As a close relative of someone with an autism spectrum disorder, I read yesterday’s British Medical Journal article explaining in detail how Andrew Wakefield fixed his study and the case against the MMR vaccine with sadness.
Sad that, for whatever reasons, a consultant erred in his professional responsibilities, his consideration of his colleagues and his duty of care to his patients.
Sad for the vulnerable children who underwent unnecessarily invasive and distressing clinical procedures in breach of the guidelines of the ethics committee concerned.
Sad for families and patients who were ‘dishonestly and irresponsibly’ misrepresented in the study.
Sad for those who became ill or died as a result of refusing vaccinations on the basis of the study’s findings.
Most of all, I am sad for misinformed and confused parents the world over. The parents who just wanted answers. The parents who needed something to blame. The parents who will now always have doubts and will always remain unsure of what is best for their child.