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Lessons from ME/CFS: Finding Meaning in the Suffering
If you're aware of my previous articles here at Phoenix Rising then it's pretty clear that I don't generally spend my time musing upon the philosophy of the disease. I find it better to spend my time reading research and trying my best to break it down to its core elements and write...
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Valerie Smith on 'ME/CFS is an organic disease'

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Countrygirl, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    http://www.meactionuk.org.uk/ME_Judgments.htm




  2. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    Added wit Sophia Mirza's death ceritifcate, Simon Wessely, DWP officials and others should be in the dock on charges of fraud, false imprisonment, Crimes against Humanity and Manslaughter.
    Countrygirl likes this.
  3. Firestormm

    Firestormm Senior Member

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    Original release from Professor Hooper was posted and discussed here on the forums: http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...nglish-law-by-prof-hooper-27th-feb-2014.28616
    Simon, justy, barbc56 and 3 others like this.
  4. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    I have been saying that the legal case is useful advocacy but hardly definitive. Its a legal matter, involving one case. If twenty other cases said the opposite, would they be right? Would it then be fair to say its twenty to one, it must be the first case is wrong? Legal cases are about points of law, not science. Its good advocacy to a point, but it doesn't validate ME as a disease. Other research does however. So I substantially agree with Valerie, though I also think that Hooper did us a great service by writing about the case findings.

    Hooper has also documented most of that other research, at least up to 2009 anyway. Yet its the research in the recent years that is beginning to put the rivets in, one by one, to an iron case for ME as an organic disease. Its almost there. Of course "almost" is relative. Its still taking too long for everyone who is suffering.
  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Here is one key point that I think also needs to be emphasized:

    peggy-sue and SOC like this.
  6. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Thanks Fire and (mainly!) Valerie.

    I only had a quick look at the original article, but had some similar concerns about the way this judgement was being presented. Good of Valerie to type them up for us.
    Simon, peggy-sue and Firestormm like this.
  7. Bob

    Bob

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    I haven't studied all the details closely. Am I right in thinking that the 'nervous shock' and the 'recognisable psychiatric illness', that were discussed in the legal case, were separate to the ME, and that they were considered to have led to (or caused) a relapse in the ME. But that the ME itself was not described in terms of 'nervous shock' or a 'recognisable psychiatric illness', but was regularly described as a physical/medical disorder?
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  8. JayS

    JayS

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    Valerie also says--I'm not excerpting it because people should go to the blog--that it doesn't seem like anybody's been working on the Wikipedia article.

    However, on the Talk page, someone did exactly that a couple of weeks ago. They put a lot of work in, too, only to be smacked down by an editor who has been very careful to maintain the tone of the page, and for a very long time. Then "Lassesen" who I assume is Ken Lassesen, who I think is Ecoclimber? Well, "Lassesen" tried also, in the past few days. Again smacked down. There are about 20 pages in the Talk archives that people should read before they spend time on that article. There is a hierarchy that is not going to change merely because we deal with a disease for which the published literature exists in a paradigm that is, and I'll be kind about this, distorted. Lassesen has some spunk, but some of the editors on the CFS page are known to have crossed paths with a certain well-known "CFS Researcher." And even if they brought no bias to the debate, it is not difficult to forge an end product that supports a particular narrative; it's all about not considering research papers to be reliable sources, in favor of secondary reviews. This is not a platform on which we can have a fair hearing. After a brief, somewhat hostile skirmish, I believe the page has been locked.
  9. dasiymay

    dasiymay Senior Member

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    http://www.meactionuk.org.uk/Note-from-Professor-Malcolm-Hooper-100314.htm

    Note from Professor Malcolm Hooper re: comments on his article about Page v Smith
    Professor Hooper notes Miss Eliot Smith’s comments on her blog about his article “ME/CFS is an organic disorder”
    http://valerieeliotsmith.wordpress....-facts-and-why-we-need-to-broaden-the-debate/ and would make the following observations:

