- - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Virginia physicians instrumental in restoring the health of people afflicted by diseases that are difficult to diagnose and treat will lose their medical licenses or have their licenses severely limited if Virginia’s medical review board has its way.

At issue are treatment techniques that differ from guidelines offered by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), which holds sway with the board. Unfortunately, it is on account of IDSA guidelines that people suffering from chronic and acute Lyme disease and other infectious diseases are routinely misdiagnosed and subsequently receive improper treatment.

IDSA guidelines prescribe treatment routines that can fall far short of eliminating Lyme and other persistent infections. If not discovered within the first few weeks of infection, Lyme bacteria burrow into the organs, ligaments and tissue of their host, and they can easily remain there undetected. Blood tests regularly fail to detect Lyme disease, and without a positive diagnosis, IDSA protocols encourage doctors to search elsewhere for a patient’s root illness.

With the infection well established, Lyme victims may experience chronic fatigue, inability to concentrate, weakness and reduced motor skills, in addition to other symptoms. Lacking a positive laboratory diagnosis, primary care physicians often refer their patients to rheumatologists, neurologists, physical therapists and other specialists — even as the person’s health continues to deteriorate.


Medical professionals who take the time to understand the unique pathology of Lyme disease have learned that IDSA guidelines are insufficient to properly address the disease and have adopted alternative protocols to restore people’s health. Doctors who follow the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) protocols successfully treat Lyme patients through clinical diagnosis coupled with long-term use of antibiotics interspersed with antiviral and antiparasitic medications in conjunction with dietary supplements.

While ignoring the success of the ILADS approach, Virginia’s medical board and the IDSA adamantly oppose its alternative Lyme treatment techniques. The board is threatening to revoke or limit medical licenses of doctors who refuse to adhere to IDSA guidelines.

There is an old military axiom that states that if a tactic is stupid, but it works, then it isn’t stupid. The board would be wise to take the axiom to heart, but there is every indication that they won’t, and that bodes ill for Virginians seeking a choice in their medical treatment.

Should the board be allowed to deny desperately ill people successful treatment options, more residents of the commonwealth will fall victim to the IDSA’s shortcomings, and some Virginians will be misdiagnosed and forbidden treatments that would have otherwise saved their lives. This in effect consigns them to slow, cruel deaths at the hands of the board.

MILT CLARY

Fairfax