By David Tuller, DrPH.
Someone uninformed or stupid or maybe both decided to invite Danish physician Per Fink to present at a conference on so-called psychosomatic medicine being held this weekend at Columbia University. Fink—I won’t dignify him by using an honorific–is a scary guy. He should never have been provided with this prestigious platform—in my home town, no less. (I’ve lived in San Francisco for 30 years but I’ve always identified as a New Yorker living in San Francisco—an expat of sorts.) I’m overseas until late October, so I can’t even go to the event and ask him a few pertinent questions about his treatment of people with ME/CFS—or whichever name people choose to use for this disease.
Fink is the most prominent member of the Danish wing of the cult of MUS(“medically unexplained symptoms”), but his pernicious influence reaches far beyond that, as the invitation to this gathering demonstrates. His basic position, as I understand it, is that anyone experiencing persistent physical symptoms for which Per Fink can’t find an organic cause must be suffering from a mental illness. This mental illness might require them—especially if they are Danish–to be sequestered from their families against their will for years.