‘Corrie’ insensitivity enrages social media users

corrie title Izzy_Armstrong corrie Coronation Street’s Izzy Armstrong as played by Cherylee Houston.

There is a follow-up to this article, here https://50shadesofsun.com/?p=2118

 

Scripted words of a character in the long-running British television soap Coronation Street have shocked and horrified people with multiple sclerosis – and with good reason.

During Friday night’s episode, the character Izzy Armstrong reacted angrily to her doctor saying that she could not have a cannabis spray for pain relief. In a temper, she said: “It’s not every day I wish I had MS”.

Her words were criticised on the social media with one woman writing on the Multiple Sclerosis Trust’s Facebook page said: “I realise there are many conditions other than MS that cause severe pain but to script that she wishes she had MS seems quite unreal and insensitive to me.”

Actress Cherylee Houston has her own disability.

Actress Cherylee Houston has her own disability.

Other social media users were equally annoyed and upset about the words uttered by wheelchair-user Izzy who, when she first appeared on the show in April 2010, was much heralded as the soap’s first disabled regular character in 50 years.

What I find even more peculiar than some insensitive scriptwriting is that Izzy actress Cherylee Houston agreed to say the line – after all, she has a disability herself.

Cherylee has Hypermobility-type Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Izzy is supposed to have the same disability.

Hypermobility describes joints that stretch further than normal. For example, some hypermobile people can bend their thumbs backwards to their wrists, bend their knee joints backwards, put their leg behind the head or perform other contortionist ‘tricks’. It can affect one or more joints throughout the body. When present in the hands, it is colloquially referred to as being ‘double-jointed’.

Anyone aggrieved by Izzy’s dialogue is being urged to complain to ITV at www.itv.com/contactus

 

42 thoughts on “‘Corrie’ insensitivity enrages social media users

  1. It’s the real world. I don’t know why people are complaining. Live the life that thousands of us live and then you can comment.
    I have a SCI and its shite!!!!!
    Legalise at least canabis oil, it’s for pain, it doesn’t give you a high, just pain relief the natural way, having to take more than 40 chemical tablets it’s just not fair

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  2. I really don’t like the way you describe her disability. Ehlers danlos is a condition that causes excruciating pain, spasms and severe disability not just double jointed thumbs! Very insensitive yourselves. MS Is not something to wish in replace and the Script writers got it wrong corrie bosses need to apologise but so do you for your dismissal of her condition.

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    • I totally agree. I have EDS type 1 & 2 with type 3 also and there are days it hurts so bad I wish I didn’t have to breathe let alone to move. I’m not going to wrote a long message of how it affects me as it affects everyone differently but each condition should be given its own credit and not played down and made into something that sounds likes all you can do it ‘tricks’ with bendy thumbs!!!

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      • My son has EDS III & I have MS I wouldn’t wish either on anyone. I am so sick of people describing my sons condition as being a bit bendy. I’m pleased corrie is bringing awareness to the condition and the pain that can be suffered. Articles like this one belittling it really don’t help.

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  3. My complaint to Carrie

    To whom this may concern,

    As a young individual I’m going through some pretty rough times having being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Day to day gets more difficult as time goes on, strength weakened, speech slurred, memory shortened, fatigued and in excruciating pain. I pull myself through for my 3 year old daughter each day. And at the end of the day I like to sit down and enjoy the soaps.

    I am absolutely appalled at the statement ‘izzy’ made on Fridays show about how she wishes she had MS because it’s ‘easier’. Firstly I am shocked that a disabled person has agreed to say such a ridiculous thing. But secondly disgusted that coronation street hasn’t done their research like they should. Us MS patients have to fight the doctors for any acknowledgement of our symptoms worsening and can only be proved with an MRI that they do not hand out on a plate. As for marijuana pain relief this is not possible even for us.

    Charleyne Houston needs to have a serious reality check. She has an awful condition but so does a lot of other people. She was given a chance to better her life and make awareness of an illness in an incredible show. And now she’s using it to slam other illnesses ! Her and coronation street should be disgusted with themselves !!

    Coronation street should employ an MS patient and see just how difficult we have it. Also someone who isn’t biased to one illness and knows the importance and value of other people’s feelings going through different turmoil times.

