The Return Of MRSA Expert Dr Malyszewicz

May 14th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, MRSA | 43 Comments »

Dr Chris Malyszewicz PhD, disgraced MRSA “expert” who got false positive results from his garden shed laboratory with his non-accredited correspondence course PhD from America and his lack of microbiology training, and demonstrable (and demonstrated, and admitted) lack of microbiology knowledge, fountain of every single MRSA “undercover swab” scare in every single tabloid, who had never previously made it into a broadsheet newspaper, who I roundly trounced in five consecutive Bad Science columns, and various Radio 4 shows, and who has not appeared in a single newspaper since then, is quoted at length and trumpeted as a major scientific expert today in no lesser paper than…. The Observer!!!

observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,,1773839,00.html

“The MRSA expert
Dr Malyszewicz
· Dr Christopher Malyszewicz is a consultant chemist and biologist for Chemsol Group Ltd, and an expert in MRSA infections and disinfection procedures..” etc

I’m so happy I could shit. And it’s my birthday next week. Life does not get any better than this.

More on leading microbiology expert Dr Malyszewicz here, here, here, here and here.

And for anyone who’s interested, here is the full transcript of a radio show with me on, where Malyszewicz is confronted and admits a great deal. I’ve highlighted a couple of favourite bits, I think it gives a flavour of the man. From my own experience he comes across for what he is, very clearly, very early on in any conversation. You would have to do a lot of work to persuade yourself that this man was a sober specialist scientific commentator.

Mr Malyszewicz caused such a disastrous mess he has even been criticised in Parliament


