Peter Harvey in memoriam
As a consultant neurologist at the Royal Free Hospital, London, Peter Harvey was one of thirteen authors on the 1998 Lancet paper that first drew attention to the link between autism and bowel disease. Not once in all the time that has passed and the trouble that has flowed did he waiver in his support for the parents of those children, the conviction that their story of regression following MMR vaccination is valid, and the findings reported in that paper. In a saga of calumny, cowardice, and capitulation, Peter was resolute unto his death. Peter died at his house in Valboulet – Valley of Balls – France, where his ashes are scattered. Never was a last resting place more aptly named.
PARENTS RESPOND TO LANDMARK MMR JUDGMENT IN ITALY
16 6 2012
The Saturday Dail Mail reported the landmark decision of an Italian court that the MMR is responsible for the devastating disability - autism - of nine-year old Valentino Bocca. This decision, following the submission of independent forensic doctors, is now accepted by the Italian government.
Parents of CRYSHAME strongly support this judgment within our European community and ask for it to be treated seriously. We call for Parliament and the Department of Health to reopen the debate and heed our repeated calls to investigate valid parent concerns about the safety of this vaccine and investigate the striking similarities experienced in some of the UK autism cases. It can no longer be called coincidence that figures show a stark rise in the disorder since the introduction of MMR in 1988.
CryShameCryshame is a group of parents who saw their children regress into autism in their second year and ask why this happened. No scientific explanation can explain why children regress following normal development.
1. Link to Sue Reid's report in today's Mail: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2160054/MMR-A-mothers-victory
2. Research into autism and bowel damage which began at the Royal Free Hospital in the late 1990s and early 2000s has now been stopped. Currently there is no record of new research into autism and bowel disease.
3. Recent research led by Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge, has found the prevalence of autism among children in the UK is one-in-64.
SICK CHILDREN ABANDONED BY THE NHS: "CHANGING LIVES"—JON EDWARD'S STORY
2 5 2012
Jon Edward's story is the first of several trailers about Changing Lives, produced by the Autism Media Channel, showing the plight of children with autism and bowel disease who, rejected by the NHS, are then treated in the United States.
Jon, 14, has severe autism and inflammatory bowel disease. The Changing Lives trailer shows the dramatic change before and after his treatment—before when the NHS could offer no treatment and after when he was treated in the US—and the despair and hope his parents go through.
Under the NHS Jon Edward's bowel problems remained untreated whilst his body became slowly emaciated and severely underweight. This is shocking as the video vividly shows. Yet NHS paediatricians continue to declare there is nothing wrong with Jon. Abandoned by the NHS, Jon's despairing mother had no alternative but to take him to the US.
In the US Jon receives the treatment he needs, but at great cost to his parents, as well as the added difficulties of flying a sick autistic child across the Atlantic. Such treatment is beyond the pocket of many parents who want to see their child's suffering relieved but are left to the mercy of a disinterested NHS.
UK autistic children with bowel disease are offered little or no treatment by the NHS—unless they are fortunate to live close to the London teaching hospitals. British medicine does not recognise the bowel condition associated with autism. No research is currently carried out into why autistic children are blighted by bowel disease which causes constant pain and stunted development amongst other symptoms.
Many autistic children are denied the right to free and excellent NHS treatment most families take for granted.
Changing Livesis the first step in a campaign committed to redressing this injustice.
CryShame is bringing the injustice portrayed in the Autism Media Channel Changing Lives video to the attention of the UK public. CryShame hopes that treatment and research will be made available and sick people's lives to be changed for the better.
Autistic people have the right to the same standard of medical care as every other person in the UK.
Autism Media Channel
James Lefanu's Doctor's Diary: The exoneration of Prof John Walker-Smith
19 Mar 2012
"There is no reputation so clear that a slander may not stain it,” as the saying goes – nor few things more gratifying than an honourable reputation restored. And so it was in the High Court last week when Mr Justice Mitting quashed the charge of professional misconduct against Professor John Walker-Smith.
The “misconduct” that resulted in the professor being arraigned before the General Medical Council arose from his investigating the severe bowel disturbances in children with autism and the possible association with the MMR vaccine. That link may have been tenuous, but there is no disputing the prevalence of chronic diarrhoea, intractable constipation and abdominal pain, all of which make the care of these children so much more burdensome than it already is.