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    • But she didn’t slam MS. Her exact line was “It isn’t every day I wish I had MS”.
      In other words usually she does NOT want MS. She fully recognises it for the difficult and disabling illness that it is.

      On this one single occasion she felt envy because some MS patients are being offered a treatment which would probably help her with her severe pain, but she is denied it just on the basis of diagnosis. It seems a perfectly reasonable reaction in the heat of the moment.

      Before you say I couldn’t possibly understand, I too am severely disabled, with a progressive painful muscle condition and also an autoimmune disease. I would still feel the same way had it been my own illness mentioned in the script.

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      • I am aware of that. It is one of the reasons I said *some* MS patients rather than simply MS patients.

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      • You have your own feelings on this matter and I have mine. We may not agree with each other. I have put my complaint in because I find it very insensitive.

        This show has done incredible research on hard storylines and could not be bothered to do research on MS and made a thoughtless comment.

        Her disability is awful, but so can MS be.

        Some people can find it easy to dismiss uneducated comments, i can’t.

        No harm in my complaint. Every harm in their comment

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      • You have completely missed the point n your eagerness to play chronic illness one-upmanship.

        NOTHING TO DO WITH DISABILITY/AWFULNESS LEVEL!!!

        Entirely referring to possibility of being prescribed medical cannabis. I myself have been told by pain clinic (in England) that the spray is only available to MS patients.

        Sincerely,
        All the EDS patients.

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      • No, I am afraid it s you who has completely missed the point. It was never about ‘chronic illness one-upmanship’ as you put it. Not that having either illness can be seen in that way as none of us want what we have. You have obviously not read the second article which you can find here https://50shadesofsun.com/?p=2118.
        Yes, Sativex is only licensed for use to treat some problems associated with MS, however – owing to NICE’s determination that the costs outweigh the benefits – the only part of the UK that approves its provision by the NHS is Wales. So, anywhere else such as England, even MS patients (for whom it is licensed) will have great difficulty in obtaining it.
        Finally, from the varied comments received, it is extremely presumptuous of you to claim to write for ‘All the EDS patients’.

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  4. Once again HMS/EDS is dismissed. The description of EDS in this article makes it sound like nothing … like it just means you can do bendy tricks! No mention of the constant pain, dislocations, sublux, scoliosis, gastro issues, migraine, dental problems, anxiety, mast cell reactions, dysautomnia etc etc …

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  5. As a sufferer of Ehlers danlos Hypermobility type I can empathise completely with what has been said.EDS isn’t just about being a bit bendy or Hypermobile it can affect a number of things in the body.We need specialist input in pain,cardiology,neurology,rheumatology,gastroenterology,urology,psychiatry,hearing,eye sight,to deal with our many problems.I am not proud to admit that I personally have threatened to jump off a bridge because of being unable to get a break from the chronic pain.I have also said in desperation,why don’t I have cancer ? ,,at least there is a chance of cure with that ! …a stupid thing to say but it was prompted by my state of mind at the time when I was overwhelmed by various unpleasant symptoms…….I worry constantly that one day I may have to be tube fed,or have a catheter to wee,or a colostomy bag to poo,like many of my fellow sufferers.We are very neglected by the nhs and there definitely should be at least regional experts / clinics who can help with our many problems,as most gps and other doctors are incredibly lacking in knowledge of the condition.Professor Rodney Grahame the uks and one of the world experts in the condition said this quite recently “NO OTHER DISEASE IN THE HISTORY OF MODERN MEDICINE HAS BEEN NEGLECTED IN SUCH A WAY AS EHLERS DANLOS SYNDROME”……https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehlers–Danlos_syndrome

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    • I agree with you, Paul. Furthermore, I don’t think people should be offended by what Izzie said – I think her words reflect the reality of how bad EDS can be. I think people should focus more on the fact that it’s very hard to get the spray she talked about – and being an MS sufferer is one of the only ways to get it, despite the intractable pain of EDS. I do think Corrie could have done a much, much better job of explaining about EDS an just how torturous it can be, how neglected we are as a group of patients, and how badly treated we are by the NHS.

