Dr David Tuller: Experts Send More Tough Letters to Dr Godlee


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Trial By Error: Experts Send More Tough Letters to Dr Godlee
By David Tuller, DrPH

The trickle of letters from top experts to Dr Fiona Godlee about BMJ’s decision to republish Professor Esther Crawley’s Lightning Process study continues.The letters excoriate BMJ’s actions in this matter and urge Dr Godlee to retract the dung-heap otherwise known as “Clinical and cost-effectiveness of the Lightning Process in addition to specialist medical care for paediatric chronic fatigue syndrome: randomised controlled trial.”

I have previously posted six letters, here and here. Below are five more. They were e-mailed directly to Dr Godlee and cc’d to many of the 55 scientists, clinicians and other experts who signed Virology Blog’s recent open letter about the matter. The writers are: Dr Steve Olsen of Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California region; Professor Alison Bested of Nova Southeastern University in Florida; Professor Rebecca Goldin of George Mason University in Virginia; Professor Ronald Tompkins of Harvard Medical School; and Professor Brian Hughes of National University of Ireland, Galway.

The Lightning Process study was published online in September, 2017, by Archives of Disease in Childhood, a BMJ journal. After being alerted to the issue by some early questions about the study timeline raised on the Science For ME forum, I documented in December, 2017, that Professor Crawley and her colleagues recruited more than half the participants before trial registration, swapped outcome measures after collecting this early data, and failed to disclose these salient details in the published paper.

Instead of retracting the paper, Archives of Disease in Childhood recently republished the original findings, along with a massive correction/clarification and an editor’s note articulating laughable excuses for not retracting the paper. I obviously wasn’t the only one disturbed by BMJ’s blatant dereliction of editorial responsibility. Top experts were eager to sign the open letter to Dr Godlee. Now many of them are personally appealing to her to do the right thing, often in very strong language.

Will Dr Godlee listen?

Dear Dr. Godlee,
I also signed the letter of August 27th regarding the inappropriate addition to the medical literature of BMJ’s Lightning Process Study.

I have been a Family Physician for 30 years, and am a physician executive of the largest integrated medical group in the US, and board certified in medical informatics.

Do you honestly believe the Lightning Process has been validated as being an effective treatment for a severe multi system disease? If not then it should be retracted to prevent harm................................
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