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22gigantes.com - As the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders grows each year, new discoveries and controversies arise. Andrew Wakefield explores many of these in his thorough investigation of the recent trial case of the Arizona 5,” which destroyed an Arizona family. Two parents, with five children on the spectrum, were accused of Munchausen syndrome by proxya rare form of child abuseand were ganged up on by physicians, child protective services, and the courts, who alleged that the parents fabricated medical symptoms in all five children. However, Wakefield now presents ample evidence that was disregarded and that would have proven the parents’ innocence.Families affected by autism suffer great hardship and prejudice, particularly as they navigate the uncertain waters of diagnosis, treatment, and education. The shocking story of the Arizona 5 family delves into the tremendous challenges some parents have to face, especially if their views on how to treat the syndrome don’t align with the medical world’s standards. Wakefield also includes numerous studies and research trials that support the controversial yet significant roles that vaccines and diet play in autism, factors many medical professionals wrongfully dismiss.
Best Review of Waging War On The Autistic Child: The Arizona 5 And The Legacy Of Baron Von Munchausen:
Most helpful customer reviews 28 of 33 people found the following review helpful. "You had to give me the sword before I could fight this battle" By Erik Gfesser For many who actually read the last effort by this same author, "Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines - The Truth Behind a Tragedy", I expect this to be an even more arduous read, simply because the scope of what Wakefield provides here combines often unfamiliar medical terminology surrounding the autism diagnosis with complex subject matter associated with a little known and controversial behavior pattern and rare form of child abuse labeled "Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy" (MSBP), not to mention the legal processes involved. That said, the content of this book is broken down well into five parts covering the following subject matter: (1) the issue of bowel disease in many children with autism, a matter that is central to the analysis that the author provides on the Arizona 5, (2) a brief review of the history of MSBP, (3) an introduction to the five children that includes a detailed review of their medical histories, (4) the case made against the parents by the Arizona Department of Economic Security (ADES), its informants, its agents, and its legal counsel, as well as a deconstruction of the case, and (5) a summary analysis of the case. Over 50 pages of notes, many from medical journals, are provided in the back of this well documented text.As explained by the author in the opening pages, "the purpose here is to deal with the issue of GI disease in autism and how, in relation to this disease, parental health-seeking actions and subsequent clinical management should be clearly distinguished from MSBP. It seeks to stress how current knowledge of the autism-GI connection - while incomplete - makes it mandatory that in the presence of an ASD diagnostic due diligence is applied rigorously before even entertaining a possible 'diagnosis' of MSBP. This report borrows from recent experience of MSBP-related litigation in Arizona to identify sources of error, diagnostic oversight, and invalid opinion in order to help develop investigative and legal approaches that may help to avoid future injustice and professional malpractice." This purpose is in light of treatments directed at GI abnormalities that have been demonstrated to produce both short-term and sustained symptomatic improvement, but which face (1) conflation because "GI symptoms are common to both autism and the rare cases of genuine factitious illness in children", (2) ignorance because "healthcare professionals and the judiciary are unfamiliar with the facts of the published GI-autism science", and (3) antagonism because "frequently parental reluctance to vaccinate their children due to the perception of past or possible future harm from this procedure clashes with medical orthodoxy."The first part of this work discusses Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), gastrointestinal (GI) disease, and MSBP, followed by presentations on gastrointestinal disease in ASD, and food allergy and the gut-brain axis. Combined with what Wakefield provides in the second, albeit shortest, part on the checkered history and uncertain future of MSBP, these first chapters provide essential background to understand the remaining 75% of the book. In these pages, I especially appreciated the table that is the best summary I have ever encountered with regard to the shift in perception related to ASD. Additional tables provided include behaviors that may be markers of abdominal pain or distress, diagnostic evaluations of gastrointestinal symptoms and disorders in individuals with ASDs, and a summary of histopathological findings in studies of ASDs. In addition, I also appreciated the discussions that the author provides on inflammation, intestinal microbiology, treatment approaches to GI disease in ASD, and the role that food allergy plays with regard to ADHD and ASDs (on this last discussion, also see my review for "Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies: The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders", by Kenneth Bock and Cameron