      For the character to say she never thought she’s say that she wishes she had MS so she could get help, should illicit sympathy from another group of people who also suffer – but for whom there is far more help and research being done. It also illustrates just how debilitating EDS can be.

      One Cancer specialist who now works with EDS patients said in his opinion, EDS pain is worse than the pain of some cancers (I hope I never find out). Put in to the mix that it’s well documented that painkillers are less effective in EDS bodies, is it any wonder that this character would feel like that? When I talked to my doctor about the spray, I was told I’d get it if I had MS, and for a second, I wished I had MS, as that way I would get help. With EDS, there is no help. Perhaps thee MS community should get behind the EDS community and support us, rather than taking offense at a statement that was said by a fictional character. If you don’t have EDS, you have no idea of how painful it is, how it wrecks EVERY system in your body and how it can actually kill you in a few different ways. Find the lack of help for EDS offensive. Find the fact that there are children in the UK locked in psych units being told there’s nothing wrong with them despite experts diagnosing them with EDS offensive. Find the fact that people are dying because of EDS offensive. But don’t find nonsense like this offensive – especially when you don’t know enough about the Syndrome.

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  6. As much as I dont agree with the comment made by Izzy, I am sadend as some with Ethlers Danlos that once again this condition is described as being bendy. EDS is an awful condition which brings with it dislocations, sublaxations, nerve pain, fatigue and a host of other terrible symptons. So why I think the script was insensitive to ms suffers, equally it is insensitive to those with eds.

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  7. It wasn’t said to belittle ms, it was said so that eds is no longer belittled by the gp’s
    I had to fight for 30 years to be diagnosed with eds,even then my GP at the time still didn’t believe it and wouldn’t prescribed the medications my consultant asked for.
    When she said that line it was because only the cannabis oil is available for Ms patients in the UK.so no, it wasn’t fair that she said that line,but now do you she why she said it.

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  8. As a sufferer of both EDS hypermobility-type AND MS I can appreciate why this has caused anger amongst the MS community, particularly when MS patients in England are denied Sativex (aka “cannabis spray”) due to NICE claiming it is not cost effective and forbidding doctors to prescribe it (it can only be obtained on private prescription), so really Corrie script writers need to check their facts before giving as stupid and inflammatory a line as this! Here in Wales Sativex can be prescribed, but it is still a battle to get it as many neurologists are not allowed to prescribe it because of the cost, and it is only given in the most extreme cases when no other medications are controlling the symptoms. As I have said, I suffer with both conditions, EDS and MS, but can honestly say that I have not found Sativex to help with the pain caused by the EDS (I am “fortunate” in that my MS symptoms are severe enough for me to have Sativex and for me to have been prescribed it when it was still unlicensed, otherwise I wouldn’t be allowed to have it myself). It does however ease temporarily the muscle spasms of MS, and helps somewhat with the bladder issues that I experience as a result of MS (but doesn’t prevent me having to self-catheterise). It does annoy me that EDS hypermobility-type is spoken of dismissively as just being bendy, but at the same time I find that someone wishing they had MS instead of EDS just so that they could possibly get a medication that is in fact denied to so many MS sufferers is absolutely ludicrious. Corrie writers please DO YOUR RESEARCH before making such ridiculously dismissive statements again.

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  9. But it’s the kind of thing someone might say when upset and in pain. It’s not a public statement. People say things, she is supposed to be an everyday person, not a politician. For heavens sake.,.its almost impossible for writers to wrote without offending someone. It’s just a script…it’s not real.

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  10. EDS is not double jointedness! You should be ashamed of yourself for describing it in that way! It is excruciating pain multiple dislocations a day- have you ever dislocated a joint or know anyone that has ask them how painful that is and think about it happening multiple times a day, muscle weakness, shaking, spasms, brain fog and memory loss, slurred speach… I do understand why people would feel offended by that line but I don’t think people understand how terrible this condition is. What Izzy meant by what she said is that if she had another condition she would have the chance to get more help because doctors can be as ignorant as the person that wrote this in thinking EDS is double jointedness. If your offended by that comment is it because you think MS is worse than EDS? Well who says? And I’m not saying it isn’t but are you? Had you ever even heared of EDS before this and do you actually know anything about it now?

