Doctors' Diagnosis Doctors' diagnosis

Multiple sclerosis

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 12 June 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1323

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  1. Harriet Gaze (, freelance journalist1
  1. 1 London NW3 2HY

    Harriet Gaze, a journalist who has multiple sclerosis, talks to Stephen Hempling, a former general practitioner whose multiple sclerosis was diagnosed at the late age of 50

    When the taxi driver said, “This is Millionaires' Row, love,” as he dropped me outside Stephen Hempling's home in Hove, East Sussex, my first uncharitable thought was that, as a medic, Dr Hempling probably got better medical care for his multiple sclerosis (MS) than I did for mine. My condition was diagnosed 13 years ago, after I had vision difficulties, loss of feeling, pins and needles, and a range of other classic MS symptoms. One relapse last year prevented me from working for four months, and I know that NHS neurologists have massive workloads.

    Embedded Image

    Harriet Gaze is used to waiting six or seven months to see a neurologist


    As I arrived to interview Stephen Hempling, I wondered what it must be like to straddle two sides of the fence—as a former general practitioner and current independent forensic expert and as someone with a long term, deteriorating condition—both doctor and patient, one of “us” and one of “them.”

    Last year, Hempling did 92 days in court as an expert witness. He has many years' experience …

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