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Andrew Wakefield’s erasure from the UK medical register is complete

Posted Jan 19 2011 2:30pm

This just isn’t Andrew Wakefield’s week. Last year the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK found Andrew Wakefield guilty of multiple counts of improper conduct. These include subjecting disabled children to invasive tests that were not in their clinical interest, placing children in a research program without first obtaining the safeguards of ethical approval, financial and commercial conflicts of interest as well as other breaches of ethical conduct.

Here is one example paragraph from the sanction of Mr. Wakefield :

With regard to nine of the eleven children (2,1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 5,12 and 8) considered by the Panel, it determined that Dr Wakefield caused research to be undertaken on them without Ethics Committee approval and thus without the ethical constraints that safeguard research. Ethical constraints are there for the protection both of research subjects and for the reassurance of the public and are crucial to public trust in research medicine. It was in the context of this research project that the Panel found that Dr Wakefield caused three of these young and vulnerable children, (nos. 3, 9 and 12) to undergo the invasive procedure of lumbar puncture when such investigation was for research purposes and was not clinically indicated. This action was contrary to his representation to the Ethics Committee that all the procedures were clinically indicated. In nine of the eleven children (2,1, 3, 4, 9, 5,12, 8 and 7) the Panel has found that Dr Wakefield acted contrary to the clinical interests of each child. The Panel is profoundly concerned that Dr Wakefield repeatedly breached fundamental principles of research medicine. It concluded that his actions in this area alone were sufficient to amount to serious professional misconduct.

The sanction includes the determination that Andrew Wakefield should have his name erased from the medical register:

Accordingly the Panel has determined that Dr Wakefield’s name should be erased from the medical register. The Panel concluded that it is the only sanction that is appropriate to protect patients and is in the wider public interest, including the maintenance of public trust and confidence in the profession and is proportionate to the serious and wide-ranging findings made against him.

Mr. Wakefield had a period of time to appeal to the High Court. I have word from Brian Deer, the journalist who first broke the story of the Mr. Wakefield’s misdeeds, that the time has passed and the erasure is now effective.

For those who want visual confirmation, here is the GMC’s registry page on Mr. Wakefield. ( click to enlarge )

  1. Brian Deer:
    No doubt the faithful will claim this is all the doing of some evil conspiracy. However, many of these will be people who were fed with an insidious diet of false stories about the GMC proceedings. I found it to be little short of a crime against children that the anti-vaxxers paid for a professional deceiver to attend the hearings and disseminate false stories about what was going on. In fact, while quite untrue narratives were being spread outside the hearing, what went on inside was the most extraordinary, forensic dissection of this charlatan. The proceedings, which included the evidence of one of the parents of the Lancet children, were conducted to the highest standards of probity, and saw concession after concession from Wakefield: including that the witnesses against him (and there were NONE for him) spoke in good faith. He also conceded that the chair of the panel had no conflicts of interest. When the head of the UK vaccine programme came to give evidence, Wakefield had no questions. Thus, when the verdict of four counts of dishonesty and a dozen of causing the abuse of developmentally challenged children came in, his legal advisors told him that he had no realistic prospects of appeal, and the Medical Protection Society (which funded his defence) refused to pay for one. It was the same tragic story in the UK MMR litigation, where the claimants' own legal team reported that claims that the vaccine cause autism would fail. What a wretched business.
  2. Science Mom:
    Ah yes, wonder what happened to Martin Walker. Seems to have dropped off the face of the Earth following the GMC proceedings. So much for Wakefield 'awaiting guidance from the GMC' with regards to his appeal; that's pretty definitive 'guidance' right there.
  3. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - Andrew Wakefield’s erasure from the UK medical register is complete « Left Brain/Right Brain --
    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev, Robin Gill. Robin Gill said: @pzmyers Thought you might like to see this. It includes an image of Andrew Wakefield's entry in the GMC register. [...]
  4. autiemum:
    Walker-Smith's entry shows that the GMC decision is not yet in force ie he is appealing (I guess). I assume that Wakefield has run out of time for appeal -- he would have kept up the pretence to the bitter end. Why is W-S different? Or have I drawn a false conclusion somewhere? On a more cheerful note, well done Brian. I feel we should pause for a long round of applause.
  5. sheldon101:
    For my sins, I actually read all of Martin Walker 'reporting' of the GMC hearing. Just as writing it was dreadful. Although the writing went on for page after page, there was little about the hearing itself. The one time he accurately reported the testimony, he immediately argued that the witness had misspoke. That's in the case of Dr. Pegg. Dr.Pegg explained that it was the intent of the doctor that determined whether the process was research and needed advance ethic committee approval. That is you saw patients and afterward decided to do a paper, then that wasn't research. But if you intended to publish and saw the same patients and the same process, then it wasn't research. After getting that right, Walker immediately claims that Dr. Pegg had misspoke, that what he meant to say was Wakefield's made up explanation determining research. Walker has chimed in with another dreadful piece at AofA in the last week. While Walker may have fooled the rank-and-file, I don't believe he fooled the vaccines are evil leaders. Which is another problem for them, if just one defector explains to the rank-and-file how long the leaders have known the truth of the GMC hearings.

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