Bioethicists Offer $11,000 Reward If Michele Bachmann Can Prove Her Claims About Gardisil
The reaction in the medical community to Michele Bachmann’s claim that she met a woman whose daughter now suffers from mental retardation due to receiving the HPV vaccine has been overwhelmingly negative. Two scientists, though, are telling Bachmann to put up or shut up:
A University of Minnesota bioethicist is offering $1,000 for medical proof that a woman’s daughter suffered mental retardation from the vaccine for human papillomavirus virus, a story that was told by Rep. Michele Bachmann after Monday’s debate.
Bachmann has come under fire from the medical community for suggesting the vaccination for the HPV virus, a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical cancer, is linked to mental illness.
Steven Miles, a U of M bioethics professor, said that he’ll give $1,000 if the medical records of the woman from Bachmann’s story are released and can be viewed by a medical professional.
His offer was upped by his former boss from the University of Minnesota, Art Caplan, who is now director of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics. Caplan said he would match Miles’ challenge and offered $10,000 for proof of the HPV vaccine victim.
“These types of messages in this climate have the capacity to do enormous public health harm,” Miles said of why he made the offer. “The woman, assuming she exists, put this claim into the public domain and it’s an extremely serious claim and it deserves to be analyzed.”
For her part, though, Bachmann isn’t backing down. On Tuesday, she told Sean Hannity that she “had no idea” if the woman’s story that she related was true, but that she was merely “passing on” what she was told. Yesterday, she again passed on the opportunity to back down from her remarks:
During the debate, I didn’t make any statements that would indicate that I’m a doctor, I’m a scientist or that I’m making any conclusions about the drug one way or another,” the GOP presidential hopeful told reporters here who questioned her about the story she told suggesting that the vaccine had caused mental retardation. Asked whether she would apologize for comments that outraged medical experts say will discourage parents from getting their children immunized, Bachmann said: “Oh, I’m not going to answer that.”
Of course you’re not Congresswoman, you’re just “asking questions.”
Exit question. It’s four days since Bachmann made these comments, why hasn’t this woman shown up in the media? Could it be because she doesn’t exist?