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A Hospital in Sweden is Threatening to Commit an ME/CFS Patient to a Psych Ward

Holger Klintenberg Is a severe ME/CFS patient in Sweden who is being threatened by a local hospital with committing him by force to their psych ward. He is extremely severe and this will kill him. Please sign the petition here if you haven’t already. And spread the word through all your social media and contacts!

Here is his Facebook page where you can find daily updates on their status and his condition. Every day is terrifying for them as they wait hoping that sanity will prevail.

This is a letter I wrote to the Hospital that is threatening to commit Holger.


Dear Länssjukhuset Ryhov hospital threatening to commit Holger Klintenberg against his will,

My name is Whitney Dafoe and like Holger I also have severe ME/CFS. I have recently seen some minor improvement from an experimental drug that reduces brain inflammation which is the only reason I’m able to write this now. I spent four long years in a state very similar to the condition Holger is in.

I’m writing you to tell you that if I was committed to a psych ward even now it would without question kill me. It would have killed me faster if I was committed when I was in Holger’s condition. Holger will die if you commit him to a psych ward. Period. If you doubt this you should watch this news clip about an ME/CFS patient who died as a direct result of being committed. And ask yourself: do you want that on your conscience? Do you want that kind of publicity? Killing someone? Because you will get it.

ME/CFS is not a psychological illness. It never has been and there has never been an acceptable reason to treat ME/CFS patients the way you are threatening to treat Holger. For decades there has been so little research into ME/CFS that there hasn’t been a lot of proof of physical illness. However in recent years there has been a surge of research into ME/CFS due to a team of world renowned scientists (all award winning and 3 Nobel prize award winners) at Stanford University taking on the illness full steam, almost entirely privately funded. They have made a number of profound discoveries in only a few years that prove this is a real physical illness and they are only going to find more proof as they move closer to finding a diagnostic test and a cure. The lead researcher is Ronald W. Davis and he would be happy to speak with you about these discoveries and give you his very informed opinion on the consequences of committing Holger. How will you feel after killing someone who could have lived to see a cure discovered and experience a full recovery?

The main, most distinguishing symptom of ME/CFS is something called Post Exertional Malaise (PEM) which refers to symptoms worsening with physical exertion, or with severe patients like Holger and myself, mental exertion as well. Patients with ME/CFS have what is called an energy envelope - in other words - an energy limit. When patients exceed this limit, two things happen. Their symptoms get worse which can last for hours, days, months, or years. And most importantly, the energy limit lowers. I got worse for 4 years due to going over my energy limit for one too many days.

Holger is in an extremely fragile state. Because he is so severe, his energy limit is so low that even the most mild stimulation such as light or noise forces his mind to use more energy than his limit permits and he gets worse. And his energy limit goes down even further. This is an extremely dangerous vicious cycle where every time the energy limit is exceeded, it gets lower and the patient has to figure out how to live, or in Holger’s case, survive, while staying under this limit. At some point if he is not in an environment that allows him to do this, the limit will get so low that he will not be able to stay under it and he will quickly get worse at an exponential rate until he dies.

This is not an idea or theory. This is the reality that millions of people suffering from ME/CFS face every day among other devastating symptoms.

If you commit Holger to a psych ward it will kill him without question. If you do not commit him and allow him to live in the space he has been living in he will very likely survive long enough for the research team at Stanford to find treatments that will make him much better or a cure that will return him to a fully healthy, productive member of society.

You have a choice to make and you now know what the consequences of that choice will be. If you have any semblance of humanity or decency you will give Holger a chance to live. That’s the least that any human being deserves.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Whitney Dafoe, severe ME/CFS patient

Donate to ME/CFS research at the Open Medicine Foundation to help stop the suffering of millions and end ME/CFS.

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