Doctor-Heroes Standing For Better Vaccine Science

by Barbara Loe Fisher

The cry that was heard around the world in the early 1980's, when mothers and fathers realized an old, crude pertussis vaccine was killing and damaging the brains of their children, is being echoed today by new generations of parents struggling to raise vaccine injured children. As in the 1980's, mothers and fathers today are forced to watch doctors hold the needles, pull the trigger and then turn their faces away when children are cut down at the beginning of their lives.

Over the decades, we have seen a handful of doctors demonstrate intellectual honesty and rare courage by standing up publicly to acknowledge that vaccine injuries and deaths are real and that more scientific research is needed to fill the gaps in knowledge about why and how vaccines cause harm. Despite criticism and even threats from colleagues to remain silent, these doctor-heroes have chosen commitment to good science and respect for human life to take precedence over protection of the status quo.

On April 3, 2009 on CNN's "Larry King Live," the only woman to have served as director of the National Institute for Health, Bernadine Healy, M.D., firmly countered allegations that scientific research into the vaccine-autism connection should be ended because science has proven "vaccines do not cause autism." Politely disagreeing with Margaret Fisher, M.D., a pediatrician spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and pediatric neurologist Max Wiznitzer, M.D., who testified against compensation for vaccine injured autistic children in the U.S. Court of Claims, Healy said "I really don't believe that this is a closed case from a research point of view."

She said that doctors must "listen to the families of these [autistic] children" because when doctors "listen to the patients the patients will teach." She added that there is an "embarrassing recognition that we know so little about [autism] in terms of what causes it, in terms of how to treat it" and she called for a "comparison of children who have and have not been vaccinated."

As I watched Bernadine Healy, M.D., mother of three, former director of the Red Cross and member of the Institute of Medicine, eloquently argue for good science, common sense, compassion, and cooperation, I remembered the brave physicians in decades past who chose to speak out at critical moments in the history of the vaccine safety and informed consent movement. They include physicians no longer with us such as the late pediatrician Robert Mendelson, M.D.; pediatrician and immunologist Kevin Geraghty, M.D.; and pediatric neurologist John Menkes, M.D., and those still working to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths such as pediatric neurologist Marcel Kinsbourne, M.D., pediatrician Bob Sears, M.D., pediatrician Larry Palevsky, M.D., pediatrician Jay Gordon, M.D., family practice physician Joseph Mercola, D.O., gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, M.D., and others like pediatrician Jerry Kartzinel, M.D., who appeared on Friday's Larry King Live show with father and actor Jim Carrey; mother, actress and autism activist Jenny McCarthy; and father and Generation Rescue founder JB Handley, to shine a bright light on vaccine associated regressive autism.

In every generation there are heroes in positions of power, who listen to their conscience and demonstrate uncommon courage by refusing to look the other way while people are being harmed. They are different from the rest because they engage in critical, independent thinking and are not afraid to do the right thing.

On Friday night, Dr. Bernadine Healy single handedly re-instilled faith in many parents that the time honored Hippocratic oath for physicians to "First, Do No Harm" is still alive and embraced by compassionate, enlightened doctors like her. Undoubtedly, there are more doctors wanting to do the right thing when it comes to standing up, speaking out and taking action to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths. When they do, they will join the distinguished ranks of physician heroes who will be remembered and honored for caring about children for whom the risks of vaccination are 100 percent.

Go to S/0904/03/lkl.01.html to read the CNN transcript of the April 3 "Larry King Live" show, which includes the following quotes:

"I made a deal with God, the day Evan was diagnosed with autism, I said if you show me the way, God, and show me how to heal my boy, I will continue to teach the world how I did it. And within one year of that kind of conversation with God, Evan was undiagnosed with autism.....autism is treatable and preventable." - Jenny McCarthy

"The AAP is financed by the drug companies.... This is a huge business. Vaccines are the largest growing division of the pharmaceutical industry: $13 billion. What we're asking is for them to take a loss for the good of our children." - Jim Carrey

"The American Academy of Pediatrics listens very closely before a vaccine is recommended for use. It goes through extensive trials. It goes through extensive information. All of that information is reviewed very quickly. It's both efficacy and safety information. There's never a rubber stamp. We work very closely before, while the vaccine is being tested to see if it works, it is safe? And only if it's been determined to be safe and effective is it recommended for use. It's not a rubber stamp." - Margaret Fisher, M.D.

"When I was training in medical school I saw one child with autism and they said, Dr. Kartzinel, now, come look quick, here's a child with autism and you'll never see it was very rare....I was just doing general pediatrics and after my son regressed after the mumps, measles and rubella and my wife said, you broke them now you fix them, that's when I started saying, OK, what can I do?" - Jerry Kartzinel, M.D.

"It's going to be shocking for parents to learn that the CDC and AAP don't actually acknowledge that there's been a real rise in autism cases....the Department of Education in 1992 said 16,000 kids were getting autism services. Today - 225,000. That means in 1992 they were missing 93 percent of kids with autism. Where are all the adults with autism? They don't exist. These numbers are real. But if you never acknowledge there's been a real rise, you don't have to find an environmental agent that caused it." - JB Handley

"Initially the complaint was Mercury. That was disproven. Then the complaint was MMR. That was disproven. Now we've got a new moving target, which is that the combined vaccines all together that do this. We can only spend our research money so far before we basically say, let's put it where we know for sure we can help, and not just on speculative ideas. Studies have been done .... and they've shown that issues such as diagnostic substitution, which means they had previous diagnosis, that we have loosening of the diagnostic criteria.... When you change the rules of how you make diagnosis, and that to some degree has happened, people are loosening up. Kids with social issues are being labeled as autistic. The majority -- I think we can account for at least 80 percent of the increased prevalence with those numbers." - Max Wiznitzer, M.D.