You and Yours Radio 4
Monday 14th November 2005 1205

For the past couple of years a number of scare stories about high levels of MRSA have appeared in many of our tabloid newspapers. And behind the papers’ shock headlines is the man the popular press has dubbed “Britain’s leading expert on MRSA”, Doctor Chris Malyszewicz, whose company Chemsol Consultancy in Northamptonshire boasts that it’s among the leaders in helping fight MRSA, and which, via the tabloids, has helped to expose the shortcomings of a series of prominent hospitals.
Quote: We test eight hospitals in Britain for killer MRSA and find it rampant in every one. With the help of expert Doctor Chris Malyszewicz …
Quote: Our samples were examined at the Chemsol Lab in Northampton by Doctor Chris Malyszewicz. He said ….
Quote: Microbiologist Chris Malyszewicz who carried out the tests said “Cleanliness in many hospitals …”
Quote: Leading MRSA expert Doctor Chris Malyszewicz added “We have to make sure that …”
Quote: Microbiologist, Chris Malyszewicz, said he was shocked …
Quote: MRSA expert Doctor Chris Malyszewicz said “We need to return to the days of the early 1990’s where washing was done in hospital laundries.”
JW: Well according to tests carried out by so called Doctor Malyszewicz he’s found MRSA at hospitals up and down the country. But is Chris Malyszewicz really the expert that he and the tabloids would have us believe because many of the hospitals where he found evidence of MRSA subsequently carried out their own tests which gave negative results? Indeed the Malyszewicz testing methods became such a cause for concern that in July last year the Government’s Inspector of Microbiology and the Health Protection Agency visited his back garden laboratory to see for themselves his procedures for sampling, transporting and testing for MRSA. And later this month Baroness Pitkeathley will be raising the concerns of health care professionals in Parliament.
Well someone who’s been following the story week by week recently is the hospital doctor Ben Goldacre, who writes the Bad Science column in The Guardian.
Doctor Ben Goldacre (Bad Science Columnist, The Guardian): Well I first got interested in it when a, about a year and a half ago friend of mine who’s an investigative journalist, an undercover journalist on another paper rang up and he said, “I’ve been taking all of my swabs for my undercover MRSA swab scandal from a local hospital and they’re all coming back negative.” And he said, “What am I doing wrong?” And I sort of said “Well, you know, you’re, what you’re probably doing wrong is imagining that they should be positive”, ‘cause it’s unlikely that you’d grow MRSA from the kind of places that he was taking them from, sort of door handles and, and that sort of thing. And he said you know he’d tried several different labs and, and he was worried that he wasn’t following the protocol properly. And I said well you know probably best to leave it, which wasn’t the answer that he wanted obviously.
He came back to me about ten minutes later very triumphantly and he said, “Oh I’ve, I’ve just rung up…” well I shan’t mention her name, on a different tabloid, and he said, “She’s told me the lab to go to”, and he described that lab as “the lab that always gives you positive results”, which obviously sounded very dubious to me.
Now as soon as I realised that, I started looking through the archives and I saw that it was true. In fact all of the positive MRSA swab scandals in every single newspaper all came from one company called Chemsol, based in Northants, with a chap called Doctor Malyszewicz. And that’s when I started looking in to the story. It turned out that Dr Malyszewicz wasn’t actually a doctor. He’s got a non-accredited mail order correspondence course PhD from America and a, I think a, a, a, a polytechnic degree in chemistry from a very long time ago.
JW: So he’s not a microbiologist?
BG: No, absolutely not. And I think when you’ve got somebody who’s not a microbiologist who’s giving positive results where other people aren’t and who is the place where all the tabloids are going, so all the tabloid, there’s not a single tabloid story that hasn’t come out of this one lab, and I, and I, I would say that the (indistinct), the reason for that is that if they went anywhere else they wouldn’t get the positive results that they want for their story. In fact people have gone round behind them in hospitals, on the very day I think that they’ve done their tests, if not the day after, where nothing’s been changed in the hospital, and they’ve got negative results.
JW: So what does this say about the reporting of MRSA by the popular press?
BG: Well I think they, I mean they just wanted a, they wanted a, an MRSA swab scandal and they knew the man that was going to give it to them. I think it, I mean it’s pretty wily really. And the, I think it’s also a shame because MRSA is obviously a, a problem and I think it undermines, you know it undermines the, the, the reality of the problem with MRSA. And it also undermines the integrity of the press when they’re going round very clearly seeking out laboratories that will give them specific, you know the, the results that they want.
JW: But, but MRSA, as you say, is a big problem, I mean it results in many needless deaths every year, I mean surely any highlighting of the issue is justified?
BG: I just don’t think it’s right for journalists to go round making up stories like that.
JW: Well they’re not making it up of course. They’re, they’re being supplied these, these figures by Mr Malyszewicz. You’re just saying that you question the figures; you have questioned his results.
BG: Well that’s very interesting. I mean when you talk to Mr Malyszewicz it’s very obvious from the moment you get to him that this is not a man who knows his stuff. I mean, he talks in a very confused and confusing and slightly incoherent way. He uses technical terminology incorrectly. He mispronounces the names of very common bacteria. And also I understand from readings of reports of people who’ve been to his premises that really it’s just a shed in the back garden. It doesn’t have proper laboratory fittings. It’s got basically kitchen fittings.
I think the problem really is that the tabloids they all desperately want to be sort of Julia Roberts. They want to sort of be the sort of you know the dramatic campaigning journalists who’ve found …
JW: The Erin Brockovich?
BG: Yeah absolutely. They want, they want the big scandal and they’re willing to, to do anything to put themselves in that quite grandiose position but I, but it’s just not the reality with this story.
