Tag Archives: Nhs

BMJ Deceived Lancet Parent Into Attacking Dr. Andrew Wakefield

The British Medical Journal (BMJ)’s commissioned writer Brian Deer duped the father of the 11th child described in The Lancet paper into believing his son’s case was misrepresented. That father, Richard Demirjian, was led to believe the paper said his son’s autistic symptoms began weeks after vaccination when the report said no such thing. The Lancet paper was perfectly consistent with what Demirjian said happened to his son.

So Autism Investigated wrote BMJ editor Dr. Fiona Godlee about how Deer misrepresented Demirjian’s son. Yes, it was that Dr. Godlee who Autism Investigated’s editor confronted back in 2011.

Despite past history, she replied cordially:

Thank you for your message. Might you or Richard Demirjian send a rapid response to the article on BMJ.com. We can then ask Brian Deer to respond. Best wishes. Fiona Godlee

But two months after Autism Investigated submitted a rapid response at her invitation, she coldly rejected it:

I have now had an opportunity to discuss this with our lawyer. We will not be publishing your rapid response. It is highly defamatory of Brian Deer and the allegations you raise have already been refuted in detail by Brian Deer on his website. Best wishes, Fiona Godlee

When asked for details, Godlee gave no reply.

In any case, read the below response and see for yourself if it defames Brian Deer. It doesn’t, but it shows Deer and the BMJ defamed Wakefield – in large part by deceiving parent Richard Demirjian.

Lancet father 11 hammers a nail into the coffin of Deer’s fallacious allegations

Brian Deer republished his Sunday Times accusations in the BMJ knowing that they were refuted in Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s 58-page press complaint against him and against the newspaper that ran the article two years prior.(1) Deer’s justification for doing so was the GMC’s ruling in favor of his earlier accusations of unethical research.(2) He has also misled a parent of one of The Lancet paper children (child 11) into believing The Lancet paper misrepresented the child’s case, but the wording in The Lancet paper itself confirms that the child’s case was not misrepresented.(3) The GMC’s findings have been overturned,(4) and a letter from the parent corroborates that The Lancet paper accurately represented his son’s condition.(5)

Two months after the article was published, Brian Deer received a letter from the parent of The Lancet child 11 that directly contradicts Deer’s account. Yet no correction has ever been made in the BMJ.

In the first article of Brian Deer’s MMR series for BMJ, Deer wrote of The Lancet Child 11:

But child 11’s case must have proved a disappointment. Records show his behavioural symptoms started too soon. “His developmental milestones were normal until 13 months of age,” notes the discharge summary. “In the period 13-18 months he developed slow speech patterns and repetitive hand movements. Over this period his parents remarked on his slow gradual deterioration.”

That put the first symptom two months earlier than reported in the Lancet, and a month before the boy received the MMR vaccination. And this was not the only anomaly to catch the father’s eye. What the paper reported as a “behavioural symptom” was noted in the records as a chest infection.(6)

However, Deer’s claim that child 11 regressed before the vaccine was disputed by child 11’s father in the letter he wrote to Deer (that is currently posted on Deer’s website):

One of the incorrect statements in my son’s discharge report was that autistic symptoms were seen from 13-18 months, while the vaccination was at 15 months. This is clearly inaccurate as his symptoms began several months after the MMR, as reflected in my initial correspondence to the Royal Free requesting my son be included in the research study.(5)

In the private meeting between Deer and father 11 that was referenced in Deer’s article, Deer had apparently misled the father into believing The Lancet paper misrepresented his son’s case. In that same letter to Deer, father 11 echoed Deer’s false statement that The Lancet paper put child 11’s first autistic symptoms at one week after the vaccine when in fact, the paper makes clear that that was only when child 11’s first behavioral symptom (associated, as also described in Table 2, with recurrent “viral pneumonia”). The first symptom, that could have been any of a number of behaviors such as permanent or chronic change in sleep pattern, occurred after vaccination. The table father 11 referred to in The Lancet paper makes no mention of onset of first autistic symptoms.(3) Father 11 corroborates The Lancet paper and contradicts Deer’s BMJ article.

Despite Deer being told by father 11 directly that his son did not regress until after his vaccination, Deer made no effort to correct the misinformation in his BMJ article. On Deer’s personal website, he even continues to cast doubt on father 11’s account:

Which is true for child 11? Who can say, years later? The father says one thing, the medical records another. Nobody can time-travel back to the 1990s. And in lawsuits, it is the records that usually count. But, whichever version is right, Wakefield’s story was not. Neither can be reconciled with The Lancet.(7)

The fact is there is only one correct version: The Lancet paper account corroborated by father 11 twice, both in his correspondence with the hospital and with Deer. The incorrect version is the faulty discharge summary exploited by Deer to mislead. This is not the first time that evidence was submitted to BMJ that dismantles the article’s veracity post-publication.

When other evidence was previously brought to the journal in November 2011 that also supported The Lancet papers findings,(8)(9) Deer deflected by referring back to the GMC findings.(10) Though Deer cited them to add credibility to all his allegations, the findings themselves have been deemed unsustainable by an English High Court ruling.

