Dr Sarah Myhill and that ‘witch-hunt’
Dr Sarah Myhill is evidently a doctor who cares passionately about her work and about people’s health. She is highly motivated to help and empower us to keep ourselves well and to make us better if we are sick. For her pioneering work treating patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) aka myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), she has become a heroine to many of them.
There are heartfelt testimonials on various internet fora from people she has helped — mostly CFS sufferers who hadn’t been helped by the NHS and who were desperate enough to turn to a private doctor with a website containing some highly questionable assertions about a range of health issues. I’ve no reason to doubt the sincerity of the stories of recovery from grateful patients. Those telling them demand to know why the only doctor who has actually helped them is being investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC) and faces losing her licence.
Yesterday Dr Myhill attended a hearing of the GMC’s Interim Orders Panel in connection with two complaints made about her. The first complaint, by a group of doctors, was filed in June 2009 and apparently concerns Dr Myhill’s recommendation on the strength of one blood test that a young patient with a neurological disease, whom she had not met nor seen the medical notes of, be administered B12 and magnesium sulphate injections
The second complaint was filed a few weeks ago. The complainant, who posts on the Bad Science forum under the name of ‘Jonas’, started a thread over there with the announcement that he’d made a complaint about a range of recommendations Dr Myhill makes on her website. These, Jonas argued, are contrary to national guidance and safety limits and so may place people at risk. The recommendations are in connection with nutritional supplements, heart disease, contraception, breast cancer diagnosis and vaccines. None of this complaint appears to be about treatment relating to CFS, with the possible exception of the vitamin supplements.
The purpose of yesterday’s hearing was to decide whether any interim order should be placed on Dr Myhill pending the full hearing of the complaints. The worst case scenario for her would have been suspension for up to 18 months. The panel were not required to decide on matters of fact but on whether Dr Myhill was acting within her competence and expertise as a physician and whether there might be a need to protect the public in any way. They concluded that she probably wasn’t and there probably was.
Dr Myhill is now forbidden from prescribing any prescription-only medication and has been ordered to remove from her website content relating to the following:
- The medical management of cases relating to cardiology, or cardiovascular disease including; chest pain due to ischaemic heart disease; acute coronary syndrome; heart failure; or pulmonary embolus;
- The treatment of asthma;
- The treatment, testing, identification, diagnosis or management of breast cancer;
- The use of hormonal contraceptive medication;
- The pharmacological management of primary or secondary prevention of vascular disease;
- Any immunisation or vaccination;
They have also placed a range of restrictions on her with regard to seeking employment. See the hearing transcript and full verdict here.
Naturally, Dr Myhill will be very distressed as will her supporters. I’m not sure to what extent the CFS sufferers might be affected by her inability to prescribe prescription-only meds; I’ve seen speculation that it will have a catastrophic effect while they will be largely unaffected by the changes to her website.
I fully accept that CFS is an identifiable condition and that it can have a life-shattering effect on sufferers, a couple of whom I have known. (I recommend an account from Margaret Nelson’s blog: ME and me and the Daily Mail.) I have no opinion on the causes of CFS because I haven’t read enough about it. I am aware of some of the conflicting ideas about these. Indeed, I am aware there is conflict over the very existence of the syndrome. At one end of the spectrum seem to be arch cynics calling it a fake disease adopted by malingerers; at the other end are sufferers who take furious exception to anything that they rightly or wrongly interpret as implying their condition is pyschosomatic.
Medical opionion is divided but those who claim some degree of expertise, while disagreeing over precisely what it is and the likely causes, do apparently agree that the syndrome exists. Prof Simon Wessely is beyond the pale for some sufferers because of a perception on their part that he doesn’t allow the possibility of a physiological cause (edit: see comment below from Prof Wessely); Emeritus Prof Malcolm Hooper takes a contrary view to that of Prof Wessely. In a paper published last year, Dr Myhill summed up these two positions thus:
- Hypothesis (A) the metabolism of people with CFS is normal, but the fatigue and other symptoms are due to psychological factors.
- Hypothesis (B) there is a metabolic dysfunction with the result that not enough energy is being produced.
Sliding off the edge of reason at the angry sufferers end of the spectrum are the conspiraloons who see the GMC investigation into Dr Myhill as a ‘witch-hunt’, a view Dr Myhill shares. Unfortunately, the real and very important issues raised by the latest complaint are getting drowned in the the sea of nonsense spewed out by this vociferous group.
