Disparaging IBS Remarks on Senate Floor by Senator John McCain Furthers Misunderstanding of the Value of IBS Research

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) demonstrates a lack of understanding of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

That is a person (Senator McCain) who has no idea how IBS affects everyday life and can be a very debilitating illness

During marathon sessions to debate Health Reform, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 and Sunday December 13, 2009 identified IBS as an illness unworthy of receiving funds for research. Senator McCain's December 12, 2009 comment, "$665,000 for, I'm not making this one up, for the Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles California for equipment and supplies for the institute for Irritable Bowel Syndrome research. <pause> Now, I have a lot of comments on them on that issue, but I'll just pass so not to violate the rules of the Senate.", demonstrates contempt for the real pain and suffering felt by the millions of IBS sufferers across the nation. On December 13, 2009 Senator McCain repeated, "Another one that I have been unable to describe adequately without violating the rules of the Senate. $665,000 for Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles California for equipment and supplies for the Institute for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Research. The only thing I can say is that problem will not be reduced when people read this legislation, so there may be a need for it. The list goes on and on, it is crazy stuff."

Insulted members of the IBS Group website brought Senator McCain's statements to the group's online forums. "That is a person (Senator McCain) who has no idea how IBS affects everyday life and can be a very debilitating illness," said Diana, a member of the IBS Group. "It appears the Senator (or his staff) do not know how many people are actually affected by IBS. If he knew the numbers he might change his viewpoint," said another longstanding member. "IBS isn't an illness that deserves a potshots on the Senate floor to make a point with respect to Health Reform. It just perpetuates the myth that IBS is not a serious issue for millions of people who are desperately looking towards research and drug development to ease their suffering," said Jeffrey Roberts, Founder of the IBS Patient Group.

About Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a functional bowel disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and discomfort accompanied by alterations in bowel function, diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both, typically over months or years. The cause of IBS is unknown. A diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome has been reported by approximately 15% of adults in the United States, and symptoms of IBS are responsible for over 3.5 million yearly visits to physicians. Research suggests that Irritable Bowel Syndrome is one of the most common functional GI disorders and is one of the most common reasons for consultation with a primary care physician or gastroenterologist. Despite IBS showing to have a significant negative impact on health-related quality of life, only 30% of people with IBS symptoms seek medical attention. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is found predominantly in women in a 2:1 ratio versus men.

About the IBS Patient Group

The IBS Patient Group is the premier Internet self help health site about Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The IBS Patient Group is a public education organization for those who suffer from IBS, those who are looking for support for someone who has IBS, medical professionals who want to learn more about IBS and to be responsible patient advocates on local, regional and federal levels. The organization provides dependable irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes, symptoms, support and treatment for sufferers, family and friends.

C-SPAN Video library December 12, 2009 (~110 mark), http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/290642-1
C-SPAN Video library December 13, 2009 (~18:18 mark), http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/id/216757

Jeffrey D. Roberts, MSEd, Founder
IBS Patient Group


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Jeffrey D. Roberts
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