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Transcription of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Author of Callous Disregard, on Imus in the Morning

Posted Jul 03 2010 12:00am

Callous AofA contributor Bob Moffitt was kind enough to transcribe Dr. Wakefield's appearance on the Don Imus program earlier in June. You can purchase Dr. Wakefield's book, Callous Disregard from Skyhorse Publishing, at online book retailers or order a signed copy through his website at Callous Disregard . Thank you, Bob.

Here it is 
The following is my amateur attempt to transcribe today's IMUS show with appearance by Dr. Andrew Wakefield.  I thought it worth transcribing .. especially towards end of interview.
Take special note of how IMUS phrases certain questions and compare his phrasing of questions to that of Matt Lauer recent interview of Dr. Wakefield.   You will find that Matt Lauer at times phrased his questions as accusations ... forcing Dr. Wakefield to defend himself against the allegations  ... while the questions IMUS asked on the same sensitive subjects .. allowed Dr. Wakefield to respond in his own words to the "question" .. rather than respond to the "accusation". 
Early introduction by IMUS about an hour before interview 
IMUS:  Dr. Andrew Wakefield and Diedre Imus will be on and he's got a book called "Callous Disregard".  This is about the autism situation, there's a pandemic of autism spectrum disorders...approximately 1 out of every 110 kids has an autism spectrum disorder of some sort, according to the CDC.  Parents of healthy kids are concerned, obviously parents of children diagnosed with autism want answers .. and .. we've talked about this throughout the years .. and .. we're going to talk about it again this morning, because Dr. Wakefield is an interesting fellow, controversial fellow and deserves at least to be heard in my view.  I'm having Mrs. Imus come down because I may not know all the questions to ask him .. many people believe there's a link between childhood vaccinations and autism.  No one though has apparently proven a link .. and .. no one has disproven one either .. which is as important.  Dr. Wakefield is right in the middle of it, they jerked his license for some reason and he's written a book.  They charged him with callous disregard of these kids, something he did and we need to find out what it is .. he'll tell us and then mercifully we'll never have to talk about it again.
IMUS:  Dr. Andrew Wakefield has written a book called "Callous Disregard", Autism and Vaccines, the truth behind the tragedy".  He joins us now from Austin, Texas, good morning Dr. Wakefield.
DR. W:  Good morning Don.
IMUS:    How are you?
DR. W:  I'm very well this morning, thank you very much.  A great day down here in Austin.
IMUS:  So, what do you do in Austin?
DR: W:  Well, I'm setting up a new initiative to coordinate research across a number of autism organizations .. to answer questions that federal agencies don't seem to want to address .. and .. that is "what's actually causing the epidemic, pandemic of autism worldwide".  So, that's my remit over the next five, ten years.
IMUS:  Okay.  Before we talk about your book, "Callous Disregard", let's pretend I don't know anything about any of this, which will not be much of a stretch, Dr. Wakefield.  What happened to get you to where we are now?
DR: W:  Well, what we did, Don, was...we did our job.  As physicians we listened to parents of damaged children, we listened to parents who had been previously ignored by the medical profession, largely ... kids who had received the vaccine, had been previously normal, who had regressed into autism .. and .. developed bowel problems.  We took this bowel problem seriously and we discovered a new bowel disease .. thanks to the parents  .. we then took the vaccine issue very seriously and investigated that as we should have done .. and .. I'm afraid ... calling into question the safety of vaccines is like killing the sacred cow.  And .. that caused us all kinds of problems.
IMUS:  So, you were practicing in London, right?

DR. W:  That's right.
IMUS:  Okay.  And .. a bunch of parents you were treating .. were these parents of children with autism?
DR. W:  That's right.  They'd been children who were born normal, had been normal for the first two years of life .. and .. they, sometime in the second year of life, they received a vaccine .. and .. in many cases, they then lost their skills, speech, language, interaction with their siblings and peers .. and .. had become autistic.  And I said "look, I know nothing about autism, because, when I was at medical school it was so rare, how could I possibly help?"  They said "Well, my kid has terrible bowel problems, diarrhea twelve times a day, bloating, pain, banging their head against the wall, so on and so forth".
