David Kirby and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have tag teamed a pair of articles on the antivaccine friendly blog The Huffington Post. It’s no surprise that Kirby and Kennedy, both avid vaccine haters and “big pharma” conspiracy theorists, have chosen to dismiss the autism omnibus rulings as just another example of the secret vaccine court gaming the system for their pharmaceutical overlords. They directly imply that the vaccine court’s special masters are shills for “Big Pharma”, but then they double back and exploit a previous ruling that favors the arguments of the antivaccine fringe. There is a hypocritical double standard here that is so blatant that it barely deserves mentioning.
Last year, it was public knowledge that Bailey Banks, a 10 year old with “non autistic pervasive development delay” was awarded compensation because he was damaged by a vaccine. Children can be harmed by vaccines on rare occasions. That is why there is a court to compensate them.
We should put this in perspective, though. Vaccine haters are singling out singular examples of damaged children as propaganda tools to castigate one of the greatest medical discoveries of all time, our vaccines, which have cured numerous diseases and saved millions of lives. What if there was a group who demanded that seat belts be removed from all cars because they found a few instances where seat belts failed to save a life? How many people would die from preventable diseases if we were to eliminate the vaccine program? How many deaths would it take to justify this crusade to eliminate vaccines.
The antivaccine hive mind must be getting smarter because they are starting to anticipate the counter-arguments. They know that the vaccine court has never declared that vaccines cause autism. If I defend that truth, it looks like I’m dismissing the tragedy that happened to Bailey, but if I don’t defend the truth, they trick the public into believing that Bailey has autism. Yes, Bailey Banks has PDD (pervasive development delay) from an ADEM (acute disseminated encephalomyelitis), but he doesn’t have autism. The court ruling clearly states at the very top that Bailey had “Non-autistic pervasive developmental delay” (bold mine).
This is not a simple case. There was confusion among the doctors, disagreements of diagnoses, but there was a consensus that this child did not have autism:
Another pediatrician’s diagnosis noted that Bailey’s condition “seems to be a global developmental delay with autistic features as opposed to an actual autistic spectrum disorder.” Pet. Ex. 30 at 4.
Moving on to the alternative hypothesis/diagnosis of autism, Dr. Lopez distinguishes autism as a more generalized condition without a known etiology, and contrasted it to Bailey’s condition, which he says is clearly attributable to demyelination based on neuroimaging evidence. Tr. at 41-42.
Dr. Lopez also differentiated Bailey’s condition from autism, because Bailey has been affected in more than one developmental skill area; he clarified by stating that Bailey has “induced pervasive developmental delay…due to ADEM.” Tr. at 32. He noted that the conflation of designations resulted from a medical convention created for the sake of explanation to laymen, but that the two are not properly interchangeable, but actually quite distinct. Id. Speaking more directly, Dr. Lopez stated that “Bailey does not have autism because he has a reason for his deficits.” Tr. at 42.
I can find no literature relating ADEM to autism or pervasive developmental disorder, and by its nature ADEM is a primary demyelinating disorder of the nervous system….PDD is a problem with the neurons, not the white matter of the brain, so it doesn’t make sense that autistic children would have had a demyelinating disorder before. In fact, MRI scans [that] have been done repeatedly in children with PDD/autism don’t show demyelination, so there is no connection. Even if one believes the child has ADEM, there is no connection to the diagnosis of PDD.
So, how did “Non-autistic” turn into this:
Do you see the bracketed “pdd [autism]”? Funny, how “non autistic pdd” became “[autism]” when Jenny McCarthy put out the above advertisement. Did she think nobody would notice?
The frustrating part is that she will fool people, as she has done numerous times before. But, how desperate do you have to be to wedge your autism “big pharma” nutball conspiracy into a singular example of one boy’s unfortunate experience? It’s absurd and desperate.
Just what are they trying to prove? At this point, I think that Jenny, David, and Robert are all trying to validate the investment of time and energy that they wasted on a conspiracy theory that any scholar or scientist could have told them was complete nonsense.