December 10, 2005

Louis Conte is Really Angry With Dr. Sanghavi

He sent this to me:

A Modest Proposal: Plutonium in Vaccines Now! Mercury is for wimps!

It occurred to me tonight that I should say something about Dr. Darshak Sanghavi's“Secret Truth” story (or propaganda piece) as I mixed the juice supplement cocktail that I prepare for my two autistic sons every day. I usually do not have time for creative writing as trying to recover two of my triplet sons from autism is kind of a full time job.

I have been a little worried that some members of the “mainstream” medical establishment were perhaps insensitive to our concerns about mercury in vaccines having played a role in the autism epidemic. I was a little worried that perhaps I was misunderstanding these people. I was a little worried that maybe I was short changing their genuine human concern for their patients. I was worried that perhaps, just maybe, I was casting them as monsters when they really were not.

Well, I can stop worrying now.

Dr. Sanghavi’s piece in the Boston Globe was one of the most offensive pieces of writing that I have ever seen in my adult life. This doctor visited a Utah family trying to recover their two children from autism and described them as much humanity as one might describe livestock. These parents related how their children had descended into autism after vaccination. Dr. Sanghavi noted that these parents were just falling prey to the erroneous causal connection” between vaccination and regressive autism. Sanghavi expressed that he found their efforts at treatment sort of useless and made no connection between the treatments and the improvements the children seemed to make. However, he stated his that he liked them and that he though they were “well intentioned.”

Dr. Sanghavi seemed to indicate that these parents were desperate fools and that their doctors (you know those people) were “quacks.”

Nice guy.

However, I did not fully understand this doctor’s real purpose until later in the propaganda. It seems he has possession of “secret knowledge” that the rest of us “herd animals” – Dr. Sanghavi means that expression quite literally – do not have. The “secret knowledge” is this: Our children were poisoned with mercury vaccines for decades because the principles of the public health establishment required it. The personal rights and health of our children meant nothing. The “secret” is that individual liberty means nothing. Personal freedom, it seems to Dr. Sanghavi , is “a dangerous thing.” The reason that childhood vaccines are required by public health officials is because of the concept of “herd immunity.” According to Dr. Sanghavi, we are simply a “herd.” If a few members of the herd get sick from vaccines, well that is just good public health policy.

That is Dr. Sanghavi ’s “secret truth.” Charming fellow.

With the gentle spirit of Dr. Sanghavi in mind, I now call on the ghost of Jonathan Swift and make the following Modest Proposal regarding vaccinating American children.

Take out all the mercury and aluminum now. The new vaccine preservative dujuor shall be plutonium.

Mercury is for wimps anyway.

Why go with the second most deadly substance on earth, when you can inject human infants and toddlers with the most deadly substance on earth? I will “bet the house” that plutonium kills bacteria way better than that old mercury based thimerisol ever could. Why make them autistic when you can make them glow?

I bet that a little radioactivity will kick the pants off measles or hepatitis.

What is that you say? We haven’t done any safety trials with plutonium? We didn’t do it with mercury either and Eli Lilly and those other companies got away with it. Besides, we will just tell people that “there is no direct link.” We will just tell people who report that their kids got sick after vaccines that it was all “just an erroneous causal connection.” We will just tell parents with suddenly radioactive kids that the symptoms just look like radiation sickness but are really some obscure genetic disorder that is suddenly on the rise. Or, we could say that there is no epidemic and that there were radioactive people laying around for centuries and no one ever thought to notice them. Then we will tell these parents that we do not know why their kids are sick. We will not spend one dime on researching medical interventions. We could just try blaming their mothers (everyone blames their mothers for their problems anyway) or their parenting styles. We could spread fear about decontamination treatments so that these kids could stay sick and so that their parents could stay hopeless because we would not want the cause of the disorder to ever be revealed. We could say there is no “evidence of harm.”

We could ridicule those who ask questions we do not like. We could label their research “junk science” and we could label them as “anti-vaccine nuts.” We could try wrecking the careers and reputations of those heroic enough to voice objection.

We could just poison an entire generation. We could just saddle society with a burden that will last decades and that will cost billions. Our political allies will cover our tracks with special protection legislation because we have paid them to do so.

Then, we will just walk away and hide safely behind our “secret truth.”

Do you think doing that would make us monsters?

UPDATE: Mark Blaxil and Teresa Conrick are angry with Dr. Sanghavi too:

Dear Dr. Sanghavi,
I just read your article, "The Secret Truth" in today's Boston Globe magazine. It is one of the most brazen pieces of propaganda yet written on the autism crisis. You were at least respectful of the Hansens. In all other respects, your essay was little more than propaganda for the National Immunization Program and more suited for a totalitarian dictatorship than America. I hope many people read it and think critically about the implications of your argument. More than ever, American citizens need to stand for an open society and against the coercive powers of the state. Your words should trouble us all.

