Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Persecution of Dr. Sara Myhill

By Valda Redfern

[Note: This post is part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays.]

The case of Dr. Sarah Myhill in the UK presents an object lesson on how government intervention corrupts the practice of medicine. Formidable obstacles confront any doctor who cares enough about the health of his patients to defy the medical establishment. The easiest way -- for a while -- is just to toe the line. I say "for a while", because most health care practitioners who start out with a love of medicine and attempt to combine that with obedience to the National Health Service (NHS) find that they can't -- they either burn out or lose their souls. Focusing on the destructive targets and decrees of the NHS is not compatible with good health, physical or mental, theirs or their patients'. Fortunately for her own patients, Dr. Myhill marches to the beat of a different drummer, but this is what she has to endure for doing so:
Extracts from the About.Thyroid.Com website:

The troglodytes at the British General Medical Council (GMC) are at it again, trying to destroy yet another doctor who cares about patients and is willing to tackle difficult cases of chronic fatigue syndrome and hormonal imbalances, including thyroid issues.

...

[T]o summarize: the GMC has decided that Dr. Myhill is "a potential risk to public safety" and should lose her license to practice medicine. And what is this serious accusation based on? It's based on the vague complaints of a small group of doctors who compete with Dr. Myhill, and one typo-filled anonymous letter complaining about her website. That's right, the GMC has not received even a single complaint from patients! In fact, they have received hundreds of emails, letters, faxes and phone calls from Dr. Myhill's satisfied patients, in support of her work.
The GMC says this about itself:
We register doctors to practise in the UK and have the powers to either issue a warning to a doctor, remove the doctor from the register, suspend or place conditions on a doctor's registration.
A visit to Dr. Myhill's website reveals that she advocates many of the principles of paleo nutrition and has an integrated approach to health care. Her practice is entirely private (a rarity in the UK, where I cannot find any non-NHS doctor outside of London). From her site you can also find details of the case, a link to her Facebook appeal, and other suggestions on how to help. I have written a letter of protest to the GMC, reproduced below:
Mr Paul Bridge
Investigation Officer
Standards & Fitness To Practise Directorate
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Manchester M3 3AW

17 April 2010

Dear Mr Bridge

Case Reference: PB/C1-314994282

I am writing in support of Dr. Sarah Myhill, who is not being allowed to follow an integrative approach to the treatment of her patients but instead is being persecuted by the GMC. I have difficulty believing that the GMC care about evidence-based medicine, when they can't even discern the difference between evidence-based accusations and malicious slanders.

The GMC do not appear to have any interest in the well being of real doctors and their patients. What seems to matter to the GMC is not health and scientific truth, but the preservation of restrictive practice, dogma and convention. When doctors aren't free to practice according to their own consciences, and patients aren't free to select the health care they prefer, no one's health is safe. The GMC purports to protect patients from poor medical practice; but who can protect us from the GMC?

Dr. Myhill's website is a useful resource that offers reasoned advice - advice that her patients and others are free to take or leave, according to their own best judgement. Her advice, unlike that of the GMC, is not backed by government force.

I am glad that Dr. Myhill has insisted on a hearing. If she does not receive a just verdict I for one will do what I can to ensure that the GMC never hear the end of that.

Yours sincerely
This is just one instance of what happens when the state, instead of defending individual rights, makes itself everyone's keeper. My health doesn't belong to the nation, it belongs to me -- and yours belongs to you.

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