Monday, February 9, 2009

The poli-ticks of Lyme

Now if we are completely honest, how many of us with Lyme disease haven't secretly wished for a politician to get sick with this illness? Not wishing anyone harm of course, but just maybe things would change then, right? Well, in the do-ya-one-better category, how about when the spouse of a prominent politician gets sick with this devastating tick-borne illness? Seems someone's wish came true.

In the good ol' State of Connecticut, no less, the husband of State Democrat Kimberly Fawcett became sick with Lyme disease last summer, according to an article in the Stamford Advocate (State joins Lyme debate). But the standard 3-week antibiotic treatment didn't cure him and he soon relapsed. When he sought additional treatment for Lyme disease, he was told to find another doctor! They were forced to travel out-of-state to find someone willing to take on the case.

In response, Fawcett has introduced a Bill "that will extend protections to doctors needed to allow them to freely diagnose and treat patients with Lyme disease. The bill will allow doctors treating Lyme disease patients to diagnose the disease clinically and consider all treatment options, including long-term antibiotic therapy." For a complete press release from the House Democrats website, see Representative Fawcett Champions Lyme Disease Legislation).

If you would like to send a note of thanks and encouragement to Fawcett, here is the address at her Hartford office.

Sadly, there is no similar good news to report on this side of the border with our neighbours to the south. While the Public Health Agency of Canada has finally initiated a review of our Lyme guidelines, they have so far neglected to include the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (CanLyme) in that process. There are several knowledgeable Lyme-literate doctors on CanLyme's board of directors. The idea that Public Health is proceeding without their direct up-front involvement is beyond words and leaves great doubt as to the meaningful outcome of their efforts.

"We have clinical expertise and evidence-based peer-reviewed science that needs to be interjected into the process, that is being ignored or not given due consideration in an open transparent forum," writes CanLyme President Jim Wilson. He has asked all those concerned to "write to the Minister of Health urging her to insure the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation's representatives get included in any and all discussions, panels, committees, or focus groups funded all or in part by the Public Health Agency of Canada to do with tick-borne disease." Here is a link to contact our Federal Minister of Health. He further suggests copying your email to your local MP.

To the husband of
State Democrat Kimberly Fawcett, we are pleased to hear you are getting appropriate treatment and wish you a full and speedy recovery. To our Public Health representatives... well, you can make your own wish for them.

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