IMUS:  What vaccination .. was this one particular vaccination or a series of them .. or what?
DR W:  It was difficult to say.  In the U.K. .. what seemed to be the triggering factor was the MMR vaccine they received at around 12 - 15 months.
IMUS:  What does MMR mean?
DR W:  Measles, mumps and rubella, it's a combination vaccine of three live viruses.
IMUS:  Okay, now was there something contained in this vaccine that triggered the autism, like thimerosal or what?
DR W:  The live viral vaccines do not contain thimerosal, however, you are quite right to bring attention to it because the vaccines that children receive in advance of getting the MMR vaccine, starting on day one of life in this country, in the 1990's, contained the mercury preservative thimerosal .. of course that can have a ... it's a powerful toxin, it can damage the immune system, it can damage the brain .. and .. so .. the question "Is it a combination of vaccines that children receive culminating in, for example, an MMR vaccine at 15 months that just tips them over the edge.  Now, we just don't know .. but .. that is a very reasonable hypothesis .. it's consistent with what we know about these toxins .. and .. it is certainly something that has to be investigated .. which has not to date been adequately investigated. 
IMUS:  We are talking with Dr. Wakefield, from Austin, Texas.  His book is entitled "Callous Disregard" .. so .. you haven't actually established whether there is, well you just said .. whether there's a definitive link between the development of autism and these vaccines .. is that correct?
DR. W:  That is correct.  At a scientific level, we are still seeking to find that evidence.
IMUS:  So, you wrote a paper that was published in Great Britain .. a medical journal in Great Britain .. what medical journal was that?
DR W:  It was in the Lancet .. a well known and widely read medical journal.
IMUS:  That's kind of like .. what would it be comparable to here in this country?
DR W:  It would be comparable to the New England Journal of Medicine.
IMUS:  Okay, your paper said what?
DR. W:  The paper was a very simple paper.  It simply reported the history of the children according to their parents .. so .. it made no claims, except for the fact that we had observed a new bowel disease in these children.   Whereas they had gone uninvestigated in the past .. the claims of the parents about the diarrhea and pain .. had not been taken seriously .. when we did our job .. when we took that seriously .. when these children were investigated by my clinical colleagues, we found a bowel disease.  And .. it was treatable .. and .. it made the lives of these children very much better.
IMUS:  So, when the Lancet published this, was it implicit in their publishing this .. were they endorsing your theory?
DR W:  No, they were merely putting a new idea out there, as any journal should do .. and .. this idea was really to generate a new hypothesis to investigate the cause of these problems.  To seek confirmation of the mechanism of what was going on and to provide a treatment.  A treatment target .. for these children, a much kinder treatment target for children who had been historically, largely, ignored.
IMUS:  So, later they felt compelled to do what about your article?
DR. W:  Well, when they .. when the vaccine issue blew up, at the behest of a free-lance journalist who concocted a most extraordinary story around it, claiming that the paper in the Lancet was paid for by lawyers .. which it was not .. not a single penny of money from lawyers went to pay for that paper .. it was simply a clinical paper .. based upon clinical findings .. then, the Lancet decided at that stage .. in order to distance themselves .. in order to put clear blue water between them and the contentious issue of the MMR vaccine causing autism .. then they argued that we should retract .. or at least partially retract the paper.  That is, the interpretation that vaccines cause autism.  We never made that claim in the paper .. so .. it was logically impossible to retract it.
IMUS:  So, the criticism you .. we are talking to Dr. Andrew Wakefield .... a complicated, confusing story and it's been a raging debate in this country over whether there is, in fact, a link between thimerosal, which is a neurotoxin, mercury contained in vaccines .. whether there is a link between that and the development of autism. Anyway, back to your story, so the criticism of you, then, because subsequently in Great Britain, they jerked your medical license.  Is that right?
DR W:  They did.  And what happened to me was really the way in which science, medicine and the establishment has dealt with dissent for years, and years, and years.  There's nothing new about it.
