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    Re: hi Pat

    Posted by Mary on 3/28/03


    Okay, so, like I was saying:

    My big problem is with the overly broad and inappropriate use of the
    mcs diagnosis.

    I want to be clear here. I think it is incorrect to dismiss mcs
    people as mentally ill, simply because the nature of their illness
    is not understood. As you've noted, some big time medical
    associations basically agree with that concept.

    I do think some portion of 'mcs' people are mentally ill, and that
    really complicates things because they may not rational. People who
    are not rational don't always make good decisions. Don't expect
    treatment for mcs (whatever that might include)to be useful in
    making mentally ill people well. But, you know, I don't think we
    disagree about this.

    To perhaps restate, or maybe just clarify my thoughts, I think
    many 'mcs' people are truly ill, but that their illness, whatever it
    may be, is not recognized, or well understood. I think the mcs label
    is used like 'none of the above', or 'other', on some form.
    Sometimes a proper diagnosis is simply 'beats me'.

    So now we get to what really burns me. But let's establish a context
    first: Please look at this site. It is a 'law board' that seems to
    exist mostly for plaintiff attorneys to communicate and troll for
    prospective cases, and for the aggrieved to find attorneys. All of
    that is fine, but it is not a medical board, or a toxicology board,
    and it certainly doesn't offer itself as a peer reviewed medical
    journal, or even a peer reviewed legal journal. So, this place is
    about having discussions about mcs in a legal context. That also
    means, I believe, that it is about money, not about getting people

    In our society illness caused by someone else is potentially
    actionable and compensable. Or said a different way, if you made me
    sick, you may have to pay me compensation. Fair enough. So as one
    might imagine a diagnosis can have implications well beyond
    obtaining proper treatment for an ill person. Because of that
    reality, it is necessary to have some degree of confidence in the
    reliability of the diagnosis. MCS is challenged mostly, I believe,
    not because people may be ill in some manner and need treatment, but
    rather because so much money is involved. Those paying it out want
    to have some confidence that the diagnosis is proper and reflective
    of present thinking. While scientific thought on mcs may well be
    evolving (as scientific thought tends to do), at this present time
    the majority opinion does not recognize it as a proper diagnosis of
    illness. It is my impression that a significant reason for this is
    the seemingly 'all inclusive' approach to the diagnosis (Is there
    any symptom not attributable to mcs?). A contributing factor is the
    use of the term, and an advocacy of the concept, by many, many
    people who operate outside of mainstream thinking. (Sometimes way,
    way outside) Now I realize that some brillian ideas have come from
    outside of the mainstream. A reality is that unconventional thinking
    comes with a burden if said thinker seeks to convince others as to
    the merit of their thoughts. The burden might be 'scientific
    disagreement' or it might be skepticism, or outright hostile
    behavior (like some folks, I am told, display).

    And now to my 'exploitation' comments. Pat, you seem to consider
    your thoughts and positions, so I will be surprised if you suggest
    that some people who believe they have mcs are not subject to
    exploitation. Go to google and type multiple chemical sensitivity.
    Yes sir, we've got your gels, your herbs, your crystals, your
    ionizers, your you-insert-crap-here, all with the amazing ability to
    fix you right up. Do we agree on this? I might even suggest that
    some of our legal colleagues right here might be interested in a
    little exploitation. Gee, that same google search uncovers a good
    number of them too. Do you agree that a plaintiff's claim of mcs is
    likely to be more valuable than, oh, I don't know, maybe the flu?

    Lastly let's talk about the fakers. A claim of mcs seems to be
    attractive. I can go after my employer, building owner, neighbor,
    product seller, etc, etc, etc, with this and get some money. The
    symptoms cover seemingly everything, everyone has had some exposure
    to chemicals, presto! Now all I've got to do is convince a jury (I
    have to remember to cough in court), or better yet, just settle the
    case, so I don't have to pay for those expensive experts. Can't
    blame legal counsel (hey, my client said he was sick. I asked if he
    was being truthful and he said yes. It is my job to be his advocate.
    Now give me my 30%) Blaming the plaintiff is not politically correct
    (Oh Mary, you are just prejudice and mean. These people are innocent
    victems! Wait until you get it then YOU will understand.) Okay Pat,
    I know you don't like fakers, but you see that is a key part of the
    puzzle (again recalling this is a legal board). Let's look at this:
    In our legal environment, how does society defend itself from the
    fakers? Well, you know. We challenge them and make them prove their
    case. The plaintiff has to PROVE the case, and frankly not to a very
    high degree of certainty. A plaintiff going after a defendent for
    $30 million bucks should probably expect an argument, you know?

    Okay, so those are my thoughts. That is why I get cranky and get in
    faces. You gotta prove it to me, and to the jury, and to society.
    Tough job for sure, but if you've got good, consistently defensible
    science, then that shouldn't be a problem. If you don't, well,
    expect some skepticism, and perhaps a vigorous cross examination.

    As alway, my best regards.


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