Monday, 9 February 2009

Watch my lips..

So there I was, sitting at home today and playing catch-up with yesterdays newspapers...and the very first story in the (London) Sunday Times was about the alleged link between the MMR triple-vaccine jab and autism.

THE doctor who sparked the scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine for children changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism, a Sunday Times investigation has found.

Confidential medical documents and interviews with witnesses have established that Andrew Wakefield manipulated patients’ data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella was linked to the condition.

The research was published in February 1998 in an article in The Lancet medical journal. It claimed that the families of eight out of 12 children attending a routine clinic at the hospital had blamed MMR for their autism, and said that problems came on within days of the jab.
The team also claimed to have discovered a new inflammatory bowel disease underlying the children’s conditions.

However, our investigation, confirmed by evidence presented to the General Medical Council (GMC), reveals that: In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records. Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated.

By chance , I had a smug ,middle -class , eco-friendly, sandal-wearing, yogurt-eating, incense-burning, hair-in-her-armpits mother tell me just last Saturday , that her child had not received an MMR because of the "scientifically proven link" between the jab and autism.

Naturally ,I asked the "and what do you do for a living then Ma'am ?" question

And she -of course-replied that she 'had a job in IT'

( Windows has never crashed then?)

I responded with the "I beg your pardon...are you really telling me that you believe that crap?" cough...actually...not so much a cough , as a statement.

She got offended...they always do...and then got even more offended when I laid the deaths of children in both the UK and the developing world due to measles, at the feet of stupid people who live in the First world/Northern hemisphere/Sod-all-scientific-training-shire...


So that's another complaint then...

Cos honestly...its really really time we all stood up against the craziness of this belief ...

Like everybody else in medicine and nursing and medical research , I take my job and my career very seriously...
I have a very expensive and very lengthy training...that continues to this day what with mandatory training and professional accreditation and just plain , old fashioned interest in my job...

And what ever other thoughts are in my mind at work in the morning,there is no a priori desire to deliberately cause death or disability

So tell me Mrs Righteous you really think that I just blithely and glibly dispense meds without considering the implications?

That as an Emergency Nurse Practitioner with 30 years of experience, some 10 years specifically in mother and children's health that I never read new journals or attempt to stay up to date...that I just vaccinate children without any due thought and consideration?

And the assumption by the smug chattering classes that those original test results were not immediately and rigorously scrutinised by all sorts of motivated and interested people all over the world...that somehow...despite no one else ever being able to replicate the original finding...that the infamous Dr Wakefield got it right...well please...pass the vomit bag Alice.

So I'm not sure why The Lancet screwed up so big-time...but they did

We all do...

But one of the joys of this profession is that there are so many people out there doing research...trying to find causative links...testing strange hypotheses..

I have worked in cutting edge medicine in South Africa...where everything you even say at an M&M meeting...never mind write down and vetted by all of your competitors and detractors and even your friends and allies...

And on the other hand of course,the smug parents also choose to overlook the changes with regard to the label of autism...that it is now considered to be a 'spectrum disorder'...and by changing the definition-widening it in fact-...that a whole load more children are now going to be "diagnosed" and labelled...and that more doctors and nurses have been trained and medicine has advanced of course the numbers have risen...although actually...they really haven't the weekend-denim-wearing,tofu-eating,soap-opera-watching,called-my-child-Apple-like-Gwyneth,4x4 driving,sunday-supplement-reading, parents...let me say four things to you...

(1) This year...this my Unit,I have seen 2 children with measles-one of whom developed meningitis

(2) The next time your child gets sick,call Jim Carrey...don't call me

(3)Of the three of us in the room , only one of us needed to have gone to medical school/university...and today...God has chosen me to be that person

(4) Do you also believe that Prince Philip killed Diana and Dodi?

1 comment:

  1. A girlfriend of mine recently had a baby and rather smugly announced that since her elder child (now 10) didnt' get the MMR and suffered not a jot, her new baby won't either. I'm a very bad friend - I answered "That's nice of you to inflict a nasty disease on your child." Bliksem, there goes my sainthood ...