Dr Skinner has died and I am desperate now for thyroid help

After many years of suspecting my thyroid was underactive I got a private referral to Dr Skinner at the end of September. He prescribed thyroxine and I've been steadily increasing the dosage as planned. I was due to see him again this week. I have just discovered that he has died and now I am extremely anxious. I'm currently taking 100mg a day, and for the last 3 or 4 weeks have been aware that my heart is beating very fast, and I'm getting an increase in twinges of pain in my chest. I've also developed a frozen shoulder. These are all signs of thyroxine toxicity, and I would have gone to my GP but I know that he will just say 'I told you so' and take me off the meds and I'll be back to square one. I thought that as my appt with Dr Skinner was coming up so soon it would be better to hold off and see him.

I'm desperate to get my thyroid sorted out as I'm having my 6th IVF attempt in the new year, and cannot go ahead until thyroid related problems are ruled out.

I've been counting the days until my follow up appt with Dr Skinner, and now I don't know what to do. I'm very concerned about my pulse being so fast, but don't want the GP to stop thyroxine completely (he absolutely refused to consider that I could be hypothyroid).

Please could anyone suggest someone who can help me - and quickly? In the Sussex/London area? I feel slightly hysterical as there is so much at stake with IVF, and I'm so worried about my heart rate.

Sorry if this sounds a bit mad. I am very depressed and anxious and have just lost my job and had a family bereavement and many other bad things, and I have been pinning all my hopes on sorting out my thyroid.

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  • I personally would contact the lovely Dr Peatfield who has his main clinic in Crawley most Monday - Thursday's as even if he's unable to directly help you with a prescription, he might know of someone else who can. I've PM'd his details to you.

    There's also a list of NHS & private GP's & Endocrinologist's that is held by Thyroid UK which hopefully either someone can send you or if you email Louise Warvill she'll send it to you; louise.warvill@thyroiduk.org.

    Why won't your GP help? Are there any others in your practice who might? If not is it possible to change surgeries?

    I would definitely recommend you try & take some deep breaths & do some relaxation because with all you have going on it would be hardly surprising if that wasn't causing your heart & pulse to race? Also with all of the huge stresses you're under then your adrenal glands are probably crying out for some help & if so then until they get some then you won't sort your thyroid out. Are you already on hormones getting ready for your next IVF cycle? If not is it possible to perhaps delay it? I'm just thinking of you trying to get back in charge of your body & giving yourself the best chance of your next cycle working.

    I hope this helps a little & I wish you all the very best especially with your IVF xXx

  • Great advice! :) x

  • A doctor offering controversial treatments for thyroid problems has been suspended from practice by the General Medical Council.

    GP Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield, 64, who has a practice in Purley, Surrey, has been stopped from working for 18 months so that the GMC can complete its investigation.

    This may or may not lead to disciplinary action, although Dr Durrant-Peatfield says he cannot afford to fight to clear his name, and plans to retire.

    All the GMC wants to see is my head on a spike

    Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield

    He now cannot treat or prescribe medicines for patients unless the suspension is lifted, and told BBC News Online he was "outraged" by the decision.

    "All the GMC wants to see is my head on a spike," he said.

    Dr Durrant-Peatfield, who works outside the NHS, is a controversial figure in thyroid medicine, offering treatments which are actively opposed by many other endocrinologists.

    The complaints to the GMC allege that the private GP had failed to examine patients properly, and gone on to prescribe inappropriate drugs.

    He has received vociferous support prior to the GMC hearing on Friday from a large number of past and present patients who wrote to the organisation praising him.

    Many say their lives have been transformed for the better by his treatment regimes.

    One, Linda Thipthorp, from Truro in Cornwall, said that treatments from other doctors, involving radical surgery, had done nothing to improve her condition.

    'My health is still improving'

    She said: "After being successively treated by the NHS I could not walk, only crawl about on my hands and knees.

    "To be asleep was the only way I could cope with the pain."

    "Dr Peatfield diagnosed immediately what some 20 other doctors had failed to do. After three days I began to feel alive again and my health is still improving nearly three years later."

    The controversy centres around the diagnosis, and treatment of patients with hypothyroidism - a condition in which the thyroid gland in the neck is not functioning properly.

    Patients diagnosed with the condition have a slow metabolic rate and are normally given supplements of the hormones produced by the gland to make up for the deficiency.

