Requests for me to provide evidence of how Pernicious Anaemia can impact on patient’s work and family have increased in the past three months. There isn’t much I can do other than write a letter to the Tribunal or Court stating that the condition affects the cognitive function of the patient as well as leading to behavioural changes and personality mutation and add that these changes have been largely forgotten by the medical fraternity.
I have begun researching for the 2nd edition of my book Pernicious Anaemia: the forgotten disease and I am genuinely surprised by the amount of research carried out in the past into mental health issues and B12. For some reason that I have not been able to yet discover, doctors’ interest in this particular aspect of PA suddenly stopped in the late 1960s.
Like all things with Pernicious Anaemia, the degree to which B12 Deficiency will impact on the mental health of the patient will vary enormously. It could be that the patient will have problems remembering to do simple tasks, use the wrong words or forget the names of everyday items. In the worst case the patient can experience severe psychotic episodes leading to delirium and paranoia. And anything inbetween is possible.
The main problem we face is in convincing the legal professionals that the patient will continue to experience the symptoms of PA even after treatment has started to rectify the B12 Deficiency. This runs contrary to what the vast majority of doctors believe and, unfortunately, all too often it is the medical professionals that are listened to and believed by the courts.
Getting involved in employment tribunals and court cases can and do take up a lot of time especially when there are statements to be written and other documents to prepare but it is something that has to be done if patients with Pernicious Anaemia are to get a fair hearing. It is unclear just how much of an impact our contribution has but if it means that the patient has some evidence to help his or her case then it is worth getting involved. Right now I am involved in three employment cases and preparing for a serious criminal case to be heard in November.