from treatment or failing to treat a child. To this day, every parent involved remains content with Dr. Wakefield’s care of their child. http://www.anh-europe.org/news/anh-feature-the-longest-witch-hunt-in-medical-history-draws-to-a-close
However, the professional care and personal life of Dr. Wakefield and his family has forever changed. He is an engaging earnest physician and research clearly dedicated to patient care and scientific excellence. Because these two values were in conflict with the political, public health, and conventional medical community’s push to achieve 100% rates of vaccination, Dr. Wakefield was “far enough ahead of his time to suffer for it.”
No vaccine is 100% safe or 100% effective. It is the right of every parent and person contemplating a vaccine to objective information about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy record. Only weighing the risks versus the benefits can an individual make an informed choice about what is right for their child and their body. That’s healthcare freedom of choice. That is worth standing up for thanks to courageous scientists and doctors like Dr. Andrew Wakefield.
From Deborah A. Ray, MT(ASCP)
Copyright © 2010 Natural Health Science News. Permission granted to forward, copy, or reprint with date and attribution to Natural Health Science News.

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