Wakefield gets a wake up call

It’s done. Andrew Wakefield has been officially stuck off the UK’s medical registry. The General Medical Council has stripped him of the medical license, which he used as a license to kill. The GMC has called Wakefield “dishonest”, “misleading” and “irresponsible” in his research into the MMR vaccine and its purported links to autism.

Of course, Wakefield was proud to tell Matt Lauer on The Today Show this morning that he can still  technically be called “doctor” because the GMC can’t take away his degree. So in that case, from now on I’m to be called “Master” because that’s what my degree says.

And speaking of The Today Show, I’m damned proud of Lauer for coming through. Sure, he’s no Anderson Cooper or Mike Wallace, but he really laid into Wakefield. It wasn’t as good as the infamous Tom Cruise segment but it was still pretty good.

My one big criticism was that I’d wished Matt had responded to Wakefield’s baseless claims that the government has conceded that vaccines cause autism. I assume this is Wakefield’s spin on the the Hannah Poling or Bailey Banks cases. I wish Matt has explained that court settlements do not mean that one party has conceded fault. If it did, then why would the opposing party accept the settlement? In other words, if the other party is losing, wouldn’t you rather win the whole case than accept some compromise? And given that a settlement is a compromise, couldn’t you just as easily argue that it’s the other side that conceded? No, settling a case does not mean one party has admitted fault. It’s usually just a mutually agreed upon compromise to avoid a lengthy trial, which nobody wants. It just shows that Wakefield is about as ignorant or delusional of the legal system as he is about medicine.

Of course it isn’t likely to change many people’s minds. The vaccine denial community has already gone overdrive into spin mode to inexplicably portray the GMC hearings as a “kangaroo court” and a “witch hunt” even though Wakefield never backed up his claims with substantive evidence during the whole two years the hearings were going on. So he’ll still somehow continue to be a leader in their movement despite the fact that at least publicly, he’s in favor of most vaccines. Some people will simply never been convinced that vaccines are safe and effective no matter what the evidence says. And sadly, I fear we haven’t heard the last of Mr. Wakefield.

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