Stauth).In my opinion, many will find the third part of this book extremely interesting. Individual chapters are dedicated to each of the the Arizona 5 - the five children who were taken away from their parents on suspicion of MSBP. While Wakefield admittedly states that the analysis of the Arizona 5 that he provides is his opinion, he also states that it is "based upon the documents supplied to the defendant's lawyers by Phoenix Children's Hospital (PCH, where the allegations of MSBP originated) and from other medical practitioners involved in the children's care; interviews with parents, family members, friends, and caregivers; and a thorough review of the relevant medical literature. The documents provided by the PCH were incomplete, delivered to the defendants' lawyers piecemeal and in disarray, with different children's records mixed in together. Even worse, by the time the defendants' lawyers received the documents they were apparently left with little more than one week to prepare their defense. Dr. Mart, a psychologist and expert witness retained on behalf of the parents described in court how he had inadequate time to review the records, which were just crammed together in boxes, providing him with 'the most challenging record, review I have ever been involved in.' Witnesses appearing on behalf of the prosecution did not seem to feel it necessary to voice the same complaints."Everything in this book focuses on what the author provides in the fourth part of the book: the substance of the case and the circumstances surrounding the case. Readers are advised to work through this portion of the text slowly. While the cast of characters is not large, Wakefield presents significant detail with regard to each of the players, and at least in my opinion, it is easy to confuse the sources of opinions between each, since everything tends to meld together over the course of the discussion, and author commentary tends to permeate throughout the source material. It is rather clear that many mistakes were made throughout this case, and it is unfortunate that these were only discovered in retrospect by the painstaking review of the facts. Finally, in the postscript provided following the body of this text, it is noted that the judge in this case ordered that the children be returned home to their parents, giving a deadline to Child Protective Services (CPS) to comply with his order, amidst considerable protest from the prosecution. A heartfelt poem by Cherilyn, an adult sibling to the Arizona 5, is provided in the closing pages from which the title of this review was drawn. 20 of 24 people found the following review helpful. necessary read for parents caring for children with multiple medical conditions By ambermccoy The Indiana Department of Child Services stopped my son's thyroid prescription order by a medical doctor. The State reviewed a year's worth of thyroid labs with the first TSH of 15 on June 6, 2011. I provided receipts for the prescribed thyroid medication. Despite my efforts, the State ordered the discontinuation of thyroid treatment. After being off of thyroid medication the summer of 2012, my toddler's TSH elevated to 22.1. The changes in my toddler were remarkable and devastating. It was unfortunate my toddler was only permitted to see the State appointed pediatrician. How is it that the State has the power to harm little ones they are suppose to protect?I am reading the Waging War on the Autistic Child to try to understand how the State as the authority to withdrawal all medical doctor ordered treatments, including dietary restrictions. As a result my toddler went from mild to severe on the spectrum under the State's order.I like how Dr. Wakefield provides scientific evidence of gastrointestinal disarray and immune deficiency in children on the spectrum. I emphatically agree that children receiving proper medical care can improve. It is unfortunate not all recognize such is evident. Prejudices against the disabled child are occurring in the United States of America. Such robs children of reaching their God given potential.As more and more children are diagnosed on the spectrum, the opportunity for the Munchausen by proxy ruling increases. I think the public needs to be aware of the war on children with autism. This book is a great resource documenting this need. 14 of 16 people found the following review helpful. Excellent and well-written discussion of a very controversial topic By Alan Dumoff While Dr. Wakefield is himself very controversial, the manner in which too many child protective service agencies abuse parents seeking help for their children because of professional differences of opinion about the diagnosis and treatment of autism is very disturbing. This readable book provides a great deal of useful information about the nature of the psychiatric labels leveled at parents by state agencies who do not grasp autism spectrum disorders, and about ASD itself. See all 9 customer reviews...
About the Author Andrew J. Wakefield, MB, BS, FRCS, FRCPath, is an academic gastroenterologist. He received his medical degree from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School (part of the University of London) in 1981, and pursued a career in gastrointestinal surgery with a particular interest in inflammatory bowel disease. He has published over 130 original scientific articles, book chapters, and invited scientific commentaries. He and his wife, Carmel, live in Austin, Texas, and have four children: James, Sam, Imogen, and Corin.
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