IMUS:  Why did they tell you there were doing that?
DR W:  They did it on a series of charges.  Saying we conducted unethical experimentation on these children .. we did not.  We diligently and appropriately investigated their clinical symptoms, the children were not experimented on .. they were investigated because they were sick and because they had presenting bowel symptoms and neurological symptoms.  They were investigated by one of the best medical teams in the world and the Founding Father of Pediatric Gastroenterolgy .. and .. how we had people on the panel who had no expertise in this whatsoever .. trying to second guess the opinion of the world's leading doctor and his medical team. 
IMUS:  There had to be some agenda on their part, right?
DR. W:  Well, I'm afraid after reading their decision .. I came to the conclusion, the clear, clear and unambiguous conclusion .. that the decision had been taken in advance of us even presenting evidence.  That this was the conclusion they were going to come to, that we were guilty .. and .. that came from pressure I'm quite sure .. from the government and elsewhere. 
IMUS:  Was there a controversy surrounding how you conducted the examination of children?
DR W:  Yes.  I should (inaudible)...I did not examine any of the children .. I performed no tests, I was not acting in a clinical capacity at the time.  This was done by a multi-disciplinary clinical team of highly experienced physicians who did it because the children were ill.
IMUS:  The story we hear about blood being taken from kids at a birthday party .. where did that come from, what's that all about?
DR. W:  Right.  Now that did happen.  These were my children.  It was my son's birthday party and we needed some blood to compare with the blood of other children .. of the autistic children.   We needed healthy children and in hospitals you don't get healthy children.  So, I asked my children .. my wife said "Yes, we have a birthday party coming up, we have some medical friends, let's ask them if they'd be happy to do it as well".  So, a fully qualified practitioner .. not myself .. with fully informed parental and child consent.  This is the key.  The essence of ethical medical practice is fully informed consent.  And, that is what we had.  It did not have ethical approval .. and .. that was naive on my part, that does not make it unethical.  It was entirely ethical, there were no complications, everbody was happy .. and .. the tests were done properly.
IMUS:  Here's what jumps out at me .. if we're having a birthday party, I'm thinking .. why don't we play "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" rather than turn the kids into lab-rats over at the hospital.  I mean .. that's just ... maybe that's just old cynical me, you know.
DR. W:  My kids know what I do.   They know what I do.  The kids with autism come to visit us, they what its all about .. they are more than happy to contribute to this.  This is their contribution .. and .. I'm proud of them for it.
IMUS:  See, if you're not saying what appears to make big pharma and these other people hysterical .. if you're not saying there's a definitive link between these vaccines and autism .. and .. that there simply needs to be more research and investigation .. and .. at some point a definitive link established or not established .. then I don't understand why you've become so controversial, unless .. they're just entirely misrepresenting what you've done?
DR. W:  Well, Don, what I'm trying to put forward is a "safety first" vaccine agenda.  Safety first .. who could argue with that?  Putting safety as the priority when you're vaccinating healthy children worldwide.  For the most important thing, Don, even though I don't have the evidence scientifically .. the U.S. Vaccine Court .. has ruled since 1991 that vaccines can cause autism.  They have been settling cases in the country of vaccine induced autism since 1991.  So, the government on the one hand is saying one thing --there is no link .. and .. on the other hand -- is paying out for vaccine induced autism.  And, that is deception.  The American people need to know that .. and .. the American public, if there's one message they need to take away from this is to "think critically about vaccines".  Do not take what your doctor says or what the CDC says as fact, get informed.  Think critically about vaccines.
IMUS:  Implicit in that, at lease one could infer, and, parents do .. because they are naturally so protective of their children, one would hope is .. "it sounds like it's anti-vaccine" while you are not.  Right?
DR. W:  Not at all.  Not at all .. absolutely .. and .. the book makes it absolutely clear.
IMUS:  But you can see it sounds that way?
