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The Times: Chronic fatigue syndrome patient told: ‘You’re making it up’

The Times reports on the pre-inquest hearing held yesterday at Exeter’s Coroner’s Court regarding Maeve Boothby-O’Neill’s death

The medical treatment of a woman who died with ME, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, will be examined by a coroner after it was revealed that the patient had been told by a doctor that there was nothing wrong with her.

A pre-inquest review heard yesterday that Maeve Boothby-O’Neill had been suffering from myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) for several years before her death aged 27 in October last year.

The review, held in Exeter by Philip Spinney, the Devon coroner, heard from Sarah Boothby, Maeve’s mother, who said that she had asked for a community healthcare assessment in 2015. It was not done until a few days before Maeve died.

Boothby said that the first consultant to treat Maeve claimed that there was nothing wrong with her and that she was “basically making it up”.

She added: “They could not see what was going on in front of them. Maeve did not want to die. She said to me when we got home that ‘at least we tried, we really tried’.”

I believe Maeve (like many people with this illness) suffered discrimination because there is a deeply embedded prejudice about the disease which permeates all levels of medicine and beyond.

Sean O'Neill, Maeve's father, a senior writer at The Times

Devon Live also reported on the pre-inquest and published the following article yesterday (27th Sept):

Please consider listening to the Woman's Hour Broadcast from May where the presenter Emma Barnett interviews Sean O'Neill, senior writer at The Times, and Dr Charles Shepherd, Honorary Medical Adviser to the ME Association.

**Please note that this programme discusses the sad death of Sean O'Neill's daughter Maeve which some people may be distressing***

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