In 1998 then Doctor Andrew Wakefield published a study in the medical journal The Lancet that claimed that the MMR vaccine causes autism, which was later found to be not true but still lead to a worldwide increase of measles cases, and in the end destroyed Wakefield's career.
There are many things that I've noticed about Andrew Wakefield (none of them good) and I've come up with about five different things.
So here are five things I've noticed about Andrew Wakefield:
5. He committed a terrible fraud.
I'm sure that everybody is aware that his aforementioned "study" was retracted in 2010 by The Lancet after a long investigation by the British Medical Journal and journalist Brian Deer. The investigation showed that not only had he manipulated the data in his study, it also found that he had patented his own measles vaccine a year before publishing his study, and that the study was funded by lawyers who sued vaccine manufactures.
To better understand how Wakefield manipulated the data in his study, please watch this video by Youtube science vlogger C0nc0rdance:
As awful as his fraud was it would not have been as bad as it became if it wasn't for the fact that so many people took his study seriously and decided not to vaccinate their children because of it. This has directly resulted in the world wide increases of measles and mumps infections and infections from other diseases as well because many people were not vaccinating themselves or their children due to fear of any vaccines, a fear that was brought on by Wakefield's study, which has also lead to numerous unnecessary deaths.
As for Wakefield himself his fraudulent study lead to his own career being ruined and his name being struck off the UK medical register, making it illegal for him to practice medicine in the United Kingdom.
4. He turned parents in paranoid liars.
One of the direct results of Andrew Wakefield's study is that many parents have become paranoid of vaccines and have chosen not to vaccinate their children despite being legally obligated to do so in many places before they enter them into school, and the fact that it's just good common sense to do so.
Inorder to keep their children in school while at the same time keep them un-vaccinated parents will often lie to health officials and school officials about either their religious or philosophical beliefs inorder to get a vaccine exemption for their child.
Other things that some parents will do inorder to fool health and school officials is that they will go to a fake doctor (ex. Naturopath, Homeopath) and get them to write up an exemption from getting vaccinate for their children, or write up they vaccinate the child when really they didn't.
These types of actions are dangerous not only to the children whose parents did not vaccinate them, but also to anyone that couldn't get vaccinated for a legitimate medical reason, or those who the vaccine didn't immunize them for some reason.
3. He's become the Lord Voldemort of science and medicine.
Much like Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter book series Andrew Wakefield's name is something you don't use in a discussion about science and medicine, unless he is used as an example for when bad or fraudulent research is taken to seriously by the public.
As for the scientific and medical communities any research done by him before his 1998 autism/MMR vaccine "study" is somewhat taboo, and is usually avoided in research unless necessary. Any research done by him after his 1998 autism/MMR vaccine "study" is to never be used, unless you never want to be taken seriously and risk your career.
Also, you don't compare a doctor or scientist to Andrew Wakefield as doing so would be considered a huge insult, unless their research was sloppy or fraudulent and caused peoples' deaths.
2. He created alot of waste.
While the dramatic increase in vaccine preventable infections has been the most obvious result of Wakefield's fraudulent study, another thing his study has done is wasted alot of money.
The amount of money wasted because of Wakefield's study is probably within the hundreds of millions of dollars, and possibly within the billions. These costs include health care and hospital stays for people (especially children) who got an infection from diseases that are vaccine preventable.
Other costs include lost wages for parents who had to stop working inorder to take care of their sick children, and wasted money (not to mention man hours) to disprove and try to undo the damage caused by Wakefield's "research", money that could have used for more legitimate and better research projects.
Then there are the costs of funerals that can go into the thousands per funeral, and with thousands having died because of his research, the costs really adds up, but is overshadowed by the amount of pain caused by those deaths, which is a cost that is immeasurable.
1. He refuses to accept responsibility for what he's done.
Andrew Wakefield's fraudulent 1998 autism/MMR vaccine "study" has been described as "the most damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years". So far he has never accepted any responsibility for the damage done by his "study", nor has he faded from the public light.
To this day he continues to claim that his study was accurate, and that he didn't commit fraud, and that there is a conspiracy by pharmaceutical companies and public health officials to discredit him, and that they were paying bloggers to so, and also inflate the reports of deaths from measles.
In 2012 Wakefield attempted to sue Brian Deer, the British Medical Journal and it's editor Fiona Godlee for defamation, which was described by many as being frivolous, and was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds.
To this day Wakefield continues to work in autism research and claim the title of "doctor", both of which are considered to be highly inappropriate for him to do, and that many have said he should stop doing. He currently lives and does all of this in the United States because legally he can not in the United Kingdom.