By TLB Contributor: Anna Rodgers
What happened when a UK doctor appeared as an expert witness to help two mothers prove in court that their children didn’t need to be vaccinated?
A 3 year court case against the British General Medical Council that ended with the doctor accused having all allegations dropped.
Dr. Jayne Donegan, a UK GP, has lived a most fascinating story. It began with her originally being a very strong advocate for vaccinations, but fast forward quite a few years later, and she now not only speaks out against the dangers of vaccinations, but ended up being taken to the General Medical Council with some pretty serious claims by them regarding her professionalism.
After a few stressful years in court against them, Dr. Donegan won her case. But chances are, this is the first you’re hearing of it.
In order for you to get the full account of what happened, it’s best to read her full story. Dr. Donegan gave me her permission to use her account below:
Dr. Jayne Donegan’s Story
Having trained as a conventional medical doctor, qualifying from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School, University of London, in 1983, all of my undergraduate teaching and postgraduate experience in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Family Planning, Child Health, Orthopedics, Emergency Medicine and General Practice led me to be a strong supporter of the Universal Childhood Vaccination Program. Indeed, I used to counsel parents in the 1980s who didn’t want to vaccinate their children against whooping cough – which was regarded as the ‘problematic’ vaccine in those days.
I used to tell them that there were, indeed, adverse reactions, associated with the vaccine – I was not one of those doctors who would gloss over such unpleasant details – but that we doctors were told that the adverse reactions that might occur after the pertussis vaccine were at least ten times less likely than the chance of getting complications from having the disease, and that, essentially, the point of giving their child the vaccine was to prevent them from getting the disease.
I Used To Think Parent’s Who Don’t Vaccinate Were Either Ignorant or Sociopathic
Indeed, I used to think that parents who didn’t want to vaccinate their children were either ignorant, or sociopathic. I believe that view is not uncommon among doctors today. Why did I have this attitude? Well, throughout my medical training I was taught that the people who used to die in their thousands or hundreds of thousands from diseases like diphtheria, whooping cough and measles – diseases for which there are vaccines – stopped dying because of the introduction of vaccines.
At the same time, I was taught that diseases like typhus, cholera, rheumatic and scarlet fever – for which there are no vaccines – stopped killing people because of improvements in social conditions. It would have been a logical progression to have asked myself why, if social conditions improved the health of the population with respect to some diseases, would they not improve their health with regard to them all, but the amount of information that you are required to absorb during medical training is so huge that you just tend to take it as read and not make the connections that might be obvious to someone else.
It was a received article of faith for me and my contemporaries that vaccination was the single most useful health intervention that had ever been introduced, and when my children were born in 1991 and 1993 I unquestioningly – well, that is to say, I thought it was with full knowledge backed up by all my medical training – had them vaccinated, up as far as MMR, because that was the right thing to do. I even let my 4-week-old daughter be injected with an out-of-date BGC vaccine at a public health clinic.
Out Of Date BCG Vaccine Injured My Child
I noticed (force of habit – I automatically scan vials for drug name, batch number and expiry date) that the vaccine was out of date and said, “Oh, excuse me, it looks like it’s out of date,” and the doctor answered matter-of-factly, “Oh don’t worry, that’s why the clinic was delayed for an hour – we were just checking that it was OK to give it, and it is,” and I said, “OK,” and let her inject it… my poor daughter had a terrible reaction, but I was so convinced that it was all for the best that I carried on with all the rest of them at 2, 3 and 4 months.
No Evidence Of Measles Epidemic
That is where I was coming from – even my interest in homeopathy didn’t dent my enthusiasm for vaccines; so far as I could see, it was the same process – give a small dose of something and it makes you immune – no conflict. So what happened? In 1994 there was the Measles Rubella Campaign in which 7 million schoolchildren were vaccinated against measles and rubella. The Chief Medical Officer sent out letters to all GPs, pharmacists, nursing officers and other healthcare staff, telling us that there was going to be an epidemic of measles.
The evidence for this epidemic was not published at the time. In later years it seems that it was predicted by a complicated mathematical model based on estimates and so might never have been going to occur at all. We were told, “Everybody who has had one dose of the vaccine will not necessarily be protected when the epidemic comes. So they need another one.” “Well, that’s OK,” I thought, “because we know that none of the vaccines are 100percent effective.”
Alarm Bells: Now Three MMR’s Were Needed?
What did worry me, however, was when they said that even those who had had two doses of measles vaccine would not necessarily be protected when the epidemic came and that they needed a third. You may not remember, but in those days there was only one measles vaccine in the schedule. It was a live virus vaccine, so it was like coming in contact with the wild virus, just changed slightly to make it safer and leading to immunity. Since then, of course, the pre-school dose has been added because one dose didn’t work, but in those days there was just “one shot for life.”
