Dr. John Walker-Smith, considered the father of pediatric gastroenterology, has today been restored to his much-deserved reputation of high esteem. His appeal of the U.K. General Medical Council’s 2010 decision to remove his license for serious professional misconduct has been quashed in its entirety. This decision raises questions about the validity of the 2010 GMC proceeding in general.
The GMC proceeding was a multi-year, multi-million dollar prosecution against Drs. Wakefield, Walker-Smith, and Murch. It related to a controversial 1998 study published in The Lancet suggesting a possible link between autism, the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and bowel disease. Based on the GMC prosecution, both Drs. Walker-Smith and Wakefield lost their licenses to practice and the Lancet article was officially retracted. The GMC alleged that the physician-authors had failed to obtain necessary ethical clearances and that they had subjected the twelve children in the study to unnecessary medical procedures.
Justice Mitting, reviewing Dr. Walker-Smith’s appeal in the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, found that the GMC’s conclusions were “based on inadequate and superficial reasoning” and that “the finding of serious professional misconduct and the sanction of erasure are both quashed.” See full text of the decision.
Dr. Walker-Smith’s professional insurance coverage paid for his appeal; Dr. Wakefield’s insurance carrier would not.
Dr. Wakefield has recently filed a defamation lawsuit in Texas against the British Medical Journal, Dr. Fiona Godlee, Editor-in-Chief, and journalist Brian Deer, who instigated the GMC prosecution. His lawsuit alleges that the defendants knowingly or recklessly engaged in fraudulent misrepresentations about 1998 Lancet study. While far from decisive, the Mitting ruling bodes well for Dr. Wakefield’s defamation action.
Justice Mitting’s impartial judicial decision marks a turning point in a long campaign to discredit 1998 Lancet article and Dr. Andrew Wakefield in particular. To date, international media have failed to probe the GMC’s ruling or to explore the many connections between Brian Deer, the Rupert Murdoch media empire, Glaxo Smith Kline, the British Medical Journal and numerous other medical bodies.
“Finally, we are getting to the bottom of what happened at the GMC,” said Mary Holland, Esq., EBCALA managing director, “This victory for Dr. Walker-Smith is a triumph for all those who care about people with autism and bowel disease. I hope this decision leads to investigating the true causes of this global epidemic.”
Autism Media Channel reports on the story from London: