News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Manipulation On Cot Death Issues


15 August 2006

Paediatrician's Policy For Handling Media Reveals Manipulation On Cot Death Issues

Dr Jim Sprott is warning media representatives about the media policy of paediatrician Professor Ed Mitchell (University of Auckland) revealed yesterday. In an e-mail sent to the Ministry of Health and prominent members of the New Zealand Paediatrics Society on 14 August 2006 Dr Mitchell stated:

Dr Sprott issues press releases very frequently and these are ignored by the media. From time to time some young reporter thinks they have got a scoop and contacts me with great enthusiasm. My approach is always to talk about [the toxic gas theory for cot death] being a 1989 theory, that it has been fully investigated and dismissed, and that there is nothing new from what Dr Sprott has been saying since 1994. At that stage they drop the story. This approach has been successful in keeping [Dr Sprott] out of the news."

Dr Mitchell's statement demonstrates an appalling policy of deception and media manipulation, stated Dr Sprott.

Dr Mitchell is Chairman of the New Zealand Cot Death Association. Research commissioned by the Cot Death Association in 1997 showed evidence of toxic gas generation from cot mattress material.(1)

The scientist who carried out the research warned the Cot Death Association in December 1997 that gases from all the categories publicised by Dr Sprott as causing cot death had been generated from infant bedding materials.(1)

At a SIDS International conference session chaired by Dr Mitchell in February 2000, an expatriate New Zealand scientist reported proof of generation of toxic gas from infant bedding sheepskin.(2)

The investigation of the toxic gas theory referred to by Dr Mitchell is the 1998 UK Limerick Report. In September 1998 it was published in the New Zealand Medical Journal that the Limerick Report did not disprove the toxic gas theory for cot death. The publisher of that statement had collaborated with Dr Mitchell on cot death research.(3)

"For some time it has been quite apparent that New Zealand media representatives were being manipulated by opponents of the toxic gas theory for cot death," stated Dr Sprott. "Now we know that this has been a cynical and deliberate policy which flies in the face of the Cot Death Association's own research findings. Hopefully now the media will think twice before contacting paediatricians on cot-death-related issues."

Dr Sprott called on Dr Mitchell to resign from his position as Chairman of the New Zealand Cot Death Association. "Quite clearly, Dr Mitchell's position is untenable," stated Dr Sprott.

The cot death prevention method based on the toxic gas theory is mattress-wrapping. Since the commencement of the mattress-wrapping programme in 1995, around 830 New Zealand babies have died on cot death on unwrapped mattresses (or parallel bedding situations), but there has been no reported cot death on a 'wrapped mattress'. The New Zealand cot death rate has fallen by 70% since mattress-wrapping began and the Pakeha rate has fallen by around 85%.(4)

"This issue is especially relevant given the cot deaths of twin baby girls in Porirua last weekend," stated Dr Sprott. "As 11 years of mattress-wrapping have shown, babies don't die of cot death on wrapped mattresses.

It's time for the Cot Death Association, Ministry of Health and Plunket Society to come clean with the New Zealand public and tell them to wrap babies mattresses for cot death prevention."

References:

(1) "The evolution of phosphine from cot mattress materials", Department of Chemistry, University of Auckland (Final Report to New Zealand Cot Death Association, December 1997).

(2) Arsenic methylation by micro-organisms isolated from sheepskin bedding materials, Human & Experimental Toxicology (2003) 22: 325-334.

(3) "SIDS and the toxic gas theory (letter), New Zealand Medical Journal, 25 September 1998, page 371.

(4) Source of statistics: New Zealand Ministry of Health.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Nō Tāu Manawa

Vaughan Rapatahana responds to Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avi: "fa’afetai Tusiata, fa’afetai, / you’ve swerved & served us a masterclass corpus / through graft / of tears & fears..." More>>

9 Golds - 21 Medals: NZ Team Celebrates As Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Close

The entire New Zealand Paralympic Team, led by kiwi sprinter and double gold medallist Liam Malone as flag bearer, are on the bus to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There, they will celebrate the fantastic successes of the past 10 days. More>>

ALSO:

New Zealand Improv Festival: The Festival Of Moments To Return To The Capital

The eighth incarnation of the New Zealand Improv Festival comes to BATS Theatre this 4-8 October , with a stellar line-up of spontaneous theatre and instant comedy performed and directed by top improvisors from around New Zealand and the world. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news