One of the most vitriolic debates in medicine has come to the State House.
Desperate Lyme Disease patients say they are fighting for their lives.
They say doctors who treat their illness with long-term antibiotics are persecuted by the medical establishment.
They want lawmakers to pass legislation that they say will free doctors to treat Lyme Disease as they see fit.
On the other side are doctors equally convinced that long-term antibiotics are both ineffective and dangerous.
NHPR health reporter Elaine Grant has more.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I am writing this letter to all parents and family members who are witnessing their children, wife, son, father, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc. struggle with Lyme Disease.
I am one of you.
For more than 6 years my daughter has suffered through this ugly, dark disease.
She has experienced horrible migraines, severe joint & muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, extreme fatigue and loss of her ability to speak or think logically (these are just a few of her symptoms).
She has become unable to work. She has been forced to move back into our home at the age of 23 (she is now 29). She has virtually lost her 20's, one of the most productive and exciting times of her life.
We have taken her to every known medical specialist in southern California as well as three different General Practioners.
She has been diagnosed, at differing times, as having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Pain Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Psychosis, and MS (please notice that all of these are either syndromes or descriptions of symptoms; none of them are diseases).
For the first 4 years of her struggle, I was not a good parent, even though I thought I was.
My daughter didn't have any outward sign of her illness. She looked "normal". After many, many blood tests, MRIs, CAT Scans, x-rays, psychological tests; everything came back "normal".
I was, and still am, one of the world's biggest cynics and skeptics (I'm originally from Missouri - so "Show-Me").
Surely if you are as sick as you say you are, there must be something that will show up in your blood tests or on x-rays.
You can't possibly be this ill and not have something tangible to show for your symptoms.
You're either just faking it or your lazy or it's psychosomatic or your trying avoid the real world.
Get off your lazy butt and get some exercise or get a real job and face up to life like the rest of us.
That's the way I approached her illness. It's time you took control of your illness and just will yourself well.
I was so wrong. It took an outstanding Lyme Literate Medical Doctor to show me the error in my approach with my daughter and to show me the reality of her disease.
My daughter and I have both suffered because of my ignorance (I'm not saying all of you are ignorant, I'm saying I was ignorant. To be ignorant simply means to be uninformed not stupid). I am still working to rebuild the closeness we had before Lyme.
Lyme Disease is real, the pain is real, the problem with logical thought is real, the lack of energy is real, it is a real disease.
If your child or family member has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease, they are just as sick, if not more, than someone who has a more "traditional" illness, like Lupus or Multiple Sclerosis or Cancer.
I've done all the study, I've been with my daughter at all of the appointments, I've watched the misery she's been through.
Hey they just can't help the way this disease treats them. It's not their fault.
We as family members need to be there to support them. They don't need our pity. They don't need our skepticism. They don't need our criticism.
They need our understanding.
If you as family members will take the time to study this disease, you'll see that it is real. The little buggers who have invaided their bodies are real and they are making our loved ones sick.
Please spend the time you currently spend trying to figure out why your loved one acts the way they do really studying the disease. There are volumes being written on the internet as well as new books being published everyday on this disease.
We can't possibly understand the way they feel, not unless we have the same bacteria in our bodies.
My daughter has a long way to go before she's back to where she was 6 years ago. She has a lot of work and pain to endure before she can get there.
She certainly doesn't need someone who claims to love her causing her any more pain than she has already.
Families, from one who has been in your shoes, please let them know you love them.
Let them know you're there to help them.
Let them know that there's no way you can possibly understand their pain, but that you will try to understand their illness.
I think one of the most important things I've come to learn is that my daughter's disease may be God's way to teach me a lesson.
I'm not saying God gave my daughter Lyme Disease, but He may be using this disease to teach me how to love, how to be patient and how to be more understanding.
I wish you all good health and I hope that none of you will ever have to experience what our Lyme Disease loved ones are experiencing.
[ 21. April 2007, 09:46 PM: Message edited by: lymedad ]
Posts: 675 | From California | Registered: Oct 2005 | IP: Logged |
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
"During an antitrust investigation of the IDSA guidelines development process for the 2006 Lyme disease treatment guidelines, AG Blumenthal’s office uncovered significant procedural deficiencies, including conflicts of interests of the panel members. A settlement was reached, and the IDSA is breaching it. The IDSA is manipulating the voting process to favor no change in the guidelines. The AG has sent the IDSA a letter requesting that they redo the vote in compliance with the agreement.
