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Contribution to science of Regius Professor Sir Simon Wessely: a thirty year retrospective

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Daisymay, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. Daisymay

    Daisymay Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  2. guest001

    guest001 Guest

    His presence has blighted the lives of so many for so long. Thank goodness we're seeing an end to his self serving skewing of science.
     
    Allele, MeSci, Trish and 13 others like this.
  3. ballard

    ballard Established Member

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    Wild applause for the article about Simon Wessely by Margaret Williams!
     
  4. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Woolie and Invisible Woman like this.
  5. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  6. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    What a self-serving bigoted sac of wind.
     
  7. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    And a number of patients believe that those doctors' opinions are contingent on continued career progression, funding and influence given as a reward by the likes of govt depts and insurance companies.

    Bolding in the quote is mine.
     
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  8. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    ''The description given by a leading gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic remains accurate: ‘The average doctor will see they are neurotic and he will often be disgusted with them’ ”

    “It is only human for doctors to view the public as foolish, uncomprehending, hysterical or malingering …''

    Simon Wessely, you disgust me.
     
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  9. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm often uncomfortable with a series of truncated quotes, and think it's useful to only judge Wessely's words based on the full comments he has made. eg the 'disgusted' comment was not an endorsement of this response.

    @Valentijn posted a thread of quotes from Wessely, along with links to the full papers, here: https://www.s4me.info/index.php?threads/simon-wessely-research-related-quotes.1304/

    Has anyone seen the full text of this reference? I don't think I have, and google didn't bring any clue on how to access it: "In Psychological Disorders in General Medical Settings Ed: N Sartorius et al Pub: Hogrefe & Huber, 1990"
     
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  10. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    OK point taken. It is quoted out of context. I searched. The reference is a book. Out of idle curiosity I looked on Amazon and found a second hand copy for £2. In a moment of madness I ordered it! Watch this space...
     
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  11. Binkie4

    Binkie4 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Many years ago in the 60s, I read a book called " the power elite" by C Wright Mills. The title describes what seems to be going on here.

    It is still available second hand on Amazon so I think I'll have to buy it and look for the parallels.

    Not sure that it covers how to challenge " the power elite".

    EDIT: spelling of Wright
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
  12. Valentijn

    Valentijn Not a moderator

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    I really wish she would stop using those quotes, and giving Wessely an easy way to make her and the rest of the ME community look like unhinged idiots who make shit up and can't be trusted. And yes - he has used those misquotes and others for exactly that purpose.

    Wessely says enough awful things which can be fully pinned on him that there's absolutely no need to misattribute anything to him.
     
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  13. Allele

    Allele Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    *shudder* I felt like taking a long shower after reading those quotes.
     
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  14. Allele

    Allele Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Have you written to her? It might be really good to send her quotes she can use that can't backfire.
     
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  15. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    In which case do I need to reset my understanding of Margaret Williams, because I've been assuming her writings could be trusted. Genuine question.

    Edit: In fact it might therefore be good to set these quotes into their correct context within S4ME, not just the quotes themselves.
     
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  16. Daisymay

    Daisymay Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Further Quotations from “Chronic Fatigue and Myalgia Syndromes” by Simon Wessely

    In: Psychological Disorders in General Medical Settings edited by N Sartorius et al published by Hogrefe & Huber 1990:82-97

    Margaret Williams 31st December 2017

    So that people may judge for themselves whether or not certain quotations from the above chapter have been taken out of context in previous articles, it may be helpful to focus on one much-discussed quotation.

    The title of the book (“Psychological Disorders in General Medical Settings”) is explicit: the disorders being addressed are deemed to be psychological, but ME/CFS (or “CFS/ME”) is not a psychological disorder, yet Wessely specifically includes ME.

