Ruling Threatens To Limit Care
Ruling Threatens to Limit Access to Care for Lyme Patients
Bethesda, MD Dec. 18, 2007 – Members of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) believe the recently announced ruling by the Connecticut Medical Examining Board puts current and future Lyme patients at risk.
Dr. Jones is an ILADS member and one of the few pediatric Lyme experts in the United States. Jones has been in practice for 40 years and has been treating Lyme disease since it was first define. He has treated more than 10,000 children suffering from Lyme, a significant number having traveled from out of state or from other countries.
“Dr. Jones has a stellar record of successfully treating children who are very sick with Lyme disease,” said Dr. Daniel Cameron, President of ILADS and chief author of the ILADS treatment guidelines for Lyme disease. “We need more physicians like Dr. Jones who are well educated on the complexities of Lyme and are willing to treat patients to improve their quality of life.”
Lyme is a difficult disease to diagnose and can be equally difficult to treat. A significant number of patients do not experience the classic symptoms and currently there is no test sensitive enough to determine an absolute diagnosis. As a result, many cases are misdiagnosed leaving many at risk of developing chronic Lyme disease, an extremely debilitating form of the disease.
Additionally, medical evidence regarding the nature of the disease and possible treatment options is insufficient, making it too early to justify a single best practice for the treatment of Lyme disease. ILADS is disturbed that Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Robert Galvin, who has stated that the department would not initiate cases against physicians who treat chronic Lyme disease allowed the case to proceed. Physicians and patients rely on public health officials to stand by their public health policies.
Lyme disease is characterized by the CDC as a clinical diagnosis, reinforcing the importance of physician understanding and experience treating the disease. “Not all doctors are truly Lyme literate,” added Cameron.
“Patients, no matter where they live, must be able to access doctors who have established track records in successfully treating the myriad forms of Lyme, and physicians must be able to use their clinical expertise to treat these patients. Otherwise, the epidemic of chronic Lyme disease will continue to accelerate and patients will continue to suffer unnecessarily.”
ILADS is a nonprofit, international, multidisciplinary medical society, dedicated to the diagnosis and appropriate treatment of Lyme and its associated diseases. ILADS promotes understanding of tick-borne diseases through research and education and strongly supports physicians and other health care professionals dedicated to advancing the standard of care for Lyme and its associated diseases.