Response Senator Northam

The letter below was sent in response to Senator Northam's comments on the Senate Floor. Click here to see his performance.

February 1, 2013

Dear Senator Northam,

Having a number of relatives in your district who have been sickened by what has been determined to be a "National Health Crisis", it is truly a shame to learn you are not supporting a patient's right to be better informed concerning their health care issues, i.e. the right to know more about the pitfalls of Lyme disease testing. Johns Hopkins, a school you once attended, continues to falsely promote the notion Lyme tests are accurate and Lyme disease is easy to diagnose and easy to cure; yet their own studies prove 75% of those with Lyme disease are missed using the current testing protocol. This allows false information to prevail unless, of course, people actually take the time to do their own research.

As you may know, one of the Hopkins' authors, Paul Auwaerter/Hopkins, also the editor of the highly controversial 2006 IDSA Lyme Disease Guidelines, proved in his study Lyme tests are not reliable, but in the IDSA Guidelines he and his tight-knit group insist doctors should rely on these same tests because they are accurate. Of course, Auwaerter, along with another IDSA Guideline and Hopkins' study author, J. Stephen Dumler, were involved in the CT Attorney General's investigation into illegal practices, which concluded:

"The IDSA's 2006 Lyme disease guideline panel undercut its credibility

by allowing individuals with financial interests -- in drug companies,

Lyme disease diagnostic tests, patents and consulting arrangements

with insurance companies -- to exclude divergent medical evidence

and opinion."

Please take a moment to review Hopkin's actual scientific study so you will be better informed about the accuracy of the tests, and hopefully in turn, so will your patients, Spanish speaking or not.

If you ever communicate with anyone at Hopkins, if you would ask them and their handful of colleagues to curb the attacks on sick Lyme patients, those who volunteer to help educate the public and the doctors who treat Lyme patients, it would be very much appreciated. You didn't say on the Senate Floor that you feel the same, however, after hearing the tone and the objections you expressed, this quote by those supporting your position immediately came to my mind. Referring to sick patients, or anyone for that matter, in the following light is not at all appropriate.

"Disorganized, antagonistic, vindictive, back-biting, fratricidal groups, conspiracy nuts, and any number of certified mental patients acting as self-appointed Movement spokespersons. Now they just may have provided the medical community with a legitimate reason for considering “chronic” Lyme disease as a psychiatric manifestation."

Unfortunately, there are many more attacks on patients coming from the same source as the above quote. Those supporting bullying doctors and their unsupported scientific theories, especially those who allow this kind of behavior to continue, in my opinion, have no ethics or morals. It is one thing to want to be right no matter how wrong you are, but when doctors take to beating up innocent patients, those they are charged with protecting, it is unacceptable. I am sure a quick review of the two links below will better inform you about what is actually going on regarding Lyme disease and the politics surrounding Lyme disease issues, a topic you voluntarily inserted yourself into while on the Floor of the Senate this week.

Thank you for taking time to better inform yourself. Hopefully, your attention to this topic will result in you becoming a more appreciated and respected doctor (and legislator) in the near future.


Lucy Barnes

631 Railroad Avenue

Centreville, MD 21617

cc: Medical Society of Virginia

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