By Stephen Ralph DCR(D) Retired.
Permission to Repost
This is my further response to The Times’ website – I sent it to the person
I had an e-mail from - one of the Times website community team thanking me
for my contribution.
I am no longer able to go behind their pay wall to read the response Mr
Aaronovitch posted to me but I am told that such was posted.
I hope they take note….
Hello there Alexander,
Many thanks for your e-mail.
I’m not sure how this happened but my subscription to The Times website
expired some months ago yet when I clicked on the link Mr Aaronovitch posted
to Twitter the link worked and took me to his article and I was able to post
my 2 responses.
I am no longer able to go behind the pay wall so I cannot read the response
from Mr Aaronovitch.
And to be honest I am not sure I want to read it because it now appears that
his article was an organised prelude attack on ME patients to be followed by
the 2 page spread in the Saturday Times where Professor Simon Wessely was
You may be interested to know that I had the opportunity to ask Professor
Wessely a few questions a couple of years ago via an exchange of e-mail.
Professor Wessely knows that I had been subject of a medical misdiagnosis
lasting 8 years and that in the end and after 7 clinical referrals that
covered visits to see rheumatologists, a neurologist and an immunologist, I
was eventually correctly diagnosed as having Behçet’s disease.
Sometimes, Behçet’s disease can be almost invisible to the naked eye because
some patients have few if any mouth ulcers or any other visible signs of the
Behçet’s disease is basically an overactive immune system that causes
inflammation of blood vessels – mainly the small blood vessels.
Cardinal symptoms are profound fatigue, migraines, poly arthralgia or
multiple joint pain just like arthritis.
Other symptoms include breathlessness on exertion, heart problems including
tachycardia, skin problems that resemble acne and gastrointestinal
dysfunction that resembles irritable bowel syndrome.
Professor Simon Wessely is a psychiatrist and he has no specialist skills to
identify cases of Behçet’s disease.
I questioned Professor Wessely as to whether he or his colleagues who
specialise in diagnosing and treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome had ever seen
cases of Behçet’s disease or had ever been a part in medically misdiagnosing
their patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Professor Wessely refused to ...
Professor Wessely refused to answer the question.
But the fact is this – there are serious problems within the NHS directly
because of the activities of Professor Simon Wessely who continues to make
sweeping claims about patients he has never ever met.
Professor Wessely must have (due to the odds) had patients with Behçet’s
disease come to his clinics or the clinics of his like minded colleagues.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been labelled by these people as a functional
somatoform disorder or a functional mental illness – that is a fact.
Once a patient has that label it is incredibly difficult to overturn because
according to the functional somatoform diagnosis, physical symptoms are
attributable to a psychiatric cause.
Physical symptoms, according to Professor Wessely – are treatable by
cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise therapy.
It took me four years and seven clinical referrals before I met a specialist
who had sufficient knowledge to realise that I had Behçet’s disease. It took
12 years before I started receiving treatment for my medical condition that
forced me to terminate my career in diagnostic radiography back at the end
Having been a diagnostic radiographer I know a few things about the
importance of a diagnosis.
I have discovered over the years that if a patient presents with profound
fatigue as a symptom along with muscle and joint pain, migraines and gut
dysfunction – those patients now get diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
because Professor Simon Wessely and his colleagues have managed to persuade
GP’s and other doctors to adopt this diagnosis.
Over the last 20 years, Professor Simon Wessely and his colleagues have also
been responsible for the misdiagnosis of a significant number of patients
who have other medical conditions such as Behçet’s disease.
However, those psychiatrists who invented the beliefs about a group of
symptoms shared by other diseases do not want to discuss the dark and nasty
side of their achievements.
Instead they court the media to put across an image of caring doctors being
somehow under attack by a group of nutters.
All I can say is this – for those 8 years when I was bedbound and housebound
and in incredible amounts of pain with migraines that lasted days – having
to remain in a blacked out room – not even able to tolerate listening to the
All I read from the medical profession was that the goal to my recovery was
CBT and graded exercise. For me that can now be seen as utter rubbish and
may other patients feel this way as well.
As I said in my response to Mr Aaronovitch, I knew and still know of
patients far more ill and disabled than I ever was and all they get from the
media is psychological abuse and attacks from smug psychiatrists who have
never met them – doctors who have never seen their suffering.
Stephen Ralph DCR(D) Retired.
See also: Jan 2011, Spanish study shows that CBT and GET make things WORSE in ME/CFS !!!
See also: Exchange on Twitter between Mrs Simon Wessely and the Health Editor of the Times which shows that the old boy network of ignoring clinical evidence is more important than the lives of thousands of severely disabled people
See also: More psycho crap from the Times, this time from David Aaronovitch who can't be bothered to read the biomedical evidence that ME is a severely disabling infectious, neurological disease
See also: More psychiatric masturbation in The Times
See also: World exclusive: Prof Wessely admits in the BMJ that there were no ME/CFS patients in the ME/CFS PACE trial
See also: Cerebrospinal fluid profiles can differentiate between Lyme disease, ME/CFS and healthy controls