Thursday, October 15, 2009

Global's 16x9 digs a little deeper

On Sunday, October 11th, Global TV's investigative current affairs program, 16x9: The Bigger Picture, aired a story titled "Lyme Disease Lepers". Finally some coverage is being given to the IDSA guidelines controversy and the related intimidation of Canadian Lyme disease doctors -- the reasons why more and more Canadian doctors are afraid to treat this devastating disease. Well done Global!

The story features Lyme disease physicians Dr. Ernie Murakami (who was forced to retire in 2008 by the BC College of Physicians for treating Chronic Lyme patients), and Dr. Jozef Krop (currently being investigated by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons for treating Chronic Lyme disease, in spite of the fact there has not been one single patient complaint against him). The story also tells of the difficulties Lyme patients have in getting a timely diagnosis (delayed diagnosis is a major contributor to developing serious and debilitating Chronic Lyme disease), as related by Lyme patients Robert Manten and Janet Mitchell, due to unreliable Canadian tests and lack of training and awareness amongst Canadian doctors.

Dr. Nicholas Ogden, of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), makes the following statement on camera: "The interpretation done in some private laboratories in the USA are too liberal and therefore they capture as being positive a lot of people who don't have Lyme disease." This just doesn't jive with findings of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, which has tracked thousands of Lyme patients across the country who were diagnosed with a positive Western Blot test from reputable and fully certified laboratories in the US -- tests interpreted according to stringent CDC criteria -- the majority of these same patients had negative Canadian Lyme tests.

Such statements from Dr. Ogden are clearly a distraction from the real issue that Canadian Lyme tests fail to detect the vast majority of Lyme patients in our country, with devastating health consequences for patients whose diagnosis is therefore delayed. And why do these diagnosed patients respond positively to treatment if, as Dr. Ogden asserts, a lot of them don't really have Lyme disease in the first place? Hmmmm. If you ask one of the handful of experienced Lyme doctors in our country, the Canadian tests don't just fail to detect the disease in its early stages either -- for most people, these tests are not worth the paper they are printed on for any stage of the disease. The PHAC is due some feedback on this subject -- here is a link to the PHAC contact page for our Chief Public Health Officer.

The 16x9 website gives you an opportunity to have your say as well (see Add Your Comments at the bottom of their Lyme Disease Lepers story page). Please keep the comments coming! -- let Global know you appreciate their coverage of Lyme issues and that more is needed to raise awareness.

If you have not already written Ontario's Minister of Health (see recent post Your help is urgently needed!), please take a minute to do so. Our letters have now been updated with the details of our new Health Minister (the Honourable Deborah Matthews). We want to keep these issues front and centre. Together we are making a difference!

No comments:

Post a Comment