Desiree Jennings: Worst reporting ever?

I hate to revisit this case again. However, some of my readers have sent me links to something that compels me to dig up the rotting corpse of Generation Rescue’s despicable attempt to use the suffering of a troubled young woman to push the idea that vaccines are harmful. I’m referring, of course, to the Desiree Jennings case. As you recall, Desiree Jennings is a 25-year-old woman who claimed to have developed dystonia after receiving the seasonal flu vaccine back in August. Based on the disconnect between her symptoms and what real cases of dystonia look like, discovery of what was very likely her VAERS database report, and the exploitation of this unfortunate young woman by the likes of Generation Rescue and purveyor of autism woo Dr. Rashid Buttar. Basically, the autism biomeddlers produced a custom-made “miracle cure” of this woman in order to make their point.

But it gets worse than that. In fact, the followup reporting last week on this story is definitely in contention for the dubious award of the single worst example of medical reporting for 2009. In fact, it could well be in contention for the single worst example of medical reporting of the decade:

Credulous acceptance of the claim that Ms. Jennings’ condition was caused by the flu vaccine? Check.

Acceptance of Dr. Buttar’s claims without so much as a single challenging question? Check.

“Miracle cure” by a brave maverick doctor who’s been reviled by his profession? Check.

Only the most perfunctory and dismissive (almost sneering, in fact) mention of the skeptical, science-based viewpoint that maybe, just maybe, the story is not what it seems? Check.

If you want an example of what’s wrong with medical reporting in this country, I can’t think of a better example than this right now.

For the antidote, peruse these links: