Friday, August 26, 2011

Open letter to Simon Wessely


Open letter sent to Professor Simon Wessely, Institute of Psychiatry,
King's College London
from Dr John H Greensmith, M.E. Community,
with copies for publication and his expected reply to all media in which
the "M.E. death threats story" appeared.

Dear Professor Wessely,

I wonder if you realise the terrible distress you have caused amongst
the M.E. Community with your "M.E. death threats" story, repeated in
several broadcasts and newspapers, each time gathering a little more
inaccuracy and venom?

To be scrupulously fair, you have never mentioned Myalgic
Encephalomyelitis (or its initials M.E.), nor do I believe that any
allegations you make apply to M.E. sufferers because they are too ill to
carry them out, or attend your clinic for treatment which, for them,
would either be ineffective or make a majority worse but you know that
M.E. is often, quite unjustifiably, taken to be synonymous with Chronic
fatigue Syndrome (CFS). M.E. patients have certainly appeared in the
headlines and even a cartoon.

Will you, therefore, make it clear, in the same places you enjoyed the
publicity, that you specifically exclude people with M.E. or, if you do
include them, will you say according to which diagnostic criteria?

In advance of any response you make, may I offer some comfort to people
with this dreadfully disabling illness that we know is a discrete
illness with a physical cause or underlying disease process, for which
psychiatric history or concurrent illness is not a prerequisite and this
organisation will be properly researching it with valid experimental
design; subjects selected according to criteria at least as
discriminatory as the Canadian Consensus Criteria, rather than the
heterogeneous CFS, within which bundle there is not an illness that one
could not include if one desired and appropriate statistical analysis.
All of these will be subject to a consultation preview period - to which
you will be invited - before we go ahead, funded by money gained by
subscription, donations and charitable fund raising initiatives, whose
independence of its donors is assured, conducted by researchers whose
careers do not depend on the outcome.

This will take some time but since you say you know the dreadful
experience of a death threat, you may wish to take the opportunity to
set minds at rest and prevent some unnecessary deaths, by their own
hands, amongst people you may have inadvertently affected.

Yours sincerely
M.E. Community

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