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Wakefield admits fabricating events when he took children’s blood samples

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BMJ 2008;336:850 (19 April), doi:10.1136/bmj.39553.506597.DB (published 17 April 2008)

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Wakefield admits fabricating events when he took children’s blood samples

Owen Dyer

1 London

[...]

The GMC’s charges against Dr Wakefield include allegations that, in 1998 while a consultant at the Royal Free Hospital, London, he unethically paid children at his son’s 10th birthday party £5 ({euro}6; $10) each to give blood samples he wanted for his research.

Last week the GMC panel saw video footage of a speech Dr Wakefield gave in 1999 at a meeting of parents of autistic children called by the Mind Institute of the University of California, Davis, where he jokingly described children fainting and vomiting after giving blood.

"Two children fainted, one threw up over his mother," he told his laughing audience in the clip. "People said to me, you can’t do that—children won’t come back to your birthday parties. I said we live in a market economy; next year they’ll want £10."

But Dr Wakefield told the GMC panel that he had made up these details to amuse his listeners. "It was the end of a long and rather exacting talk for the parents, and it was an attempt to introduce a little bit of levity," he said. "It was a quip, just a story. The way these stories are told, if the audience responds you tend to respond back. So the story was told. But it had no bearing on the truth at all."

"Clearly, if it has caused any distress then I am extremely sorry for that," said Dr Wakefield. "That wasn’t my intention." He added that he had been "naive" to think he could take the samples without the permission of an ethics committee.

[...]

The case continues.
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http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/336/7649/850

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