Dr. Leila Zackrison
Posts & Letters Online
LymeNet: THIS IS PART I OF II - AN URGENT CALL TO ACTION TO PROTECT LYME LITERATE PHYSICIANS IN THE STATE OF VIRGINIA � WE NEED YOUR HELP
NatCapLyme Members, family and friends:
For the past few years, physicians who treat Lyme disease have been
scrutinized by various state licensing boards. In several cases, this
scrutiny has led to investigations, censures and even the loss of medical
licenses. The unfortunate and sad fact is that such investigation and
scrutiny of Lyme Literate MDs (LLMDs) has come to Virginia and the National
Capital area. Dr. Leila Zackrison of Fairfax, Virginia, is under
investigation by the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Medicine for her
diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.
Many of Dr. Zackrison's patients are members of NatCapLyme and other
Virginia support groups; these patients ardently refute the charges. They
believe our region would suffer a great loss were Dr. Zackrison prevented
from treating Lyme patients, or even worse, were her license to practice
medicine revoked. Many of these patients have verified that Dr. Zackrison
uses only the most stringent testing regimen and conservative drug therapy.
We cannot begin to calculate the loss were our members denied access to Dr.
Zackrison. Our Association through its General Counsel Gregg Skall will
support Dr. Zackrison by appearing at her hearing before the Commonwealth of
Virginia Medical Board on October 4 in Richmond, Virginia.
At our request Dr. Zackrison disclosed the charges and gave us permission to
release this information to you. Specifically, the Medical Board in a
letter to Dr. Zackrison states:
You may have violated Section 54.1-2915.A(13) and (16) [formerly
54.1-2914.A(8) and (11)] of the Code. Specifically, you use the polymerase
chain reaction ("PCR") test, which is unstandardized and infrequently used
to [sic] due to its history of showing false positive results, to diagnose
Lyme disease. You have misdiagnosed patients with Lyme disease, Reactive
Arthritis, Lupus and other ailments and prescribed long term IV antibiotics
and immunosuppressive agents.
Such charges are at the heart of the Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment
debate. LLMDs and patients know that many Lyme symptoms appear similar to
those of the other diseases cited by the Virginia Medical Board. The
Medical Board cites 3 patient case studies to support of its allegations.
Those three cases describe situations familiar to Lyme patients' multiple
symptoms which disappear, reappear and mimic other diseases, all complicating
diagnosis. The Medical Board in its letter does not allege negative
consequences to any of Dr. Zackrison's patients.
PLEASE, prepare a letter and send it immediately and not later
than September 12 to your state and local representatives with a copy to Dr.
Zackrison's attorney, R. Harrison Pledger. The Virginia Board of Medicine
will not read the letters unless Dr. Zackrison's attorney presents them, so
it is critical that you send him a copy.
1. You can identify your state officials and their
addresses at the following site:
Fill in your street address and city or county. Click "Go" and the site will
bring up your Virginia state senator and state representative. Then click on
their name to see their biography page with their postal address and a link
to their e-mail address.
Alternatively, go to this site:
Fill in the personal information and address. Click on "Lookup" and it will
return your State Representative and Senator. Click on: "Send a Message to
your Delegate and Senator" and you will be provided a form to fill in and
send your message.
Please contact your state officials both by email and hardcopy. To make it
easy for yourself, send the state official an email, AND COPY YOURSELF ON
THE EMAIL. Print out a hardcopy at home, and send a hard copy to the state
officials and to Dr. Zackrison's attorney!
2. Dr. Zackrison=s Attorney is: R. Harrison Pledger, Jr., Pledger and
Associates, 4530 Walney Road, No. 202, Chantilly, VA 20151. Send him a
hardcopy by mail, fax him at 703 263 1799, or email him at
3. Copy your email also to NatCapLyme@NatCapLyme.org and to Dr.
Zackrison=s Office Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
National Capital Lyme Disease Association
Phone & fax: 703-821-8833
What Follows Below Are Some Points to Consider Including in Your Letter:
1. Note that you are aware that the Commonwealth of Virginia Board
of Medicine is investigating Dr. Leila Zackrison.
2. Identify yourself as a Lyme disease patient/family member/friend.
3. Say whether you are a patient of Dr. Zackrison's, or are
otherwise familiar with her fine reputation by the reports of others.
4. State whether you are personally/professionally familiar with
Lyme disease and its effects. Tell your/your loved one's story. Note if
you have a medical background/have read up on the subject.