The case against those such as John Walker-Smith, who sought to find out what was amiss, was characterised, Mr Justice Mitting said, by “inadequate and superficial reasoning and in many instances the wrong conclusions”. His exoneration, it is to be hoped, may encourage doctors to provide the same sympathy and support that he extended to the children with this grievous condition – and their parents.
A Personal Message From Professor John Walker-Smith
14 3 2012
I wish to thank very much, everyone who sent messages of support and greeting to me, concerning my recent successful Appeal to the High Court in the Royal Courts of Justice, presided over by Mr. Justice Mitting. He stated concerning what had happened to me that it would be a misfortune should this ever happen again.
I shall be publishing at the end of the month with the Memoir Club, a second and updated edition of my autobiography, Enduring Memories. It will contain a chapter called The Trial. This will indicate my personal response to the GMC Hearing and Appeal. enquiries should be addressed to the Memoir Club, Durham e-mail [email protected]
with kind regards
Quashing of GMC findings against Prof Walker-Smith
7 3 2012
Cryshame parents welcome with immense relief the end of the eight year ordeal of Prof John Walker-Smith and the quashing of all substantive charges against him in the High Court, and wish him their heartfelt congratulations at finally clearing his name.
In an unflamboyant 70 page judgment Sir John Mitting was unable to establish any reasoning behind the GMC's findings, relating either to the ordering of inappropriate investigative procedures on children, or to the claim that the controversial 1998 Wakefield Lancet paper (of which Prof Walker-Smith was senior author) was based a research protocol 172-96 which the GMC further alleged to be funded by the Legal Aid Board rather than an "early report" reviewing the cases of patients seen entirely on the basis of clinical need, as stated. These allegations, which were originally made against Prof Walker-Smith (as well as Dr Andrew Wakefield and Prof Simon Murch) by journalist Brian Deer and Liberal-Democrat politician Evan Harris in the Sunday Times in 2004, have now been shown to be completely unfounded.
This judgment not only vindicates Prof Walker-Smith (one of two acknowledged world pioneers in the field of paediatric-gastroenterology) but also families seeking treatment for autistic children, and now adults, with clinical issues - particularly gut related - who have been denied appropriate investigation and treatment for more than a decade in British hospitals as a consequence of the witch-hunt against Prof Walker-Smith and colleagues, conducted by both the GMC and parts of the media. Cryshame particularly regrets the present failure of the Leveson Inquiry to look in to a succession of complaints regarding the media's handling of these matters, which has been to the detriment of thousands of sick British children.
We note that the charges against Prof Walker-Smith - which have now been proven false - were integral to the case brought against Andrew Wakefield. We believe that many people in the medical profession and in journalism have known that these charges were flawed and unsustainable in a proper court of law for a long time, but the defence of the vaccine programme has taken precedence over truth and justice.
The Walker-Smith Appeal, the British Media and the Boselely Problem
PARENTS OF SICK CHILDREN TREATED BY PROFESSOR WALKER-SMITH EXPRESS GRATITUDE AND SUPPORT IN HIS APPEAL AGAINST THE GMC
13 2 2012
Today Professor John Walker-Smith begins his appeal against the General Medical Council's (GMC's) determination that he is guilty of serious professional misconduct and that he should lose his license to practice. The case is heard by Justice Mitting in Court 19 at the Royal Courts of Justice Court, London (see Notes).
Parents of the many children with autism and bowel disease seen by Professor Walker-Smith at the Royal Free Hospital, North London up to his retirement in 2001 express their immense gratitude for his kind, considerate and innovative treatment of their children. Without treatment these children would have remained in considerable pain and their condition would have worsened.
During a long and distinguished career Professor Walker-Smith led new directions in treatment and research in paediatric gastroenterology. In particular he established the existence of bowel disease in autistic children that had been unrecognised until its discovery in 1998. He has been described as the "father of paediatric gastroenterology" and his contribution to medicine rewarded with international recognition. His books and journal articles are read by many clinicians and researchers throughout the world who have learnt from his pioneering work.
We are confident that Professor Walker-Smith will be found innocent of the findings the GMC has determined against him. The measure of British justice is tested by the way it treats a man of Professor Walker-Smith's stature following his distinguished and unblemished career.
One consequence of the GMC's decision against Professor Walker-Smith are the serious difficulties parents now face in finding NHS treatment for autistic children with bowel disease.
