I came across an article about Desiree Jennings- a young, lively woman in the prime of her life, that is suddenly reduced to limping, stuttering, convulsions and other degenerating symptoms. She believes that a flu shot vaccination caused her current condition, however, some medical experts disagree.
My first thought after reading the article was, "This is an extraordinary claim." If it was the flu shot that caused her affliction, then why hasn't anyone else reported a similar case? I'm not saying that she is faking, just that maybe there is another cause, maybe she ruled out a rival hypothesis. Desiree became a poster child for the anti vaccine movement. Whether involuntarily or by choice, this label presented the movement with a new force, making me wonder if vaccines truly are a problem? Is it safe to take these drugs that can have such malicious effects? Well, it's definitely not safe to not get them. Vaccines have even managed to eliminate smallpox in the human population.
Thinking critically to avoid ruling out a rival hypothesis, I moved to the idea that she could be faking it. It seems like a lot of people are looking for ways to make themselves famous, whatever the repercussions. However, this claim would be difficult to disprove (falsifiability). Some medical experts believe that she is suffering from a psychogenic disorder rather than a physical or neurological disorder, meaning...it's all in her head. If her symptoms really were unconsciously invented, then her up and down improvements from various unreliable treatments would indicate the placebo effect. She anticipates her improvement after a treatment, therefore, she temporarily improves.
So, is she faking it? No, I don't think so. While her flu shot claim seems extraordinary and her symptoms can appear suspicious, doesn't mean she's lying. However, instead of an extremely complex, degenerating physical disorder, it seems more likely that she is unknowingly causing her own symptoms.