Psychologist & Orthopedic Surgeon
Support Aggressive Lyme Treatment
"Do not let either the medical authorities or the politicians mislead you. Find out what the facts are, and make your own decisions about how to live a happy life and how to work for a better world." – Linus Pauling
We were troubled by the recent letter from Gary Wormser, M.D., responding to your article on Lyme disease. I am a clinical psychologist in practice in Massachusetts, and my husband is an orthopedic surgeon, also in practice in this state. We have three children who, one by one, became seriously ill with multisystemic symptoms which no physician in Massachusetts was able to
explain. No one doubted that they were sick - our daughter, for example, developed balance and gait problems, blue extremities (aka Raynaud's), peripheral neuropathy of the lower extremities and more. No one, however, could explain the etiology of debilitating medical symptoms in children who previously had been healthy and active.
It was many years before we came to understand the highly problematic and archaic state of affairs with regard to laboratory testing for Lyme disease. We had accepted that Lyme had been ruled out in our children's cases, but by the time that our 3rd and youngest child was becoming ill, began to realize that we had to read and think for ourselves.
Dr. Wormser implies far greater consensus in the medical world than exists regarding the diagnosis, understanding and treatment of tick-borne diseases. He cites the importance of treatment decisions based on soundly designed studies, yet the research he refers to has been rightly criticized for its poor methodology and premature conclusions. In our children's cases, the failure to diagnose and treat their tick-borne disease in a timely and sensible fashion has cost them dearly in terms of their subsequent health and vitality. The
risks of longterm, carefully monitored antibiotic use would have been more than justified, given the ravages of the disease itself. Sadly, we now know of many others who have had experiences similar to our own in this regard.
Please think long and hard before accepting at face value the conclusions that others may try to draw for you about Lyme disease, even if their credentials tie them to academic medical centers. We learned the hard way to respect those physicians courageous enough to challenge the mainstream standard of care - a standard that our own difficult experience has shown us to be outdated and inadequate.
Sheila M. Statlender, Ph.D
Russell D. Donnelly, M.D.
Framingham, MA 01702