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  11. Very insensitive misguided script. None should ever wish another illness. The idea being ms patients are allowed to have cannabis spray for the condition. In context she was not saying its okay for MS. Sufferers but that if she had the condition this spray could be prescribed for her .But script writers got the wording wrong. Just for the record many eds sufferes also suffer with secondary conditions such as MS RA Lupus. It is a multi systemic condition that does not only cause dislocations of multiple joints. But also causes severe pain, many of the bodies systems to malfunction, this includes for alot of us neurological conditions, internal problems such as gastroparisis/stomach paralysis, heart,POTS, lung, kidney, brain conditions such as chiari malformation and cervico cranial instability. It is far from double jointed and perhaps this insensitivity should also be highlighted. No-one would be in a wheelchair because their thumbs bending backwards!Ehlers Danlos syndrome is a serious condition, causing.

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  12. Ehlers danlos syndrome or joint hyper mobility is not just about being able to move ur thumb to ur hand or legs behind ur head it is about dislocations joints popping out living with Constant CHRONIC PAIN it is a disability that is invisible but yet real it is real it changes people’s whole life and i like the way corrie are showing how it is and how strong the pain is and how often u feel u don’t have answers from Drs !!!!!

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  13. I can understand you and many other MS patients feel MS is being belittled as a condition by the script writers on Corrie, but I think part of this is a lack of public understanding of H-EDS. In your post you have put a description of hypermobility, which as you point out is being a bit bendy. But its not a proper description of hypermobility type EDS. This may not seem very important but if Izzy’s character has H-EDS she is likely to be in excruciating pain, with a range of complex issues that affect every part of the body and can leave patients without a working stomach, cathetered, tube fed, unable to stand or balance, in constant agony with their joints permanently injured from repeated daily dislocations, neuropathic pain and in some cases bad scoliosis. So similar to the levels of pain and disability many MS patients suffer. She is not saying its better to have MS, she says despite her problems there are very few days she’d she’d want to swap! What she is saying is she wished she had the same access to medications and a doctor who took her pain seriously. I agree that is bad writing if most MS patients still don’t get access to this too. But please don’t start an argument on the basis of whose condition is worse. Every severe illness or disability deserves respect and nobody can judge someone else’s pain levels. I’m sure you have experienced lack of belief and proper understanding for your MS from some people and so you can understand why she might get frustrated with her doctor.

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    • Hi, thanks for commenting. This is yesterday’s post; in today’s I have tried to better explain H-EDS. I have not, am not and will not try to compare MS and EDS; we all have problems, that is enough. It really does seem that the scripted lines that caused offence to many were based on poor research by, or on behalf of, the scriptwriters. The conversation appears to have been based on the fact that Izzy could not have the spray because it is only for people with MS. However, only a little research, would have uncovered the fact that even if she did have MS, that spray is not available on the NHS in England (where Corrie is set), Scotland or Northern Ireland. It is only available on the NHS in Wales, and even there it is difficult to obtain. In other words, Izzy’s scripted line, in frustration saying that some days she wished she had MS, was based on the incorrect belief that someone with MS in Manchester could get the spray prescribed.

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  14. If this is to me I’m not trying to arguing which is worst my point is this article seems to belittle Eds and makes it sound that they r just bendy in which case there is a lot more to it I personally like the way that corrie cover this disability and bring more awareness and Infact Eds and ms have similar symptoms and everybody that have either of these disabilities struggle on a daily bases and take each day as it comes cause we can’t plan too much cause each day is different I personally suffer with Eds and it has changed my whole life!

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  15. For anyone else reading all of these comments. …..for accurate information and description on the types of EDS….read up on the EDS UK website and on the HMSA website.