    Dr Durrant-Peatfield prescribed a "natural" form of thyroid hormone - which is derived from the glands of animals, and given in dessicated form.

    This was the form in which thyroid hormones were originally produced at the turn of the century, but were phased out in this country, with many doctors now saying that synthetically-produced hormone is best.

    This, they say, is because it is difficult to know exactly the concentration of hormone that is being delivered by the natural form.

    In addition, Dr Durrant-Peatfield believes that standard thyroid function tests used by the majority of doctors are unreliable.

    Basal temperature

    He recommends heavier reliance on something called the "basal temperature test", which involves measuring the internal temperature on waking.

    Conversely, many other doctors treating thyroid patients maintain that blood tests for thyroid function are reliable and accurate, and that it is the basal temperature test that is misleading.

    However, Dr Durrant-Peatfield said it was "impossible" to misdiagnose a patient if a proper clinical history was taken.

    "Blood tests are appropriate in some cases, but I don't necessarily believe them," he said.

    If patients who do not actually have hypothyroidism are given, over a long period, extra hormones when they do not need them over a long period, there is thought to be an increased risk of bone density loss - which could make patients' bones more brittle.

    There is also thought to be an increased risk of heart problems in these circumstances.

    However, the GP insists that there is no evidence of any of his patients suffering physical harm as a result of his treatments.

    He said: "I am totally and utterly devastated about this, both for my own sake, and for my patients, who now cannot receive their treatment."

    A spokesman for the GMC confirmed the 18-month suspension by its Interim Orders Committee.

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    See also:

    15 Mar 00 | Health

    Thyroid hormone 'wrongly prescribed'

    Internet links:

    Society for Endocrinology

    Article by Dr Durrant-Peatfield

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  • nhsnhs,

    Do you realise this occurred in the year 2000, fifteen years ago?

  • Have you had any thyroid blood tests recently? It would be good to know the levels, so that you could stop worrying about the fast pulse and pain. It may simply be that you need some vitamins like B12. Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate. Low iron was responsible for giving me chest pains and palpitations but you should rule it out and not ignore it.

    Your GP should check all these and I realize you are keeping a low profile but otherwise you will need to have then done privately. Surely if he gave you a referral to Dr S, he cannot be so negative towards your seeing him? The alternative is to drop your dose back to 75 and see if that helps but if I were you, I should still want to check out chest pain. Do hope you sort things out. I was also a patient of Dr S and know how you feel.xx

  • Hi I would have the tests suggested. However, most importantly have tSH, T4 and Free T3 done ASAP. If GP unwilling or unable, then on lineI use Blue Horizon, you can use a finger and collect the blood yourself that way and still very accurate.. Then if results not quickly available ( if through GP) drop down a little until you see the results of the bloods.

    Best wishes,

    Jackie

    Jackie

  • hello rosa21 - you don't sound mad, just anxious and very stressed from everything that is going on for you - like other posters have said, your doc can check out your chest pain, which may or may not be related and do other standard checks. The stress you are under in your personal and family life is enough to warrant these checks, and if you are too worried to go to him, do see another doctor to find the help and reassurance you need.

  • How very sad that Dr Skinner has died, he obviously helped so many people in his lifetime.

    RIP Dr Skinner.

  • I underwent an experience of thyrotoxicity last year while still raising my dose upward toward the normal one, and my GP cancelled my Xmas plans and sent me for heart tests tht made everything even worse! Because my dose was still low the heart symptoms weren't recognised as toxicity. But we're all different and can respond to meds unpredictably. Try cutting your dose and see if the heart/chest symptoms abate, then adjust the dose as needed over time. It happened to me while under Dr. S's care and we only recently started to increase my dose back up a bit. Yes you have a lot going on - but thyroid meds can do this so you're right to look into it.

  • How awful for you. Being unable to conceive and/or repeated miscarriages are symptoms of thyroid disease, did your GP not investigate? I am guessing that your tsh did not go above the magic 10??

    Afshan who worked with Dr Skinner is seeing Dr Skinner's patients but unable to prescribe but she will be able to advise you. You will be able to contact her on Monday.

    I totally sympathise. Unfortunately Doctors will not take any notice if dr Peatfield as he is no longer a registered doctor.

    It is so sad that there are going to be many people like yourself, and of course the ones who never even got a referral to Dr Skinner!

    Please let us know how you get on.

    Sue

    thyrouduk.org

  • Oh you poor thing -you have had a really really rough ride.