These are some of the reasons and views I have collected from different people who subscribe to the witch-hunt hypothesis:
- There are other people, procedures, practices and meds that harm people;
- This is the umpteenth complaint to the GMC about her;
- The complainant is anonymous;
- She helps people;
- She harms nobody;
- None of the previous complaints has come from patients and nor does this one;
- A person who genuinely had an issue with the website would complain to the owner in the first instance
Let’s consider these in turn:
‘What about the other people, procedures, practices and meds that are harming people?’
The argument that if one cared about people’s health, one would be targetting things that really harm it, is made repeatedly by some of those supporting Dr Myhill so I’ll deal with it briefly. The fact that people have complained about Dr Myhill doesn’t mean they don’t care about anything else or that they are doing nothing about anything else. The only thing of importance we know about the complainants is that they made these particular complaints. Anything else is speculation and not an argument.
It’s the same point that gets made repeatedly to skeptics. “I wish you could find a space in your evidently caring heart for the thousands and thousands who die each year at the hands of ’scientific’ medicine, or don’t those matter?” said one commenter on this blog. In the interests of balance, I’ve been told, I should blog more about what they want to read and less about what I want to write. As if there weren’t enough people writing about the wrongs of scientific medicine already and as if my writing about it as well is going to make any difference to anything.
Anyway, back to the witch-hunt:
‘This is the umpteenth complaint to the GMC about her.’
There have been a number of previous complaints about Dr Myhill. These have all happened since she left the NHS and moved to private practice in 2000. I understand that all or most of these previous complaints concerned her recommendations on prescribing thyroid hormones. (I’m getting my information from her defence statement; I stand to be corrected if I’ve misunderstood.) The point is that these earlier complaints seem to be about something different from the latest two, which are different again from each other, though the common denominator is the allegation that some of what Dr Myhill says and does is potentially harmful.
Whereas, to a disinterested party, the fact that there have already been several complaints against her might set off alarm bells, to her supporters the important thing is that these previous complaints were unsuccessful. That there should be yet another complaint when there have been several unsuccessful ones already, confirms their darkest suspicions: Dr Myhill is being deliberately targeted by the GMC, who will use any excuse to stop her helping people. That previous unsuccessful complaints should serve as reason enough not to consider any more is a very curious argument, yet to her supporters it makes perfect sense. Look at the petition, for example,
We the undersigned wish to register our strong objections to the GMC (General Medical Council) over the witch hunt campaign to discredit Dr Sarah Myhill. This is the 6th time that Dr Myhill has been subjected to such a hearing and enough is enough!
That is one of the most idiotically-worded petitions I’ve ever seen and I don’t think I would sign a petition for someone I supported if it was worded like that.
Let’s say, for example, somebody I know and love keeps getting arrested and questioned for various crimes but none of the allegations stick. The sixth time he’s arrested I’m definitely thinking, ‘This isn’t fair. They’re just picking on him — what have they got against him? Who benefits from his conviction? They’ve never been able to prove anything against him — he’s obviously innocent’. This is somebody I know and love, right? I’m allowed, in my distress, to be irrational in my thinking.
Once I think about starting petitions and campaigns, however, I hope I’m going to run it past someone more objective than I’m capable of being in the circumstances. Hopefully I’ll realise that, even if he was innocent before, that doesn’t mean he’s innocent now; if a complaint has been made it still has to be investigated and an argument like ‘enough is enough’ isn’t, well, enough to not investigate it.
To an objective bystander like me, the idea that GMC members themselves are conducting a witch-hunt seems a bit silly. If someone submits a complaint, they can’t just say, “Flaming Norah! Not this woman again. Look, we’ve already thrown out a number of complaints about her already so let’s not waste time on any more.”
A bit more plausible is the idea that the complainants themselves are conducting a witch-hunt: a bunch of people don’t like someone so they take turns to make vexatious complaints to the employer, regulatory body or whatever. But why would they target a doctor that helps people and harms nobody? This is where we get the full chorus of cacophonous loony tunes.
After ‘Jonas’ announced on the Bad Science forum that he had complained about Dr Myhill, a vitriolic thread was started on Phoenix Rising, a ME/CFS forum, apparently for the purpose of hissing and spitting at posters on the Bad Science forum. The PR thread contains the usual nonsense about Big Pharma paying ‘shills’ to post on internet fora as well as some less than complimentary comments about Bad Science posters in general. The thread also contains this post on page 3:
As far as I am concerned this is Goldacre on a further a self destruction course. He is providing amo for the proposal I have made to report him and his website to the GMC. They have already set a precedent by taking a case against Dr Myhill. So let the junk and attacks continue on his site, save them, don’t reply and let them build their own case against themselves. We will just have to forward to the GMC. If this is not putting patients at risk as Dr Myhill was so pathetically accused I don’t know what is.
