Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

News Extra [these Stories Appear Only On The Web]

Pathologist in Sally Clark murder case is charged with withholding vital evidence

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 27 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:216

Rapid Response:

Re: Re: Re: Re: A Fatal Misdiagnosis

There are three important issues that I must address in my response
to Dr Innis’ challenge to my Rapid Response re the above issue dated 17
February 2005.

1. Was the infestation with Staphylococcus aureus a result of
laboratory contamination or an existing infection?

2. Does vaccine-caused immunosuppression ever result in increased
susceptibility to Staphylococcal infection, and what is the published
evidence of such?

3. An issue of evidence in law.

Now to the issues as outlined above:

1. Staphylococcus aureus and other staphylococci causing infections.

Staphylococcus aureus and other staphylococci are ubiquitous
commensals living on the skin, face, mouth and other body cavities and
which are nonvirulent while the immune system of the host is healthy and
functioning properly.

As Dr R.F. Williams wrote in 1979, “No living doctor, whatever his or
her chosen field of specialisation, can fail to be aware of the problems
of infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus. For the past 30 years the
difficulties of preventing, containing and treating staphylococcal sepsis*
have been among the most publicised of medical problems. Staphylococcal
sepsis has almost certainly afflicted mankind from its earliest origins
and has been well documented during the 100 or so years of the pre-
antibiotic era. Paradoxically, evolution of the modern difficulties has
gone hand-in-hand with development of increasing numbers of seemingly
efficaceous chemotherapeutic and antibiotic agents, yet staphylococcal
bacteremia still remained as a therapeutic problem of considerable
magnitude (Jessen et al., 1969)... Staphylococcus is ubiquitous, it is
carried in the anterior nares of most people at some time or other and it
is carried permanently by many; it may be isolated with great frequency
from skin surfaces of uninfected people (Williams, 1940; Ridley 1959). No
person is exempt from staphylococcal infection: the nature [sic] severity
and outcome of that infection will be influenced by site and magnitude of
the lesion, the underlying state of health, degree of virulence and dose
of the infecting strain, promptness of diagnosis and effectiveness of the
treatment selected”.

Tomasz (1994) wrote that “During the past decade gram-positive
bacteria have gradually emerged as the most frequent causes of nosocomial
disease. These pathogens are especially difficult to treat because of
their high frequency of drug-resistance traits. Methicillin-resistant
strains now make up 60 to 90 percent of all isolates of coagulase-negative
staphylococci, the most frequent cause of infections related to
intravascular catheters and prosthetic devices. In large teaching
hospitals, the proportion of methicillin-resistant Staphyloccoscus aureus
among nosocomial staphylococcal isolates increased from 8 percent in 1986
to 40 percent in 1992. S. aureus is the frequent cause of skin and wound
infections and bacteremia, and the second most frequent cause of lower
respiratory infections in nosocomial disease.”

It is obvious that Staphylococcus aureus causes widespread and well-
documented infections and the issue of contamination is a relatively minor
one which originated only much later in the piece with the advent of
modern laboratory technology. This would strongly indicate that it is
quite likely that pathologists misinterpret the presence of S. aureus in
postmortem specimens as a contaminant even when it is the causative

2. Vaccines cause increased susceptibility to infections of all
kinds, including those implicating Staphylococci.

As I see it, two problems (questions) arose since the 1960s:

a. The increased vaccination coverage of all children right across
the cultural, educational and life style spectrum of their parents
resulting in decreased host resistance which is implicated in the normally
harmless commensals of all kinds developing into invasive pathogens.
Indeed, because of its ubiquitous presence S aureus must be expected as a
prevalent causative pathogen.

In my previous Rapid Response (17 February 2005), I quoted Craighead
(1975) as revealing the sensitising effect of vaccines on their recipients
resulting in an accentuated pattern of disease upon natural or
experimental exposure; however, the immunosuppressive effect of a variety
of vaccines, has been observed and documented since more than 100 years
ago. Dr Wright (1901), a British army surgeon, wrote about “The changes
effected by antityphoid inoculation in the bactericidal power of the
blood…” some of which result in decreased bactericidal power of the blood
lasting days, weeks, or even months after vaccination. Parfentjev (1955)
reported on his findings of pertussis vaccine increasing susceptibility to
infection with several unrelated species of gram-negative bacteria and
also viruses (such as influenza). Importantly, Kind (1959) when dealing
with sensitivity of pertussis [vaccine] inoculated mice to endotoxin,
wrote “Dubos and Schaedler (7) found that mice inoculated with B.
pertussis or Klebsiella pneumoniae possessed an increased susceptibility
to staphylococci when infected a few hours after the administration of the

Vogel et al. (1983) described immune suppression and induction of
gamma interferon by pertussis toxin, a virulence factor of Bordetella
pertussis. They wrote that “These results suggest that PT may contribute
to the virulence of B. pertussis through stimulation of Lyt12+
lymphocytes, resulting in the induction of gamma interferon and subsequent
inhibition of the primary antibody response”.

