The medical establishment as a whole seems to have a poor record of facing the truth. In Royal Deaths and Diseases (Discovery History 23/4/2011) historian Dr Hilary Marland explained that 'The Lancet even denied that chloroform had been administered to Queen Victoria at childbirth. They were so outraged by this idea, they utterly denied it had ever happened.'
The key words here are 'outraged' and 'denied'. How dare such an unacceptable FACT get in the way of their worldview? Clearly, it couldn't be a fact at all. Or if it were a fact, it couldn't be admitted.
We in the ME field see it all the time: how dare this child not get better with graded exercise/graded activity/graded school attendance? That can't be a fact. So this lack of recovery? It has to be someone's fault. Which is to say, someone else's fault. Social services may be called in, with parents feeling accused from the start.
Again: how dare this child need a wheelchair? That can't be a fact. I am reminded of the youngster who was warned that her legs might have to be cut off, in a bizarre attempt to frighten her into walking.
And again: How dare this child need to learn at home? That can't be allowed to be fact. We must take a 'positive' view and insist on school attendance. Except - what is positive about suffering pain and failure at school when success could be achieved at home? And regularly IS achieved at home, by children using virtual education while their body works to restore itself. It's even in the latest statutory guide for Local Authorities.
In short: how dare ME really be a physically and cognitively disabling disease? Even the euphemism 'chronic fatigue syndrome' uses the c word. But no. With kneejerk referrals to mental health services, the medical establishment appears to believe that this is a case of mind over matter: if you don't mind, it won't matter.
Well, it does matter. And we do mind.
What is the common denominator in all these repressive, punitive approaches that have the power to wreck children's lives? Denial. Fortunately, I have spoken and worked with kind, sensible doctors who don't unthinkingly swallow the fashionable, establishment dogma. But its influence is widespread.
Cruel comments and cruel attitudes that breach a child's rights should be brought to the attention of the General Medical Council, and in my view, also to the Department of Health. They need to be made aware.