Thankyou Ben Goldacre for being the author of your own misfortune, yet again!!!
Can one fault the reasoning here? Ben Goldacre owns a website with a discussion forum and, athough he rarely posts there himself, he is responsible for everything said on it including any unpleasant comments about Dr Myhill, whether or not he personally expresses an opinion.
The idea that Ben Goldacre is somehow responsible for the latest complaint against Dr Myhill doesn’t stop with the Phoenix Rising ME/CFS forum. Take, for example, About.com’s Thyroid Disease Blog, authored by one Mary Shomom.
It is precisely because doctors like Sarah Myhill use successful approaches that are not part of the narrowly prescribed dogma that they are successful — but it seems that to the GMC, results and healthy, satisfied patients are less important than conformity.
So the GMC’s decision to pursue a case against Dr. Myhill raises a key question: who is the GMC actually trying to protect?
That is clear. The doctors on the GMC want to put her out of business. She is not part of the NHS, and she takes an integrative, holistic approach to treatment — which is an anathema to the old school NHS doctors. The GMC members are selfishly protecting themselves — their financial interests and their “status-quo treatment is best” egos — rather than protecting the health and safety of patient.
Have we got that straight? NHS doctors don’t like the “integrative, holistic approach to treatment”, so they want to ruin someone practising it outside of the NHS. There simply aren’t enough people queuing for treatments and using up the NHS’ finite resources already so they must stop those people from going to Dr Myhill after the NHS has failed them and bring them back and offer them more of the expensive but ineffective treatments they’ve tried already. Right, gotcha. I’m sure that is indeed why the complaints against Dr Myhill were made.
That Ben Goldacre is an NHS doctor who owns the Bad Science website is enough for Mary Shomom to write one of the most burningly stupid and gratuitous attacks on him I’ve ever seen. To show just how badly the stupid burns, here’s one sentence:
One also has to wonder whether Goldacre himself is actually the one who anonymously sent the complaint letter about Dr. Myhill as a publicity stunt to help sell books and get more media attention for himself.
Of course, writing an anonymous letter is exactly what you would do if you wanted publicity. Gah!
In the comments beneath the post (which include, by the way, some excellent comments in defence of Ben) we see evidence that the stupid is infectious in this gem:
The timing of this attack on Myhill from Goldacre’s site is interesting.
Goldacre doesn’t let on that he is “a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and is a research fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.” (Wikipedia). “Trust me I’m a psychiatrist” doesn’t sound so good, does it?
Goldacre is supervised by Simon Wessely, who has built a career arguing CFS and GWI are psychiatric conditions, the opposite of what Myhill thinks. Now it’s turning out they are real physical ailments, not just maladaptive beliefs, so the shrinks are lashing out wildly at anyone in reach, as their ship sinks.
It has never before occurred to me that Ben Goldacre is ashamed of being a psychiatrist. I wonder who held a gun to his head and forced him take it up? Next time I hear Ben repeat his favourite catchphrase, “Trust me, I’m a doctor,” I’m going to call him on it. But the most important thing here is the uncovering of the Goldacre-Wessely connection. Wessely, remember, is despised by some CFS sufferers. The latest complainant is a registered user on the website forum that Ben owns. Voila! A link between Wesseley and the complainant is established and it’s obvious Goldacre is a key player — maybe even the instigator — of this evil mission to destroy Dr Myhill. As Mary Shomon says,
A quackbuster is a quackbuster — and in the end, quackbusters are NOT on the side of wellness or truth.
Note to readers: In case you missed it, every bit of my paragraph above is sarcastic. It’s what happens to me when I read things that are unutterably and irredeemably stupid and that would be my description of the “arguments” that there is some ulterior motive — and someone other than Jonas — behind the latest complaint against Dr Myhill.
The fact of the matter is they haven’t a clue why anyone would bother complaining about someone so wonderful and they are desperately making stuff up. The thought that people might complain because they genuinely think that she is giving dangerous advice and they are genuinely concerned about the effects this could have on people’s health, doesn’t enter their thick heads!
‘The complainant is anonymous.’