Cryshame is a group of parents who saw their children regress into autism in their second year and ask why this happened. No scientific explanation is available to explain why children regress following normal development. Cryshame wholeheartedly supports Professor John Walker-Smith, an expert of world class renown.
Link to facebook page: facebook.com/CryShame.JWS
1. Walker-Smith v General Medical Council (CO/7039/2010) is being heard by Mr Justice Mitting at 10:30 am in Court 19, the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London WC2A 2LL. The case begins on Monday 13 February. Two weeks has been set aside for the case. The GMC's sanction of loss of right to practice takes effect if Professor Walker-Smith loses his appeal.
2. The link to the GMC's "Determination on Serious Professional Misconduct and sanction" is gmc-uk.org/Professor_Walker_Smith_SPM.pdf_32595970.pdf
NEW RESEARCH ON AUTISM AND BOWEL DISEASE: FURTHER CHALLENGES TO THE BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL
18 1 2012
Following the BMJ’s campaign to discredit Dr Andrew Wakefield with smears that he falsified data in the 1998 Lancet - reporting that parents of eight children had seen the first behavioural signs of autism following MMR vaccination and that eleven children had developed gut problems - new research is published in January 2012 confirming the association between inflammatory bowel disease and autism.
Latest research from Hornig and Lipkin this year identifies Sutterella bacteria as a possible source of gut inflammation in autistic children. The research is here.
Sutterella RNA gene sequences were found in 12 of 23 autistic children with bowel disease but in none of 9 control children who were not autistic. This points to the presences of inflammation in the gut of autistic children - a finding that the BMJ dismiss in their recent review of the autism-gut literature, proposing that signs of inflammation such as lymphonodular hyperplasia are normal occurrences in children.
A useful background discussion to this technical paper from Paul Whitely of the University of Sunderland is here.
AUTISM PARENTS RESPOND TO DR ANDREW WAKEFIELD’S LIBEL WRIT AGAINST THE BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL
9 1 2012
Almost a year after the British Medical Journal first charged Dr Andrew Wakefield with scientific fraud on 5 January 2011, Wakefield has filed a suit against the Defendants, the BMJ, its editor Dr Fiona Godlee and investigative journalist Brian Deer who wrote the BMJ article (here). The article claimed that Wakefield falsified the findings of a case series published in the Lancet in 1998, which reported on 12 autistic child patients treated for bowel problems at the Royal Free Hospital in the mid-1990s.
Wakefield has now hit back in a suit claiming Deer’s article is defamatory in accusing Wakefield of ‘fixing’ the case study and using ‘bogus data’. Deer’s article was accompanied by an editorial from Dr Godlee saying the Lancet paper was ‘an elaborate fraud’.
Dr Wakefield's 'letter of demand', sent by his lawyers to Mr Deer and Dr Godlee, lists inaccuracies in Deer's article and their legal implications (here) and demands retraction of the BMJ articles and apologies.
In January 2012, Dr David Lewis, a research microbiologist and whistleblower, submitted a complaint to the UK Research Integrity Office exposing the unethical behaviour of Mr Deer and Dr Godlee (here). He studied all of Dr Wakefield's research papers used in preparing the 1998 Lancet article to assess whether he falsified the data, and concluded that he had not. Lewis' sent an earlier report exonerating Wakefield of scientific fraud to the BMJ. He alleges that they cherry picked selective data, and ignored the bulk of the data challenging the BMJ articles, to construct an account that all thirteen of the Lancet authors were guilty of institutional research misconduct. To add to the charge that the BMJ wrongly accused Wakefield of scientific fraud, is the further charge that the BMJ selected parts of Lewis' analysis to extend their campaign against Wakefield to all his research colleagues
In his defamation suit Wakefield states that Deer’s charges of fraud are false in offering a “re-analysis” of the medical records, many of which, the suit claims, “the Defendants know were not in the possession of or used by Dr Wakefield”. The suit charges Godlee, Deer and others at the BMJ of using “the BMJ to launch an unprecedented personal attack against a doctor who was part of a group of well-respected physicians that presented a case study that simply suggested there might be a connection between the MMR vaccine ... and autism and that suggested that further research is warranted”.
CryShame is a group of parents many of whom saw their children succumb to autism and bowel disease following the MMR. We applaud Wakefield’s decision to challenge Godlee and Deer’s claims against him and hope from the bottom of our heart that he receives justice.
Today the number of children suffering from autism may be as many as one in 64 and many parents continue today to witness their children regress into autism following MMR. But since the campaign to discredit Wakefield, there has been no research in the UK to investigate this pattern. The public are repeatedly told by government and the medical profession that the MMR is safe and not associated with autism, and yet anecdotally parents of autistic children who trusted the government discover the opposite is true. There has been no scientific explanation for this temporal association between regressive autism and the MMR.
The BMJ’s attack on Wakefield has been a gigantic distraction from research in the UK to uncover the causes of autism and bowel disease. It is vitally important for existing autistic children, and for the thousands of children who will, given current medical ignorance, regress into autism over the coming years, that research into the role of vaccines in the genesis of autism is put back on track.
AUTISM PARENTS RESPOND TO MEDICAL JOURNAL'S CALL FOR PARLIAMENT TO PROBE MMR
10 11 2011
The British Medical Journal has today called for a parliamentary inquiry into research published in the Lancet medical journal in 1998 into autism and bowel disease. Cryshame, representing parents of children with autism and bowel disease endorse this call for a public inquiry. But such an inquiry must be open and unrestricted in scope.
If set up, the inquiry must not allow its agenda to be set by external influences. Dr Fiona Godlee, editor of the BMJ, which is a major benefactor of pharmaceutical money, claims that science has resolved all issues about MMR (the measles mumps & rubella jab) causing autism and bowel disease. Godlee says, "This is not a call to debate whether MMR causes autism. Science has asked that question and answered it". She has played a major role in making unfounded claims last January that the Lancet research was fraudulent - unfounded claims the BMJ seek to perpetuate today.
As parents we have seen our children lost to autism within weeks of the MMR, and in some cases days. Scientists' denial of this fact can't change what we witnessed. Talk to parents around the world and many tell the same story. Yet research has avoided addressing this uncomfortable fact and refused to see the pattern of events our children underwent that demand to be researched. 70 years since the first cases of autism were discovered, medical science has yet to find the cause.
The 1998 Lancet paper authors came closest to addressing the cause. Yet the lead authors — Dr Wakefield and Professor John Walker-Smith — have had their reputations vilified and destroyed by the Sunday Times and BMJ in an orchestrated show trial courtesy of the General Medical Council. In February Professor Walker Smith is appealing the GMC's proposal to delicense him, which will only take effect if he loses. The BMJ's intervention at this critical time raises questions about their motivation.
CRYSHAME STATEMENT 21 January 2011
In view of the latest attacks by Brian Deer on the reputations of Professor John Walker-Smith and Dr Andrew Wakefield published in the British Medical Journal, CryShame is stating its continuing support for these doctors who took seriously the severe health problems our children suffer.
The latest attacks have drawn together senior members of the medical profession in the UK and US in denouncing evidence of the Lancet twelve children's conditions recorded in the 1998 Lancet paper.
This is a major insult to the 12 Lancet children whose parents continue to attest to the accuracy of the Lancet 's findings of regressive autism following MMR. But it is also an insult to the many children around the world whose lives have been destroyed following the MMR vaccine. These children have bowel damage and associated problems, epilepsy and other disorders as well as suffering irreversible brain damage. The temporal sequence of autism following MMR is a pattern that demands serious research to establish causation.
No research into why our children regressed into autism following the MMR has been undertaken in the UK since the early 2000's. Rather expensive medical research has been undertaken with the express aim of disproving Wakefield et al's work with no positive outcomes for children with regressive autism. With the mounting epidemic of autism now one in 64 children - or one in 100 on a conservative estimate - medical scientists' embargo on further research into regressive autism is shameful.
The Doctors who were part of the former paediatric gastroenterology unit at the Royal Free Hospital treated our children with the utmost care in trying to research and alleviate their suffering. Professor Walker-Smith and Dr Andrew Wakefield bear the brunt of the continuing animosity because of this. We therefore want to publish the statement below from Dr Wakefield as he would like parents and friends to know how much he values their continued support.
Until our children receive the justice they deserve, and a proper programme of medical research and treatment is implemented, we are committed to fighting on the children and doctors' behalf.
Andrew Wakefield's thank you to parents
To all parents:
"I am immensely grateful to you for your wonderful support. Your voices are being heard around the world and that is precisely why our opponents have become so vicious. The only hope of victory for those who oppose the recognition of what has happened to your children for what it is and a Safety-First vaccine policy, is to divide us. Together we have come too far, for too long, for good reason, to be divided. Each attack makes us stronger and more determined. Science and safety must be the new language of vaccine policy. Solidarity will ensure this happens."
