Thursday, June 21, 2012

R.I.P. Dr. Dowsett

Dr. Betty Dowsett, 1920 – 2012 | consultant microbiologist who championed M.E.
by Tony Britton on June 21, 2012

Tributes to the memory of Dr Betty Dowsett have begun to flood the
internet after news spread today of her death a week ago on June 14.
Dr Dowsett, who was aged 91, had been living in a nursing home in
Cambridge for some years.

Dr Dowsett collaborated with the likes of Dr John Richardson and Dr
Melvin Ramsay in their various studies into M.E. and, with Professor
Leslie Findley, she helped set up the National ME Centre in Oldchurch,
Essex. In latter years, she also worked with Jane Colby, executive
director of the Young ME Sufferers Trust, on a groundbreaking study
into M.E. as the cause of major long-term sickness absence from
school. This achieved major coverage in the national press.

The young Betty Scott was born in Newport, Gwent, and studied medicine
at Edinburgh University.

Simon Lawrence, chairman of the 25% Group of severe ME sufferers, had
this to say about Dr Dowsett earlier today:

"She was one of the last remaining of the group of doctors from the
Ramsay era who believed in ME as it really is,
unlike today where we
have all sorts of theories and scandalous activities that are truly
harming people with ME. People are dying of ME and people are left
paralysed by ME. Dr Betty Dowsett was someone who was truly upset
about this and who worked day and night to help change the situation
and even fought in the face of the establishment and other ME
organisations that she felt were 'dumping down' ME.

In a world where we are so often left to suffer and be denigrated as
ME sufferers, it was refreshing to meet someone who really did care
and, at the same time, who never sought monetary gain from her
services or some selfish recognition for doing what she felt was

Greg Crowhurst, whose wife Linda has had severe ME for many years, blogged:

"We have just heard the incredibly sad news that Dr Betty Dowsett, one
of the very few doctors who knew that ME was a genuine neurological
disease, who actively validated patients in a sea of psychiatric
fatigue nonsense, a doctor who worked alongside Dr Melvin Ramsay, who
knew the truth has died.

Betty Dowsett helped people,by protecting against the psychiatric
untruth that has spread like wildfire throughout the UK since the
1980′s, by accurately diagnosing them, by actively supporting them.

Not only did Betty help many people, for free, including Linda to get
a proper Severe ME diagnosis, at a clinic she paid for herself,
because the need was there, she also stayed in touch, supporting
people in getting their benefits and providing ongoing medical advice.

Deeply committed to people with ME, Betty Dowsett was a genuinely good
and honourable person who lived the doctor's oath to do no harm; much
more than that she stood up for truth and in the process saved many
lives – including Linda's.

Dr Betty Dowsett was a giant in the ME world; her loss is immeasurable
and irreplaceable."

The funeral will be held on Friday, June 29. The family have asked
that, instead of sending flowers, people should make donations
directly to the M.E. charity of their choice.

Cards should be sent to The Family of Betty Dowsett, c/o The Cottenham
Court Nursing Home, High Street, Cottenham, Cambridge CB24 8SS (but do
not send donations with yours cards).

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