    I too have EDS -Hypermobility type. My friend who I met on a neurology ward has MS. We met in 2005 when I’d lost the use of my left leg and didn’t know why. I was on my long mis-diagnosis journey at the time. I got diagnosed at aged 35 in 2012. We are still good friends. Yes an MS patient and an EDS patient can be friends! ?
    http://www.ehlers-danlos.org/

    http://www.hypermobility.org

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  16. If I had MS I would have access to better meds, a specialist team who supported me medically, a point of contact for info and help in NHS, I’d have little chance of having it passed onto my kids, I’d have little change of secondary fibromyalgia , and money being spent on researching my condition. However I have EDS so I have ineffective meds, no medical team, I’m expected to inform my medical staff what EDS meansand how they should treat me, very little is spent on my condition, both my kids have got it from me, I have failing joints, spinal cord damage, failing internal organs, fibromyalgia … And to top it off … Have a much higher chance of getting MS anyway … Along with a very long list of autoimmune diseases … So forgive me if I wish I only had MS (I’ve know people who have it and how bad it is, and I envy them – the ones who don’t also have EDS that is!)

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  17. I can’t believe what I’ve just read. To describe EDS as simply being ‘double jointed’ and able to do ‘contortionist tricks’ is absolutely awful. You’ve clearly done in a quick Google search in your desperate attempt to slag Coronation Street off (for finally highlighting how EDS is seen as less sufferable than other conditions such as MS. For finally highlighting that an EDS sufferer’s pain is deemed less worthy of relief as it’s less known by the medical community and society in general).

    EDS has caused me pain from the day I was born and will continue to do so till the day I die. I’ve been told there’s a high risk of pregnancy killing me. The best day of my life as a 22 year old was getting my electric wheelchair. Yesterday I burst out crying because of the pain I felt reaching for the remote to turn the telly up. I’ve already been told that one day I may go blind, as my EDS can cause retinal detachment. I’m at risk of aortic aneurysm, at risk of my blood vessels and arteries spontaneously rupturing. I’m 22 years old and I know that this condition may kill me. Just like it already has many others.

    But hey ho, at least I can do some fun contortionist tricks! Yay!

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  18. Thank you for your update on EDS, however if you read the comments of fellow suffers I think you have still underplayed what having EDS actually means.
    It’s something you have for life, but like myself most people don’t get a diagnosis until much later in life. I was 43 when I finally got some answers, this is after being tested for MS 5 times throughout my life, because that was the only possible thing medicial staff knew about that could cause symptoms in some way similar to what I was experiencing!
    I have been a wheelchair user for an unexplained condition for most of my life. I spend days, weeks and sometimes months bed bound, where sliding from my electric bed to the commode cause such extreme pain, normally at least one dislocation, plenty of tears and then the need to sleep for hours, just to get over going for a wee!
    yes I can get my thumb…and in fact all my fingers back to touch my wrist. A great party trick as a teenager, now I can no longer write, I can only use a touch screen, as my fingers are to bendy to hold a pen or push buttons, last week I finally got to see a hand therapist, which is great, however the words horse and bolted comes to mind, I really needed this when I was at school, not at the age of 46!
    I suffer with a lot of muscle spasms and often lose the feeling of everything from the waist down.
    However in EDS terms I most defiantly consider myself one of the lucky ones.
    I am not tube fed ( although the different foods I can stomach, lesson almost weekly) for that I am incredibly grateful, it’s one of my biggest fears with this condition, and I know so many who are. I don’t have a heart defect, although I have a lot of problems with my bowls, I don’t need a bag, I don’t have spams 24 hours a day everyday for years. I know so many EDS’ers who have to live with all of this and so much more. So yes I am one of the lucky ones.
    I don’t wish I had a different syndrome, but totally understand where Izzy was coming from, in a moment of frustration having a more recognisable syndrome with which so much more expertise comes, is very understandable.
    ATM I take 60 pills a day, no one including myself know which ones or for that matter if any off them actually help with the condition, other than morphine which helps somewhat with the pain.
    I am not sure if I have achieved in giving a clearer picture of what EDS is and the suffering it brings, I am just telling my own story in the hope it gives a little bit more understanding.
    By the way I do have friends with MS and am fully aware of the suffering it brings. I am not comparing illnesses, just wishing people understood as much about EDS as they do about MS!

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    • Thank you Linda. The information I supplied came from an EDS website, not through any personal knowledge of your illness. Your contribution is most helpful, bringing with it the benefit of first-hand experience. I am fortunate that my MS is not that bad yet; I know people in a far worse state.
      It is true that public awareness of EDS needs to be raised. Perhaps telling your story and those of others might help.

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