    1. Before her blog post, Miss Eliot Smith emailed the website owner requesting that he withdraw the article but she originally provided no reasons to substantiate her claim that its central premise is incorrect; such an unpersuasive approach would seem to be in contrast to her call for the need to develop “our ability to disagree with each other more constructively"

    2. The original judgment of Mr Justice Otton commented on the nature/status of ME and unequivocally found that there is a condition, disease or illness called ME and referred to it as a medical disorder

    3. The finding that there is a condition, disease or illness called ME and that it is a medical disorder does not apply only to the Page v Smith case

    4. The judgment of Mr Justice Otton was ratified by no less a person than The Master of the Rolls, fully supported by Lord Justice Morrit and Lord Justice Auld. They found that the judgment of Mr Justice Otton was “unassailable”. That judgment was unanimously in favour of Mr Page and can be cited by future litigants

    5. The Page v Smith case is part of the common law of England and Wales

    6. Miss Eliot Smith asserts that the comments of their Lordships were not legally binding, nor were they medically significant; however she fails to cite any English case law that has superseded the judgment of The Master of The Rolls

    7. An article in a law journal expressing a contrary opinion to their Lordships’ does not serve to undermine the status of the Page v Smith judgment, so it is surprising that a (self-admittedly non-practising) barrister attempts to give it equal weight to a judicial determination

    8. Furthermore, Miss Eliot Smith says she has not read all the judgments before forming her opinion, whereas Professor Hooper’s article was based on full copies of all the approved judgments in Page v Smith

    Until it has been tested in court, what Miss Eliot Smith states in a blog post remains her opinion only.
    SilverbladeTE likes this.
  10. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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  11. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    Duplicate post
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  12. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    If the following quote weren't as long, I'd use it as my signature. Congratulatios to Valerie on a well written article!

    :)
  13. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    SOC, Kina and Bob like this.
  14. Firestormm

    Firestormm Senior Member

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    This is about the ruling on and interpretation of a legal claim made for Personal Injury and not about the nature or cause of ME/CFS. Discussions pertaining to that made in court have no bearing on the medical world.

    And yet Hooper's team made much of this and less of the actual court case and this reply from Valerie equates with an independent review of the law by a British lawyer who also happens to have ME.

    Personally I find it extremely useful to have an expert view such as this one.

    Following Hooper's team's quick response to Valerie's blog, there are some further comments perhaps of interest on Valerie's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/valerie.eliotsmith/posts/10151919989516883?stream_ref=10

    The way I have read Valerie's review of the evidence and case notes is that in order for the original claim to have succeeded the claimant had to demonstrate the accident resulted in nervous shock - the legal term under which he was making a claim in the policy - and that this produced or equated with a recognised psychiatric illness.

    But the decision to award damages doesn't mean ME/CFS is psychiatric - that is not what was being pursued - and any discussion about the nature or cause of ME/CFS that happened outside of this decision is irrelevant to that decision.

    So they might have discussed the nature of ME/CFS. They might have argued it was of 'organic origin' (whatever that means) - but this chap won his claim because it was argued the accident resulted in nervous shock a psychiatric illness that he had presented primarily as being a relapse in his ME/CFS.

    It could similarly have been argued in another case that this nervous shock resulted in a relapse of his Multiple Sclerosis.

    I am more unclear about foreseeability - not sure what that means: perhaps Valeria can explain more tomorrow.

    The conversations surrounding what does and what doesn't constitute ME/CFS are not central to the decision and are not therefore a part of 'English case law' in this instance which was what was being argued by Hooper and his team as a central tenet to this case:

    If I were in a similar position and wanted to pursue a claim of nervous shock in respect of a Personal Injury Insurance - assuming such an option was open to me in a policy - presumably I would also have to demonstrate this nervous shock was a psychiatric illness - and if I was claiming a relapse of ME/CFS was the results of said accident - then doesn't it imply I was suffering from a psychiatric illness - but only to the extent that the shock was the trigger?

