Andrew Wakefield has apparently left his job with the US autism clinic he helped to found.
Wakefield, the doctor whose research fuelled fears over a link between autism and the MMR vaccine, is no longer listed among the staff of Thoughtful House (shown right). A number of newspapers report that he left his role as executive director after a damning ruling from a panel convened by UK medical regulator the General Medical Council (GMC).
“We fully support his decision to leave in order to make sure the recent GMC findings did not interfere with the important work that our team of clinicians and researchers is doing on behalf of children with autism,” a statement from Thoughtful House says (Times, Guardian).
Last month a GMC panel found that Wakefield “abused [his] position of trust as a medical practitioner” and that his behaviour amounted to “dishonesty and misleading conduct”. A future meeting will decide whether he is guilty of professional misconduct and what, if any, sanctions should be applied in that case. (See: MMR doctor’s actions branded “dishonest and misleading”.)
After the ruling, a statement from Thoughtful House appeared to stand behind Wakefield, saying:
Thoughtful House is naturally disappointed by today’s report from the UK General Medical Council. A careful examination of the full record of the Council’s inquiry will show that the charges … are unfounded and unfair.
The Houston, Texas based institution also noted that Wakefield, “has been an integral part of the organization since its inception, particularly in the research program”.