Fenland doctor critical of sensationalist media reporting of swine flu

PUBLISHED: 13:27 01 September 2009 | UPDATED: 09:14 02 June 2010

A FENLAND doctor has described media reporting of swine flu as sensationalist and fear mongering . Dr Stuart Shields, formerly of the Cornerstone Practice in March, said the media might try to link the 1918 flu event with the recent outbreak but we have

A FENLAND doctor has described media reporting of swine flu as "sensationalist and fear mongering".

Dr Stuart Shields, formerly of the Cornerstone Practice in March, said the media might try to link the 1918 flu event with the recent outbreak "but we have antibiotics, oxygen and access to other treatments that the people in 1918 did not have.

"It was irritating to see the death toll being reported on the news. It was sensationalist and fear mongering. What were those watching supposed to do?"

Dr Shields says the politics in the situation are obvious and the NHS "ought to work on evidence only. This showed that the medication is not very effective in children and causes a fair amount of vomiting and other side effects.

"The Government did not want to look uncaring, the media would most likely to exploit a decision not to use the flu tablets as putting the budget ahead of lives."

Dr Shields, writing in this month's Wimblington News, adds: "So, now thousands of people who got hot and started to cough or ache, took the medicine in the belief they had flu. If they get identical symptoms what will they have instead? Tami flu was already known to be nearly useless against bird flu."

Dr Shields says the experience to date is that it is a mild illness on the whole but the most at risk are pregnant women and the very overweight.

"In the case of pregnant women their immune system has been reduced to allow the baby to survive, and those who carry a lot of weight will really struggle to breathe with a chest infection," he said.


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