    Car accident. Claim made of nervous shock resulting in relapse of ME/CFS. In order for claim to be successfully upheld I must demonstrate nervous equated to psychiatric illness - for the purposes of this claim. Not that ME/CFS is of an organic nature.

    The decision here - and the legal argument - doesn't have a bearing on whether or not ME/CFS is caused by or indeed is a so-called 'organic illness'. The claimant was seeking a determination: can I claim damages under the clause for 'nervous shock' based on what happened to me as a result of this accident?

    When Hooper (or whomsoever wrote that initial release) claimed the peripheral discussion was 'english case law' they were wrong. This case does not it seems substantiate the case for ME/CFS being of an organic nature at all.

    Personally, I am grateful to Valerie for taking the time to do this and to reply with such sensitivity. Hopefully, she can let me know where I have erred in my likely dubious understanding. I would never have made a lawyer :)
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  15. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Legal determinations do not have scientific merit. Its useful politically, and useful in general advocacy, and good to know about, but its not the same as a scientific conclusion. I see this as one of a large number of political arguments that we can and should use .... politicians and bureaucrats value legal argument. I also see it as a springboard for developing arguments about ethical violations by doctors in the UK.
  16. Bob

    Bob

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    I haven't studied the entire case but, from what I've read, it seems that the 'nervous shock' was eventually determined to be a psychiatric illness for the sake of the insurance claim, but that the nervous shock (i.e. the psychiatric illness) was considered separate from the ME. The nervous shock was determined to have caused an exacerbation of the ME, or to have 'triggered' the relapse. But the ME itself was not considered to be either a nervous disorder or a psychiatric illness.

    That's my current interpretation, but I may be wrong.
  17. Firestormm

    Firestormm Senior Member

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    Yeah more or less I think. But the essential point for the discussion is that whatever ME is or is not, was not relevant to the court verdict and neither did it become 'enshrined in English law' which was the point being made by Hooper and his team.
    Valerie Eliot Smith likes this.
  18. Bob

    Bob

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    The nature of ME did have relevance to the case and the verdict. For example, the judge established that ME exists (i.e. it is a real and 'genuine' illness) and he accepted that, once established, it is provoked by over-exertion, and that it can be exacerbated by the shock of a traffic accident.

    But I don't understand any of the legal discussions/arguments.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
    Valentijn likes this.
  19. Firestormm

    Firestormm Senior Member

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    No. Not to the verdict on ruling if nervous shock resulted in (essentially) the relapse of ME/CFS and if this resulting 'injury' could be constituted as a psychiatric illness. That was what the award of damages was made on - not whether ME is organic or not. I mean this subsequent discussion was nice to read - but not relevant to the case.

    Based on my understanding - which may change when the sun rises and I have had some sleep :)

    Edit:

    The reason I wanted these threads kept separate was because Valerie is addressing the point in law - whereas Hooper has tried to wrap the entire proceedings in law.

    What I mean is - the actual point of law refers to the central tenet of this case (accident = claim for nervous shock = law says that in order to win based on this claim you must prove nervous shock was a recognised psychiatric illness), whereas Hooper says that the 'peripheral' discussion is what is the law e.g. the discussion that did surround (essentially) the nature and cause of ME i.e. it's 'organic' basis.

    But this latter point though relevant to the proceedings was not what determined the verdict and did not result in the claim 'ME is organic' being enshrined in English law just because it featured in court documents and was talked about by the judge.

    The claimant won because the nervous shock was deemed to to have resulted in a recognized psychiatric illness.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
    Valerie Eliot Smith likes this.
  20. Bob

    Bob

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    @Firestormm, I think we're probably agreeing, but we're explaining it from different angles :confused:

    Edit. Ah, actually I've made the assumption that the ME itself was part of the settlement. I.e. damages were awarded partly on the basis that the ME was exacerbated. Was that not the case?
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014

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