Professor Lubet’s Inquiry to Medical Center Holding ME/CFS Patient

By David Tuller, DrPH

Yesterday, I posted my exchange with a spokeswoman for Hennepin Healthcare about Thane Fredrickson, the ME/CFS patient who is under threat of involuntary psychiatric commitment. Today, Northwestern University law professor Steven Lubet, e-mailed her the following letter.


Dear Ms. Hill: I am a law professor at Northwestern University in Chicago, and I often write articles, for both scholarly and popular publications, about the legal issues relating to ME/CFS. I understand that Hennepin Healthcare has recently referred an ME/CFS patient for involuntary psychiatric commitment, and I have some questions for you. As a law professor, I am fully aware of HIPAA and other privacy requirements. Please be assured that my questions are general, so you may answer without regard to an identified patient:

Does Hennepin Healthcare have written guidelines, procedures, or protocols regarding the referral of patients for involuntary psychiatric commitment? If so, kindly provide me with a copy, or direct me to a website where they are accessible.

Have any Hennepin Healthcare physicians or other professionals participated, within the past five years, in CME courses or in-service training regarding ME/CFS? If so, kindly provide me with any materials for such CME or training, or direct me to a website where information is available.

Are there any physicians or other professionals on staff at Hennepin Healthcare (or otherwise affiliated) who specialize in ME/CFS? If so, kindly provide me with their names and contact information.

Again, I am not requesting any patient-specific information, but only general information about procedures and experience at Hennepin Healthcare.  

Thanks in advance for your responses, and kindly let me know if I can clarify any of my questions.

Steven Lubet

Steven Lubet (he/him)
Williams Memorial Professor
Director, Bartlit Center for Trial Advocacy
Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law





10 responses to “Professor Lubet’s Inquiry to Medical Center Holding ME/CFS Patient”

  1. Rachel Stanton Avatar
    Rachel Stanton

    Thank you, Professor Lubet!

  2. Claire Naylor Avatar
    Claire Naylor

    Thank you Professor Lubet.

  3. Barbara McMullen Avatar
    Barbara McMullen

    This is exactly what is needed to hold them accountable. Well-done.

  4. Justin Reilly Avatar
    Justin Reilly

    Thank you, Prof. Lubet. I used to represent people in psychiatric commitment hearings. This case is such a human rights abuse. I really thought we had seen the end of these in ME, especially in the US and especially for adults. Sadly, one must always be vigilant against such abuses.

  5. CT Avatar

    How many more have been and will be abused in this way?

  6. Fiona M Avatar
    Fiona M

    Thank you Professor Lubet for pursuing this!

  7. Leela Play Avatar
    Leela Play

    Brilliant Steven!

  8. jessica marotta-porter Avatar
    jessica marotta-porter

    Thank you for holding them accountable for their actions. Our community needs people like yourself to speak on our behalf. We appreciate this so much!

  9. Chiara Fero Avatar
    Chiara Fero

    This is so important, thank you. I wonder if a parallel line of inquiry could be sent to the relevant governing body for CE credits (required ongoing professional development/Continuing Education) to determine who has applied for such credits related to ME/CFS knowledge, and similarly to the Residency Director (or similar title) of any medical school
    closely affiliated to the hospital?

    Thank you again, so very much.

  10. Jason Avatar

    This a good way to treat others in society. thanks for sharing. keep it up.