Dr Michael Pegg, chair of the
Royal Free hospital's ethics committee
wrote to the study's chief clinician,
Professor John Walker-Smith, in a formal letter dated 7th
January 1997: "Only patients
enrolled after the date of the December
meeting will be considered to be in the
trial." This undertaking was given
by Walker-Smith, copied to Wakefield, and
then not honoured. Dr Wakefield denies
receiving this letter.
stipulation is common in the ethical
supervision of human research. What would
have happened to the results if it had
been honoured is hard to guess, but it
seems that the appearance of a link
between MMR and autism would have been
fatally undermined. Some idea of this
consequence may be gleaned from charts at
this site, based on what is
publicly known about what parents
order of admission given above is not the
same as the order in which these children
appear numbered in the Lancet paper, but why
11 of the 12 children are shown above.
The twelfth was American and not entitled
to sue in the UK. In the public interest,
some children's full names are disclosed.
Family names have been withheld where
parents have not, to Brian Deer's
knowledge, previously presented their
children for media consumption.
aid certificates may be issued months,
and even years, after a lawyer-client
relationship commences under the UK legal
aid scheme. Therefore, the certificates
above (which in all but one later case
begin with the date of the year of issue)
are not the dates at which the children
first became clients.