My name’s Andy Wakefield, I’m an academic gastroenterologist, pursued a career originally in surgery and then in academic gastro neurology. My main interests were Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis and then lastly Autism has rather taken over my world.
My life is about choices and I was presented with a choice one is that you act in the patient’s interest, you continue to pursue their story to test it’s validity in a scientific setting and to determine whether it is right or wrong or you can just walk away.
You can say to the next mother who comes in “look, I know your story may be valid, I know your kids suffering but I’m really sorry, could you just go and find someone else?” That was the choice, it was as stark as that and I took the former. Is there a link between autism and a common childhood vaccine?
Now one medical group has declared that Doctor Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who first
raised that possibility carried out his research in an unethical and irresponsible manner, a finding he flatly denies. The consequence of taking that choice was that I lost my position as a senior academic at the Royal Free Hospital.
I lost my medical license. I lost my fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons. I lost my fellowship at the Royal College of Pathologists and eventually lost my country effectively.
It’s not been easy but it’s a helluva lot worse for these families and that’s a fact.
At the beginning of this, did I feel that we would encounter the kind of, the level of opposition that we met? No, absolutely not. The allegations against me and against my
colleagues are both unfounded and unjust. The science will continue in earnest.
Having been on the defense for years I’ve decided that’s enough, we’re going to go on the attack, we’re going to win this. They have invested in a huge expensive elaborate and ultimately failing public relations machine which is letting them down. Why?
Because it’s not based on the truth. I do have a moral and professional obligation to try, to the best of my ability, to put that problem right. That’s how I feel.