ME/CFS is een organische
Professor Malcolm Hooper
27 Februari 2014
Gezien de decennium-lange richting van de psychiatrische lobby om ME/CFS opnieuw
te classificeren en te eisen als geestelijke (gedrags)storing , mogelijks
als een lichaamsgebonden, is het bemoedigend te noteren dat de WGO op
12 Februari 2014 in het openbaar bevestigde dat:
„Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS zijn niet inbegrepen als psychische of gedragsstoornis
in de ICD 10 code en er is ook geen voorstel dat dit zou gebeuren in
de ICD -11 code en dat is aanvaard door Engels parlement ondersecretaris
gezondheid (Jane Ellison MP) en goedgekeurd, op 25 Februari 2014.
De „Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie ontwikkelt actueel de 11°
versie van de Internationaal Classificatie van Ziekten, die het hoopt te publiceren
in 2017. Er hebben geen besprekingen plaatsgevonden tussen het departement
en de WGO over de reclassering van ME/CFS, maar de WGO heeft openbaar
verklaard dat er geen voorstel is ME/CFS in icd-11“ opnieuw te classificeren.
Met al de huidige consternatie over het V.S. instituut IOM ,waar
leken inzake ME/CFS proberen een nieuwe definitie op te stellen over
ME/CVS is er gelijktijdig de bezorgdheid over de huidige revisie van
de Amerikaanse Psychiatrische Vereniging van DSM (Kenmerkend en Statistisch Handboek
van GeestelijkeStoornissen ) te compileren Het is nuttig te herinneren , niet alleen
aan de WGO positie maar ook eraan te herinneren wat tweeëntwintig jaar geleden het
Britse Hoge Hof van Justitie over de status van ME/CFS/PVFS besliste.
Er zijn vele rechtszaken die in het UK geweest eisen voor ME/CFS. Vele eisers zijn
succesvol geweest maar zij werden gedwongen te ondertekenen die dat zij
nooit de gerechtelijke stappen of het resultaat openbaar mogen bespreken.
Zie hieronder het volledige artikel
ME/CFS is an organic disorder
Professor Malcolm Hooper
27th February 2014
Given the decades-long determination of the psychiatric lobby to re-classify and
claim ME/CFS as a mental (behavioural) disorder,possibly as a Bodily Distress Disorder,
it is encouraging to note
that on 12th February 2014 the WHO publicly confirmed that:
“Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS are not included as Mental &Behavioural Disorders in ICD-10,
there is no proposal to doso for ICD-11”and that this has been accepted by the
Under-Secretary of State for Health (Jane Ellison MP) who, on 25th February 2014
stated on the record:
“The World Health Organisation is currently developing the 11th version
of the International Classification of Diseases, which it aims to publish
in 2017. No discussions have taken place between the Department and
the WHO on the reclassification of ME/CFS, but the WHO has publicly stated
that there is no proposal to reclassify ME/CFS in ICD-11”.
With all the current furore about the US Institute of Medicine’s handing out
to mostly non-experts in ME/CFS the task of compiling a brand new case definition
and the equal concern about the American Psychiatric Association’s current revision
of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), it may be helpful
to be aware not only of the WHO’s position but also to recall that twenty two years
ago the UK High Court of Justice ruled on the status of ME/CFS/PVFS.
There have been many court cases in the UK involving claims for ME/CFS; many claimants
have been successful but have been compelled to sign very tight gagging orders,
meaning that they must never discuss the legal action or reveal the outcome.
To do so would be in contempt of Court, a situation in which no sane person would
ever contemplate placing themselves.
Over the years, Dr (now Professor Sir) Simon Wessely has been involved in numerous
such cases, sometimes appointed to act for the plaintiff and sometimes acting for
His view about the nature of ME/CFS is well-known: according to his published work
he firmly believes ME does not exist and that CFS is a behavioural disorder.
Not all cases, however, were kept out of the media.
In November/December 1992 the case of Ronald Page v Simon Smith was a landmark case
and was widely reported in the press.
Mr Page had previously suffered from ME and alleged that the road traffic accident
in which he was involved (for which he was not liable) had caused a severe and permanent
relapse of the
The case was heard before Mr Justice Otton (High Court of Justice; Queen’s Bench
Division; No: 92-NJ-135), who remarked that: “This is one of the most interesting
cases I have ever had the privilege of trying”. The Approved Judgment (Transcript
Writers: Beverly F. Nunnery & Co) was clear: the Judge stated that the condition
did not always receive the sympathy and understanding it deserves,this being manifested
as scepticism by some doctors due to the reluctance of the medical profession to
recognise the disorder and to accept it as a medical condition.
