Can healthcare do better?
HealthyDebate.ca asks if healthcare can do better for patients with multiple chemical sensitivities, and describes Ontario’s new Task Force on Environmental Health.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), Fibromyalgia, and ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome) are three conditions thought to have environmental triggers. But in many parts of the world they are dangerously misunderstood by the public and the medical community.
Ontario recently established a panel to recommend research priorities and pathways to providing better care for people with these conditions.
Howard Hu is chair of that panel. He is also a physician with experience treating MCS at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, and dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
Hu describes the conundrum for patients:
“The basic clinical situation for all three conditions (MCS, ME/CFS, and Fibromyalgia) is that because none of these have obvious physical signs of disease or obvious abnormal lab tests, there’s a healthy segment of the physician and clinician community who remain convinced that these are simply psychological conditions — or worse,” Hu says.
He goes on…
“There are clinicians and others who think, ‘oh, they’re doing this for secondary gain.’ Believe me, there is no secondary gain. They typically lose any workers’ compensation claim, they don’t win in the courts, they get shunned by family. They sink to the bottom.
Further, he describes how chemical manufacturing industries in the United States have lobbied persistently against research funding for MCS, and there have been no federal NIH grants.
“When I see what they go through, it’s almost a human rights issue,” Hu says.
(Meekly from my hiding place, I say: Almost?)