On Monday, February 1, 2010, the Connecticut Attorney General sent a letter to the IDSA expressing “concern” over “improper voting procedures” used by the IDSA in the Lyme guidelines review voting process. The IDSA may soon approve hearing determinations based on this improper voting procedure. The Attorney General requested that the IDSA redo the vote to comply with theSettlement Agreement. The four-page Attorney General letter was released in response to a Freedom of Information Request made on behalf of patient groups for information regarding the IDSA’s compliance with the Settlement Agreement.
What happened? The IDSA used an “improper voting procedure,” based on a process of its own design, which blatantly violates the Settlement Agreement and undermines the integrity of the voting process. The IDSA consented to the voting procedure in the Settlement Agreement and confirmed its understanding of the required voting procedure in an internal memo from the IDSA to the panel before the panel met. The Attorney General’s letter and the IDSA internal memo to the panel can be downloaded by clicking the link below this post..
What voting process was required and how was it violated? The Settlement Agreement requires a two step voting procedure, with each step requiring a supermajority vote (6 of 8 panelists). The first vote asks the question whether each of the contested guideline recommendations is “medically/ scientifically justified in light of all of the evidence and information provided.” This vote requires a supermajority of the panel (6 of 8) in order for a guideline recommendation to stand. In essence, it asks “did the panel that adopted the 2006 guidelines get it right”? The second vote, also by supermajority, determines whether the guidelines require no changes, partial revision or complete revision.
The IDSA’s flawed voting procedure combined the two voting steps into one. First, the panel failed to conduct the vote to determine whether the science was sufficient to support the guideline recommendations. Next, the panel substituted its own procedure for the second step in the voting and required a supermajority for any change. This process effectively flipped the supermajority requirement to favor no change to the guidelines.
From the get-go, two significant points stand out:
· The IDSA failed to voluntarily comply with the Settlement Agreement in good faith.
· Absent oversight by the AG pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, the IDSA would have carried out a corrupted process that blatantly violates the agreement—and it might never have been discovered.
Patient groups are appalled that so far the IDSA, which should conduct an honest review and assessment of the evidence supporting the IDSA recommendations, has chosen to manipulate the voting requirement to influence the outcome, in clear violation of the Settlement Agreement and the scientifically based review and voting process which it provides. This turns evidence-based medicine on its head.
Can the process be saved? Patient groups, along with the public at large, expected that the IDSA would comply with the Settlement Agreement in good faith. It is, after all, a settlement agreement with the Attorney General of the State of Connecticut. When the IDSA panel so deliberately violates the voting procedures, as expressly confirmed by the words of the IDSA’s own internal memo, and refuses to comply with the Attorney General’s request, there can be only one conclusion: The ability of the IDSA to run this process with integrity is extremely suspect and any outcome must be viewed critically.
Other examples of abuse by IDSA of settlement process: This is not the first time legitimate questions have been raised regarding the IDSA’s willingness and reliability in performing its obligations with integrity under the settlement process. For instance, the IDSA was charged with selecting the panel and chose to exclude divergent viewpoints (including physicians who treat chronic Lyme disease). One panelist was removed by the panel after patients complained because he had served on another Lyme guidelines’ panel− a direct violation of the settlement agreement. Another panelist had also served on a previous Lyme guidelines’ panel, but despite patient complaints, was not removed.
Patient organizations call upon the IDSA to hold an individual vote on whether each of the guidelines’ recommendations is medically/scientifically justified in light of all the evidence as requested by the Attorney General. If IDSA fails to do so in good faith, patients continue to rely upon the Attorney General to continue to enforce the Settlement Agreement."
An example of the IDSA manipulation of the voting procedure.
The guidelines mandate that Lyme cannot be diagnosed without a confirming diagnostic test.The tests are known to be insensitive and flawed. Requiring a positive test means that many patients with Lyme disease will fail to be diagnosed. One panel vote described in the AG’s letter was whether this recommendation should be revised. Four of the eight panel members voted for change, without the panel first having voted to determine whether the recommendation was supported by the science. As the AG’s letter points out, this clearly means that had the panel voted in accordance with the Settlement Agreement, this recommendation would have failed as not properly supported by the medical/scientific evidence. Why? A vote to uphold this recommendation would have required 6 votes; however, the 4 votes calling for revision (even
though predicated on a flawed procedure) plainly indicates insufficient evidence to support the recommendation. Thus, (a) the IDSA failed to vote to determine whether the science supported the recommendation, (b) substituted its own procedure regarding revision (requiring a supermajority vote to revise), and (c) thereby manipulated the voting requirements to achieve a result in its favor.
You can follow additional comments on Lyme policy at www.lymepolicywonk.org. You can contact Lorraine Johnson, JD, MBA at email@example.com.