31st July, 2011 Indigo Jo:
In Wessely’s interview on Radio 4, he made the bizarre claim that patients would prefer to be told they had an incurable viral illness than a psychological one:
Yes, certainly, you can feel almost the depths of the passion sometimes when generally people seem to prefer to be diagnosed with a, like a retrovirus, a potentially incurable maybe even fatal illness rather than an illness which, for which we do have some reasonable, but not perfect treatments. I think really a test to the strength of feeling here, I would rather have an incurable virus than a potentially curable disorder, if the cure or treatment involved any acknowledgement that it was social or psychological!
Of course, patients already know they have a physical illness. A well person would not be in their right mind to prefer an incurable retroviral illness to a psychological one that could be relieved through therapy, but these are not well people. That is the difference. There has been much research that demonstrates the existence of various pathologies in ME patients, and Byron Hyde noted in an interview with a Swedish ME organisation that he does not merely diagnose someone with ME but finds and diagnoses these pathologies. Many of them, such as connective tissue disorders, hypothalamic and pituitary dysfunction, osteoporosis and dorsal root ganglionitis, cannot possibly be psychological, and neither can the abnormal brain scans people with ME give. The viral origins of ME (particularly enterovirus as already mentioned) are already well-acknowledged, as are the serious viral infections ME sufferers are prone to, so there is no question of someone choosing to have a viral infection; they already have one.