By Catherine Frompovich
The General Medical Council (GMC) of the United Kingdom has cleared the medical flack surrounding one of Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s medical colleagues, Professor John Walker-Smith, and recanted their censure against him. In a press release dated March 7, 2012, GMC cleared Walker-Smith by overturning its decision of “guilty of serious professional misconduct.” Even the judge ruled that the hearings were a farce—wow!
In view of that happening, I asked Dr. Wakefield, “What’s the difference between medical practice and medical research AND whether procedures performed on children were clinically necessary?” Dr. Wakefield answered, “Medical (clinical) practice is for the benefit of the individual patient whereas research is conducted to improve knowledge and hopefully provide future benefits to sufferers generally. The procedures performed on the Lancet children were deemed clinically necessary by the clinical team caring for those children.”
Doctor’s answer prompted me to ask, “Why is that seemingly so important to the GMC?” to which Dr. Wakefield said, “What appears to have been important to the GMC was obtaining convictions in spite of the evidence.” After considering that, I could not help but ask, “Isn’t it within a medical doctor’s jurisdiction to perform tests needed to determine cause?” Doctor’s reply was absolutely brilliant and something the GMC probably doesn’t want to consider, “Yes, and it could be considered clinical malpractice not to have done so.”