JW: Well joining us now is the Government’s Inspector of Microbiology, Professor Brian Duerden. He’s in our Cardiff studio.
And Professor Duerden when you visited Mr Malyszewicz’s laboratory back in July 2004 what did you make of it? What did you make of his, his testing procedures?
Professor Brian Duerden (Inspector of Microbiology): Well there, there were two things. The laboratory itself is a, a small building as has been described by, by Ben Goldacre. And (indistinct) …
JW: It’s a garden shed. It’s a garden shed.
BD: It’s, it’s better than my garden shed but it is a wooden building in his garden and it’s not equipped to the level I would expect of a laboratory. It certainly would not pass any accreditation standards, whether this was with Clinical Pathology Accreditation or with the UK Accreditation Service.
JW: And what about his methods for testing MRSA? Were they of a sufficient standard to give accurate results?
BD: I was not at all convinced by his methods. In particular he was not doing methods that (indistinct) distinguished between common, harmless Staphylococci from the skin, Staphylococcus Epidermidis, which is very often Methicillin Resistant, but is, is not a harmful pathogen. Doesn’t distinguish between that and Staphylococcus Aureus which then can be Methicillin Resistant and is the problem organism.
JW: So you wanted to check? I mean he got these results that nobody seemed to be able to replicate, that there was MRSA present in various places. You wanted to check those. He sent you ten of his isolates, as they’re called, in which his tests showed his evidence for MRSA. What did you find when you looked at his findings?
BD: Well when I visited nearly eighteen months ago with, with a colleague we asked him to send some of his isolates to the Centre for Infection, which is the Health Protection Agency Laboratory at Colindale, the national reference facility for Staphylococci, Staphylococcus Aureus. Now he didn’t send them to my laboratory because that would be inappropriate; he sent them to the Health Protection Agency eventually a few months ago. And of the ten isolates that were sent in I believe two were identified as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, MRSA, but they were of, of a very unusual type.
JW: So where do you think they may have come from there? Where did they turn up?
BD: I, I’ve, I’ve no idea. He’d, he’d been sampling in an environmental setting somewhere in, in an NHS premises.
JW: So let’s be clear, of those ten samples that he sent you eight were just wrong and two were extremely dubious. Is that what you’re saying?
BD: Eight did not contain MRSA. Two did contain an MRSA but it was a very unusual strain. It was not one we would expect to find, or have found, in, in, in patients in this country.
JW: So what (indistinct), what effect has Mr Malyszewicz’s results, what’s that had on patients and staff at the hospitals where he’s conducted these tests and, and which have appeared in the, in the headlines as a result?
BD: Well there are two things. One, it frightens patients and it puts them off getting treatment in the NHS. The other is that it diverts the resources in those hospitals to answering unfounded criticisms. And this isn’t to say that MRSA’s not a problem; we do have hospital infections, health care associated infections, with this organism. But this, when you have wrong reports coming out, this just actually does nobody any good you know because science has to be based on fact, medical science has to be based on fact.
JW: But as the Government’s Inspector of Microbiology do you not have any powers to prevent someone like apparently Mr Malyszewicz who, about whom you have concerns, from, from carrying out such tests in his laboratory and publishing the results in the tabloids?
BD: Well in fact not, not really because I, I have no right to go in and, and shut (indistinct) his laboratory down. It’s his private business. He is, he’s not a member of a professional body; he himself is not a, a registered health care scientist or like myself a medical doctor who is, is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists. So there isn’t a professional body or a, a body like the Medical General Council; so there’s none of that. Neither his, his laboratory accredited so I, I can’t go to an accrediting body to suggest that that be withdrawn. So there, there isn’t a sanction there because he’s not within the, the formal system.
JW: And what’s been the response of the popular press when you’ve raised your concerns about Mr Malyszewicz’s testing procedures with them?
BD: I’ve, well as you will have seen from the, the reports that have come out they, they have carried on and, and published this work and used his evidence.
JW: Well listening to all of this is Chris Malyszewicz of Chemsol Consultancy. He’s in our Northampton studio.
Mr Malyszewicz your results according to Professor Duerden there are, are not valid. What do you say?
Chris Malyszewicz (Chemsol Consultancy): (Indistinct) I tend to disagree actually. I’m not, not saying point blank that the fact at the end of the day we have got MRSA all over the place ‘cause we haven’t. And in fact if you, if you look carefully, which a lot of people haven’t, that the MRSA reporting that we’ve done in the last three years, or three and a half years, has actually been forty five per cent have been negatives anyway. Those obviously are never reported and never be factual because those results are still on our system and have never been actually disclosed. So in fact when somebody says, well yes it’s the lab that always produces MRSA positive results the answer’s no it doesn’t unfortunately …
JW: But do you feel comfortable with the way you’ve been referred to in, in the popular press you know as an MRSA expert?
CM: For the last thirty two years my job has, my living has always been involved in disinfection studies and bacteriological detection. Part of that work has been with new contact slides which have been to identify specifically Staph Aureus and Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus (indistinct) …
JW: But you, but, but I mean you’re not a doctor are you? You’re not a microbiologist. Your, your lab is in a large, what amounts to garden shed. It’s not accredited and its results according to the Government’s Inspector of Microbiology are dubious to say the least and wrong in most cases.
CM: I think I disagree with that very strongly. Based on the issues that we actually are not a Government funded laboratory; it is out of my own pocket; it’s something that I’ve had to pay for dearly myself. The MRSA issue is something that I was bludgeoned or pushed in to. It’s not a particular area that I’m, I’m particularly au fait with or an area which I’m not really very comfortable with. It’s …
