Sunday, February 08, 2009

So Much For Due Process: TimesOnline Convicts Wakefield Of Fixing Autism Data

In England, the land where the common law was born that ultimately provided the foundation for legal systems around the world, including the United States, Canada and Australia, due process is apparently viewed by the media as a quaint historical relic. At least one could reasonably reach that conclusion after reading MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism published February 8 2009 on TIMESONLINE. Dr. Wakefield, with two professors, John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch, is currently facing charges of serious professional misconduct brought by the General Medical Council (GMC).

Wakefield and the two professors deny the allegations but the TIMESONLINE, in an article by Brian Deer, has apparently decided to dispense with old fashioned notions of due process and is informing the world of its verdict:

"Andrew Wakefield manipulated patients’ data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella was linked to the condition.


The research was published in February 1998 in an article in The Lancet medical journal. It claimed that the families of eight out of 12 children attending a routine clinic at the hospital had blamed MMR for their autism, and said that problems came on within days of the jab. The team also claimed to have discovered a new inflammatory bowel disease underlying the children’s conditions.

However, our investigation, confirmed by evidence presented to the General Medical Council (GMC), reveals that: In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records. Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated. Hospital pathologists, looking for inflammatory bowel disease, reported in the majority of cases that the gut was normal. This was then reviewed and the Lancet paper showed them as abnormal."

These are obviously very serious allegations. Perhaps I am biased, being a humble, small town lawyer in New Brunswick, Canada but I prefer to await the decision of the tribunal before reporting the verdict.

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