And now we were being told that even two shots of a “one shot” vaccine would not protect people when the epidemic came. At this point I began to ask myself, “Why have I been telling all these parents that vaccines are safer than getting the disease and that basically, having the vaccine will stop their children getting the disease – with the risk of complications – it’s not 100 percent, but that’s basically what they’re designed to do – when it seems that they can be vaccinated, have whatever adverse reactions are associated with the vaccine, and still get the disease with whatever complications may be associated with that, even when they’ve had two doses of the “one shot” vaccine? So what was the point? This doesn’t seem right.”
If you are wondering how come anyone would have had two doses of the “one shot vaccine,” it is because when the MMR was introduced in 1988, many children had already been vaccinated against measles, but we were told that we should give them the MMR anyway as it would “protect them against mumps and rubella and boost their measles immunity.” We were also told that the best way of vaccinating was en masse, because this would “break the chain of transmission.” So I thought, “I wonder why we vaccinate all these small babies at 2, 3 and 4 months? Why don’t we just wait two or three years and then vaccinate everyone who has been born in the meantime, and ‘break the chain of transmission’.”
Things Just Didn’t Add Up
So some things just didn’t seem to quite add up. However, it is very hard to start seriously questioning whether or not vaccination is anything other than safe and effective, especially when it is something that you have been taught to believe in so strongly. The more medically qualified you are, the more difficult it is, as in some ways the more brainwashed you are. It’s not easy, or at least it wasn’t then, to start going down a path that might lead you in the opposite direction to all your colleagues and the healthcare system in which you work. I read some books that could be described as “anti-vaccination.”
They contained graphs showing that the majority of the decrease in deaths from and incidence of the infectious diseases for which we have vaccines occurred before the vaccines were introduced in the 1950s and 60s, for example with whooping cough, and in the late 1960s with measles. I decided that I couldn’t just accept what these books were telling me, especially as the message was the opposite to what I had learned up until now. I needed to do some research. The graphs in my textbooks and the Department of Health Immunization Handbook (the Green Book) appeared to show that the introduction of vaccines caused precipitous falls in deaths from vaccinatable diseases.
Collating My Own Vaccine Charts – Why Was It so Hard To Obtain The Information?
I decided that if I were going to seriously question what I’d been taught at medical school and by my professors, I would have go and get the real data for myself. Accordingly, I called the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and asked them to send me the graphs of deaths from the diseases against which we vaccinate from the middle of the nineteenth century, when we started keeping records, until now.
They said, “We don’t have them – except for smallpox and TB; we suggest you try the Department of Health.’” Which I did. They didn’t have graphs from the nineteenth or early twentieth century either. They said, “You’d better try the Office for National Statistics.” “I’ve already tried them,” I said. “They were the ones who advised me to contact you.” It seems to be getting rather circular, so I called up the ONS once again and told them my problem. “Well,” they said, “we have all the books here from when the Registrar General started taking returns of deaths from infectious diseases in 1837; you can come along and look at them if you like.” There was nothing for it.
I had to go the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in Pimlico, London, with my two young children aged 6 and 4 in tow, to extract the information myself. The girls were very good – they were used to traveling/following me around – and the library staff were very nice; they kindly gave my daughters orange juice to drink, and paper and crayons to draw with and amuse themselves, while I pulled out all the mothy old books from 1837 until 1900, after which, thankfully, there was a CD ROM that could be bought at vast expense and taken home.
It was the most user-unfriendly piece of data storage that I have ever come across, but it was better than having to physically be there day after day. So I went home with all my notes and the CD Rom and eventually produced my own graphs. I was startled to find that they were similar to the graphs in some of the books that I had recently read.
People Stopped Dying of Whooping Cough Long Before Vaccine Was Introduced
I was astonished and not a little perturbed to find that when you draw a graph of the death rate from whooping cough that starts in the mid nineteenth century, you can clearly see that at least 99 percent of the people who used to die of whooping cough in the nineteenth and early twentieth century had stopped dying before the vaccine against whooping cough was introduced, initially in the 1950s and universally in the 1960s.
I also realized that the reason the Department of Health’s graphs made the vaccine appear so effective was because they didn’t start until the 1940s when most of the improvements in health had already occurred, and this was before even antibiotics were generally available. If you selected only deaths in under-15-year-olds, the drop was even more dramatic – by the time whooping cough vaccine was part of the universal immunization schedule in the early 1960s all the hard work had been done.
Department of Health’s Own Charts: Not A Good Way Of Showing Changes in Mortality and Disease
I now began to realize that graphs such as those featured in the Department of Health Green Book were not a good or clear way of showing the changes in mortality (death) and morbidity (incidence of disease) that occurred before and after vaccination was introduced against these diseases.