JW: So you’re, you’re admitting you’re not qualified to carry out these tests that the tabloids then trumpet as, as being valid?
CM: I’m sorry that I am qualified to take the tests. We’ve also …
JW: You said you were not au fait with this area. It’s rather important that you are isn’t it?
CM: Well when I say au fait in other words it’s not something that I have studied in depth until four years ago, that when we took this up as a long term project it was something that we actually embodied in to the actual contact slide principles. Now we have taken a lot of information from the right people, from Oxoid and those companies which are very experienced in detection of MRSA. The PB, or Penicillin Binding test is the ultimate gold standard for detecting Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus on the (indistinct). I’m not saying for a minute I don’t think they’re wrong. If they are wrong then obviously we’re back to the drawing board.
JW: But if your results are wrong, I mean you’ve slurred the reputation of hospitals; you’ve unnecessarily alarmed patients and of course you’ve cost the tax payer a great deal of money as these tests are done all over again by the hospitals who then report they find nothing.
CM: I’m, I’m very sorry to say that but in fact there’s a Scottish laboratory twelve months ago who did an independent result themselves and their results were horrendously higher than I’ve ever found before. So, no, I think that’s completely wrong to say that.
JW: But Mr Malyszewicz I mean you, you sell don’t you a range of anti bacterial products, so called MRSA kits. I mean you have a vested interest don’t you in finding MRSA because you, you sell the, you sell the stuff to get rid of it?
CM: Interesting question………… In fact… no, I’m not. As a formulator of a disinfection for industry and personal hygiene this, this is my living. I am unfortunate not to have vested interest in MRSA as this was never designed to enhance any sales of products. If I wanted to I could have offered products over three years ago when the situation was first discovered. It didn’t happen that way.
JW: How much money do you charge for one of your undercover investigations?
CM: Well per contact slide, and if it’s to do with the Penicillin Binding test, the (indistinct) test plus that we do for, and the Baird Parker and secondary cultures we, we, about thirty five pound to forty seven (indistinct) …
JW: So it’s quite lucrative since as I understand it some twenty articles have appeared where you’ve undertaken extensive research?
CM: I wish it was lucrative….. Our accounts don’t show that unfortunately.
JW: So are you not surprised when subsequently hospitals undertake their own tests and they find no traces of MRSA? How can they all be wrong, indeed the Government’s own Inspector of Microbiology be wrong, and, and you be the only one right?
CM: Well no I’m not. Why should they as it’s not in their interest to show negative results and high level of infected materials.
JW: Professor Duerden you’re, you’re, you’re listening to this. What’s your response to what you hear?
Professor Brian Duerden: If you’re to identify an organism Staphylococcus Aureus it’s not enough just to grow it on an initial detection slide. You then have to go through a series of tests to identify it. The slides themselves are not sufficiently selective to just grow MRSA and I think that is where part of the problem is.
JW: And what about the point made by Chris Malyszewicz that of course hospitals, it’s in their interests not to find MRSA. No wonder they say they don’t; they don’t want to.
BD: Well I, I would, I would challenge that (indistinct), very much. We’re talking here about people who are not only qualified but dedicated scientists who have a job to do. It’s not a case of ‘in our interests’. If, if there is contamination there then it would be found.
JW: So what, I mean what would you like to happen to Mr Malyszewicz and his research? Would you like it to stop or him go back to the drawing board or what?
BD: I think if, if this sort of work is to continue it must be done to the sort of quality standards that we would expect of any laboratory serving the NHS.
JW: I mean if I can just pick up again with you Chris Malyszewicz, what, what about the results of the tests that the Health Protection Agency carried out on the, on those isolates that you sent them, where you’d found evidence of MRSA? I mean they found MRSA on only two out of those ten examples and the MRSA on those two was a very rare Australian strain, unlike anything that’s ever been found in the United Kingdom. Do you by any chance work for any Australian companies? Could there be cross contamination?
Chris Malyszewicz: I don’t work for an Australian company, no. We’ve only done one ever run for Sydney, which was prior to that anyway and those isolates were (indistinct) prior to any other work being sent to Colindale.
JW: But if your results are wrong, as so many experts say they are, don’t you accept you have caused the tax payer an awful lot of unnecessary expense and you’ve caused a great many people a great deal of worry and concern?
CM: No. I, that’s another thing I disagree. I have offered to do contact slide work in conjunction with any microbiologist and that was over a year and a half ago in any hospital that (indistinct) nominated that we know MRSA is a problem. And in fact I, I would guarantee that there would be positive results after a, a hundred slide survey.
JW: Chris Malyszewicz of Chemsol Consultancy, Professor Brian Duerden, the Government’s Inspector of Microbiology, and doctor and Guardian columnist, Ben Goldacre.
Well we asked some of the tabloids who’ve used Mr Malyszewicz over the past couple of years to carry out their undercover investigations why they did and whether they would continue.
The Sunday Mirror declined to comment but The Sun said, “We stand by all our MRSA investigations done by Mr Malyszewicz. If our headlines have embarrassed the Department of Health in to taking action against MRSA then we are very pleased”.
And the London Evening Standard told us, “Along with other newspapers and broadcasters we have in the past used this company to carry out tests as part of our reports. We were not aware of any official advice that undermined our investigations”.
Well Doctor Goldacre has vowed that he’ll go on writing about this in his weekly newspaper column until the, the tabloids desist from using Mr Malyszewicz. From their response it looks like he’ll be putting pen to paper for quite some time.


