by Dr. David S Bell, MD, FAAP*
April 27, 2011:
This ME/CFS patient case history is excerpted from Dr. Bell’s book Faces of CFS - Case Histories of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, published in August, 2000 (downloadable free at www.davidsbell.com). Each case illustrates a different aspect of the illness that he has studied since the ‘Lyndonville Outbreak’ of 1985-1987. And the detective work continues. On May 20, Dr. Bell will present a 25-year research follow-up on Lyndonville patients at the Invest in ME International Conference in London.
A chronic disease robs children of many things, but it should never destroy the life-affirming refuge children find in their home, as it did with a boy named Arnie… because everything about Arnie was typical of CFS - a disease his doctor did not believe existed.
A week later, the psychiatrist submitted his report to the court. At the end of a lengthy discussion, he unveiled his diagnosis: Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy.
The judge ordered that Arnie be removed from his mother’s custody and placed in a foster home.
He would remain incarcerated and drugged until he was successfully rehabilitated, which chiefly meant renouncing his absurd belief that he was sick.