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LAW AND HEALTH

For a summary of topics covered in this blog go to “Welcome to Law and Health”

 

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Valerie Eliot Smith

 

I am a British barrister. I was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1987. My areas of interest are the law, health and media relations. My legal expertise is in the areas of technology, media and telecomms law (TMT), human rights, open justice, data protection/privacy, freedom of information and intellectual property rights. I practised as a criminal lawyer for ten years.

My background also includes experience in media strategy and communications, journalism, dispute resolution, psychotherapy and human resources. My first degree was in English Literature, in 1977, from the University of London (Bedford College). My primary education took place in Australia.

I have lived with the complex, disabling, multi-systemic, neuro-immune disease myalgic encephalomyelitis  or “ME” since 1981. ME is sometimes referred to (incorrectly – see below in “Definition of ME“) as “chronic fatigue syndrome” or “CFS”. I continued to work, study and practise as a lawyer until 2000 when I was further disabled by additional health problems. I have been unable to work in any formal capacity since then.

I completed the first year of training as a psychotherapist in 2002 but became too ill to continue the full course. I am a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary, University of London, in order to extend my academic background. However, I am unable to complete any further formal qualifications as I am too ill to fulfil the research, writing and teaching requirements.

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Independent status

The views expressed in this blog are my own. I am not affiliated to any other group or professional body relating to ME or CFS issues. I receive no payment for any of my ME work and I cover all costs incurred myself.

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Definition of ME

For clarification purposes: the definition of ME which I prefer is contained within the 2011 International Consensus Criteria (the “ME-ICC”). While I have no wish to exclude those who are diagnosed under other criteria, for me the ME-ICC is the most appropriate definition we have so far, for both clinical and research purposes.

As a result of nearly four decades of experience, observation and research, I regard chronic fatigue syndrome as a condition which is separate from ME. The terms “CFS/ME” and “ME/CFS” are frequently used interchangeably with ME, with CFS and with each other.

There are many other names in use, such as post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) and systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID), which only confuses matters even further.

It is very likely that there is frequent cross-misdiagnosis of ME and CFS ie. people with ME are diagnosed with CFS and vice versa. This may depend, at least in part, on which country the patient is located.

This wide range of terminology is both confusing and imprecise. The number of different criteria in use also contributes to inconclusive research results.

Purpose of this blog

I originally started this blog in order to publish my work on the so-called “Secret Files on ME“. However, since then, I have developed it into a broader remit (see “CATEGORIES” in sidebar). Because of my health, I am not able to post nearly as often as I would like.

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Comments

I welcome comments and my policy is simple: please keep it clear, relevant and lawful. All comments are moderated so it may take a little time before they appear. Personal attacks on anyone are not welcome and, in extremis, may not get through moderation. I will respond as and when I can, depending on my own state of health at the time.

Acknowledgment

If you are making use of information or documents from this blog, please quote this blog as your source and credit my work accordingly.

Disclaimer

Nothing in this blog should be taken as either legal or medical advice. I strive to ensure that everything I say is accurate and not misleading but if you think I’ve got something wrong then please let me know. Broken links or out-of-date information happen frequently and, while I try to keep the blog up-to-date, inevitably some things get overlooked. 

Contact details

I can be contacted via my academic email address at v.eliot-smith@qmul.ac.uk  You can also send a tweet/direct message via Twitter @ValeriEliotSmit or by private message to me on Facebook or through my Facebook page Walking Like an Egyptian.

Please note: I am no longer practising as a barrister and I cannot assist with individual cases.

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