Dr Travis Haws, a dentist, in his response to my letter of 17
February 2005 expounded on Dr Reik’s paper “Disseminated
vasculomyelinopathy: An Immune complex Disease” caused by a variety of
vaccines and resulting in formation of circulating immune complexes. If
such complexes are trapped in vessel walls in a focal fashion, complement
is activated, and inflammatory cells accumulate, and release proteolytic
enzymes, causing tissue injury”.

There are dozens of articles demonstrating the immunosuppressive
effect of vaccines, of which DTP and Hib are the best researched.

What is less well-known is the largely non-specific immunosuppressive
effect of vaccines. Even though Selye (l937, 1978), who defined the Non-
specific Stress syndrome (or General Adaptation Syndrome) as a
characteristic but non-specific response to any noxious substance of any
kind, did not study the effect of vaccines, the first noxious substance
(after hormones) he studied was formaldehyde. Many vaccines contain
formaldehyde as a tissue fixative. Combined with deleterious (sensitising)
effect of foreign antigens in vaccines and adjuvants and preservatives
(merthiolate, thiomersal, two mercury-containing compounds), it is easy to
understand the dynamics of vaccine reactions. The concept of the non-
specific stress syndrome (or General Adaptation Syndrome) explains the
limited repertory of reactions (symptoms) and makes us understand why a
variety of vaccines may cause the same symptoms: immunosuppression is one
of them. Just based on this principle, it stands to reason that infection
with such a ubiquitous commensal as S. aureus must be prevalent.

Before demanding more published evidence from me, the onus is now on
Dr Innis to prove first why such a ubiquitous commensal as S. aureus
should be exempt from being implicated in infections caused by vaccine-
caused immunosuppression.

b. The question of antibiotic resistance resulting in rapid
development of new strains of bacteria, including multi-resistant cross-
infecting staphylococcus as demonstrated by Williams (1979).

Bacteria and viruses are survivalists: they develop immunity to any
new antibiotic or anti-bacterials immediately. They will create new
strains and types, and the human immune system will follow by developing
immunity to these new strains, unless our immune system has been damaged
and deranged by ineffective and harmful interventions such as vaccination.

Nature wisely manages to prime and mature the human immune system by
making sure that our young go through infectious diseases of childhood.
The orthodox medicine business interferes by ignorantly claiming that we
must stop these natural immunising processes and replace them with an
unscientific harmful and counter-productive procedure invented by quacks
such as Jenner blindly followed by some “modern” immunologists.

3. The legal argument

The legal argument in the case of Sally Clark is not whether
laboratory contamination with S. aureus does or does not occur, but
whether it did or did not occur in this case. In my well-considered and
(supported by extensive research) researched opinion, there is a viable
and documented explanation - namely an overwhelming infection with this
ubiquitous commensal facilitated by immunosuppression (=increased
susceptibility) caused by the documentedly administered vaccines before
the lethal symptoms developed. The vaccines were definitely administered.
If Dr Innis, as “a one time Coronial Pathologist”, and the anonymous
pathologist who contacted Dr Innis always explained the presence of S.
aureus in their post-mortem analyses without ever considering other
factors (such as overwhelming infection due to immunosuppression) as the
only viable cause then all their analyses should be subjected to rigorous


Williams RF. 1979. The problems, diagnosis and treatment of infection
by Staphylococcus aureus. Scot med J 24: 53-58.

Tomasz A. 1994. Multiple antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria.
New Engl J Med; 330(17): 1247-1251.

Wright AE. 1901. On the changes effected by anti-typhoid inoculation
in the bactericidal power of the blood; with remarks on the probable
significance of these changes. Lancet (Sep 14):

Parfentjev IA. 1955. Bacterial allergy increases susceptibility to
influenza virus in mice. Proc Soc Exp Biol and Med; 90: 373-375.

Kind L. 1959. Sensitivity of pertussis inoculated mice to endotoxin.
J Immunology; 82:32-37.

Vogel FR, Klein TW, Stewart WE. Igarashi T. and Friedman H. 1985.
Immune suppression and induction of Gamma interferon by pertussis toxin.
Infection and Immunity: 49(1): 90-97.

Selye H. 1937. Studies on adaptation. Endocrinology; 21(2): 169-188.

Selye H. 1978. The Stress of Life. McGraw-Hill Publ. Co.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

22 February 2005
Dr Viera Scheibner
Principle Research Scientist (Retired)
Blackheath, NSW 2785 Australia