STATEMENT FROM DR. ANDREW WAKEFIELD: NO FRAUD. NO HOAX. NO PROFIT MOTIVE.
AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Andrew Wakefield issued the following statement today on the recent British Medical Journal articles: "The British Medical Journal and reporter Brian Deer recently alleged that my 1998 research paper was 'a hoax' and 'an elaborate fraud' and that my motivation was profit. "I want to make one [...]
PARENTS OF AUTISTIC CHILDREN RESPOND TO THE BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL CLAIM THAT WAKEFIELD ARTICLE LINKING MMR AND AUTISM WAS FRAUDULENT
HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!
Once again, the BMJ gives a platform for Brian Deer's investigation of Dr Andrew Wakefield at el's 1998 Lancet paper. But this time the BMJ editors criticise all 13 co-authors for failing to check the data and warn all medical researchers and ethics committees to check carefully before they publish.
The BMJ editors and Deer fail to point out that the 5-page paper was a small case series of findings of 12 children with autism and bowel disease which the Lancet placed in its 'early report' section. It was no more than a record of clinical findings of sick children treated at the Royal Free Hospital in the mid-1990s. These studies have a legitimate place in medical science in bringing to public attention new conditions (eg autism associated with bowel disease), reviewing the clinical evidence and commenting on hypotheses. Their role is to pave the way for further more rigorous research.
The link between MMR and autism/bowel disease was carefully couched as one of a number of hypotheses the paper reviewed. The MMR hypothesis had appeared in medical journals before. As the paper's aim was to review possible environmental triggers for the association between autism and bowel disease, the authors were duty bound to record the accounts of the parents of eight children that the onset of autism followed MMR.
However, the paper expressly stated We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described (p.164), and recommended further research into this possibility ‒ a responsible and legitimate conclusion to reach.
Not once do the editors refer to the testimony of parents who witnessed their children's regression following MMR. Such testimony is dismissed as parental 'beliefs'. Yet many thousands of parents have shared the same story via social networks, email groups, Facebook, etc.
The temporal association between MMR and autism clearly does not in itself demonstrate a causal relationship. But neither is it an association to be dismissed. There has been no substantial scientific study of autistic regression following MMR based on parental interviews. Instead parental accounts are dismissed as anecdote. Yet the frequency of these accounts represents a pattern deserving of serious research.
Deer, the GMC, Lancet and BMJ are hell bent on erasing Wakefield's work from the historical record.
The GMC hearing declined the offers of parents to testify before it and staff refused to submit a letter from the parents of eight Lancet children supporting Drs Wakefield, Walker-Smith and Murch's work and ethical care.
The phenomenal growth in autistic children ‒ from one in 2000 in 1987 to one in 64 today ‒ is of epidemic proportions and cannot all be explained away as improvements in diagnosis. No one, least of all Deer and the BMJ editors, can explain why the tragedy of autistic regression is happening to children and families.
A state of denial continues to silence the medical profession and government, whilst our children suffer in silence. Parents who speak out are dismissed by the BMJ and GMC and ridiculed as attention-seekers by Deer on his website and the many blogs he inhabits. Yet both parties are neglectful of the role played by parents of autistic children and the responsibilities they shoulder.
DR WAKEFIELD AND PROFESSORS MURCH AND WALKER-SMITH
A STATEMENT FROM PARENTS OF AUTISTIC CHILDREN TREATED BY THE THREE DOCTORS 24 MAY 2010
As expected the GMC has today shamefully removed the license to practice medicine from Dr Wakefield and Professor Walker-Smith, two good and caring doctors, thereby callously denying children with autism and bowel disease scarce treatment. But we share with Professor Murch and his family their immense relief that he can continue to practice untainted by the GMC’s allegations against the three doctors.
Today, parents and doctors have presented to the GMC three petitions from families and doctors around the world in support of the three doctors.
The Cure (to what ails them)
The GMC based the bulk of its case on the 1998 Lancet paper by the three doctors, claiming it did not have ethical approval and that the children in the study were subjected to invasive procedures that were not clinically justified.
No parent ever complained to the GMC about the three doctors.
A non-medically qualified journalist who reported the hearing for the Sunday Times made the only submission, seeking to bring down the cream of medical science and in turn dismiss the needs of children and parents.
