The Medical Champion
People in Ireland, as elsewhere, are very informed about their ME compared to a decade ago. This has a lot to do with the advance in communications such as Internet websites, emails, media coverage and intelligent deciphering of the vast contradictions in the communicative arena surrounding ME.
ME more than any other condition has shaped patient's attitudes in the doctor's surgery, insofar that they are now more inclined to question the doctor's opinion of their diagnosis and treatment route than was ever the case before.
Doctors unfortunately have not moved on at the same pace. There are many reasons for this, not least the extra burden of patients generally, which brings added stress to the doctors. The timescale involved in tackling new areas of potential interest is just not available and doctors have a hard time coping as it is.
They have had to rely on consultant's views for confirmation of their diagnoses but unfortunately in the case of ME and CFS, consultants have not been able to take the time out to fully investigate this conundrum.
This unfortunately has allowed some physicians and therapists to jump on the ME bandwagon and offer therapies for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, sometimes with the sole motivation of increasing their bank balances but more often than not with the best of intentions, albeit based upon recommendations from publications in turn based upon biased research programmes.
What Ireland needs is a medical champion who will dedicate part of his/her medical career to investigate what is actually going on in the ME world. To understand this, they will need to fully comprehend the political manoeuvrings as well as the reported research results.
This should not be seen as an onerous task, rather an opportunity to be at the forefront of a medical breakthrough which, with the guile and expertise of those working in biomedical research, will, we believe, fuse the gap which exists between diagnostic markers in a research setting and diagnostic markers to be used in a clinical setting.
The UK has seen many champions over the past few decades including Dr Melvin Ramsay and Dr Alan Franklin among others. Only the deceased are named here for fear of embarrassing the living.