All our complaints over Dr Mitton’s comments made a difference. Below is a statement she put out today.
20th June 2014
First and foremost I would like to apologise for the distress that I have caused by what was shown on the BBC to all Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis patients. I was unable to respond more quickly to the reactions to this report due to very heavy clinical commitments. I feel that what I said and the subsequent coverage has been misinterpreted and I would like to clarify this now.
I said that Crohn’s disease occurs in those who are genetically susceptible and that the unexplained recent increase in numbers diagnosed amongst young people in the UK is likely to be related to life style. I did mention pre diagnosis diet and multiple courses of antibiotics as possible factors preceding the development of overt disease in some cases. I did not say that junk food or frequent courses of antibiotics CAUSE Crohn’s disease. I am very aware there are many patients with IBD who eat a very healthy and nutritious diet and have always done so before their diagnosis.
However, since the initial report on 18th of June there have been subsequent newspaper and television reports that focus on the assumption that Crohn’s Disease seems to be “caused” by junk food and multiple antibiotics. This is not my belief and is a distortion.
I did not mean to imply any element of self-infliction and I am appalled to think this could set back public perception of IBD or that sufferers might be blamed for their own pain and misfortune.
I would like to sincerely apologise again for the distress that my comments have caused.
Dr Sally Mitton
Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist