As readers know, many physicians have been targeted by state Medical Boards for treating Lyme disease based on ILADS guidelines. The process generally has occurred because well meaning IDSA doctors have felt that the treatment rendered by such physicians has been incorrect or possibly dangerous to patients. I believe that players on both sides, the IDSA and ILADS, for the most part are sincere in their beliefs. This is a war of ideas.
Unfortunately, it is also a war about patient care. Physicians who treat chronic Lyme disease based on the ILADS paradigm, and their patients, are convinced that such treatments are correct and have been extremely helpful, and at times life saving.
Many ILADS physicians have the sense that Ivory Tower physicians, who follow the IDSA are not experienced in the treatment of patients suffering with the ravages of chronic Lyme disease. Infectious disease physicians are a relatively small group and are for the most part hospital based. They don't see the flow of patients with vague complaints such as fatigue, joint pain and brain fog that frequent primary care offices. LLMDS have learned that many such patients and others are suffering with chronic Lyme disease. Infectious disease physicians are charged with the management of hundreds of infectious illnesses. It makes sense that they would follow guidelines created by members of their professional society. Medical Boards are charged with the responsibility of investigating all complaints lodged against physicians. Typically, they defer to peer review- the opinions of experts. These peer reviewers have generally been unaware of the ILADS guidelines and or not given them much credence. It is this cascade of circumstance which leads to Medical Board charges against LLMDS. We have seen this scenario played out in many states with many doctors.
The cost of litigation is extremely high. Because of this, physicians at times have
required financial assistance from the patients they treat and other members of the Lyme community.
I believe that ultimately reform must occur at a fundamental level,t through changes in state laws, to protect ILADS physicians and the patients they care for. These battles must be fought on a state by state basis. I hope this blog has been informative and I thank you for your support.