Not one of the Lancet 12 children or their parents was given legal aid to represent their interests at the hearing. Whereas the prosecution relied heavily on the children's medical data obtained in contravention of the Data Protect Act principles.
Eight Lancet-12 parents wrote to the GMC testifying in support of the doctors' professionalism and compassion but had their letter rejected by the hearing.
The Twist (to fit the charges)
The GMC's case is based erroneously on Ethical Approval 172-96 granted by the Royal Free Hospital in 1996, which focuses on specific pathological processes associated with malabsorption of vitamin B12. By contrast the three doctors' discussion in the Lancet focuses on general hypotheses on how bowel disease may be implicated in autism.
The GMC based its unjust case against the doctors on the wrong ethical approval, which was submitted after and not before the Lancet work began. The three doctors claim that the correct ethical approval was granted in 1995 not 1996 and have the letter of proof. Because of this gross injustice the doctors have lost their right to practice and yet they have not harmed one single patient. Indeed the children vastly improved under their care.
The GMC is determined to silence the doctors and ensure they never practice or research again and are severely punished for publishing papers that the GMC claim encouraged open and public criticism of vaccine policy.
The GMC has sought to deceive the public by saying they have only the interests of these sick children and parents at heart.
This is the same blundering GMC that missed Harold Shipman, the Bristol babies and Alder Hey. Yet they continue to fail in their duty to protect the public by not striking off ‘killer doctors’ from the register.
This scandalous show trial was used to mask the real concerns parents have about why their children regressed into autism following MMR. The GMC's real intention has been to discredit research which, if allowed to continue, could implicate the MMR in the alarming rise in the numbers of autistic children.
Parents’ requests that this research should continue fell on deaf ears. At the same time the numbers of autistic children has risen thirty-fold since the MMR was introduced in 1988 amidst parents’ constant pleas for research into why their children were damaged. What role have vaccines played in the children’s deaths (in some cases), seizures, regressive autism, bowel disease, daily pain and disability must be investigated?
The Cold Compress
The GMC hearing will warn off doctors from expressing similar concerns about one-size-fits-all vaccination policy and ensure that scientists won’t conduct independent research into vaccine safety. The effect is to ensure government contracts with the large drug-makers are safeguarded and that clauses compelling government to make good their loss of earnings, should MMR sales drastically fall, are not activated. The commercial interests of the drug-makers take priority over research into why autism has increased so dramatically.
The plan has been to “discredit” the doctors and ensure they are left undefended in the media. The press have been compelled to refer to the doctors' “discredited” work. But researchers around the world have replicated their findings and supported their work. The doctors’ research remains original and important.
Independent research into why autism has increased must be funded, without powerful drug makers influencing the research agenda to keep share prices high and protect their products.
24 May 2010
Commenting on the GMC decision of 24 May 2010, Professor John Walker-Smith said:
I am devastated that the GMC has decided to erase me from the medical register. At each stage of the GMC’s investigation and hearing I have put forward strong evidence contesting the central allegations against me. It is deeply disappointing that the GMC has chosen to impose a sanction of such severity despite the evidence they had available to them. I have always and will continue to vigorously contest any suggestion of wrongdoing on my part.
For 40 years I dedicated my career to paediatric gastroenterology and am proud of the worldwide recognition I have received from my peers in the medical community. I have always been committed to the care of children and my first concern has been to do the best for them. I am forever indebted to my colleagues, family and friends for their support and understanding during what has been a difficult and prolonged investigation. I will now be considering the GMC’s findings in detail with my legal advisers.
GMC FINDING ON FACT – 28 JAN 2010
DR WAKEFIELD AND PROFESSORS MURCH AND WALKER-SMITH
A STATEMENT FROM PARENTS OF AUTISTIC CHILDREN TREATED BY THE THREE DOCTORS
The GMC was WRONG to find the doctors guilty on the findings of fact when no parent or patient was a complainant in this fitness to practice hearing. The Panel has chosen the facts it wants, and rejected those it doesn’t want, to find the doctors guilty on fact – facts that go back 16 years.
Parents heard the doctors put up a robust defence. Documents and evidence produced by the doctors showed
However, the GMC chose to ignore the 1995 ethical approval and substitute a 1996 approval, allowing them to reach the findings they did – a blatant disregard for justice. They also insisted that ‘pervasive developmental disorder’ was not the same as autism spectrum disorders which of course it is; and that only children who had had the measles or measles/rubella vaccine should have been admitted onto the project, not those who had had the MMR. The hearing moved the goalposts so that the doctors had no chance of overturning the serious charges against them.
