Discussion in 'Action Alerts and Advocacy' started by ISAS, Jun 23, 2012.
Wishing her all the best.
Frying of turds gives off such a warming glow ... Best of luck Dr Myhill.
Best of luck Dr Myhill.
It was completely appalling some of the stuff which had been said. People have gone about saying so much bullshit all over the place and got away with it.. its about time things do start to change.
His lawyers reply http://www.senseaboutscience.org/data/files/Libel/Letter_to_Dilwyns_22_June_2012.pdf
"It is inherently implausable that any such damage suffered by your client can be attributed to the Postings for the following reasons: "
Well that's crap that they are trying to make it look like hardly no one in the ME/CFS communities would of read the posts about her at Bad Science ..... as after all they WERE much talked about in various ME/CFS sites online with even links provided at the ME/CFS forums which took one directly to the Bad Science postings by Jonas.
So anyone at these forums could easily have seen the statements made and MANY did see the statements (it upset a lot of people in the community)... even those at PR new to the whole ME/CFS field and who hadnt heard of her before, could of easily read what was being said about her at bad science and who wouldnt have known what to make of what was being said.
No one needed to search for the posts outside of the ME/CFS communities to find Jonas posts so his lawyer is completely wrong in saying hardly anyone would of known what was being said about her, due to the not easy accessability of the Bad Forum site.. and hence she couldnt have been affected.
The thread in which what was being said at Bad Science about her.. was a quite popular one. If those posts survived the site move.. they could be used for proof that MANY people of the ME/CFS communities did see the statements being made about her and had direct access to Jonas site this site and from other ME/CFS sites and that there was wide spread knowledge of what Jonas said.
So that statement of not many with ME/CFS would of seen Jonas comments is completely wrong. It would of had to have been many hundreds of ME/CFS patients seeing it wasnt just this site talking about it all.
I see both the GMC and Britain's libel laws as a bit of a shameful joke, but always got the impression that 'Jonas' ended up getting unfairly blamed for all of the more stupid stuff on Bad Science.
I never followed the Myhill stuff closely enough to know exactly what was said or whether it was true or false, but generally, I think it's much better to challenge misleading claims through debate than through the courts, especially if it's just over forum posts. When a powerful organisation or an individual with real power and authority is making inaccurate claims, then the courts can help provide a more even playing field (although British judges still seem to have a tendency to be deferential to authority), but suing someone over forum posts? Seems a bit odd.
There's so much bullshit and quackery around CFS that I've never really considered the possibility of taking someone to court over any of it. It's just the norm. I wonder what would happen if someone tried to sue Esther Crawley for that paper she wrote for NHS commissioners that claimed PACE showed a 30-40% recovery rate for CBT/GET? If you follow the citations, it's clearly bullshit, but no-one really seems to care because it's only CFS, and everyone knows that doesn't matter. It would be fun to see her try and justify the claim under cross-examination. If I had the money, it would be worth doing just for that!
Esther.. He tried to purposely cause her trouble, he was purposely involved (to the point he sent something to the GMC to try to cause her trouble).. he was gleeful about the trouble he was causing all over the place for her.. He wanted her to loose her medical licence, he wanted to upset all her patients (and he did do just that) etc etc
his comments I personally dont believe were a joke.. thou he's making out they were taken out of context. Many of us read them at the time at Bad Science and dont believe he was joking as he now is saying he was. There was a lot of purposeful mean and nasty things said.. lots and lots at that site... It went WELL BEYOND opinions just being expressed at the site... it was malicious. He did purposely try to damage her reputation as a doctor and saw that as fun.
(His attacks were so bad on ME/CFS people, Dr Myhill etc .. that I couldnt even keep going back to read them as they made me feel ill. He made it so that those of us who knew Dr Myhill has a good rep and is no "quack", had to come to her defence with others who hadnt heard of her before then ).
Im hoping that the old PR posts on it all when it was happening at the time could be found (if not there is bound to be discussion etc on this when it was happening at other sites).
