In 2017, the London Review of Books published a commentary from an anonymous young woman with a prolonged illness that had seriously impaired her ability to care for herself. The situation was “infuriating,” she wrote in the short but impassioned article.
In an email to the doctor who diagnosed her, she expressed concern that her legs ached after any physical activity. The doctor’s promise proved to be illusory. Maeve never entered a period of “sustained improvement.” Maeve died on October 3, 2021. She was 27.“It would be nice if the doctors concerned could perhaps try to be a little less hasty, and a bit more humble,” he wrote in the post. “The phrase ‘Medically Unexplained’ does not mean ‘Medically Unexplainable.’ Just because you don’t know what’s wrong with a patient doesn’t mean that nothing is wrong with them.”