Anyway, whoever complained had better not walk out alone at night, or so one blogger (edited to add: the blog’s now closed to the public for some reason) would like him to fear. That would be Rita Pal, who presents herself as a heroic NHS whistle-blower, which she may well be, I’ve no idea. I only know that what she writes about the latest complainant makes her sound like a complete nutjob. First she — like Shomon and numerous other commenters — labours under the misapprehension that the complainant is anonymous.
Perhaps the big girls blouse will fight like a real man and stop “hiding behind the skirts of the GMC”. Of course, identification is really easy really, we get the IP, we get the internet company and we get the address. It is about a 48 hour job if I put my mind to it…There will be no problems in outing Dr /Mr Anonymous. After that, we will do what was done to Dr (name redacted). The matter was faxed to all local papers, to every PCT and posted on the internet. In the end, (name redacted) became depressed. I can’t help it if some doctors make vexatious complaints then can’t sustain it.
Then she offers to give advice to anyone who wants to make complaints about — you guessed it — Ben Goldacre to the GMC.
Just to remind Ben — I don’t like him messing with my friends…So far two of my friends have gone down due to the Bad Science Forums. Either Ben controls it or he doesn’t. The choice is his. I though am highly pissed off — and not a lot of people like it when I lose my patience.
Oh get over yourself, you silly moo! (The deliciously ironic title of this piece, by the way, calls the Bad Science forum ‘crackpot farm’.)
Let’s remind ourselves that the complainant only posted on Bad Science after he’d submitted the complaint and after Dr Myhill had commented on it on her own website. The Bad Science forum is just a place where skeptics hang out, a bit like an on-line SitP but without the guest speakers. Instead, everyone who registers, regardless of whether they are good, bad or ugly, can say pretty much what they like. It’s called ‘free speech’. The suggestion that the complaint arises from the Bad Science forums or from anyone other than the complainant doesn’t stand up to a nanosecond’s scrutiny.
Good tip about the IP addresses though, Rita. Obviously, I have the IP addresses of all the lovely people who leave their quackolades on this blog. I’m sure a quick email to their internet service companies will secure their names and addresses for me in a jiffy. Beware when you answer your front door, losers. [/more sarcasm]
It’s time to nail this one: the complainant isn’t anonymous. The complainant’s name and address are known to the GMC, while we can infer from what Dr Myhill says in the letter she sent to supporters on 9th April that she knows his name.
However, on the basis of this unsubstantiated complaint by an anonymous complainant (I am told his name but not who he is), the GMC have decided that “there is a potential risk to public safety”.
In her defence statement Dr Myhill elaborates:
I do understand and respect the complainant’s request for anonymity and have no desire to know his name or whereabouts. However I did wish to know whether he was acting out of personal concerns or if he was acting for a third party. I wanted to know this because in the past other practitioners of nutritional medicine have been harassed by investigative journalists.
On the Bad Science forum, Jonas mentions he’s a junior health professional.So if Jonas is a doctor or a nurse or a physiotherapist or a dietician, or even if he is an investigative journalist representing other interests, it makes what difference, exactly? None. What matters is whether the complaint has any merit, regardless of who filed it. (Edit: according to the hearing transcript Jonas is a UK registered Clinical Scientist.)
Dr Myhill’s supporters do her no favours by banging on about this being an anonymous complaint but, unfortunately, they are taking the lead from her in this as in everything else about the case. Dr Myhill has already made much of the original post Jonas made on the BS forum. She quotes from it on her webpage: ‘Our anonymous complainant has announced himself on the internet’ and again in her defence statement. In case her supporters had missed seeing it, she read it out in her speech to them outside the GMC yesterday. This can be seen on youtube, nearly five minutes in. “And I quote from what he put online verbatim!” she says, angrily, before reading out some of the post and making clear from her tone her contempt for its contents.
Notably, what is missing from each of her accounts of Jonas post, is the actual substance of his complaint, i.e. the links to the pages on her website that contain the (allegedly) harmful recommendations he has complained about. These have always been quite visible in the post and there would have been little point in his posting without them. They are what his complaint is all about, what he is inviting other posters to comment on and they are what the GMC is being asked to look at. Yet they are ignored by Dr Myhill, who appears to think there is some advantage to be gained by quoting the rest of his post ad nauseum and theatrically describing the GMC’s position on the complaint as
Setting my opinion against an anonymous observer and coming down on the side of anonymity.
And perhaps there is, if the intention is to divert attention away from the substance of the complaint and vilify the GMC by implying the complaint they have agreed to investigate is frivolous, unsubstantiated and anonymous.