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43 Responses



  1. JI said,

    May 14, 2006 at 4:41 pm

    I have already spontaneously emailed the health pages to suggest to them that if their deadlines are too tight for them to do any background reading – the first item on google refers to the bad science site -then they sould just write about homeopathy, as usual.

  2. Ben Goldacre said,

    May 14, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    wow, you’re right.

    www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=Dr+Malyszewicz&btnG=Search

    other unfortunate google results include:

    www.google.co.uk/search?q=aqua+detox&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official

    and

    www.google.co.uk/search?hs=AGJ&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=gillian+mckeith&btnG=Search&meta=

    hurrah for google, even if they do show our email to the CIA.

  3. TimSwift said,

    May 14, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    I have not looked at the Observer magazine health features before. Do they never feature anyone who actually knows anything about medicine? It seems remarkable that they invite three people to respond to this question and none of them are genuine medics.

    Is this typical?

  4. doctormonkey said,

    May 14, 2006 at 5:47 pm

    wow, what rubbish about wearing a face mask for protection from MRSA, if I have MRSA on my breath I may have MRSA pneumonia and I will have more problems than worrying about patients with relatives as stupid as to listen to Mr MRSA, although I do acknowledge it can colonise the nose etc but I still shouldn’t breath it out.

    on the other hand, good nutrition IS important in wound (and all other) healing and although I am ignorant about the various supplements I have heard anecdotal problems with hospital food not being very nutritious and so causing problems.

    relaxation is also important, the hospital I work at has recently reduced visiting hours for patients to maximise healing resting time.

    although I loath and despise Mr MRSA and everything he says/stands for at least one of his recommendations is to ensure all staff clean their hands – we all need such reminding but I almost never get challenged as a doctor bouncing from patient to patient in a busy A&E department (I am mildly obsessive about hand cleaning so don’t mind)

    oh, I would also counter that a patient requiring hip replacement, who has hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol) and requiring a daily aspirin is NOT in perfect health, she is at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and angina and strokes…) but probably not much although if her exercise has recently been limited :-(

    sorry for the long-windedness :-)

  5. kim said,

    May 14, 2006 at 6:16 pm

    The particularly funny (or possibly tragic) thing about this is that this section tends to take the following format: a comment from a medical expert, a comment from an alternative medicine type person, and a comment from a sufferer or other layperson. This week Dr Malyszewicz is there in the expert role, so the poor person who sent in the question doesn’t have a chance, really.

  6. BSM said,

    May 14, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    It’s like a version of the Whack-A-Rat game. Shame on The Observer for sticking in another 50p and setting it off again.

    The real shame is that the writer posed a genuinely interesting and serious question and received nothing useful as a response.

  7. BSM said,

    May 14, 2006 at 8:21 pm

    Well, to be fair, I should have said “next to nothing”

  8. Ben Goldacre said,

    May 14, 2006 at 11:59 pm

    i just had to come back and check this post to make sure i didn’t imagine it.

  9. sockatume said,

    May 15, 2006 at 8:19 am

    Chemsol Group, Ltd? It’s a group now? Did he expand into his garage?

  10. RW said,

    May 15, 2006 at 8:28 am

    BSM’s right but I gave up taking at face value anything I read in newspapers long ago except where the author has credibility in their field and the field they are writing about – often two very different things.

  11. Delster said,

    May 15, 2006 at 8:43 am

    “Dr Christopher Malyszewicz is a consultant chemist and biologist for Chemsol Group Ltd, ”

    I thought he was the chemsol group? Well him and his garden shed…..

    What would be a good idea is some kind of database with reputable scientists organised by catagory that the journo’s can go to to find proper experts on a subject.

    Even if you include those with non standard stances on things, so long as they have decent qualifications and research techniques, then it’s going to be better than people such as this guy

  12. Evil Kao Chiu said,

    May 15, 2006 at 8:57 am

    “I’m so happy I could shit.” Diarrhea, eh? You’ve probably caught MRSA off a cellphone EMF.

    And an Observer article… I thought you were prohibited from biting the hand that feeds you?

  13. Let’s hear it for Dr Chris Malyszewicz — Archaeoastronomy Archive said,

    May 15, 2006 at 10:05 am

    […] Update 15 May 2006: This originally went up 10 Aug 2005, since then academic ninja Ben Goldacre has taken on Malyszewicz repeatedly. I was a bit surprised to see another spurt of searches for combact again, but as Bad Science points out he’s back. […]

  14. hairnet said,

    May 15, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    “so after the op don’t allow anyone to come too close to your wound, including hospital staff, and make sure they wash their hands correctly.”

    Wouldnt that make the job of changing dressings etc a bit tricky…
    I feel sympathy for any nurse who meets some belligerent patient who insists on changing their own bandages!

  15. Kess said,

    May 15, 2006 at 6:31 pm

    “What would be a good idea is some kind of database with reputable scientists organised by catagory that the journo’s can go to to find proper experts on a subject.”

    But would journalists want a reputable scientist? Sadly, I get the impression a lot of them would prefer to stick to dodgy characters like Malyszewich who can give them the results they want to feed their scare stories.

  16. Ben Goldacre said,

    May 15, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    i think that’s certainly true.

  17. stever said,

    May 15, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    Hahaha!

    HAHAHA!

    oh my god thats hilarious!

    THE OBSERVER IS A DISGRACE!

    and to think it shares a web site with the Guardian. Unbelievable.

  18. JQH said,

    May 16, 2006 at 10:57 am

    I find it incredible that even after Malyszewich has been exposed in the Guardian and national radio, the Observer still considers him an expert on MRSA. Do journalists not read other newspapers then?

  19. Ben Goldacre said,

    May 16, 2006 at 11:43 am

    jesus, you’re right.

    malyszewicz gets to promote his own MRSA products (combact).

    and dr john briffa promotes biocare, with whom he seems to have a commercial relationship (he “formulated” things like “sucroguard” and “kids complete” for them etc)

    www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=BioCare+briffa&btnG=Search

    what makes me laugh is how all these alt med characters can bang on about corruption and big pharma when they’re all at it worse than anyone else. did briffa declare his commercial involvement in the biotech company he authoritatively promoted in a national newspaper column?

    no.

