According to the NY Times, there’s a new report discrediting the Wakefield study. Andrew Wakefield’s unethical science — including undisclosed financial gain and altered data — is one of the worst medical moments of the modern era, right up there with Tuskegee.
I once reported on an anti-vax rally for a summer internship, and it was one of the saddest moments of my medical education. Hundreds of parents swarming around Capitol Hill, listening to Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey blather on about medicogovernmental conspiracy. Oh no! We actually want to prevent diseases that kill more than three-quarters of the world’s children! (Fun fact: Did you know that measles kills more children under age 5 than HIV/AIDS?)
Once, a long time ago, when I was in India, I saw a man crouching by the tourist gate of the Mughal fort we had just visited. Then I looked again and saw that he wasn’t crouching at all. His right leg was withered away, a crumpled bit of skin lying uselessly at his side. Polio. It seems like something so far away, so ancient. Until suddenly you see it and smell it and then somehow it’s not so far away at all.