Measles is similar: the Department of Health Green Book features a graph that does not start until the 1940s. There appears to be great drop in the number of cases after the measles vaccine was introduced in 1968, but looking at a graph which goes back to the 1900s you can see that the death rate – death being the worst-case complication of a disease – had dropped by 99 percent by the time the vaccine was put on the schedule.
100% Decline In Measles Deaths Three Years Before Vaccine Was Introduced
Looking specifically at under-15-year-olds, it is possible to see that there was a virtual 100 percent decline in deaths from measles between 1905 and 1965 – three years before the measles vaccine was introduced in the UK. In the late 1990s there was an advertisement for MMR which featured a baby in nappies sitting on the edge of a cliff with a lion prowling on the other side and a voice-over saying, “No loving parent would deliberately leave their baby unprotected and in danger.”
I think it would have been more scientific to have put one of the graphs using information from the ONS in the advert – then parents would have had a greater chance of making an informed choice, rather than being coerced by fear. When you visit your GP or Health Visitor to discuss the vaccination issue, and you come away feeling scared, this is because you are picking up how they feel.
If all you have is the “medical model” for disease and health, all you know is that there is a hostile world out there and if you don’t have vaccines, antibiotics and 100 percent bactericidal hand-wash, you will have no defense at all against all those germs with which you and your children are surrounded. Your child may be OK when they get the measles, but you can never tell when disaster will strike, and they may be left disabled or dead by the random hand of fate.
Health Is the Only Immunity
I was like that myself, and when the awful realization began to dawn on me that vaccines weren’t all they were cracked up to be, I started looking in a panic for some other way of protecting my children and myself – some other magic bullet. My long, slow journey researching the vaccination disease ecology involved learning about other models and philosophies of health and the gradual realization that it was true what people had told me all along, that “health is the only immunity.”
We don’t need to be protected from “out there.” We get infectious diseases when our body needs to have a periodic clean-out. Children especially benefit from childhood spotty rashes, or “ex anthems” as they are called, in order to make appropriate developmental leaps. When we have fevers, coughs, rashes, we need to treat them supportively, not suppressively.
Standard Medical Treatment Suppresses Symptoms And Causes The Most Harm
In my experience, the worst complications of childhood infections are caused by standard medical treatment which involves suppressing all the symptoms. What is the biggest obstacle to doctors even entertaining the possibility that the Universal Childhood Vaccination Program may not be the unmitigated success that it is portrayed to be? Or that there may be other ways of achieving health that are better and longer lasting? Possibly it is the fear of stepping out of line and being seen to be different – with all the consequences that this can entail, as I know from personal experience.
As George Bernard Shaw says in his preface to “The Doctor’s Dilemma,” 1906 :
Doctors are just like other Englishmen: most of them have no honor and no conscience: what they commonly mistake for these is sentimentality and an intense dread of doing anything that everybody else does not do, or omitting to do anything that everybody else does.
Dr. Jayne L. M. Donegan MBBS DRCOG DCH DFFP MRCGP MFHom
Holistic GP and Homeopathic Physician
The British General Medical Council Court Case
Here is some very interesting information regarding Dr. Donegan, and why her authority on vaccines should be paid attention to, simply because the medical world actually did. In 2002 Dr. Donegan went to the High Court, as she was involved in a case where two mothers were fighting their ex-partners about their children’s vaccinations. The mothers did not want them to be given to their children – under any circumstances – for fear of causing irreversible harm, but the fathers did, so a controversial court case ensued.
Dr. Donegan had been writing and speaking publicly about vaccinations and natural ways of keeping children healthy so she was asked to be an expert witness by the two mothers. Dr. Donegan gave her professional opinion that the safety and efficacy of vaccines has not been well studied and that there were other ways of achieving health than vaccination for these children.
The case proved very long and extremely stressful. At times it was under very unfair circumstances where she would be given hardly any time to get documents together, despite the opposition having double the time to prepare theirs.
Junk Science Accusation
Due to the information she was providing in court (which went straight against the typical mainstream medical advice), the Appeal Judges called her evidence “Junk Science” and the GMC (General Medical Council) – the organization that regulates doctors and tells them how to practice – targeted the doctor herself.
Dr. Donegan ended up being accused of “serious professional misconduct” which could have eventually ended her entire medical career. They served her official papers in 2004, but it took three long years of writing reports and going through hundreds of medical documents and studies before the case was finally heard in 2007. The allegations are below:
“That you (Dr. Donegan):
6a. Gave false and/ or misleading impressions of the research which you relied upon, 6b. Quoted selectively from research, reports and publications and omitted relevant information, 6c. Allowed your deeply held views on the subject of immunisation to overrule your duty to the court and to the litigants, 6d. Failed to present an objective, independent and unbiased view;
7. Your actions in head 6. above were, 7a. Misleading, 7b. In direct contravention to your duty as an expert witness; unprofessional, 7c. Likely to bring the profession into disrepute; And that in relation to the facts alleged by you have been guilty of serious professional misconduct.”
