Dear Mr Sullivan
Thank you for your comments. I am sorry you were disappointed with your programme. I am happy to address your concerns.
paragraphs 1. and 2.
I am not aware of any independent research which has reproduced Zamboni’s findings. I am, however, aware of research which has questioned and contradicted it. The experts I have spoken to say it is therefore too early to say CCSVI/Liberation is “verified by real science” as you suggest; they say such verification would take many more years of scientific research.
Regarding unpublished research you appear to refer to, I am sure you will agree it is not wise to rely or comment on research before it has been peer-reviewed and published in a reputable scientific journal.
On the part of a journalist, not being aware is an egregious error. I think I am aware of why you are not aware. You have ended your awareness by blindly accepting the opinions and (un)awareness of people like Dr. Colin Rose, who is not interested in awareness any more than you are. He (and by extension you) may only be aware of the "published" research because you have been unwilling to pick up a telephone and ask about the many research efforts completed and underway at this time. You probably could have started with Dr. Zamboni, and a world of information may have opened up for you if you feigned interest.
Regarding publication those very studies you mention have thrown into question the practice of peer review when publication in a reputable journal (which is not a necessity but merely a convenience for those not directly occupied in the research themselves) take an unheard-of few weeks, hinting that strings may have been pulled to rush it to publication. Talking to the principals involved in this research would not only have convinced you of their case, but would have dissuaded you from the hatchet-job you were preparing. You would have gotten a very good story.
I do not agree about the wisdom of commenting on unpublished research. It may be unwise for Colin Rose, to blog about it, but it is a judgement call that a journalist could be forgiven for making. In your case, I don't believe you have read anything, whether Colin Rose is aware of it or not.
I do not believe it is possible to say how many people have had Liberation since there is no official tally. I do not agree that the involvement of large numbers of people automatically confers legitimacy on any belief or treatment.
If you had asked the major centres doing this work you could have made a very accurate estimate. Did you ask one doctor? Dr. Gilhooley might have told you, if you had.
There was no “journalistic fakery” about our Egypt filming. Dr Tariq did not wish to be filmed operating because he is not licensed to practice medicine in Egypt. Doctors practising unlicensed in Egypt can be jailed. Your suggestion that Egypt would gratefully accept such behaviour is most surprising.
I think you may be incorrect about his reasons. You likely were unsuccessful if you were trying to stop him from proceeding, because as Egyptians have shown the world recently they are unwilling to accept oppression. Him being unlicensed in Egypt may be a bureaucratic fact, however I do not believe anyone there does not think him eminently qualified, having done all those procedures in Kuwait. I doubt he is concerned. You might ask yourself why he has not been, and will not be "jailed"
Were you aware that this procedure, although it can in many cases be done quickly, can be complex, take a long time, and in some cases cannot be done at all, because malformations can take many forms? You weren't? Well, it's a good thing he is the doctor, and you are not. I think you are out of your depth in this very technical topic.
Dr Gilhooly, the Essential Health surgeon Mr Donald Reid and the sonographer Mr Vic Fernando were offered several opportunities to do a pre-arranged interview for our programme and explain why they thought the procedure was appropriate and worthwhile. Dr Gilhooly declined; Mr Fernando and Mr Reid did not personally respond to our invitation. Since Dr Gilhooly is promoting and charging for an unproven procedure, which is prohibited by the NHS, and refused to answer our questions about it, we felt it was appropriate to approach him directly. The decision to do this was made in accordance with the BBC’s editorial guidelines and procedures. Even at that stage he could have declined to answer; it was his decision to engage in an interview at that point.
You pursued him to his car, and I am not surprised at his response to your unreasonable, childish behaviour. People may expect it of American muck-rakers, but not of the BBC, surely. A good journalist might have pursued the reason for its unjustified exclusion from NHS services. It is being denied not because some call it "unproven" (it is not) but because those people have been tagged with the label "MS" which excuses all manner of mistreatment, profiteering, and sadistic infliction of pain, until they die a horrible but merciful death at an early age?
Thank you once again for your comments and if I can help you any further please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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I agree that perhaps crowd-sourcing work should be done to address specific points replied to in as many of these replies as are received. One rebuttal should suffice. My contribution is shown here.