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Andrew Wakefield’s Autism Organization?

Posted Feb 21 2010 10:20pm

There has been a major push to show support for Dr. Andrew Wakefield following the clear and decisive ruling against him in by the General Medical Council and the retraction of his flagship paper in The Lancet and his departure from Thoughtful House.

I have some advice for those who are supporting Dr. Wakefield. I realize advice from me is about as welcome to them as me seeing Dr. Wakefield in my pediatricians’ office, but here goes:

If you want to show real support, add him to your board of directors. Add him to your Science Advisory Boards. Call yourselves “Andrew Wakefield’s Autism Organization”. When big donors call, have them speak with Dr. Wakefield. When you lobby the legislature, bring Dr. Wakefield.

Don’t keep him at arm’s length while trying to rehabilitate his reputation.

The way I see it, right now Dr. Wakefield is a liability. It is one thing to write blog posts or letters to newspapers. It is quite another to spend your organizations reputation.

Between the time I started a draft of this post and it now, Dr. Wakefield has made his first public statement about his departure from Thoughtful House. He mentions that he has an “entirely new sort of opportunity that will allow me to continue my work on behalf of autism families”. Who knows, maybe one or more of the existing orgs will take him on.

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