‘Dr Myhill helps people, harms nobody and no patient has complained.’
Outside the GMC premises in Euston Road yesterday, dozens of Dr Myhill’s supporters gathered, some of them holding placards saying they owed their life to her, all of them angry at the way she is being treated. Many more supporters have posted vivid accounts on the internet of the desperation that drove them to turn to Dr Myhill and of the improvements they’ve made since being treated by her. Behind much of the anger at these complaints lies the fear that someone who is helping people who’ve suffered horribly with CFS may lose her licence and won’t be able to continue helping them or help others who are suffering.
I am not qualified to comment on the treatments Dr Myhill gives to CFS patients or to anyone else. Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that Dr Myhill has stumbled upon a treatment regime that really does help many sufferers. It would indeed be a terrible thing if she were not able to help them anymore. I am already desperately sorry if the restrictions placed on her yesterday mean that ill people will suffer.
I am equally sorry if anyone suffers as a result of misinformation on her website. I know it can be difficult to imagine that someone to whom you feel indebted can be guilty of anything but I’m sure you’re not too blinkered to acknowledge that the fact that she might be doing some things right doesn’t preclude the possibility that she’s doing other things wrong.
Hand in hand with the argument that she helps people, is the one that she’s done nobody any harm and none of the complaints against her comes from patients. I have to wonder if they are being deliberately obtuse when they say this. This is what Jonas says,
The complaint does not focus on matters of opinion that I may not agree with. It clearly identifies specific examples where, according to national guidance and safety limits, patients may be being placed at risk. It does not mention anything about any financial aspects of Dr Myhill’s practice. It does not target her approach to diagnosing/managing specific conditions such as thyroid disease or CFS.
The complaint focuses on what I consider to be specific examples of dangerous practice that are a risk to patient safety.
I can’t see a way of putting it any clearer. If someone can point to specific examples of advice given that contravenes national guidance and safety limits, these having been determined by the weight of scientific evidence available, how can it be wrong to complain about it?
I’ve heard a range of responses to this question, from ‘the complainant is wrong; the website content is scientifically supported’ to ‘the national guidance is wrong and Dr Myhill is right’ to ‘some of the stuff is quackish but it doesn’t post a significant risk to health’.
The vaccination pages
For all I know, there may be some truth in all of these responses. But I also believe there is substance to Jonas’ complaint and I defy anyone to actually examine the pages complained about (if they are still there) and say that there isn’t. I’ve limited my reading of Dr Myhill’s website to a few articles, mainly those on immunisation which, for reasons I won’t go into, is something I feel rather strongly about. What I’ve read is, in my humble opinion, indefensible.
On 18 April jdc wrote a blog post criticising Dr Myhill’s web article entitled, MMR vaccination — should my child have it? The following day the content of that page had been removed and replaced by this notice:
Update April 19th 2010
I have received several emails from authorative sources who tell me my information on vaccinations is out of date. Thank you very much for getting in contact! This page was originally based on a lecture which I attended in good faith!
I am grateful for new information that I will incorporate as soon as reasonably possible!
This would have seemed a very positive and gracious response, were it not for the fact that she directs readers to her main article on vaccinations: Vaccinations — good or bad? (See pdf here.) Someone influenced by the opinions expressed in this article wouldn’t have their child immunised against anything. The fact that she includes a ‘recommended schedule’ for some vaccinations at the end of the article doesn’t mitigate the strongly anti-vax message and (what I believe to be) misinformation throughout the rest of it.
In the speech she wrote for her supporters yesterday, Dr Myhill made this controversial claim.
Lynn Gilderdale who died from ME aged 28 had her ME triggered by a BCG vaccination.
Lynn got the BCG jab at age 14. How does Dr Myhill know that Lynn’s ME was triggered by the BCG vaccination? When she actually delivered the speech, Dr Myhill helpfully departed from the script, just very slightly. (See the youtube vid at 2:50)
Lynn Gilderdale who died from ME aged 28; her mother tells me her ME was triggered by a BCG vaccination.
Spot the difference? How can it be ethical to present the opinion of a grieving mother as if it were an established fact? (Let’s not bother talking about Lynn’s death “from ME” actually being death from an overdose of morphine in an assisted suicide. Her mother was acquitted of her attempted murder.)
Amongst Dr Myhill’s recommendations, by the way, are that babies receive no vaccinations before six months and are kept at home. Is this advice — which is, I’m sure, much appreciated by mothers whose live-in nannies can be persuaded or coerced into staying at home with the baby for six months — an example of the “holistic approach” revered by Mary Shomon and others?
