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Who Loves Wakefield?

June 13, 2010

Amazon’s biography of Wakefield has some interesting information.

Dr Andrew Wakefield, MB, BS, FRCS, FRCPath, is an academic gastroenterologist.” (Amazon bio)

Really? Because he hasn’t been attached to an academic institution in quite awhile. He was an academic gastroenterologist. He is no longer. See, misinforming in the very first line of his biography.

“He received his medical degree from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School (part of the University of London) in 1981, one of the third generation of his family to have studied medicine at that teaching hospital.” (Amazon bio)

My first thought is they must be so proud.

“He pursued a career in gastrointestinal surgery with a particular interest in inflammatory bowel disease. He qualified as Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1985 and in 1996 was awarded a Wellcome Trust Traveling Fellowship to study small-intestinal transplantation in Toronto, Canada. He was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2001.” (Amazon bio)

I wonder how many surgeries he performed? Why did he walk away from being a surgeon? The real story, not his explanation since there’s no way Wakefield can objectively discuss his career choices. The Telegraph reported in January

“He became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1985 and, a year later, was awarded a Wellcome Trust travelling fellowship to study small-intestine transplantation in Toronto, Canada.
Dr Wakefield returned to the UK in the late 1980s, where he began to devote more time to research.
Joining the Royal Free Hospital in London, he worked on the liver transplant programme, and in 1996 began researching bowel disorders, autism and the MMR  vaccine.”
At what point did he stop acting as a surgeon?  Why?

“He has published over 130 original scientific articles, book chapters, and invited scientific commentaries.” (Amazon bio)

Pubmed lists 112 articles. Okay, he’s got Callous Disregard; that’s a whole book. I don’t know what the book chapters are, haven’t been able to find them, and I wonder if he’s counting all of that stuff in the 130? Plus, when I was reading the bio, this bit seemed familiar, and I remembered a Wakefield groupie asking if I’d read all of Wakefield’s stuff, using this exact quote without attributing it. Of course, I answered truthfully about exactly what I’ve read

(By one of Wakefield’s supporters) Commented Jun 06, 2010 at 02:39:42 in Living

“You’ve read all 130 of his original scientific articles, book chapters, and invited scientific commentaries.”

kwombles replied on Jun 06, 2010 at 17:54:11

“PubMed lists 112 studies. Of those, a fair proportion deal with things other than autism. I have read all of his published studies dealing with autism, whether he implicates vaccines in them or not. In addition, I have read several of his studies that look at Crohn’s disease. Heck, I even read the study “Inflammatory bowel disease and laterality: is left handedness a risk?”

Now tell me that’s not dedication?

I’ve read his interviews with various autism mags defending his original Lancet study, and his stuff at AoA. I’ve watched youtube footage of Wakefield and sat through his television interviews. I read the GMC’s findings, each and every word.

How about you, neutralground?” 

A week later and this person (we’ll allow the plagiarism was probably unintentional) still hasn’t answered the question. Interesting, isn’t it? It looks like those who love Wakefield the most are too lazy to actually read his research.

“In the pursuit of possible links between childhood vaccines, intestinal inflammation, and neurologic injury in children, Dr. Wakefield lost his job in the Department of Medicine at London’s Royal Free Hospital, his country, his career, and his medical license.” (Amazon bio)

Yeah, there’s so much more to Wakefield’s story than Wakefield’s biography at Amazon provides.  Why’d he lose his license again? Oh, yes, the Telegraph’s headline read “GMC brands Dr Andrew Wakefield ‘dishonest, irresponsible and callous.'”

The Sunday Telegraph covers Wakefield and his adoring (but small) audience of devoted fans today in an article entitled “Needle and Dread” by Alex Hannaford. Hannaford notes: “For someone shunned by his peers and condemned by both the medical and political establishment, Wakefield possesses an astonishing amount of self-belief.” I think that’s putting it kindly at best.

That biography is pretty creative isn’t it? Lost his country? The man goes to the UK frequently. He left his country in shame. Come on. He obviously found a career more to his liking, with adoring women fawning sycophantically over him at autism conventions and poorly attended rallies. According to Hannaford in today’s Sunday Telegraph, “Forced to leave Britain in disgrace after sparking the MMR autism controversy, one of the biggest health scares of the past 20 years, the 53-year-old is now the figurehead for a campaign against ‘established’ science and the ostensibly benign policy of vaccinaring children against disease. The majority of the 100-strong crowd at today’s rally – taking place in a park in Chicago – are mothers.”

The article in the Sunday Telegraph is an interesting read. Hannaford spoke with Wakefield in Chicago during the Autism One conference. It appears that Wakefield has issues with recalling his previous stories. On the Today show with Lauer, he stated he expected the results. I wrote of that interview: Wakefield immediately asserts that the government forced the GMC to rule the way it did. It was a foregone conclusion. Hannaford writes:

Wakefield also seems to not see where he has really done anything wrong. In discussing the birthday blood, Wakefield shrugs it all off:

That contrast to the  footage of him discussing it at a presentation, does it not?

Sullivan on LBRB compares Wakefield’s explanation to Lauer to the video footage and to information available on Deer’s site.

What is abundantly clear the more I read or watch of Wakefield is that he expects to land on his feet, almost like a cat, except I think much more highly of cats. Wakefield sees no wrong in anything he has done, is either surprised or not, depending on the situation and the interviewer, and an eternal optimist: not his fault, everyone else is out to get him, and he’s got a plan. Even more clear is that his loyal followers will sing his praises and think him, indeed, almost a god as Hannaford attests: “They perform with a religious-like fervour. And in their midst, dressed in a white T-shirt and faded jeans, singing along with gusto, is their ‘god’Andrew Wakefield.”


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