You accuse parents of committing "classic errors." In turn, we would submit that many of our leading institutions are committing historic errors of medical negligence. You confuse the promotion and preservation of highly experimental (indeed radically interventionist) immunization strategies with the larger responsibility for the public health. In that confusion, you along with many of your colleagues are posing the wrong question. You want us all to be reassured about the safety of vaccines. As responsible parents and educated consumers of the policies and science that concern our families, we welcome safe health products and policies. But our interest is not to maximize our compliance or our consumption. Rather, our concern is the health of our children. And we find ourselves astonished that none of you are interested in asking the question that matters most.

Why are so many children sick?

The epidemic of autism and other neurological disorders is a crisis in our state and our country. The theory that these reported increases are somehow an artifact of a broader diagnostic concept and increased awareness is a spectacular yet testable hypothesis. You profess an admiration for Karl Popper; so am I (and as a Popper admirer, I question how much you really know about his philosophy). In any event, you might be interested to know that the "no epidemic" hypothesis has been tested and falsified at every turn. If you doubt this, I would be happy to educate you on the facts and the science of the issue.

I suggest to you that unless you begin with this question, you have little right to opine on any of the environmental hypotheses related to autism. You certainly cannot expect a rational person to support giving mercury, a known and potent neurotoxin, to infants in any form.

You resort to a number of transparent rhetorical devices. You demonize those who question the established order as dangerous and "anti-vaccine." That is incorrect. Autism parents generally support safe vaccination strategies. You resort to hysterical claims that immunization programs have almost been "derailed" in America. That is also incorrect. Vaccine compliance has never been higher. You claim a scientific consensus. That is an Orwellian assertion. The only consensus is among those who are uniformed or somehow interested by virtue of their scientific and/or medical specialty. A wide group of concerned scientists have deep concerns over the autism epidemic and its many potential environmental causes, but most of them have been cowed into silence by the brand of institutional intimidation of which your article is a prime example.

You say, "personal freedom is a dangerous thing." I submit to you that the unchecked power of government is a far greater danger. Our Founding Fathers knew it. Our entire Constitution and civic culture is based on principles of limited government power. Yet today, these principles are under attack as never before: we go to war based on lies; we consume medical products based on tainted research; we have seen the integration of science and commerce on an unprecedented scale and then we bemoan the loss of confidence in scientific institutions that results. In the meantime, we stand by as we raise the sickest generation of children in our lifetime while our public health leadership refuses to face the reality of their suffering and lost potential. It is a bad time to be a parent in America.

Mark F. Blaxill
Vice President, SafeMinds
Cambridge MA

Your coverage of vaccines and autism on 12/04/05, "The Secret Truth", was very disappointing. While it is important to discuss vaccines, especially with the increasing media coverage on a possible pandemic, this was a one-sided infomercial.

What I found interesting was the focus on autism research, and the attempt to paint the picture of anti-vaccine parents. What really seemed apparent, was a doctor trying desperately to ignore facts, research and data, especially on thimerosal. Instead the article gave the impression that Dr. Sanghavi was pro-unsafe vaccines, which is actually frightening.

What was also odd, was that Dr. Sanghavi had a very good article in your paper on May 25,2004 ("Lead may be even more dangerous than we thought"). He detailed his thoughts on exposure, discussed the politics and medical controversies, and emphasized how public pressure was instrumental in halting exposure of lead from the paint and gasoline industries. It was clear he thought lead to be a potent neurotoxin.

Public pressure is now vocalizing the need for safe vaccines. Like the families who were outraged about toxic lead, todays families are letting it be known that they expect what is injected into their children is safe. Thimerosal is 50% mercury, and investigating its role in autism does not make anyone anti-vaccine. If it were in a gallon of paint rather than a shot, Dr. Sanghavi would be condemning it. But because it is in the sacred, herd immunity vaccines, he is singing its praises.

Teresa Conrick

1 comment:

Lea Schizas - Author/Editor said...

What can I say? I am standing, cheering, clapping, and crying all at the same time. Kudos for the responses to this man's outright disrespect to parents and the protection of their children.

I am not a parent of a child with autism but am a parent who, along with my co-writer, have been hit hard with our research into autism. The blatant disrespect these parents recieve from their own medical doctors and governments is absolutely frightening, as is the number of rising cases of autism.

We are Canadian advocates and invite parents to send us their stories because regardless if you live in the US or Canada, or anywhere else in the world, autism and the lack of 'help' abounds around the globe. We feel, as many do, that one united voice will gain strength and eventually bust down the earwax in many bureaucratic ears.

Lea Schizas