As Dr Myhill evidently sets so much store by anecdote, here’s one from me.
My first baby got his BCG jab in November 1984 at eight weeks of age. This was followed, shortly after, by the DPT — the latter, I would add, accompanied by huge anxiety on my part, thanks to anti-vax scaremongering at the time about the whooping cough vaccine. His sister got the same jabs two and a half years later.
Their father worked long hours leaving me to spend twelve hours of every day with the two of them and no help from anyone else. We lived in a small flat. If, in the interests of protecting their health, I hadn’t been able to take them both out to toddler groups, friends’ homes and suchlike, I’d have ended up killing both of them and myself, probably.
When the MMR was launched after a year in which 16 children in England/Wales had died of measles, I was banging on the door of the clinic to get it for my two. Fortunately they, like every one of their similarly immunised friends, grew into strong, healthy adults who — unlike me — never knew the miseries of feeling ill and lonely and missing weeks of school because of a series of loathesome infectious diseases, which left some children of my generation with permanent disabilities and others dead.
On the basis of my anecdotal experience, I’m tempted to recommend that all children get all the jabs my children had, starting with the BCG at eight weeks, though you may as well stick with what the NHS is saying nowadays.
I don’t intend to spend any time on what else I think may be wrong with Dr Myhill’s site. A lot of it is coming down anyway and there is another thread on BS where people are posting on this very topic, which brings me to a final argument from Dr Myhill’s supporters and from Dr Myers herself:
Why couldn’t the complainant just complain directly to Dr Myhill about the content of the website?
I have some sympathy with this. It would have given her the opportunity to either convince the complainant that all the website content is sound or to change the content so that it is accurate. Jonas, however, points out that:
These complaints date back to at least 2001 and yet she still continues to practise in the same way and offer the same inaccurate information that attracts all of this adverse attention? She could quite easily continue to help the CFS patients, to whom she is quite clearly a benefit, without promoting such misguided and dangerous practices.
This is precisely why I chose to complain to the GMC as I felt that personal communication would simply be futile. Why would she listen to a junior health professional with only a few years experience when she has repeatedly resisted multiple challenges from her senior peers over the course of 10 years? We would probably still be debating the intricacies of thyroid function assessment many years later whilst her dangerous information continued to mislead patients and risk their safety.
This, as an argument, I find altogether more persuasive than any of those presented by her supporters, most of which aren’t arguments at all. The most intelligent post from a CFS sufferer — and one whose calm reasoning contrasts starkly to many that I’ve seen — was posted by a newly registered poster at BS. Here it is in full, with bold added:
I feel a little silly now, although not altogether regretful, to admit that a couple of years ago I took the ATP test on Dr Myhill’s site and then took to ‘prescribed’ supplements including injecting B12 and Mag. Although reading through the ‘inaccuracies in Dr Myhill’s website’ thread has made me feel very naive for doing so. At the time I was so ill, and so desperate to find a/. a diagnostic test and b/. some kind of treatment, that I know in my heart of hearts that I put aside my analytical thinking for the sake of hope.
And that’s the point, when you are ill and looking for information and hope you try and find any authority to give it to you. For me, it did me no harm (apart from financial (which in so small matter actually)), in fact it helped, but that’s not the point — what if I had been a patient with lung cancer believing that medical treatments wouldn’t work and supplements would? Or a mother who now believed that putting my baby on her side (rather than her back) is good protection for cot death?
I think it is such a shame that we (as the ME community) can’t see that the complaint is about the inaccuracies in the website that a Doctor shouldn’t be putting forward, and not an attack on the validity of the illness. The problem is that it is very hard to want to see the flaws in Dr Myhill when she is one of the only doctors out there offering actual treatment for ME/CFS (founded, unfounded, or er..otherwise). We want to believe! We want hope, and that sometimes blinds you to really being unbiased when looking into to these things.
Which is why this forum and others like it are important.
I hope that Dr Myhill is able to continue helping CFS sufferers, that her pioneering work is fruitful and justifies the loyalty her supporters feel for her. As for the possibility that they might stop thinking about themselves long enough to see the truth of the complaint about the website — after reading Dr Myhill’s speculation over why the GMC have imposed such “fierce and inappropriate sanctions“, I won’t be holding my breath.
Edited to add: I’ve just become aware of an old thread on facebook on Dr Myhill that makes for interesting reading.