“Several years ago I was lecturing in British Columbia. Dr [Simon] Wessely was speaking and he gave a thoroughly enjoyable lecture on M.E. and CFS. He had the hundreds of staff physicians laughing themselves silly over the invented griefs of the M.E. and CFS patients who according to Dr Wessely had no physical illness what so ever but a lot of misguided imagination. I was appalled at his sheer effectiveness, the amazing control he had over the minds of the staid physicians….His message was very clear and very simple. If I can paraphrase him: “M.E. and CFS are non-existent illnesses with no pathology what-so-ever. There is no reason why they all cannot return to work tomorrow.

The next morning I left by car with my crew and arrived in Kelowna British Columbia that afternoon. We were staying at a patient’s house who had severe M.E. with dysautanomia and was for all purposes bed ridden or house bound most of the day. That morning she had received a phone call from her insurance company in Toronto. (Toronto is approximately 2742 miles from Vancouver). The insurance call was as follows and again I paraphrase:
“Physicians at a University of British Columbia University have demonstrated that there is no pathological or physiological basis for M.E. or CFS. Your disability benefits have been stopped as of this month. You will have to pay back the funds we have sent you previously. We will contact you shortly with the exact amount you owe us”.

That night I spoke to several patients or their spouses came up to me and told me they had received the same message. They were in understandable fear.

What is important about this story is that at that meeting it was only Dr Wessely who was speaking out against M.E. and CFS and how … were the insurance companies in Toronto and elsewhere able to obtain this information and get back to the patients within a 24 hour period if Simon Wessely was not working for the insurance industry… I understand that it was also the insurance industry who paid for Dr Wessely’s trip to Vancouver.”


Byron Hyde
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