[YSPNetwork] tinnitus and suicide
ibelizstev at aol.com
ibelizstev at aol.com
Mon Jan 22 09:56:07 PST 2007
Thanks, Donna, for posting the Seattle Times article about the gentleman who committed suicide and suffered from Tinnitus. I immediately sent that article to my friends at the Tinnitus Clinic at OHSU who have dealt with Tinnitus-sufferers and Tinnitus-related suicides for the past couple of decades. This is the response they sent to the Seattle Times, and that they wish to make as public as possible:
Dear Friends, My husband and I were greatly troubled by the article from the Seattle Times relating the story of Melissa Allison and her husband, Stu, who killed himself because of severe tinnitus. We have been working to help tinnitus patients for over 30 years. My husband, Dr. Jack Vernon (now retired) started the first Tinnitus Clinic anywhere in the world, in 1975. He also was a founder of the American Tinnitus Association, headquartered here in Portland. Both of those efforts were made possible by the fact that Jack developed the first effective treatment approach for severe tinnitus, and went on to pioneer the use of several other treatment modalities that had never previously been tried, and that proved to be very helpful for many tinnitus patients. Of course, it's impossible to know whether any of the treatment methods tried here in Oregon would have helped Stu. But the fact that none of the healthcare specialists that Stu and Melissa contacted cared enough, or knew enough, about the condition to refer him for treatment by a tinnitus specialist is cause for tremendous concern. Even ten years ago, tinnitus was an actively-treated subject on the Web. Both the Tinnitus Clinic at Oregon Health & Science University and the American Tinnitus Association have had fully developed web sites for at least 12 years and possibly longer. Both organizations are active referral sites to knowledgeable healthcare professionals equipped to deal with tinnitus. Hard though it is to believe, despite the fact that severe tinnitus has been recognized as a difficult medical condition since the days of ancient Egypt, there are still many health professionals who think "there is nothing that can be done about it." And even more who provide so-called treatment, using procedures that are outdated or are ineffective. It is difficult to find someone who really knows how to help tinnitus, and who will take the time and make the effort to try a variety of treatment approaches---Someone who will "go to bat" for the patient, and not leave the person in despair. Stu is not the only case of tinnitus-induced suicide. Unfortunately, there have been others, although we will probably never know how many. Beethoven considered it; Smetana wrote his tinnitus into his music, and said his tinnitus was the worst thing that had ever happened to him. It is not difficult to see why, as tinnitus is like severe pain---without treatment, the person can never get away from it. I am also sending a message to Ms. Allison, in the hope that she might become an anchor for tinnitus news within her own sphere of influence. And I hope that your organization will register the fact that someone who is suicidal because of tinnitus can obtain help that can turn their life around. That help is just a few keystrokes away http://www.ohsu.edu/ohrc/tinnitusclinic/ (503-494-7954) and http://www.ata.org (503-248-9985) Sincerely, Mary B. Meikle, Ph.D. Clinical Professor in Otolaryngology The Tinnitus Clinic Oregon Hearing Research Center, NRC04 Oregon Health & Science University 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road Portland, OR 97239-3098 (503) 494-2941 (voice), FAX (503) 494-5656 meiklem at ohsu.edu
Thanks for this listserv and thanks for caring.
Liz Stevenson, J.D., M.P.H.
National Grants Coordinator
Oregon Health & Science University
Center for Evidence-based Policy
2611 SW 3rd Avenue, MQ 280
Portland, OR 97201
503-494-3094 (Direct line)
steveeli at ohsu.edu
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