Sep 15, 2011

Death threats against Wessely? Why am I not surprised?

Living in Australia I managed to miss that this whole media campaign was going on in the UK.  Apparently there were a number of articles in reputable papers along the lines of this:

Chronic fatigue syndrome researchers face death threats

Wessely now feels safer in Iraq than he does in Britain!

I'd be lying if I said that my first reaction to reading this was not a gleeful laugh.  The man is frankly one of the more evil people alive today, and I hope that history eventually vilifies him for the suffering he's caused.

That said, I certainly don't wish the man dead.  I also could never condone the way some patients have responded to the XMRV research trials.  Scaring off the legit researchers does no one any favours.  Scientists unfamiliar with the dodgy research and mistreatment of patients which has given rise to such extreme emotions are understandably a bit shocked by the hate mail they receive when their findings don't back the preferred theory.

I think it's important to point out though, that no actual violence has been reported in these articles.  It's all just talk.  Inappropriately aggressive talk, but talk just the same.

I also think the people writing the articles need to do a little more background research.  Wessely comes off in this article as the innocent victim.  Nothing is said of the controversial nature of his research methods and selection criteria, nor of the claims by medical professionals and former patients (and families of deceased patients) that his treatments are unethical and even dangerous.

Here's a very well written and researched article by Professor Malcolm Hooper in response to the Guardian article.  Hooper is a Pharmacist, Medical Advisor and Advocate for CFS patients.

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