Andrew Wakefield, Wakefield, Richard Horton discussed on Medical Mysteries

Medical Mysteries


Andrew Wakefield had spent his career searching for the link between autism got disorders and vaccinations. He claimed that the measles mumps and rubella vaccine could cause autism Crohn's disease and other disorders his most notorious paper published in the Lancet launched. A media Maelstrom throughout London. Alarmed parents stopped vaccinating. Their children suddenly diseases that had been under control like measles. Were at risk of reappearing in large numbers in industrialized nations a subsequent investigation discredited Wakefield utterly. He was forced out of his teaching position at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in two thousand and one disgraced. He left to start a new in Austin Texas but the international move couldn't get Wakefield away from his critics one of the harshest was Richard. Horton the editor of The Lancet. He turned a new leaf after helping caused the whole panic by Publishing Wakefield's article in the first place now. He was ashamed of his role. He called his decision to publish. Wakefield's paper embarrassingly naive. But he didn't know how to make things right. Medical professionals like Horton's spent their lives fighting microscopic viruses and bacteria but no one knew how to stop a viral idea. Horton figure that since Wakefield's conclusions had spread in newspapers and on TV. Maybe he could release accurate information the same way so he published articles in one piece. He argued that since nineteen ninety eight. Researchers had convincingly refuted any association between the vaccine and autism not one person or group has confirmed the original findings in the Lancet paper but as it turned out calls to reason and order didn't make headlines Alarmist Anti VACs conspiracy theories did few major media sources picked up on his statement Wakefield's misinformation continued to spread. And now he was pedaling. His theories in a brand new country in two thousand. Four Wakefield's claims about vaccinations and autism. Hadn't yet taken off in America but he took hard in the panic happening across the pond. Wakefield didn't see the dropping vaccination rates as a cause for concern. They were a source of hope. If his colleagues wouldn't listen to him perhaps more ordinary parents would wakefield saw himself as a martyr exiled from his homeland for daring to speak truth to power. He wasn't going to let the growing tide of criticism. Shut him down. According to Seth Manukyan's the panic virus. Wakefield said I have already lost my job. But if you come to me and say this has happened to my child. What's My job? What did I sign up for when I went into medicine to look after your child? I'm here to address the concerns of the patient. There's a high price to pay for that. That price involved exposes by investigative journalists. Like Brian Dear. Dear was notorious for taking down corrupt drug companies but in the early two thousands. He turned his attention to Wakefield in two thousand four. He announced his plans to publish information. About Wakefield's clear conflict of interest. The research for his Lancet paper had been funded by anti vaccination advocates deers investigation threatned. What little stability. Wakefield had in his new American life for the most part people in the United States had never even heard of him. If deers piece when public Wakefield's new friends and neighbors would hate him to address. The report Wakefield immediately flew to London to meet with his former colleagues and Horton. The editor of the Lancet Horton gave them forty eight hours to explain themselves. In a written statement to the press he'd already decided to partially retract. Wakefield's paper based on the allegations but a statement would help Wakefield. Save face by this time. Horton knew he couldn't cure the viral idea by publishing facts but maybe he could immunize the public to this misinformation my getting Wakefield to apologize and agree. His findings were wrong but Wakefield wasn't willing to cooperate. He and two other holdouts Dr Peter Harvey and Dr John. Linnell wrote a detailed response letter about why they thought the papers retraction was a total joke. Which meant now. Wakefield and Horton were facing off in the news in their debates were incredibly high stakes a potential measles epidemic was on the line on September ninth. Two thousand four Horton appeared on channel. Five news to make his usual statements against Wakefield but the told him some surprising numbers. The station had pulled their audience. Seventeen percent were convinced. The vaccine was safe. A whopping eighty three percent were convinced it was not Horton's whirlwind tour. An effort to immunize the public against dangerous ideas had done little to change opinions. He'd forgotten one of the key concepts of viral Aji if a patient is already infected. It's too late for a vaccine. He couldn't reach people who were already contaminated by Wakefield's ideas that contamination translated to outbreaks and deaths in the UK. According to journalist Brian deer immunization rates in Britain dropped from ninety two percent in nineteen ninety eight to eighty percent in the early two thousands. The problem wasn't just the parents who chose not to vaccinate the children. There were also immuno. Compromised patients infants the elderly people with HIV or other immune disorders and so on these people couldn't get vaccinated for health reasons. Typically immuno-compromised people are safe. Thanks to something called herd immunity. The idea is simple. You can't get sick if you're never around sick people so if an immuno compromised persons spends all the time around people who have vaccines they don't have to worry about measles mumps rubella and so on there's no one to catch them from but when many people are unvaccinated it's easier for diseases to spread and when parents fell for Wakefield's lies. They weren't just putting their own children at risk. They were endangering all immuno-compromised people which was part of why journalist. Brian deer was so confused. Wakefield wooden willingly let hundreds of people get sick and die just for profit would he? Dear was fascinated by Wakefield in part because he didn't believe the researcher was simply a monster. There had to be some logical reason for what he was doing. After reviewing countless talks essays and interviews dear concluded that Wakefield was more like a cult leader. He truly believed what he said about autism and vaccines but he wasn't one hundred percent honest Wakefield knowingly used manipulative tactics to get his message out. In other words dear thought Wakefield was both a zealot and a puppet master. It was a dangerous combination. This was a man who truly would stop at nothing to spread his Gospel. He had nothing to lose. This was consistent with claims. Richard Horton had made during a news broadcast years before he explained. I don't think Wakefield will ever be satisfied. He's invested his entire career and reputation in this belief this hypothesis for him to refute it now would almost be an indication of his personality and nothing. The medical community did could stop him throughout two thousand four. Wakefield Fund raised for a center dedicated to autism treatment and research in two thousand five with the help of a one million dollar donation. He set up. An Austin Clinic called the thoughtful House Center for children. The center was a one stop shop for autism treatment. Care Education and therapy except it was less of a resource and more of a front for indoctrination. The thoughtful house promoted anti vaccination conspiracy theories and offer dangerous alternative medicine. Some patients underwent key Latian a risky and sometimes fatal procedure designed to remove metal. Build up from the body. Other young children were put on extreme diets. Although his methodology didn't work Wakefield knew how to draw in a crowd soon after opening their doors. The new clinic was bustling. It didn't matter that Wakefield didn't have a US medical license. He was cutting all the way down to using the name thoughtful house. It implied that his treatments compared to the alternatives were caring and considerate doodoo practices like this in two thousand six. Wakefield was investigated by the General Medical Council a governing body of medical practitioners in Britain. The hearings had the potential to discredit Wakefield within the medical community. But Richard Horton feared. They might have the opposite effect on the public at large because they give Dr Wakefield a platform in an interview he said when Wakefield walks into the GMC he will have a national stage. That has been denied him. The outcome of the GMC's proceedings could be a lose lose for the Department of Health for Wakefield supporters. You will either be vindicated as a hero or go down as a martyr to his cause nevertheless the hearings went forward the GMC accused Wakefield of having undisclosed financial conflicts of interest ordering unnecessarily invasive procedures for children failing to detail how patients were recruited for the study breaking the Hospitals Code of Ethics and showing a callous disregard for any distress or pain. His patients may have suffered Wakefield denied all the charges launching a lengthy two and a half year investigation and the review. It was widely reported on as Horton had feared.

Coming up next