    Under the section “Non-acceptance of Psychiatric Disorders”, Wessely is clear:

    “In 1908 Ballet pointed out that neurasthenic patients ‘spoke abundantly about their headaches and their muscular weakness, but deliberately concealed their emotionalism … symptoms it would offend their self-esteem to confess.’ There is some evidence that patients actually deny symptoms (Fullerton & Munsat, 1966), but more often doctors fail to inquire about them (Alvarez, 1935: Harvard, 1985). The often intense dislike and distrust of psychiatry is well attested in the now voluminous self help literature. In the professional literature, CFS patients have been described as resentful and hostile toward psychiatrists (lmboden et al., 1959) or even toward all doctors (Jenkins, 1989). Stewart (in press) concludes that these patients view psychological difficulties as weaknesses, and such diagnoses lead to anger and resentment. Clinically, this may result in a marked dissociation between the perception of physical and psychological symptoms in fatigued patients (Kruesi et al., 1989). Psychiatrically ill patients presenting with somatic symptoms are less depressed, but more hostile to mental illness than those presenting with psychological symptoms (Goldberg & Bridges, 1988).

    “Just as many CFS patients are hostile toward psychiatry, of equal importance is the hostility of many doctors toward those perceived as being emotionally disturbed. The fraught interaction between CFS patients and doctors is also tellingly detailed in the self-help literature in Britain, the United States and Australia. The absence of abnormal tests leads to the erroneous conclusion that nothing is wrong, or alternatively to the understandable but rnisguided tendency to overinterpret minor abnormalities or variants. The description given by a leading gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic remains accurate: ‘The average doctor will see they are neurotic, and he will often be disgusted with them. Often he sends them away with as little ceremony as possible' (Alvarez, 1935). Thus, attitudes toward psychiatric illness affect both patient and doctor with equally adverse effects on prognosis”.

    The above comprises the full text of the subsection of the chapter; the dots are present in the original text.

    Wessely is not saying that nothing is wrong or that CFS (ME) patients are not ill (he thinks they have a mental, not a physical disorder). Previous articles relating to this quotation have never suggested that Wessely himself was disgusted with them; they have simply pointed out that he is stating as fact that “The description given by a leading gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic remains accurate (emphasis added): ‘The average doctor will see they are neurotic and he will often be disgusted with them’ ”.

    Although he does not himself endorse this position, at no point does Wessely explicitly distance himself from this sentiment.

    His ambiguities allow the reader to form the view that this is the status quo, so it would be a courageous doctor who would challenge it, hence patients may have been harmed: certainly many doctors have treated patients with ME/CFS with contempt and disgust.

    No-one can deny that such attitudes continue to pervade the medical profession, with the consequence that doctors’ dismissive behaviour towards ME/CFS patients still pertains.
     
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  17. Valentijn

    Valentijn Not a moderator

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    People report what other people have said all the time - it happens hundreds of times per day on news channels and in newspapers across the world. But even if the media source does not explicitly say "Adolf Hitler said this, but we disagree with it" in the process of reporting what he said, you still cannot attribute the quote and its intent to the media source.

    Uncertainty about whether Wessely endorses a statement he attributed to others is not an excuse to attribute the quote to Wessely. But it's useful to know that Williams is aware her Wessely quotes are very much out of context - it's just unfortunate that she doesn't seem to care that she's undermining herself and general ME advocacy by association, since her other work is usually very good.
     
  18. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    I think it was my fault that I took that quote about disgust out of context and assumed Wessely was endorsing it. I think it is clear from Margaret Williams piece that she is quoting Wessely quoting someone else. She does not claim that Wessely agrees with this quote.
     
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  19. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It is true SW does not distance himself from the statement. However, it does have to be asked what fact SW is to be considered as stating? That the average doctors' disgust of ME/CFS patients is an accurate impression of such patients? Or that the average doctor can accurately be described as being disgusted with PwME?
     
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  20. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Not sure I agree with that Trish. That particular quote-of-a-quote was one of a number of bullet points in Margaret Williams' document, and the bullet list was preceded with ...
    So I think Margaret Williams was strongly implying SW endorsed the quoted quote. Don't misunderstand me, I cannot stand SW's role in all this, but the search for truth is part of what we strive for here. I'm a bit disappointed in Margaret Williams here, and maybe the other bulleted quotes now, because it feels like the sort of partial truths I detest so much from the BPS side.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
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