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1 19th August 18:25
john
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Default What killed Sally Clark's child? (heart hyperactivity autism weight)


What killed Sally Clark's child?

Neville Hodgkinson


http://www.spectator.co.uk/archive/features/30630/part_3/what-killed-sally-clarks-child.thtml

Blakemore-Brown now has no doubt that vaccines are a contributory cause,
though she did not make the link for several years. Previously, her main
concern was with the best ways of diagnosing, educating and treating, at a
time when many of the child-ren's difficulties were not recognised or
understood. Gradually, she began to take notice of parental reports of
children changing immediately after vaccination.

Sometimes there was video evidence, as when a baby girl was filmed eating
with relish, and later the same day - all times and dates automatically
do***ented on the film - lying flat out on the floor after receiving DTP.
The next day she was a different child, dribbling and with her mouth moving
oddly. Later film showed her with 'dead' eyes, as her mother described it.
'I saw that child when she was eight years old,' says Blakemore-Brown. 'By
then she had experienced years of learning difficulties, many very subtle,
but damaging to her life nevertheless. The fight the parents have had to get
education for her has been extraordinary.' The mother even had to rebut an
allegation of Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP), in which a parent invents
false illness for the child, sometimes faking or creating symptoms through
deliberate harm.

Professor Sir Roy Meadow was first to describe MSBP. Previously held in high
esteem for his work in this field, in 2005 he was struck off by the General
Medical Council for giving 'erroneous' and 'misleading' evidence that helped
wrongly convict Sally, and two other mothers, of killing their children.
Last year he was reinstated, after an appeal to the High Court in London. Mr
Justice Collins said he had acted in good faith when he gave evidence at the
Clark trial, including his widely publicised claim that the probability of
two cot deaths in a family such as the Clarks' was 73 million to one.
Studies suggest a more realistic figure is 64 to one. The judge said he had
'made one mistake; it was a mistake that was easily and widely made'.

Clearly, Professor Meadow is much respected and has made a distinguished
contribution to medicine. But was it really such an innocent mistake? Or was
the professor - in common with his paediatric colleagues - avoiding facing
up to a reality, unpleasant for professionals who have for years defended a
controversial vaccine: that when a tiny baby dies five hours after being
injected, a link between the two events might be more probable than that the
mother was a murderer?

This vindication, such as it was, came too late. On 16 March this year Sally
Clark was found dead at the family home in Es***. She was 42. An inquest
heard that she appeared to have died from natural causes. The results of
more detailed tests are awaited, but friends suggested she died of a broken
heart. She had spoken of how her eventual acquittal did not end her ordeal;
of how she did not feel she had ever really proved her innocence.

Could that be because the most likely cause of Harry's death - an adverse
reaction to the vaccines - was neither put to the jury nor formed a part of
public discussion surrounding the case?

An examination of related legal and other correspondence has now made clear
the reason for this extraordinary omission. It is that child health experts,
following public loss of confidence in vaccination when the risks of brain
damage were first publicised, were trying to maintain a united front in
preventing further debate. Even paediatricians who gave testimony on Mrs
Clark's behalf told defence lawyers that if vaccination were mentioned as a
possible cause of Harry's death, they would dispute it. Not wanting to
confuse the jury, and with judges having a history of bowing to dominant
medical opinion, the defence decided to stay silent on the issue.

With hindsight, it is clear that this was a bad decision. Not just for Sally
Clark, her husband, her surviving child, her family and friends, but because
of the suppression of evidence of potentially vital importance to public
health. Deaths and major injuries from vaccines are rare, but if
professionals take an ostrich-like attitude towards those that do occur -
and instead blame the parents - the scene could be set for a major disaster.

In fact, a disaster may already be upon us. Before 1990 the DTP vaccine was
given to babies at three, five, and ten months. In 1990, despite previous
safety controversies, an accelerated schedule was introduced, with
injections at two, three and four months. This meant that by body weight,
babies were now receiving bigger burdens of mercury and other toxins in the
vaccines than previously, and at younger ages. There are concerns that this
increased risk in early childhood may have contributed to a big increase in
disorders linked to varying degrees of faulty brain circuitry.

According to a major national survey conducted in the UK in 2004, one in 100
children aged five to 16 had been diagnosed as suffering from autistic
spectrum disorder (ASD), a range of developmental impairments affecting
social and communication skills and sometimes accompanied by behavioural
problems including hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Although this was a
'snapshot' survey that said nothing about changes over time, previous
smaller studies have suggested far lower incidence.

In the US, where drug safety regulation and pharmaceutical practices often
parallel those in the UK, diagnosis of autism has been based since 1994 on
clear criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders. The medical diagnosis is usually reviewed by specialists in
special education, before services are provided in the different school
districts. In 1994 there were 22,780 children aged six to 21 diagnosed with
autism and ASD. By 2004 this number had risen to 140,972.

Argument continues over the possible causes of these changes. Some say the
increase is only apparent, and is caused through greater awareness, or
diagnostic fashion. Others point to medicine's increasing skill in keeping
very premature babies alive. Lisa Blakemore-Brown, a psychologist
specialising in autism and related disorders, says she saw the numbers
clearly increasing during the 1980s and 1990s and believes many teachers as
well as parents and children are suffering intensely as a result -
especially when there is a delay in recognising the nature of the problem.
Her book Reweaving the Autistic Tapestry was cited in a House of Lords
debate in 2003 as 'required reading in every LEA - and in the Department of
Health'. Peers also spoke of how it is often the prison system that finally
has to deal with many of the youngsters involved.

Blakemore-Brown now has no doubt that vaccines are a contributory cause,
though she did not make the link for several years. Previously, her main
concern was with the best ways of diagnosing, educating and treating, at a
time when many of the child-ren's difficulties were not recognised or
understood. Gradually, she began to take notice of parental reports of
children changing immediately after vaccination.

Sometimes there was video evidence, as when a baby girl was filmed eating
with relish, and later the same day - all times and dates automatically
do***ented on the film - lying flat out on the floor after receiving DTP.
The next day she was a different child, dribbling and with her mouth moving
oddly. Later film showed her with 'dead' eyes, as her mother described it.
'I saw that child when she was eight years old,' says Blakemore-Brown. 'By
then she had experienced years of learning difficulties, many very subtle,
but damaging to her life nevertheless. The fight the parents have had to get
education for her has been extraordinary.' The mother even had to rebut an
allegation of Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP), in which a parent invents
false illness for the child, sometimes faking or creating symptoms through
deliberate harm.

Professor Sir Roy Meadow was first to describe MSBP. Previously held in high
esteem for his work in this field, in 2005 he was struck off by the General
Medical Council for giving 'erroneous' and 'misleading' evidence that helped
wrongly convict Sally, and two other mothers, of killing their children.
Last year he was reinstated, after an appeal to the High Court in London. Mr
Justice Collins said he had acted in good faith when he gave evidence at the
Clark trial, including his widely publicised claim that the probability of
two cot deaths in a family such as the Clarks' was 73 million to one.
Studies suggest a more realistic figure is 64 to one. The judge said he had
'made one mistake; it was a mistake that was easily and widely made'.

Clearly, Professor Meadow is much respected and has made a distinguished
contribution to medicine. But was it really such an innocent mistake? Or was
the professor - in common with his paediatric colleagues - avoiding facing
up to a reality, unpleasant for professionals who have for years defended a
controversial vaccine: that when a tiny baby dies five hours after being
injected, a link between the two events might be more probable than that the
mother was a murderer?
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