5. If Dr. Zackrison is your or your loved one's physician, comment
on her thorough investigation of your/your loved one's condition, her
extensive use of sophisticated testing, the length of time (hours?) that she
took a clinical history, her extensive and hands on clinical examination of
the patient, her insistence that the patient comes in to the office to
review test results and to consult on a course of treatment, her insistence
that every patient also maintain a relationship with a primary care
physician, her requests for any past testing or clinical history, her
rigorous monitoring of any patient undergoing any type of therapy, her
interim assessments during therapy, and any other ways in which she was and
is a conscientious, thorough and exceptional physician.
6. Note any difficult history of getting diagnosed or treated for
Lyme disease or other tick borne illness, e.g. going to other doctors with a
rash and initial presenting symptoms and their failure to diagnose on the
clinical symptoms, etc. Note particularly if an infectious disease doctor
failed you, and you turned to Dr. Zackrison, a rheumatologist, as a result
due to her reputation at diagnosing tick borne illnesses. Comment on what
difficulty you would face if Dr. Zackrison were not available as your
physician/as a resource physician in the area.
7. Note particularly if your case was complicated by the presence of
any underlying health condition or illness, such as autoimmune disease etc.
8. Comment on the patient's current health status as a result of Dr.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Standard of care for Lyme is under dispute
Leila Zackrison, M.D.
Zackrison is a doctor in Alexandria.
Jen McCaffery's article on my hearing before the Virginia Board of Medicine was accurate but incomplete ("Shining a light on Lyme disease," Oct. 11).
As McCaffery stated, the charges of improper patient care stemmed from a very acrimonious debate within the medical community over how to treat patients suffering from Lyme disease.
At issue is the standard of care followed by most physicians (Centers for Disease Control guidelines), which is based on eradicating the Lyme spirochete during the disease's acute phase, and consists of less than a four-week course of antibiotics. This standard is successful if the diagnosis is made almost immediately after infection and if the patient is otherwise strong and healthy.
Prior to medical school, I earned a master's degree in biochemistry, and learned how to apply its research techniques to the knowledge provided by medical training and subsequent clinical observation.
Thus, I, and a minority of like-minded colleagues, have observed that if the infection occurs in patients already suffering from other diseases, the acute phase of Lyme (and other tick-borne diseases) can be masked by other symptoms or misdiagnosed and treated as something else, often under the label of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or similar diagnoses which share the same symptoms as Lyme.
The spirochetes, which never read the CDC guidelines anyway, remain in the patient's body, entering a longer-lasting or chronic phase.
Their life-cycle is longer than four weeks, and they prefer to hide in places that have low blood flow and thus are difficult to reach even with "adequate" antibiotics. It stands to reason that four-week antibiotic treatment is incapable of eradicating a six-week or longer life-cycle bacterium. Most internists in Northern Virginia and nationwide refuse to accept the fact Lyme exists in a chronic phase.
The damage caused by the complaint against me was extensive: many weeks of intense preparation for the hearing, a significant amount of lost income, declining physician-originated referrals (though patient-originated referrals are very robust), lawyer's fees, not seeing many patients who needed my type of specialized care and, worst of all, the unnecessary fear and anxiety my patients experienced over the possibility of losing the best doctor that they have ever seen.
As demonstrated in the hearing, none of the three patients were harmed. In fact, one is still under my care.
Even the Board of Medicine's expert witness concluded his comments by stating that the basis of this complaint should best be dealt with by debate and research within the medical community, not by a disciplinary hearing.
I was exonerated because it was clear during the hearing that I know what I am doing, I am a capable diagnostician and I have a higher rate of success with immuno-compromised patients -- especially with Lyme patients -- than do those physicians who insist on using the standard of care for non-standard infections and patients with complex presentations who do not fit any standard but their own.
Dr. Leila Zackrison
Dr. Zackrison's Hearing:
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Department of Health Professions
9960 Maryland drive, 2nd Floor
Notice from NatCapLyme
For your information Dr. Leila H. Zackrison is required to appear before the Virginia Board of Medicine on August 22, 2013 at 8 a.m. to explain her care and treatment of an individual suffering from Lyme Disease
If you have any questions, please contact me at: Office 703-263-1711 or Cell 703-409-7375
P.O. Box 8211 Â·
McLean VA 22106-8211 Â·
Phone & Fax 703-821-8822
UPDATE- The Latest word from Dr. Zackrison's office as of 6 pm Wednesday evening is DON'T GO. This is pasted from the NatCapLyme newsletter just received:
The Latest on Dr. Zackrison's hearing - Don't Go!
If you planned on going to Dr. L. Zackrison's hearing on Thursday the 22nd, please do not go. At meetings today about the hearing it was recommended that no one attend.
If you have any questions, please contact Carole Pledger: (Office) 703-263-1711 or (Cell) 703-409-7375
posted 11 June, 2014 04:04 PM
The process is not over. They are doing another hearing next week. At the bottom of Tincup's link there is a link for fundraising for her legal defense.