The Judge noted the failure of the public in general to appreciate that it is a
genuine (physical) illness and he noted the tendency, even the temptation, to associate
the symptoms with sloth,indolence, malingering and hysteria. He said: “Even in this
case one doctor saw fit to make a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia which I am
satisfied was totallyerroneous and Mr Page is entitled to my saying so”. normal">
The Judge posed eight questions, the first being:
“Is there a condition, disease or illness called ME?”,
the second being:
“What are the principal or typical symptoms or characteristics of this condition”
and the third being:
“What causes it?”.
The remaining questions pertained to the individual circumstances of the case, specifically,
did the RTA materially contribute to the plaintiff’s post-accident condition?
Appearing for the plaintiff was Dr William Weir, then a consultant physician at
The Royal Free Hospital, London, who, it was subsequently noted, was well-regarded
by the Courts; his
evidence was that there is compelling evidence pointing towards the presence of
a virus in ME/CFS/PVFS and that the immune system is found to be in a state of chronic
activation, suggesting that some agent is provoking that activity.
Also appearing for the plaintiff was Dr Simon Wessely, then senior lecturer in psychological
medicine at King’s College Hospital Medical School and the Institute of Psychiatry
consultant psychiatrist at the King’s College and Maudsley Hospitals; it was recorded
in the Judgment that he had not examined the plaintiff (which was in keeping with
his non-examination of the patient in other legal cases).
The Judge noted in particular Dr Wessely’s assertion that:
“the only facts that can be substantiated (aboutME/CFS/PVFS) are, first, that
CFS is not due to neuromuscular disease…. CFS is associated with a high rate of
psychiatric disorder over and above that due to the psychological consequences of
physical disability”. Mr Justice Otton further noted that Dr Wessely excludes "neurological
or virological causes” nd that Dr Wessely stated: “the discouraging material from
the ME Association mayhave contributed to (the plaintiff’s) relapse”,also noting
that Dr Wessely said in his report that the most difficult part of the plaintiff’s
case was in showing that the accident had contributed to his relapse.
The third medical expert appearing for the plaintiff was Dr (later Professor)Leslie
Findley, then a consultant neurologist at the Regional Centre for Neurology and
Neurosurgery at Oldchurch Hospital Romford; his evidence was that: “There is no
doubt that [CFS]… exists and is a genuine and common condition”. The Judgment noted
Dr Findley’s opinion that:
“Physical, psychological and infective stresses of all types can result in deterioration”and
that:“traumatic stress is now well recognised as a cause of relapse”.
The experts called on behalf of the defendant included Dr Adrianne Reveley,then
consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital and whom Dr Wessely confirmed in
evidence that he knew quite well, who stated (erroneously) in her evidence that:“nowhere
in any of the descriptions of CFS is trauma referred to as a precipitant” and that
the balance of probability was that trauma has nothing to do with ME and that: “the
ME literature was a vehicle for (the plaintiff’s)condition”.
The next witness for the defendant was Dr David Kendall,honorary consultant neurologist
at St George’s and St Helier Hospitals.
In evidence he said:
“I must say that first of all I am a total disbeliever in this syndrome… there are
the devotees of this diagnosis who support it with a fervor which is little short
of religious… My view is that this condition does not exist as a clinical entity
other than in the minds of the sufferers and it follows from my own argument that
if this is correct trauma can neither initiate nor aggravate the condition…
My own view about this matter is that there is no clinical,pathological or epidemiological
reason to suppose that this is in any way due to viral disease… (and) to me the
symptoms soclosely resemble those of non-organic illness that my viewfrom the early
days of this disorder has been that it is emotionally rather than physically determined”.
In his Judgment, Mr Justice Otton noted that in Dr Kendall’s opinion, the
plaintiff’s condition was:
“entirely psychiatric in origin… He did not believe in ME”.
The third witness for the defendant was Dr McKeran, consultant neurologist at the
Maudsley, St George’s and St Helier Hospitals.
He was asked to comment on Dr Wessely’s report and said that the specificity of
symptoms and their significance to the etiology and pathogenesis remain unclear:
“The evidence is not sufficient to draw a firm conclusion of organic origin, but
he would not rule out organic factors”.
In coming to his conclusion as to which parts of the medical evidence he preferred,
the Judge noted that he was faced with an impressive body of medical opinion on
behalf of the plaintiff and the defendant and that it was “irreconcilable”.
In his Judgment, Mr Justice Otton said in answer to his first question (“Is there
a condition, disease or illness called ME?”):
“I do not share Dr Kendall’s scepticism on this disease. He has not persuaded me
that the condition does not exist as a clinical entity other than in the minds of
sufferers…. I accept
Dr Findley’s opinion as a neurologist:
‘There is no doubt that [CFS] (synonymous with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) exists
and is a genuine and commoncondition’ ”.
“Question 2: what are the principal or typical symptoms orcharacteristics?….
I accept Dr Weir’s finding from his work in this field that ‘acharacteristic feature
is an extreme variability of theirseverity together with a tendency to relapse if
the patientover-exerts himself even on days when he feels marginallybetter’ ”.
“Question 3: what causes it?
On the evidence before me and the present state of medical knowledge as opposed
to theory and speculation, I am unable to answer this question with total certainty…
I was impressed
by Dr Weir’s research conclusions… I am prepared to find on the balance of probabilities
that the chronic activation of the immune system is due to an agent provoking this
activity probably by an as yet unidentified virus.
I also accept his conclusion that the condition can be triggered by a viral infection
or emotional stress or the trauma of an accident. I accept without reservation that
he had had experience of other patients who have been diagnosed as suffering from
CFS as a result of the trauma of an accident”. In this regard also I accept
Dr Findley’s evidence which is based on similar clinical experience”.
“I accept the majority view of the experts that physical,psychological and infective
stresses of all types can result indeterioration in the condition and impair recovery….
Once it is established that CFS exists and that a relapse orrecrudescence can be
triggered by the trauma of anaccident… it becomes a foreseeable consequence”.
The plaintiff duly won his case and was awarded £162,153.00 in compensation.
However, the defendant appealed and the award (some of which had been given to the
plaintiff) had to be handed back because the appeal was successful (30th March 1994:
Court of Appeal Civil Division before Lord Justice Ralph Gibson, Lord Justice Farquharson
and Lord Justice Hoffmann: OBENF 93/0098/C; Transcript Writers: John Larkin Verbatim
4AllER 522 CA).
The issue was not whether or not ME/CFS exists as a medical (ie.physical, not mental)
disorder nor about its classic symptomatology: the challenge was that the road traffic
accident could not have caused the plaintiff’s ME to relapse and therefore the defendant
was not liable to pay compensation.
The case then went to the House of Lords, where the Judgment was handed down on
11th May 1995, the case having been heard before Lord Keith of Kinkel (who found
against Mr Page); Lord Ackner who found for Mr Page); Lord Jauncy
of Tullichettle (who found against Mr Page); Lord Justice Browne-Wilkinson
(who found for Mr Page) and Lord Lloyd of Berwick (who found for Mr
Page), so it was 3:2 in favour of Mr Page (1995:2AllER 736; reported in Personal
& Medical Injuries Law Letter, December 1995:68-70).
In that Judgment, there was repeated reference to ME/CFS as a physical
disorder (although on 12th May 1995 Frances Gibb, The Times’ legal correspondent,
referred to it as a mental disorder). Their Lordships, however, sent it back
to the Court of Appeal on a legal technicality.
Finally on 12th March 1996 came the Judgment of The Master of The Rolls, Sir Thomas
(later Lord) Bingham (whose own daughter-in-law was severely affected by ME), together
Justice Morrit and Lord Justice Auld (Court of Appeal Civil Division on Appeal from
the High Court of Justice: QBENF 93/0098/C), which upheld the original Judgment
of Mr Justice Otton in favour of Mr Page after a nine year legal battle.
The case was reported in the All England Law Reports on 10th July
1996: ( 3AllER:272-280; Transcript Writers: John Larkin Verbatim Reporters).
In the Judgment, The Master of The Rolls said about Mr Justice Otton’s original
“I discern no error in the judge’s approach…. I have no doubt but that the judge
was fully entitled to reach the conclusions he did on the evidence before him….
In my judgment, his findings on this matter were both careful and correct…. I amof
the opinion that the judge’s conclusion on this issue is
unassailable. Despite the contrary opinion reached by Ralph Gibson LJ when
the issue was last before the Court of Appeal,I have for my part no hesitation in
upholding the decision ofthe judge. I would dismiss the defendant’s appeal”.
Lord Justice Morrit and Lord Justice Auld both agreed.
It is thus enshrined in UK law that
ME/CFS is a physical,not psychiatric, disorder, although the mechanism by which
a relapse may occur following trauma is via “nervous Curiously, it proved to be
extremely difficult to obtain all the transcripts. It was variously said that they
had been inadvertently lost by the Transcript writers; that they had not been approved
by the Court; and that they no longer existed, none of which was true. Now why should
Case law is there to be quoted and relied upon.