  20. Teek said,

    May 16, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    my point exactly – it’s hilarious how alt med appeals to those of us who have a conscience and dont wanna line the pockets of big pharma’s shareholders, and then they go and pedle their own commercial interests.

    these articles seem to be a free advertising vehicle for the likes of malyszwotsit and his ilk, and unless journalists and editors cotton on health supplements and so on will continue to (maybe inadvertently) promote dodgy products on behalf of quacks and charlatans.

    *rant over, climbs off soapbox*

  21. sockatume said,

    May 16, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    He needs to work on his interview technique.

    “JW: But Mr Malyszewicz I mean you, you sell don’t you a range of anti bacterial products, so called MRSA kits. I mean you have a vested interest don’t you in finding MRSA because you, you sell the, you sell the stuff to get rid of it?
    CM: Interesting question………… In fact… no, I’m not. […] I am unfortunate not to have vested interest in MRSA.”

    Brilliant rebuttal there, genius. It’s like being found at a crime scene with a smoking gun and coming up with “I’m not actually holding a smoking gun.”

  22. Daveyboond said,

    May 16, 2006 at 6:08 pm

    The Observer has a rather good Readers’ Editor, who responds thoughtfully in print to some of the complaints sent into the paper. Perhaps an apology will be forthcoming if enough of us vent our spleen.

  23. Filias Cupio said,

    May 17, 2006 at 12:02 am

    Interviewer: But, but MRSA, as you say, is a big problem, I mean it results in many needless deaths every year, I mean surely any highlighting of the issue is justified?

    I was utterly stunned by this question. Here’s a journalist saying “Isn’t it OK to lie to the public to advance a cause you think is important?” I’d have answered rather more vociferously. If we treat MRSA as more important than it is, hospitals will divert resources from actually saving lives to a wild goose chase. If we lie about health hazards, how are the public to distinguish the real hazards from the press beat-ups?

    If MRSA is a big problem, the case for giving it attention can be made without lying. If the case can’t be made without lying, it isn’t a big problem.

  24. Filias Cupio said,

    May 17, 2006 at 12:10 am

    Another thought – given that “Dr” Malyszewicz has been ‘outed’, would a hospital now have good grounds for a libel suit if a newspaper publishes a new story based on his lab results? Would it strengthen their case to send letters in advance to newspapers pointing out that he is a charletan? (To avoid a “we didn’t know there was any question about his competence” defense.)

  25. kim said,

    May 17, 2006 at 8:15 am

    Daveyboond – I emailed the readers’ editor yesterday. Will be interesting to see if they respond.

    Filias Cupio – That’s an interesting point about the libel. Perhaps they could at least complain to the PCC.

    About the radio interviewer’s question. Radio interviews, particularly on Radio 4, seem to feel the need to be completely even-handed when they’re interviewing two people. I always have this little fantasy of the Today programme interviewing Churchill and Hitler together. “Well, Mr Churchill, that’s a fair point that Herr Hitler just made about invading Poland, wasn’t it?” I think it must be inherent in the format that if you’ve got two people you don’t want to seem biased towards one of them, even if the other is clearly an idiot, a charlatan or an evil maniac.

  26. JQH said,

    May 17, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    Filias Cupio

    I believe I am correct in saying that unlike corporations such as Macdonalds, public bodies cannot sue for libel so unless the newspaper or “Dr” Malyszewicz name a specific individual a libel suit will fail. I f any lawyers are reading could they say whether my understanding of the law is correct.

    Regarding Radio 4 the BBC is required to be “even-handed” which as John Pilger once remarked, can lead to being even-handed towards oppressors and the oppressed.

  27. grew said,

    May 19, 2006 at 9:49 am

    Dr Christopher Malyszewicz died in a Car accident on Wednesday Morning [17-may-06]

    Thanks

  28. JQH said,

    May 19, 2006 at 11:35 am

    grew, are you just saying that to cheer us all up or is it true?

    If the latter , expect the internet and the tabloid press to be full of conspiracy theories.

  29. raygirvan said,

    May 19, 2006 at 11:49 am

    No: it’s true. See Northampton Today.

  30. JQH said,

    May 19, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    raygirvan

    Thanks for the link. I see Northampton Today considers “Dr” Malpractice to be a bacteria expert etc. Obviously don’t read the Guardian or listen to Radio 4.

    Maybe this forum should mark the misfortunes of pseudoscientists with something like Private Eye’s “Curse of Gnome”?

    If it’s a genuine curse may I suggest Gillian McTeeth and that patronising bitch from “Ten Years Younger” as the next targets?