This is the same GMC that missed Harold Shipman, the Bristol babies and Alder Hey. We believe it has made another blunder.Please voice your support for the doctors with the CryShame Facebook Group…
This scandalous show trial was used to mask real concerns parents have about why their children regressed into autism following MMR. The GMC and government engaged in a callous and diversionary tactic to end speculation about MMR safety and ensure scientific research into autism and bowel disease, and the role of vaccines, ended.
Parents’ requests that this research should continue fell on deaf ears. At the same time the numbers of autistic children has risen thirty-fold since the MMR was introduced in 1988 amidst the parents’ constant pleas for research into why their children were damaged. What role vaccines play in our children’s deaths (in some cases), seizures, regressive autism, bowel disease, daily pain and disability must be investigated.
The effects of the GMC hearing are to warn off doctors from expressing similar concerns about one size fits all vaccination policy and to ensure that scientists won’t investigate vaccine safety. The effect is to ensure government contracts with the large drug-makers are safeguarded and that clauses compelling government to make good their loss of earnings should MMR sales drastically fall are not activated. The commercial interests of the drug-makers take priority over research into why autism has increased dramatically.
The plan has been to “discredit” the doctors and ensure they are left undefended in the media. The press have been compelled to refer to their “discredited” work. But scientists claiming this have never fully replicated their work; the doctors’ research remains original and significant.
Independent research into why autism has increased must be funded, without powerful drug makers influencing the research agenda to keep share prices high and protect their products.
Cryshame is a pressure group made up of parents who saw their children regress into autism after the MMR jab. Cryshame wholeheartedly supports the three doctors, Dr Andrew Wakefield, Professors Simon Much and John Walker-Smith, each an expert in paediatric gastroenterology – Professor Walker-Smith an expert of world class.
In 1998 the three doctors published a small peer-reviewed investigation in The Lancet of 12 children with autism and painful bowel disorders – the subject of the GMC hearing. They followed this with other peer-reviewed publications of larger samples of autistic children and controls. Their findings have been replicated in published research in other parts of the world. But since GMC’s case began research in the UK was halted. In 2006 only £1m was spent on autism research in the UK. Yet the numbers of children with autism reached 1 in 66 in 2009, from one in 2000 in 1987 – a thirty-fold increase during the period since when MMR was introduced.
We believe that eventually this so far unstoppable increase will force a rethink on the role of vaccination. All the US Presidential candidates in 2008 committed to funding research into vaccines and autism.
This whole episode has been driven by the government and the GMC's desire to vilify the doctors and discredit their work. Despite their robust defence, the costs to the doctors and their patients have been immense:
1. The length of time between the events on which the charges are based and the time of the GMC hearing was up to 16 years, so eroding the witnesses' memory of the original events and the availability of key documents lost or destroyed in the intervening years
2. The hearing is the longest and most expensive hearing in the GMC's history. Estimated at over £10m, this money could have been spent on autism research
3. None of the children or their parents referred to by the prosecuting counsel was a complainant in this hearing. No parent lodged a complaint against the three doctors. Indeed parents supported the doctors throughout the hearing.
4. None of the children and parents cited at the hearing was legally represented. There was no attempt to secure representation for them
5. One of the initial complainants/informants in February 2004 was a journalist who continued to publish articles on the defendants in the Sunday Times without revealing his interest in the case
6. The parents believe the hearing was a witch-hunt conducted by government, the GMC and pharmaceutical interests to discredit the doctors, to ensure they are ‘struck off' and cannot practice, and to discourage medical scientists from conducting independent research into vaccine safety
7. In 2002, Wakefield et al found measles virus in the bowel of 75 out of 91 autistic children who had had MMR but not wild measles , but rarely in the controls ( Uhlmann et al, ‘Potential viral pathogenic mechanism for new variant inflammatory bowel disease', Jnl of Clinical Pathololgy : Molecular Pathology, 55)
8. The only study to partially replicate Wakefield's 2002 study and arrive at different findings studied only five children (out of a total of 25) who had received MMR before onset of autism and bowel disease, compared with 75 such children in the 2002 ( Hornig et al (2008) ‘ Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy : A Case-Control Study', P losone )
9. Wakefield’s work has not been fully replicated and therefore it has not been discredited