Is there any update on this?
Generally, I don't think that there's necessarily anything wrong with purposely trying to get someone in trouble with the GMC, being gleeful about it, or wanting a doctor to lose their licence. There are lots of quack doctors, and if I had more faith in the GMC, I might think it was worth complaining about some of them and trying to have them face meaningful disciplinary action.
I can't really remember what Jonas complained about with Myhill. Was there some inaccurate information on her website?
I think it would be good to see all GP's place the beliefs that guide the way they treat their patients on a website, as it would make it a lot easier to spot the problems! It did seem like a big problem the GMC had with Myhill was her being so public and defiant, which rather misses the point, and reflects what I see as a problem with the way medicine operates in the UK. I don't know. Medical practice, regulation and standards seem such a mess that I really don't know what's socially acceptable.
I think that all patients should be spoken to honestly and clearly, and that all doctors have a responsibility to restrict the claims they make to patients to those which are supported by truly compelling evidence. Admittedly, if those standards were applied, I'm not sure how many doctors in the UK would be able to keep hold of their licences.
In publishing views on a website, a doctor is probably acting as an author, not a doctor. That's what one of the GMC's own Expert Witnesses apparently said. [ref: IOP Transcripts of Myhill v GMC - can't remember where and I am not going to look! If you want to verify it is on the GMC website somewhere!]. Therefore websites may not be within the regulatory powers of the GMC.
Something which seems to have passed most people by in all this!
Compelling evidence? Not what the law says though. The law says Bolam which is something very different. You may be right but it is very unlikely, I think, that we will ever get there.
I have been informed that we are unwise to be discussing this here yet as the letters are probably sub-judice.
re author vs doctor - I hadn't thought of that. The medical establishment doesn't seem keen to adopt a biopsychosocial approach to 'duty of care'!
re Bolam - I hate Bolam. Quackery is fine, so long as it's promoted by those in power! It's not the truth or evidence that matters, but how those with medical authority decide they want to treat the patients they are taking money to help.
I really disagree. Think what a harmful affect it would have upon free discussion and open debate if forum owners were liable for what different people posted on their site. I'm sure that Cort disagrees with lots of the claims made on here, but he (hopefully) leaves us to thrash it out ourselves. In discussions around XMRV, plenty of people have been very critical of Mikovits, and plenty of people have been very supportive of her and condemning of her critics - Cort could find himself being sued by both sides!
Goldacre distanced himself, I believe, at about the same time as the uberthread, so called, was lost. I seriously am glad that I am not an 'owner' of any forums because this is where the liability will go eventually I believe.
Just to clarify that in the case of Phoenix Rising, since we are now a non-profit, any legal responsibility as 'owner' of the forums (and the website) now lies with the organisation and the board of directors, not with Cort as an individual.
We take our responsibility in relation to defamatory comment and personal attacks very seriously, we have clear written rules on those matters, and the moderators investigate and, where appropriate, remove such content when it is reported to us. We do not need the fear of legal sanction to prompt us to do this, we do it because we believe it is the right thing to do, and because we want to create and maintain a respectful environment for our members. It is very difficult to catch everything on a large forum, but I believe that forum owners have a responsibility to make their best efforts, and a responsibility for the nature and tone of the forums they manage, whether that be a legal responsibility or simply a moral one.
I do think that the government should take legal action over experts who they get to write reports for them and who make serious mistakes. Basically I think that reporting 30-40% recovery makes report that Dr Crawley wrote for the NHS commisioners not fit for purpose and hence she didn't do the job she was tasked to do. This could lead to serious errors in policy formation.
This is different from an academic debate around the merits of different treatments and methodologies. I agree with Esther that such debate shouldn't be cause for legal action. But perhaps there is a point where it goes beyond debate as it starts to harm individuals?
Wa-hey... we can say whatever we like!! Tom Cruise hates black people!
Darn it. Spoil sports.
