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
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.
Posts on this thread, including this one