I’m a physician. I qualified in 1981. I went on to practice as a surgeon, with a specific interest in inflammatory bowel disease. I then became an academic, running a team of nineteen people researching inflammatory bowel disease, and published over the period of ten years in the order of a hundred and thirty, a hundred and forty scientific publications on that particular subject.
On May the seventeenth, 1995, the date is emblazoned in my mind, a mother called me and said, “My child was developing perfectly normally, they had an MMR vaccine, and they regressed into autism.” I said, “I’m a Gastroenterologist, how can I help you?” They said, “My child has terrible gastrointestinal problems and no one will take them seriously.”
The story was so compelling, and this mother was so articulate, described it so clearly, she said, “Dr. Wakefield, there are many, many parents in my position. Children in exactly the same condition as mine.” We took it very seriously. That was the beginning of a fascinating journey.
— Andrew Wakefield, MD