There were the angry letters and phone calls. There were patients who told him he was fired, and others who accused him of conspiring with drug companies to keep them ill in the name of profit. There was the vitriol being poured into online forums, where he was called a pompous windbag with the bedside manner of Adolf Hitler, a pill pusher and, even, the “King of all Turds.”
He had spent a quarter century searching for a cure for multiple sclerosis, spurred on by being a daily witness to the fear and pain of his patients, but when Freedman urged caution over a proposed new theory of the debilitating disease — something he says he did in the best interest of patients — he was labelled a villain.
“What did we do — other than point out the obvious careful approach to treatment — to warrant this kind of aggressiveness from their part?” asks Freedman, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Research Unit at the Ottawa Hospital.
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