  31. Fyse said,

    May 19, 2006 at 2:35 pm

    My god, that’s quite a coincidence. Still, I guess if we talk about enough people eventually one of them will die. I wonder how Hector is? He’s gone mighty quiet suddenly…

    Incidentally, the article says there’s been 50% increase in fatalities on Northamptonshire’s roads in the last year. Anyone fancy discussing whether that’s significant, or just due to sampling error from the underlying distribution? Joke, don’t worry.

  32. Aspiring Pedant said,

    May 19, 2006 at 2:48 pm

    I think Hector is still alive and kicking –

    www.mast-victims.org/forum/index.php?action=vtopic&forum=3

    and as rational as ever.

  33. Robert Carnegie said,

    May 19, 2006 at 2:52 pm

    Does this mean no more bollocks about hospital MRSA in tabloids? Surely not.

    I suppose a report that MRSA is rampaging unchecked through one given hospital or the whole NHS could be considered a libel against a person whose job or reputation involve making sure that MRSA is not rampaging etc.

  34. Michael Harman said,

    May 19, 2006 at 7:43 pm

    On the libel point, the action tended traditionally to be for damages for loss of reputation and/or reparation for financial loss. But nowadays, things like damages for mental stress can get brought in. So yes, if a hospital administrator gets seriously distressed as a result of a misleading report about MRSA in the hospital, they can probably sue. And they can sue even if they’re not directly involved in MRSA management and control. And I’m not sure whether they have to sue for libel, or whether they can sue under some other ground which is easier to sue under. (Human rights are very popular nowadays.)

  35. kim said,

    May 26, 2006 at 7:50 am

    Does anybody find it odd that none of the nationals seem to have picked up on the news of Dr Malyszewic’s death? Or have I missed something?

    I also note that Private Eye this week ran the story about The Observer using Dr M as an MRSA expert.

  36. Dr Aust said,

    May 26, 2006 at 11:16 am

    The dishonesty of the tabloid scare-hunters is no surprise, but there is a wider problem with reporting of science and medical issues in the UK media in general, even the upmarket places. One is lack of time and inclination to get to the bottom of things – it is easier to bang out something cribbed straight from other news stories or press releases, no fact-checking or wading through specialist material required.
    Apart from the time pressures on the reporters, I also suspect a signficant number of them simply don’t have the scientific or medical understanding to get to the bottom of things. Finally there is the argument that articles that tackle the issues properly will be so long and turgid that no-one will read them – Tim Radford has often said this over the years. To get the story read by the news editor, and then printed, the science journos tend to fall back on one of the stereotypical “would you believe it” formats than Ben G has written about – “Shocker – butter was bad for you – now boffins say its good!” etc etc.

    Having said that, the health writers CAN do it properly when they try, which makes it more of a shame that they don’t try more often. Take herceptin and cancer as a recent example. All the broadsheets papers printed loads of superficial and misleading stuff quoting the campaigning patients (human interest! news!) and reciting the highly selected statistics direct off the patient campaign group websites. It took months and months of this before even one health journo (Sarah Boseley in the Guardian) FINALLY read the coverage in the medical journals properly and wrote a sensible piece, quoting the real cancer recurrence figures (not just the carefully massaged “maximum impact” statistics the drug companies and the patient groups prefer to use) and giving some assessment of the deeper issues.

    You could contrast the coverage of health and scientific issues in the UK with that in some of the European countries. Of course, the serious newspapers in Spain, Germany and France are a bit dry and plodding to read, but at least those who want information can find it. UK newspapers are all in the entertainment business, and informative content is now an occasional treat when they do an “in-depth major feature” It would be nice to think there was a middle way somewhere, but don’t hold your breath.

  37. JQH said,

    May 28, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    Sorry, “Dr” should have been in inverted commas there, since he got his Ph.D. by mail order from a non-accredited university.

  38. AJH said,

    June 21, 2006 at 11:49 am

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!
    I’ve just checked Companies House for Chemsol Group Limited and here’s what it says:

    Name & Registered Office:
    CHEMSOL GROUP LIMITED

    Nature of Business (SIC(03)):
    9999 – Dormant Company

    HAHAHA! See for yourself:
    wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/7bda6d468f2e06a2b719685143cf2559/compdetails

    See also CHEMSOL LABS LIMITED registered at the same address which shows
    Status: Active – Proposal to Strike off
    because his accounts are late.

  39. AJH said,

    June 21, 2006 at 11:55 am

    Oh, and either give us a link to a news story reporting CM’s death or piss off, grew, you troll.

  40. AJH said,

    June 28, 2006 at 10:00 am

    Well I take it back, having re-read this thread and this time noticing raygirvan’s link, grew was not making it up. Sorry for calling you a troll.

    But nobody should apologise for what they have said about Mr Malysewicz on this forum, nor should anyone feign grief for a man they did not know and had no respect for. You don’t earn respect by dying.

    Condolences to his family, but I won’t pretend I’m sad.

