The Danish physician, Per Fink, is traveling to the United States to speak about his unscientific and dangerous idea that myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) is a psychosomatic illness. Per Fink has been invited to speak at a psychosomatic conference at Columbia University in New York City on Oct. 20th. Columbia University will reward medical providers who come to hear Per Fink speak with continuing education credits.
Please sign the petition demanding that Columbia University uninvite Per Fink from the psychosomatic conference.
Per Fink operates the “official” state clinic for ME in Denmark where he treats ME as a psychosomatic disease beneath the umbrella term “Bodily Distress Syndrome,” which includes about 30 illnesses, including ME, irritable bowel syndrome, whiplash, Lyme disease and fibromyalgia. Bodily Distress Syndrome has not been approved for use in any diagnostic coding system, such as the World Health Organization.
Per Fink teaches that physical symptoms are simply psychiatric manifestations, and claims that he can cure 25 percent of patients with talk therapy and graded exercise therapy. His treatment plan attempts to isolate patients from other doctors or specialists who might actually take the person’s symptoms seriously. Per Fink insists that patients should continue working despite their illness, lest they begin to think that they are sick! (Read Per Fink’s full theory here, see pages 138-39.)
Per Fink’s method has destroyed families in Denmark. His approach has led to children being removed from their homes and institutionalized as health officials blame parents for their children’s prognosis. When a severely-ill ME patient, Karina Hansen, refused Fink’s treatment, he had the government forcibly remove her from her family. He treated her against her will for 3.5 years. Finally, she returned home in a much worsened state.
Per Fink’s clinic claims to treat ME but no patient has ever received an ME diagnosis there. So far, 55 patient complaints about his practices at the clinic have been sent to the Board of Patient Safety in Denmark.
This is what Danish ME patients experience every day. We cannot let Per Fink influence medical providers in the U.S. with his gaslighting and abusive methodology towards people with ME.
The Biological Reality of ME
Meanwhile, the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the New York State Department of Health have all clearly stated that this disease is NOT psychosomatic, but rather is a disease that causes serious neurological, immunological, energy metabolism, and autonomic impairment. Allowing Dr. Fink to continue to spread misinformation about this disease is reckless and dangerous and puts people with ME at risk of harm.
We absolutely believe that scientists should have academic freedom, but there must be a standard for continuing education courses to be backed by science. We believe that the level of science in Per Fink’s work is not up to the standard of Columbia University or the co-sponsors of the conference.