I'm not sure that I do think academic debate shouldn't be cause for legal action - and academic papers often do affect how people are treated. The researchers responsible for the scientific racism of the 20th century largely escaped any accountability for the harm that they had done, and I think that's a bad thing. This is a really complicated topic though. I'd like to see more serious disciplinary action taken against those researchers who produce bad and misleading work, both out of concern for justice and personal responsibility, and because this might discourage researchers from distorting their work in order to favour their own interests.
This is a big topic that's difficult to write concisely about (I'm also feeling knackered), so might leave this OT there!
I agree with Esther12's post #5 and #15. The whole Myhill-Jones situation has escalated into absurdity, but more generally, legal action vs academic debate is a complex issue. How many PACE Trial critics would like to be sued for claiming the trial was "fraudulent"? How many Wessely critics would like to be sued for calling him a quack or equivalent? Where are the lines drawn between legitimate scientific critique vs sincere speculations about motives and character vs personal attacks and outright libelous defamation (keep in mind that these lines became extremely blurry for news media coverage of the PACE Trial criticism). How can misleading claims in the scientific literature be better regulated and screened for spin (eg the Crawley/Knoop/Bleijenberg claim that PACE "recovered" 30%+ of patients). I wonder how Goudsmit & Stouten's case against Lloyd and van der Meer (2012) is panning out, where the latter two accused the authors of all 8 PACE-related letters to the editor (Lancet) of "unscientific and sometimes personal attacks" even though they contained no such thing?
Did Myhill have questionable or unfounded information on her website? Perhaps, I'm not a fan and I don't remember all the details, but that seems common on CFS websites, even from supposed authorities like the CDC and Kings' College London. Did Jones really need to complain directly to the GMC while posting what appears to be vitriolic rants about Myhills' character? That's when it all started going downhill. Was the so-called uberthread of 10,000 posts really mostly about Myhill? I imagine that would be unpleasant to be the subject of such a thread, but Jones cannot be directly held accountable for the actions of other posters who also chose to become part of the giant circle-jerk.
IIRC the GMC's response to Myhill increased into arguable excess and was later reversed back to "conditions", while Jones himself also received a 2 year caution from another council. I have doubts Myhill's law suit will succeed if it depends on Jonas' comment about doing it all on purpose to overwhelm Myhill and cause anxiety for her patients. I don't visit the Bad Science forums much but enough to know that this statement was intended sarcasm, in line with the prevailing attitude there that Myhill's supporters (and ME/CFS community in general) misinterpret the motivations of their detractors as causing patients' stress for amusement value. That said, won't Jones will have to prove it was sarcasm? I don't doubt that some self-professed skeptics do take glee in bringing down supposed quacks and stirring up their supporters, but that is different that making trouble for amusement purposes only, although I still agree with taniaaust1 that Jones' comments and actions went beyond just stating an opinion on a website.
She had what she recommends on her website.. based on her many years of treating patients and her experience along with what many other ME/CFS experts also recommended. Ideas that patients could go and take to their own doctors.
eg things like B12 injections she recommended for ME/CFS patients.
Werent the conditions imposed just while the hearing was still taking place?
I think the Myhill issue went beyond B12 etc and ME/CFS, possibly into other subjects eg specific details about vaccinations, although she was not anti-vaccination? I don't remember if the conditions were imposed while the hearing was still taking place, but I got the impression that the GMC are disorganized.
I don't think we need to worry about calling people quacks. I got this from quackwatch:
If that's the definition, I'd feel entirely comfortable having to defend in court my claims that Esther Crawley, and a number of other people involved in the promotion of the results from PACE, are quacks. Getting the chance to do so would be pretty enjoyable!
LOL - it's always rich when Quackwatch is quoted. The website owner is one of the bigger over-promoters of the idea that conventional medicine good; anything not brought to you by oligopoly drug companies and the medical industrial complex is dangerous (to the bottom line) and must be regulated.
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