Dr. Gerada took the audience into “wanting to shriek” territory. The moderator Ian Gibson put the lid on the situation in a rather heavy-handed fashion and attempted to guided the questions. Nevertheless, several extremely articulate patients (or advocates) were able to extract some acknowledgment from Dr. Gerada that ME was a serious illness, and some admissions that she might be able to help. The entirety had an unpleasant and disingenuous feeling to it. I always get worried when someone looks down or sits back as far as possible when answering a question. Psychologically speaking, Dr. Gerada's body language was not encouraging.
She left when she left - right away. There was no aftereffect. In this way she did us a favor - as an absurd counterpoint - an intermezzo really - to the serious conversations that were about to resume. Rest assured that this "bizarre episode" made no dent in the positive flow of the day. The only consequence of the extended question period with Dr. Gerada was that it impacted the next two lectures, which had to be presented in truncated versions. It was unfortunate that Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik had to cancel at the last minute. She is doing important NK cell research and I was looking forward to her update. Her colleague Dr. Don Staines presented her research for her, as I said, in a somewhat truncated fashion.