Reprisal

There has been a complaint made about one Stuart Jones to the Health Professions Council alleging that he “Made disparaging and/or misleading comments on the website forum, ‘Bad Science’ about Dr XY*.” I understand that Stuart Jones post on the Bad Science forums as ‘Jonas’. I do not recall him making any “disparaging or misleading” comments about any doctor. However, he did raise some concerns with the GMC about some of the content of one Dr. Myhill’s website, and discussed this complaint on Bad Science.

That thread became extremely contentious when a number of people receiving treatment from Dr. Myhill for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) joined and accused Bad Science in general and Jonas in particular of ‘attacking’ and ‘mocking’ those with CFS. They oftem made wery contentious statements, then editted their posts when called on them and denied making them.

Eventually, Dr. Myhill voluntarily changed some of the information on her website and was instructed to change others. Sanctions against her were lifted. Shortly afterwards on Bad Science a poster named ‘dollar’ made this interesting comment:

Took even less time for the critics and naysers to comment on the announcement. But relax and be patient as there is lots more to come then the entertainment will really start!!!

On that basis one could be forgiven for thinking that some of the more militant CFS activists have decided to take revenge on Stuart Jones. Lo and behold, over on Phoenix Rising I found a thread which suggested that certain members are rather pleased with this development and do see it as part of a campaign. ‘Mark’ wrote:

Much of BS may be an innocent pawn in the war on ME sufferers, but as long as some of its members continue to gleefully proclaim their intent to continue their persecution of Dr Myhill, and their sheeple continue the chorus of laughter as if the whole thing were a delightful game, they will remain an enemy to be confronted in any way possible.

Which gained the enthusiastic support of ‘Sean':

Agree. It is way past time that these irresponsible and incompetent scumbags got properly and publicly called to account, including Ben Goldacre himself, for allowing, and even encouraging such behaviour on his site.

The behaviour that so upsets ‘Mark’ and ‘Sean’ is actually discussing the evidence. Note the classing of disagreement with persecution, and referring to those who disagree with them as sheeple and an enemy. When one member dissented from this view by saying:

Personally, I feel a bit sorry for Jonas about all this. He seemed pretty oblivious to all of the politics around CFS, and (from what I remember) was mainly concerned about inaccurate vaccine advice on Myhill’s website. It’s not like it is his fault that CFS has been treated so poorly in the UK, or that the regulation of inaccurate psychiatric claims is so lacking. Did he even take part in the lame defence of how CFS was treated on Bad Science?

which seems pretty uncontentious to me but she earned this comment from RustyJ:

Well you got a bite Esther, although for the life of me I don’t know why your post has been allowed on this thread as by even the loosest definition it should be seen as baiting…

Sums up the attitude to debate on Phoenix Rising. Incidently, should these posters indulge in the militant CFS approach referred to above; amending posts and following the amendment with a denial that the unamended post was ever made, I should point out that I have cached a copy of the thread linked to and will change the linkage to the cached copy should they amend the quoted posts.

One final thing; when the complaint against Dr Myhill was still ongoing, many of Stuart Jones’ critics made much of the fact that he had originally made the complaint ‘anonymously’ (ie his name not revealed to Dr Myhill). Subsequent events have rather demonstrated the wisdom of that move. I notice, however, that they are not now demanding the name of the current complainant. Double standards as well as vindictiveness. Lovely people.

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8 Responses to “Reprisal”

  1. mike ward Says:

    Good post. I found myself shaking my head at the reaction to Esther’s post. Even if someone were to disagree with it I am flabbergasted that anyone could think of it as “baiting”.

    I also note a comment on there that Ben Goldacre is entirely convinced that CFS is due to the patient being neurotic when (to my knowledge) he has never expressed an opinion on CFS. I am happy to be corrected if I am wrong.

  2. Skepticat Says:

    Thanks for this. I’ll be watching with interest.

    They really know how to win friends and influence people don’t they?

    I blogged about the original complaint here:

    http://www.skepticat.org/2010/04/dr-myhill/

  3. jdc325 Says:

    Last year, I wrote about some of Sarah Myhill’s incorrect assertions regarding vaccination. Since then, Dr Myhill has substantially amended her website, removing many of the factually incorrect statements. However, some still remain. Despite my contacting Dr Myhill and alerting her to these incorrect statements, Dr Myhill decided not to roll her sleeves up and correct her website. In light of this, I complained to the GMC.

  4. MikeS Says:

    Vindictive, malicious, evil bastards.

    There is no case to answer.
    1. This is not about Jones’ fitness to practice (cf Myhill)
    2. No remarks were disparaging or misleading. They were accurate, and in fact they were pretty undercooked.

    According to the HPC someone’s fitness to practice can be called into question thusly:

    When will my fitness to practise be found to be
    impaired?
    We consider every case individually. However, your fitness to
    practise is likely to be found to be impaired if the evidence shows
    that you:
    – were dishonest, committed fraud or abused someone’s trust;
    – exploited a vulnerable person;
    – failed to respect service users’ rights to make choices about their
    own care;
    – have health problems which you have not dealt with, and which
    may affect the safety of service users;
    – hid mistakes or tried to block our investigation;
    – had an improper relationship with a service user;
    – carried out reckless or deliberately harmful acts;
    – seriously or persistently failed to meet standards;
    – were involved in sexual misconduct or indecency (including any
    involvement in child pornography);
    – have a substance abuse or misuse problem;
    – have been violent or displayed threatening behaviour; or
    – carried out other, equally serious, activities which affect public
    confidence in your profession.

    Now I cannot see how any of these are applicable.
    However, I can see that several of these are directly applicable to Dr Myhill.

    It could be argued that because she knowingly placed incorrect information on her website she was “dishonest”.
    It arguably could be said that her management of her patients was an abuse of trust and exploitation of vulnerable persons (by advising unapproved and unconventional treatments lacking in medical evidence),
    It arguably could be said that she carried out reckless acts (eg IV magnesium infusions in a setting without resuscitation facilities in case of anaphylaxis),
    And has carried out activities affecting public confidence in the medical profession (eg look at her rallies, where she disgraced herself by saying the GMC doctors suffered from neurosyphilis and other abusive comments).

    Pity the HPC do not cover doctors, or they would find another complaint in their post.

  5. In Vitro Infidelium Says:

    >They really know how to win friends and influence people don’t they?<

    The behaviour is pathological, there's a driving intent to achieve isolation from any reference base that might in anyway question the demanded internal certanties of the 'true believers'. The publicity over intimidation of researchers back in the summer did wake up some individuals and Cort at PR acknowledge the the failures in a reply to blog I wrote there: http://forums.phoenixrising.me/entry.php?1148-When-PR-means-Public-Relations-not-a-mythical-rebirth-–-part-two.#comments

    However until forum operators (these days its down to PR and the private FF forum) actually get a handle on the issue, then M.E/CFS internet presence is firmly in thrall to a crazed minority. I actually suspect that at least some of the anti science posters are antivax/AoA types writing under a flag of convenience – though of course there's no reason a M.E/CFS sufferer shouldn't hold a woo perspective.

  6. frozenwarnings Says:

    Compared to this lot PR are a bunch of hippies:

    http://www.mecfsforums.com/index.php/topic,10531.0.html

    There are some seriously disturbing people there. I would cache this thread too. Some of them have history of threatening scientists.

  7. A Fourth Year of Steam « Letting Off Steam Says:

    […] releasing Stuart Jones’ identity to Sarah Myhill and the CFS/ME activists which resulted in a retaliatory complaint about him to the Health Professions Council. The outcome seemed more about suppressing boat-rocking […]

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