    I am a patient of Dr Skinners and have been for a longtime - he is a great great loss.

    What i would do as Suze's advises is to ring the clinic's number and speak to Asfan -she will be able to advise and may also be able to advise you of alternative practitioners.

    You take care and let us all know how you get on. xx

  • How will we all manage with out DR Skinner i was also under him for 12years.

  • Gordon Skinner was a man of great integrity; such a jovial, wonderful character who deserved a little peace into his later (widower) years, not being hounded by – in some cases – charlatans.

    Fortunately he never buckled under the ‘power’ of the GMC… so go for the break Gordon, you’ve earned it.

    In respect of hypothyroidism, more people will remember you than they will many doctors surgeries combined in each and every city within the UK.

    R.I.P. Grand Man of Medicine x

  • Rosa- you may well need a dose reduction but are obviously Hypo if able to tolerate 100mcgs Levo at all.

    I very much doubt you will discounted as Hypo- as you would be entitled to an immediate second opinion before having to stop all medication for this.

    This would be an extremely unlikely event imo, as negligence would be knocking on the door for any misdiagnosis.

    I'm borderline UAT and just 25mcgs knocked me right back on energy + gave me aches.

    Try not to worry too much and good luck with your pending appt.Try to get an Endo [Good one!] next?

  • Sorry to hear about your difficult situation. I would second seeing Dr P. Although he can no longer prescribe, he is able to tell you how to get hold of any medication you may need. He may suggest changing over to T3 or NDT, as some people are unable to tolerate thyroxine (including me). He will write your GP, if you want, but as mentioned above, doctors tend to take no notice of him, as he is retired.

    I also agree that you should get some urgent blood tests done, preferably whilst you are still on this dose. I find that I can get a fast pulse when over and undermedicated, so it maybe that you actually need an increase. xxx

  • Rosa, just come down a little on your meds and you may find you are okay. Sometimes happens that way. Also, you may need T3 as well and less T4. What are your blood test results and have you had your T3 tested?

  • Thank you so much for all the advice. I last went to the gp and requested thyroid tests because I had read a great deal about infertility. I told him that it was my last NHS-funded ivf cycle, and was desperately important that I didn't throw it away as I cannot pay for any further ivf. I showed him loads of stuff from thyroid uk about my levels being too high for optimal fertility and he refused to accept it, and told me that the levels I wanted would make me hyper. After 3 appts he eventually agreed to test for t3 which came out slightly below the normal range, and he still refused to refer me despite knowing my particular situation with fertility. Which is the point at which I asked for the private referral. I don't have those test results to hand today, but my tsh was around 2.5, I think t4 was at the bottom of the normal range, and t3 just below normal range. Dr Skinner said straight away that the results were no good, but the gp was hugely obstructive, which is why I know there's not much point in seeing him agin. I changed to him after my other gp refused to retest me so have already had a couple of useless gp opinions on this. I expect that if I got gp blood tests now they would tell me that my tsh was too low.

    I haven't started my final ivf drugs yet, as I'm waiting for my thyroid to be sorted out first. But I will lose my funding soon as I am almost too old, so I can't delay much longer.

    I had similar chest pains a couple of years ago and had an ECG, and the gp said there was nothing wrong and put it down to stress. So it could be stress again as life is particularly trying right now, but I have never had such a racing heartbeat before, and Dr Skinner sent out paperwork that identifies fast heart rate as a sign of toxicity.

    I have emailed Dr Chapman already, but will try and speak to the other Drs you're suggesting,

    I already take a number of supplements for fertility,having seen a nutritional therapist a couple of years ago, so I expect that my iron etc levels are ok.

    It is just so miserable to have to start all over again with a new doctor, and am so worried I will miss my ivf funding deadline, and not sure how to find the money for more tests and initial appts now that I have no job. My husband and I both ran our own company which has folded and so we have both lost our jobs and have had to move out of our house and in with a friend, so am a bit scared of spending any money right now, but we have the pressure of final ivf hanging over us too and don't want to mess that up.

    Thank you so much for helping. I had the list of drs from thyroid uk but actual recommendations are so much more reassuring.

