Dr David Tuller: The medical establishment gaslights doctors, insisting long Covid is “psychological”


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The medical establishment gaslights doctors, insisting long Covid is “psychological”
Covid long-hauler physicians reject their peers’ party line that their symptoms are psychosomatic

By Dr David Tuller.

Glasgow palliative care physician Shaun Peter Qureshi came down with Covid-19 early in the pandemic. Like many patients, he experienced profound fatigue, episodes of dizziness, and problems with memory and concentration for many months after his acute illness. Standard medical tests were all negative.
His doctor refused to order more tests, citing concerns about “over-investigating” his condition, he said. “She doesn’t think there was anything really wrong,” said Qureshi, who is 35 and remains severely disabled. Other doctors suggested he just needed exercise to get back into shape after having been sick.

Asad Khan, a pulmonologist in Manchester, England, has not been able to work more than a year out from his bout of Covid. Like Qureshi, he has found that other physicians have pooh-poohed his exhaustion and other symptoms. “I’ve been told, ‘It’s nothing serious,’” said Khan, who is 46. “I’ve also been told, ‘Do you think you’re stressed? Do you think you’re over-perceiving your symptoms?’’’

Given persistent shortages in protective gear, medical professionals in the U.K., U.S. and elsewhere have been hard-hit by Covid — and by long Covid, the disabling condition that can follow. Many have been shocked that their own clinicians and colleagues have dismissed or expressed disbelief about their continuing symptoms.
They are also angry that members of their profession are publicly hyping and researching the notion that long Covid is mainly generated by pandemic-related emotional and psychological distress.

Last April, in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece called “The Dubious Origins of Long Covid,” Jeremy Devine, a psychiatry resident at McMaster University in Toronto, called it “largely an invention of vocal patient activist groups” — a reference to advocates like the members of Body Politic, an online support group that drew early public attention to the issue with a self-published survey.
News and social media accounts of long Covid were enabling “patient denial of mental illness,” Devine wrote, and a decision by the U.S. National Institutes of Health to appropriate more than $1 billion to pursue the issue was “a victory for pseudoscience.” (Devine did not respond to requests for comment sent to his Twitter account and the McMaster University psychology department).
In the Netherlands, University of Amsterdam investigators are testing whether a course of psychotherapy designed to counter “fears and worries about COVID-19,” “dysfunctional beliefs about fatigue,” “problems with processing the acute phase of COVID-19,” and “perceived low social support” can prevent the severe fatigue reported in long Covid. The intervention is based on the presumption that these factors, among others, are perpetuating the symptoms, despite a shortage of evidence supporting the notion.

Research in this vein is “sewage” and “bonkers,” said Khan, the Manchester pulmonologist, who has at times been bed-bound for weeks, with extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and touch. He is currently in Germany undergoing apheresis, a treatment designed to clear the blood of what are called micro-clots, which some experts believe are implicated in long Covid.

“It is clear to me that medicine has fallen into a pattern where the jump to ‘this is psychological’ is instant,” he said. “Something is very wrong with the way we are dealing with illnesses where there isn’t a clear biomarker or clear abnormality on examination.” Khan is a member of a private Facebook group of more than 1,400 doctors who either have long Covid themselves or want to learn more about it.


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I saw this gem today from France which attributed a lack of antibodies to Covid in a long hauler to meaning that their symptoms were psychological in nature. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2787741

Given we have science showing that some people don't develop antibodies and that they disappear pretty quickly within a few months after infection its a bit of a stretch to say half of your long haul patients are faking it on that one measure, but they did it anyway.

This jump to pyschology continues to annoy me, we know what bloody caused long covid, the perpetrator is still around doing the same thing to ever more people, its not like ME/CFS where maybe we don't know the cause. Its rampaged through the medical profession who are mighty good judges of their own condition and we have quite a lot of diagnostics showing oddities. Its frustrating to watch this same process play out again.