DR: W:  It does .. but .. what it is in fact doing .. is putting "safety first".  That is it .. safety first.  And, no one could argue with that.  When you are going to give millions of children around the world .. all these vaccines .. then you need to be absolutely certain what you are doing is safe.  Because the long term consequences are absolutely unknown .. because the safety studies have not been done .. and .. I have researched those safety studies in exquisite detail and they are appalling.   I have to say that, they are appalling.  I wish I had done them before I vaccinated my own children.
IMUS:  We are talking with Dr. Andrew Wakefield about the controversy that produced his book "Callous Disregard".  Well, they jerked your medical license in Great Britain .. did they in this country as well?
DR. W:  No, I'm not licensed in this country, Don, all I did here was to conduct the research .. and .. I will continue to do that.
IMUS:  To Deirdre
DEIRDRE IMUS:  Hi, Dr. Wakefield .. it's Deirdre Imus.  Your research .. has it been replicated?  By other scientists?
DR. W:  Yes, thank you for that question.  This has been a common contention -- that no one else has been able to replicate our finding.  The finding .. the key finding .. the initial study in the Lancet .. was a bowel disease.  That has now been replicated in five different countries .. Italy by Dr. _______", Venezuela by Dr. Gonzalez, the U.S. by Dr. Krigsman and by Dr. Chen and Dr.______ in Canada.  So it has been replicated around the world and the notion that the bowel disease, the principle finding in that initial study has not been replicated is false .. and .. a deception again of the American people.
IMUS:  Back to that birthday party, when you were taking the blood were you in a clown outfit?
DR. W:  In fact Don, I wasn't even in the room.  I was outside organizing a game of mini-rugby.
DEIRDRE:  There's so many different pharmaceutical companies that make the MMR vaccine .. do you think all forms of the MMR pose a risk for children?  You know, is there a certain brand?
DR. W:  A very good question.  In the U.K. we had two brands .. out of three that were introduced .. that had to be withdrawn for safety reasons.  This whole thing was hushed up.  The vaccine was causing meningitis .. so .. two out of three brands were causing meningitis .. answers your question.  The third brand, the Merck brand .. did not have that problem .. so .. yes, there is a difference between brands and their safety profile.  With respect to the autistic problem .. we do not know .. and .. that is something that clearly needs thorough investigation.
DEIRDRE:  What do you see for the future of vaccines?
DR. W:  The emphasis on vaccine safety policy first.  We must give children safe vaccines.  They must be as safe as they can be .. and .. this isn't just a new notion, there's a Congressional mandate to produce safer vaccines.  What we need to do .. can I just say .. Don .. a comparison of fully vaccinated versus unvaccinated children.  That is a study the authorities do not want to do .. it's absolutely essential .. it should have been done.  There should be baseline studies .. comparing the health outcome .. both short and long term .. of fully vaccinated versus unvaccinated children .. and .. clearly .. we need to look at the schedule.  Not just individual vaccines .. but .. the safety of the schedule, what children actually get in the real world.
IMUS:  There was also a criticism that you had your own vaccine .. something to replace the MMR .. or .. am I off base here?
DR. W:  No, that's absolutely right.  It was an allegation by the same journalist, which really goes to prove that a very little knowledge can be a very, very dangerous thing.  What the medical school had was a patent .. not me .. the medical school had a patent to treat persistent measles virus infection.  In other words -- if you had a child -- because their immune system was weak .. could not get rid of the virus .. say from the vaccine .. and .. it hung around in the body, causing disease .. then, there was a patent on an over-the-counter nutritional supplement called "Transfer-factor" which helps boost the immune system and get rid of the virus.  That is what the patent was for.
IMUS:  Well, here's my observation, not that you've asked me .. but .. knowing a little bit about this .. if everything you say is true .. and .. if these in fact, are the facts .. it doesn't make any sense what's happened to you.
DR. W:  I'm afraid Don, it's just the way the system deals with dissent.  Isolate, discredit and discourage the others.
IMUS:  I understand that .. I mean, if you were a complete, total wack-job .. making all these charges .. I could understand ... but ........
I want to thank you for taking the time to visit us.......


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