As I am sure you can appreciate reading this, these allegations were incredibly serious. They basically said that the testimony Dr. Donegan provided in court was made up, that she was giving harmful advice, which could damage the entire medical profession and had allowed her personal views to come into the case.
Over the next three years Dr. Donegan had to prepare her defense, answer letters, go through stacks of evidence and collate documents which made it very difficult to look after her family or carry on her professional life as a doctor. She also had to cope with having her legal team withdraw from the case, six weeks before she was originally due in court.
Scientific “Proof”: Very Different From “Proof” In A Court Of Law
Dr. Donegan then managed to find Mr. Clifford Miller, a lawyer who was exceptionally well-read on the subject of vaccination. Not only was Mr. Miller very good with the law, he was also a scientist, having attained a BSc in physics. He had an in-depth knowledge of the scientific method, what constitutes scientific “proof,” and how this is very different from what is accepted as “proof” in a court of law.
Dr Donegan and Mr Miller, were very careful of using only medical journal reports and studies as their evidence to support what they were saying. This is very important to remember.
They only used information from respected medical sources.
This case had started out with almost impossible odds, yet after almost three years of legal wrangling and a three-week hearing by the GMC panel in Manchester, the GMC came to this conclusion:
The Panel were sure that at no stage did you allow any views that you held to overrule your duty to the court and to the litigants.
You demonstrated to the Panel that your reports did not derive from your deeply held views and your evidence supported this. You explained to the Panel that your approach in your report was to provide the court with an alternative view based on the material you produced in your references. That material was largely drawn from publications that were in fact in favor of immunisation.
It was clear from your evidence and the evidence of your witness that your aim is to direct parents to sources of information about immunisation and child health safety to help them to make informed choices.
You told us that there are many books by doctors and others in this and other countries who seriously question vaccination and they cite a lot of history, proofs, and medical papers to support their arguments. You did not use any of those publications because you did not think that the GMC would regard those as satisfactory support or references for your recommendations. You largely used what was available in refereed medical journals.
The Panel is sure that in the reports you provided you did not fail to be objective, independent, and unbiased.
Accordingly, the Panel found that you are not guilty of serious professional misconduct.
The case between Dr. Donegan and the GMC was very much like that of David and Goliath, and was another rare example of David actually winning.
GMC Agreed: Children Do Not Need Vaccines To Be Healthy
I would like you to have a really serious think about this trial – the claims that were made – the eventual outcome and what it might mean about the entire vaccine industry:
- Dr. Donegan was called upon as a witness to provide evidence that children do not need vaccines to be healthy and that many are unnecessary and unsafe.
- This brought unwanted attention to her from the British General Medical Council who then took her to court.
- During this 3 year trial, she presented her evidence against a very tough opposition involving many QCs and a very expensive legal team, yet Dr. Donegan and her much smaller team WON the case.
- What do you think it means about the evidence she provided and the fact that this medical council could not prove her wrong?
- What does this cause you to think about vaccines now?
- And what does it make you think about the actual science when presented in a court of law?
Case Results Kept Quiet In The Media
This shocking outcome with its unlikely win – surprise surprise, never really made it into the media. It should have been on every front page of each newspaper in the world, but of course it wasn’t. With the media being owned/funded by Pharmaceutical companies who have the ability to put pressure on Governments to do what they want, it’s no wonder this landmark win was kept out of the publics view.
When Dr. Donegan was first accused of serious professional misconduct it did of course make it into the papers, but after she won, there was hardly any media attention at all. Yet wouldn’t you think the public deserves to know this outcome? Wouldn’t you have liked to know about this? Wouldn’t you also like to know about the dirty tactics used in court against Dr. Donegan?
Dr. Donegan was asked after her GMC enquiry ended, what had she learned from this experience:
Perhaps it is that if a parent says, “I’m worried about the safety of vaccination,” they are told, “You don’t understand, you’re not a doctor.” However if a doctor says, “I’m worried about the safety of vaccination,” they are told, “We’re charging you with serious professional misconduct… “
Please visit Dr Donegan’s website:
Dr. Jayne L. M. Donegan MBBS DRCOG DCH DFFP MRCGP MFHom
Holistic GP and Homeopathic Physician
Dr Donegan tours the UK giving lectures to parents about vaccines and how to create health with nutrition, supplements, and homeopathy.