In 2012, Justice Mitting overturned the GMC decision that The Lancet paper had misrepresented its patient population, was unethical and was part of a litigation-funded project.(4) By extension, the paper’s lead author Dr. Andrew Wakefield could not have been dishonest for not disclosing that the paper was funded by litigation or was part of that project when neither was the case.

In fact, the court decision refutes all the GMC findings that Dr. Wakefield broke any rule of professional conduct as laid out in GMC’s Good medical practice guidance.(11)(12)(13) Likewise, there is no existing justification for the paper’s retraction.(14) The Lancet knows this. When I confronted The Lancet ombudsman, Dr. Malcolm Molyneux, with the fact that the GMC findings that served as the basis for the retraction were killed, all he could say was:

In the retraction statement, the editors of The Lancet stated that “several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al are incorrect. In particular….’” The retraction then mentions the enrolment procedure and ethical clearance, but implies that there remain other elements on which the decision was based.(15)

As the above statement reveals, the ombudsman is unable to state a single reason for the paper to remain retracted. Furthermore, there can be no “other elements on which the decision was based” since the retraction statement only cites the GMC findings – now overturned.(14)

Of Brian Deer’s many false claims, among the most egregious is his deceiving father 11 and misrepresenting child 11’s case.

1.     http://www.autisminvestigated.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Complaint_to_UK_PCC1.pdf

2.     http://briandeer.com/solved/gmc-charge-sheet.pdf

3.     See Table 2: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(97)11096-0/fulltext

4.     http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2012/503.rtf

5.     http://briandeer.com/solved/dan-olmsted-child-11.pdf

6.     http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c5347

7.     http://briandeer.com/solved/dan-olmsted.htm

8.     http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/11/09/re-how-case-against-mmr-vaccine-was-fixed

9.     http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/11/17/re-pathology-reports-solve-%E2%80%9Cnew-bowel-disease%E2%80%9D-riddle

10.   Deer dismissed slides from The Lancet paper co-author Dr. Andrew Anthony later supplied by Dr. David Lewis on the excuse that Dr. Wakefield could have tampered with them. The only supporting evidence Deer offered of tampering was the GMC’s ruling that Dr. Wakefield had been “dishonest” based on the disciplinary findings that were since overturned. http://briandeer.com/solved/david-lewis-2.htm

11.    See 12a, which proves Dr. Wakefield was not professionally obligated to disclose his personal connection to litigation or his patent application to the editor of The Lancet. http://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical_guidance/30191.asp

12.    See page 8, endnote 7, which refers to the National Research Ethics Service (NRES) rules for when Research Ethics Committee (REC) approval is necessary. (NRES link in endnote no longer works) http://www.gmc-uk.org/Good_practice_in_research_and_consent_to_research.pdf_58834843.pdf

13.    NRES rules prove Dr. Wakefield’s birthday party blood draws did not require REC approval because they were not done on patients, therefore falling outside GMC’s authority to make any judgement on the matter. http://www.hra.nhs.uk/documents/2013/09/does-my-project-require-rec-review.pdf

14.    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(10)60175-4/fulltext

15.    http://www.autisminvestigated.com/the-lancet-dr-andrew-wakefield/

Dr. Andrew Wakefield on Re-Licensure – “I will now give this very, very serious consideration”


At the annual AutismOne conference – 26.5 minutes into the below Twitter-linked video of a Q/A session on the documentary Vaxxed – director and much-maligned doctor Andrew Wakefield said he will give “very, very serious consideration” to getting his medical license restored. His comment was met with applause and cheers from the audience, who gave him a standing ovation.

Dr. Wakefield first expressed interest in having his license restored earlier this year, and Autism Investigated received a signed letter from the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) saying they would consider his application for restoration and “any further supporting evidence” he provides. He then drew criticism from Autism Investigated after saying in a text message that re-licensure still was not a priority for him.

But on the night of May 28th, Dr. Wakefield had a well-received change of tune that couldn’t have come a moment too soon. He was gracious for being reminded earlier that day that it was approval from an ethics committee of the National Health Service (NHS) that the GMC claimed he needed but lacked when he arranged for blood to be taken from children at his son’s birthday party. However, those rules did not apply to those children because they were not patients. So the birthday party allegations are totally nullified.

All the GMC findings that caused Dr. Wakefield’s medical license to be revoked and his papers retracted have really been overturned four years ago. Unfortunately, it is because his medical license remains revoked and his papers remain retracted that he continues to be dismissed. Winning back his medical license would take away those excuses to dismiss him once and for all.

When the audience was done clapping for Dr. Wakefield after he expressed his renewed interest in restoration, he concluded, “If I am vindicated it will give credence to the parents’ story”. Then someone from the audience rose up and said, “the world needs more doctors like you. You need your license back.”

Addendum: Embedded link replaced with embedded video footage of Q/A following Dr. Wakefield’s excellent documentary.