Via a single article, the Lancet inflicted far more harm on public health than it helped during the rest of its entire existence. The likely permanent reemergence of measles in the United States, going from “virtually extinct” to “endemic,” has the Lancet to thank more than any other single source, Jenny McCarthy included. Their shoddy editorial practices that led them to give their blessing to the fraudulent and malicious Wakefield paper set back public health 100 years. And there is no redemption here. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, the Lancet can do to make up for that. There is no other article, no study, no editorial, to outweigh their rolling back of many decades of hard work abolishing preventable infectious diseases. That British health publication should be retired in disgrace — out of general principle, if nothing else.
The anti-vaccine movement is a force of vile ignorance and superstition that will take literally generations to beat back into the darkness where it belongs… if it is possible at all.
And the incident serves as a stark reminder that even doctors… people who consider themselves oh-so-scientific… can be just as susceptible to tribal superstition, magical thinking and blank-staring stupidity as laypeople. I’m not talking about Wakefield himself, who knew exactly what he was doing and willfully perpetrated a fraud upon the world in the name of money. I am talking about the doctors of The Lancet who no doubt considered themselves so wise, so professional, so evidence-based, and yet still published an article that instantly became the biggest disaster to ever hit the modern public health movement. Public health, which is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, achievements of the 20th century, was delivered a blow of devastating proportions by the dim-witted, cow-eyed “doctors” who believed themselves the pinnacle of Britain’s medical establishment of the late ’90s.
Every one of these “doctors” should be stripped of his medical license — even if they are retired or dead. Again, out of general principle, if nothing else.