Sunday, January 9, 2011

An open letter to Andrew Wakefield

Dear Intellectually Dishonest Jackhole,

I would like to thank you for the last decade of self doubt and recrimination.

My oldest son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2001.  Like parents everywhere who are faced with an autistic child, even one who is as high functioning as Junior Bear, his mother and I looked for a cause of the issue, partly to try to prevent it from happening to the other children, but also to examine our own actions.  I have walked around for the better part of a decade blaming myself for insisting that Junior get each and every inoculation that is recommended for children.  When he was born in 1992, I followed the directions of our pediatrician, and let her give him four and six shots in one day in order to keep current with all of his vaccinations.

When Junior was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder his mother, my ex-wife, immediately deflected all blame onto me, and I accepted it.  I put up with a lot of behavior from Junior that may or not be related to Asperger's at least in part because I blamed myself.  If vaccinations were to blame for at least some cases of autism, then I had to take that hit.

When my other children needed vaccinations, I spaced them out, and limited them to those shots that are required by law.  While we were never behind on vaccinations, this spacing out put gaps in the protection that vaccinations were designed to give.  This added a small risk of preventable disease to our children.  I was not wholly convinced that vaccines would cause autism, but I was being cautious to a fault in order to minimize any risk of autism.  Luckily, my children were not afflicted by the preventable childhood diseases, but thousands of other children were not so lucky.

A couple of years ago, your theory about the link between vaccinations and autism was called into question, but it was more of a methods and conclusion quibble.  I was still careful due to my fear of making the same mistake twice and possibly condemning another child to autism of any kind.

Now I find that it wasn't your methods and conclusions that were faulty.  Your entire endeavor was a fraud from the beginning.  You started your research with a conclusion and constructed 'evidence' to support that that conclusion, even if you had to fabricate it out of whole cloth.

Thanks to you, an entire generation of parents and their children have been tempted to either delay or totally skip out on vaccinations under cover of 'science'.  Illnesses such as measles, whooping cough, and mumps, which were extremely rare when I was growing up, are back with a vengeance.  Some have been so convinced by your snake-oil that they still tilt at windmills to keep children from getting the vaccinations that they need to prevent horrible diseases.

You are a fraud, and a cheat.  Your 'research' has led directly to suffering and death for children, and for that I condemn you.  I hope that for the rest of your life, you reflect on the suffering you have caused to families across the globe.  I hope that some day you wake up from your self-centered stupor and realize just how much damage you have done.

1 comment:

Nancy R. said...

That's much, much more charitable than what I'm thinking at this time ...

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