  • Having been on thyroxine for 15 years I sometimes need to reduce it down on days where I get palpitations which is now and again and then it subsides. Taking thyroxine is not the same as producing it naturally. I would just reduce down by a small amount (tablets come in 25mcg,50mcg' 100mcg) then get your blood levels checked. I made an agreement with my gp when being treated with radio active iodine for an over active thyroid that when I became hypothyroid) after having my thyroid completely knocked out from working that I wanted my treatment to be on the higher side in order for me to function. This was agreed and we work with decisions on prescribing and where my levels are to be together. Just assert yourself and take no prisoners with your gp! Your health is your responsibility and your gp is there to listen and support you, not the other way round. So stand your ground, reduce your thyroxine a little, trust yourself that you know your body the best and go tackle your gp. Take care. Lyn

  • I am in the same boat as you Rosa21 though, sadly, I never actually got to see Dr Skinner. I was due to see him on 6th January - he was my last hope of getting better. I have Fibro but believe I could be hypo and that is the cause. My GP has tested numerous times for hypo but alas all come back negative. When I heard Dr Skinner had died I cried. I cried even more reading the tributes. Why was I crying so much for someone I didn't know? Well, of course the death of anyone is sad. But I was more than sad. I couldn't work out why but as I read the tributes the phrase 'he saved my life' kept jumping out at me. Then it dawned on me.... I was so upset because I was hoping that, on 6th January, my life too could be saved. I, like you, have gone into a bit of a tail spin. I am trying to calm myself down and think about my next move. I really wanted to see someone who could prescribe. I know Dr P is meant to be amazing but I want to be treated with medication. So... I have decided to get some more private tests done and see what they throw up - maybe they will give me the 'evidence' to go back to my GP. If not then I will go and see Dr P and go down the route of self medicating (if he feels that is what is needed) but doing so under his guidance and care. It's all so complicated and my brain can't process the information enough at the moment to 'go it alone'. Dr Skinner was amazing. I only wish I had had the courage to go and see him sooner - I first thought about it in August - but the medical professional is so hard to fight against that I did still keep thinking ' maybe it's all in my head'. But I want my life back so I can be a good mum to my girls - that is what spurred me on to see Dr Skinner and to look at other ways of getting better. Hopefully your wish to be a mum will help you do the same - keep on fighting. MPx

  • Oh MelodyPond, I'm sorry you are feeling so low. I know how you feel and it is rubbish. I also wonder whether I'm just being a hypochondriac - even though Dr Skinner told me he thought I was hypo. It's so hard to battle against the GPs and their dismissive attitude. Like you, I'm also looking for a doctor who can prescribe. I'm going to ring round a few of the recommendations, and see if I can get to see someone soon. I'll let you know if I find anyone good. Take care x

  • Thanks Rosa. Yes do let me know if you find a good one. I hope you do for your own health too. I think the problem is even ones who are more open to prescribing armour or T3 only seem to prescribe if tests show something up - and mine (conventional blood tests anyway) don't (I assume you were in the same boat - tests all negative?). So think I am going to do a Reverse T3, saliva cortisol test and urine thyroid test privately. I will see what they throw up - if they show something I will give my GP one last shot. If not I will see Dr P I think. But yes, please let's stay in touch. I would really like to know how you get on - you never know maybe we can keep each other calm and help each other to find solutions? x

  • It's always puzzled me as to why, under treatment, a TSH of under 1 is needed to indicate success- but TSH of up to 10 for people struggling on the sidelines is deemed 'OK'.

    Surely the gap in between is capable of producing illness at some point? [as we well know as suboptimal]

    I must say getting private tests and an above normal TSH gave me my sense of self back, as their response was so much more personal.

    Not just because I paid, but because I felt respected- not a 'special pleader', as with the NHS.

  • Because correlating 'guidelines' with lab ranges can't lead to medical negligence claims. Neither will it improve patient outcomes, but hey, its probably all in their fat hypochondriac heads anyway.

  • Agreed, but what is puzzling is how intelligent people [RCP] can ignore reality and claim to be 'professional' [rather than hack!]

  • Try Marion Gluck in Chiswick. She is a GP and an expert in bio identical hormones so probably very sensitive to conception issues. She also does thyroid. Good luck!

  • I have messaged you privately

  • Hello Rosa,

    This all sounds so famillar to me, Toxicious is terrible - I have suffered that many times. Going forward I would recommend you see the lovely Dr Peatfield he is in Crawley, West Sussex. Maybe some adrenal support needs to be put in place and then some T3. I know things are really bad for you but they will get better x

  • If Dr Skinner has passed on and Dr P cannot prescribe treatment who can I now go and see?

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