Oliver Coles was a thirty-year-old from Cotham, Bristol, UK, living with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) who committed suicide on March 13, 2012. He had blogged about his attempts to treat his illness at olivercoles.blogspot.co.uk. Several treatments he blogged about were antivirals, detoxification, and nutritional balancing.
Illness onset and course of illness[edit | edit source]
Coles reported that he first became sick with a viral infection in January 2008. Three months later he was diagnosed with glandular fever (which is known as mononucleosis in the US). He trained as an engineer consultant and tried working off and on but was forced to take increasing time off. By November 2008, he was completely unable to work and moved back to his parents' house. Early in 2009 he was diagnosed with ME/CFS.
Controversy over reporting on his suicide[edit | edit source]
His sister, Becky Cole, in a letter to the ME Association, criticized their re-edited title of the article copied directly from the Tonbridge Courier, regarding her brother's death as it gave the wrong message regarding Oliver's suicide. The Tonbridge Courier article title read: "Suicide of man with debilitating condition". The ME Association re-print read: "Suicide after buying herbal remedies online."
"I am sure your association is aware of it. Oliver did not take his own life due to this [herbal] programme, as your title implies," Becky Cole wrote. "Ultimately he didn’t see a future without pain with no evidence that he would get better, and he could not live with that."