  41. Patrick Holford and the Pioneering Nutrition Course « Holford Watch: Patrick Holford, nutritionism and bad science said,

    June 26, 2008 at 12:20 am

    […] my work is evidence-based”) and Ben Goldacre have also had a lively time in the past (and here). Holford Watch has devoted an entire blog to the quality of Patrick Holford’s research and […]

  42. quiact said,

    May 10, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Sometimes, death is a very good thing- for a vicious multi-cellular organism.
    There are a variety of different types of bacterial infections one can get from many different sources, yet some locations are more common than others. If bacteria are not beneficial for your health, as many bacteria are, they should die in order to restore your health.
    Bacteria are a simple life form, yet are incredibly productive and efficient. As with other life forms, they exist to reproduce, and does so about every hour. Bacteria mutate, evolve, and adapt according to the host in which they exist.
    To do this, it fully utilizes all available resources and energy to develop the protein that is essential for its survival in their host. Bacteria need exactly 7 genes to produce the essential ribosomes for their existence. Any more or less genes than 7, the bacteria is not maximizing its efficiency to survive and reproduce. Amazing.
    Strep infections are caused by what are called gram positive bacteria, and they are the most common bacteria that infect other humans. . Group A strep infections can cause diseases such as strep throat and pneumonia. Also, staph bacterial infections are gram positive as well that potentially infect humans, and do so often.
    Of all pathogenic, or disease-causing bacteria that exist, it is the MRSA, the methicillin resistant staff aureus bacteria, that are most concerning to health care providers in particular. This is because MRSA bacterial infections are the most difficult to cure when a patient suffers from their damage from being infected by these bacteria.
    Another difficult situation is when a patient is infected by VRE, Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci, which is another type of gram positive bacteria that exist.
    These MRSA and VRE bacteria are difficult to eradicate due to the fact that most antibiotics that are available to rid the patient of other bacterial infections, MRSA and VRE are resistant to the effectiveness of these antibiotics.
    MRSA and VRE infected patients are quite challenging for the health care provider who is attempting to cure patients infected with these particular bacterial infections.
    In many situations, pathogenic bacteria infect a patient already within a medical institution for another disease. When this occurs, it is called a nosocomial infection.
    Greater than 5 percent of nosocomial infections are determined to be MRSA infections, it has been reported. As a result, there are about 100,000 serious hospital infections, as well as about 20,000 deaths from MRSA infections annually.
    Since there are several types of pathogenic bacteria that exist, a diagnostic test called a culture and sensitivity is usually performed at a clinical laboratory to assure the correct antibiotic is selected for treatment, as the bacteria are identified with this diagnostic method.
    Typically, fluid from the area suspected of being infected is obtained from the patient suspected to have an infection and smeared on what is called a petrie dish. And then these dishes are incubated for 2 to 3 days. Gram positive bacteria stain during this process a dark violet or blue. Gram negative bacteria would be pink in color, and are capable of harm as well to a human being.
    When the culture is complete, technology that is available offers recommendations on the appropriate class or brand of antibiotic to treat the pathogenic bacteria present in another person- presuming the bacteria will not be resistant to the antibiotic recommended, as this happens on occasion.
    Usually, classes of antibiotics that are used to treat gram positive strep infections that are not VRE or MRSA bacteria are cephalosporins, macrolides, or general penicillins. If the microbe that is causing the infection is resistant to the antibiotic from such classes that are administered to the infected patient, other options should be considered for anti-microbial therapy.
    With two very powerful antibiotics in particular, which are methicillin and vancomycin, their frequent use in infected patients has resulted in VRE and MRSA bacteria that are now resistant to these antibiotics.
    When a patient is infected with VRE or MRSA bacteria, other selections for antimicrobial therapy that provide more efficacy should be selected for a patient infected with these types of infections. Such brands and types of antibiotics for MRSA and VRE bacteria include Zyvox, which has both IV and oral dosage options, and an antibiotic called Cubicin.
    However these antibiotics for antibiotic resistant bacteria are given usually due to infections that have progressed to a more serious nature within a patient infected in such a way, so a cure is not immediate when these antibiotics are selected for such patients.
    Progressive medical conditions with such infected patients include sepsis, or blood infection, osteomyelitis, or bone infection, as well as pneumonia, which is a serious lung infection. A hospital stay is normally required with such patients infected with MRSA and VRE infections that cause such diseases.
    This is because when the antibiotics that potentially cure the patient of these microbes are selected, they are usually given via IV administration, and are administered normally for several days, if not several weeks.
    There are numerous classes and types of antibiotics available, yet bacterial resistance to most of these antibiotics, with the exception of the two mentioned earlier, constantly remain a serious concern for the health care provider, and the MRSA and VRE infected patient.
    With MRSA at the top of the list of concerns for the health care providers, this infection continue to occur progressively, which amplifies the concerns of others.
    Medical institutions should possibly consider quarantine for those patients at their locations that have been determined to be infected with the MRSA and VRE bacteria more often in the future.
    www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa_spotlight_2006.html
    Dan Abshear

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