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More dangerous nonsense from the Guardian's Dr Crippen

Discussion in 'Action Alerts and Advocacy' started by Jenny, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. Jenny

    Jenny Senior Member

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    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/mar/02/dr-crippen-bogus-whiplash-industry#start-of-comments

    In Whiplash and Other Useful Illnesses, Andrew Malleson, a Canadian psychiatrist, shows how an occult conspiracy between doctors, poor medical science and vulnerable patients has generated a bogus "whiplash" industry. Family doctors in the UK usually find that patients who have no objective signs of physical injury, but still present with persistent symptoms that they relate to "whiplash", often have more subtle and possibly psychological problems. They may even be on the slipperly slope to "fibromyalgia" whatever that is. There is any amount of bad medical science upon which both doctors and patients rely.

    Malleson argues it is the doctors who are to blame. When we should be saying to people, "Well, yes, I am sure you have been a bit shaken up by the accident," our computers encourage us to enter "whiplash" on the patient's summary. We need to stop doing that. We need to reserve the diagnosis "whiplash injury" for patients who have grade 4 and grade 5 problems.

    Above all, we need to protect vulnerable people from alternative quacktitioners who make a living out of conditions such as "chronic whiplash" and "fibromyalgia", and will keep rubbing a patient until his wallet is empty.

    We need to post comments.

    Jenny
     
  2. justinreilly

    justinreilly Senior Member

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  3. justinreilly

    justinreilly Senior Member

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    My comment to the Guardian on Dr. Crippen:

    Obviously this guy/woman is just acting like a jerk to sick and injured people to get a rise out of us. I have ME/CFIDS which he has ridiculed. This would be just another juvenile display on the internet, not worthy of another thought, but this guy is an NHS doctor so obviously this victimizing of patients is unacceptable. This is surreal that I even have to tell you this. Get it together.
     
  4. Min

    Min Guest

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    Thank you, I have commented on the Guardian site but will not 'take the bait' and comment on Dr Crippen's blog as he then enjoys jeering at such comments.

    I made a complaint to the Guardian's editor about this column about 3 weeks ago, in particular complaining that the column breaks the paper's own code of practice, but have not had the courtesy of a reply.

    The Guardian do not publish letters to the editor about sent to them about the column.

    Psychaitrist Ben Goldacre, Wessely's colleague, works for the paper.
     
  5. Jenny

    Jenny Senior Member

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    Thanks justin.

    This piece is also in today's G2 (section of the Guardian newspaper).

    Jenny
     
  6. Jenny

    Jenny Senior Member

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    Is Ben Goldacre saying the same kinds of things Min? I like his columns and haven't seen anything untoward.

    Nothing wrong with being a psychiatrist and he probably can't help being a colleague of Wessely.

    Jenny
     
  7. Min

    Min Guest

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    I'm glad the blog has been removed and the Guardian column ceased. It would have been nice if AfME and the ME Association had made a formal complaint in the same way that the Fibromyalgia Association UK did.

    The Press Complaints Commission have found no beach of their code of practice by the Guardian. It seems it's perfectly OK by them to repeatedly ridicule and present false information about a group of sick people in a medical article as long as no individuals are named.


    " The Commission received one complaint about three articles written by “Dr Crippen”, and one complaint about the third article, headlined “Dr Crippen: the ME debate”. The complainants were concerned that the articles discriminated against people affected by ME, and that they contained several factual inaccuracies. One complainant expressed concern that the first article, “Dr Crippen: Doctors must stop playing along with this whiplash charade”, falsely implied that “fibromyalgia” did not exist. She was also concerned that the second article, “Dr Crippen: Legalising assisted suicide is fraught with dilemmas”, incorrectly asserted that that ME was a psychiatric illness. Both complainants considered that the columnist’s contention that “some ME patients are mentally ill” was inaccurate, and one felt that the columnist incorrectly suggested that a patient could not suffer from both “painful muscles” and “inflammation of the lining of brain tissue”.

    Firstly, the Commission made clear that the Code of Practice does not prevent columnists from expressing their own views – however controversial or robust – provided that they are clearly distinguished from fact. In this instance, the Commission was satisfied that the column was clearly presented as a personal opinion article. Indeed, the inclusion of the name of the columnist within the headline of the column served to attribute the views expressed in the article to the individual, even though the name “Dr Crippen” was a pseudonym. Furthermore, in the third article, the columnist had clearly distinguished his own views about ME as a matter of conjecture by saying “some ME patients are mentally ill, I have no doubt”. In the view of the Commission, readers generally would have recognised that the opinions expressed about fibromyalgia and ME in the articles were the personal views of the columnist, and that other views, such as those belonging to the complainants, existed on the matter. Consequently, the Commission did not find a breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) on these grounds.



    Similarly, the Code permits newspapers to express the views of individuals, provided that they are clearly presented as comment or conjecture. In the second article, “Dr Crippen: Legalising assisted suicide is fraught with dilemmas”, the columnist clearly states that “many doctors” only recognised ME as an “inappropriately named psychiatric illness”. The Commission considered that the article had adequately presented this view as a matter of conjecture, which was clearly ascribed to “many doctors”, and it was satisfied that readers would generally be aware that the opinion was not a statement of fact. There was no breach of the Code.



    In regard to complainants’ concern that the articles, and subsequent comments, were discriminatory against people suffering from ME, the Commission emphasised that, while Clause 12 (Discrimination) prevents newspapers from making prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s mental or physical illness, it does not apply to groups of people. In this instance, the complainants considered that the article was discriminatory towards people with ME in general. Given that the articles had not made pejorative or prejudicial reference to a specific individual with the illness, the Commission could not find a breach of Clause 12 of the Code."
     
  8. justinreilly

    justinreilly Senior Member

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    That commission is pretty brazen in its efforts to wrongly shield Dr. Crippen and the Guardian. Obviously, something presented as a medical fact in a newspaper by a doctor is a matter of 'fact' and not 'opinion' (for the purposes of this type of inquiry).

    But I am very glad Dr. Crippen's column and blog were taken down. Thank you to everyone here who wrote in and to Hooper and Williams!!

    :victory: :hug:
     

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