Dr. James Schaller, MD
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Lyme Disease Treatment — Minneapolis Follows Increasing Numbers of Other States that Allow Patients and Physicians to Determine How They Want to Treat Tick-Borne Infections

Dr. Schaller's opinion is physicians who have been reported to boards or sued for very short treatments, moderate treatments or aggressive treatment should be allowed to do as they feel is in the best interest of an individual patient. The patient should be told that other approaches may exist.

Most large studies exclude so many clinical and important issues and the emergence of more and more types of infections in tick stomachs requires treatment and legal tentativeness.

The area of tick infections requires humility, and not pontifical guidelines—even if offered with sincerity—since are all limited. All non-surgical guidelines are limited by the thousands of articles not read, they are out of date in a week, and do not fit the unique complex factors of each patient. The idea that labs are 100% reliable, when they are not even testing for emerging species is a concern.

The physician should be able to follow what he or she feels is good medicine, and not be under the authority of any fascist and excessively opinionated body of any kind. This includes the freedom to treat for a very short period. It also includes those who are rapid IV treatment Lyme physicians who see a long untreated period and joint and brain impacts. It also includes looking more widely at other emerging tick carrying infections, and looking at direct and indirect tests and clinical experience and knowledge.

I firmly support the freedom of patients and their physicians to have the freedom to pursue treatment approaches I do not support.

MINNEAPOLIS — It was a bitter pill to swallow, but members of the Minnesota Medical Practice Board agreed to look the other way when it comes to disciplining physicians who treat chronic Lyme disease with long-term antibiotics.

The resolution circumvents legislation that would protect physicians who prescribe long courses of antibiotics for persistent Lyme patients. At a House committee hearing Feb. 17, a bill by Rep. John Ward (DFL-District 12A) was laid aside to give the state board a chance to find a non-legislative solution to the treatment issue.

The compromise barely passed by a 8-6 vote at the board's monthly meeting March 13. It basically reads that in the interest of allowing time for science to resolve the issue, the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice (MBMP) voluntarily will take a five-year moratorium on the investigation, disciplining or issuance of corrective action based solely on long-term prescription or administration of antibiotic therapy for chronic Lyme disease.

If during those five years, double-blind, peer-reviewed scientific studies have resolved the issues, the five-year moratorium will be nullified. At the end of five years, in the absence of such scientific studies, the board will reexamine the issue.

It was not an easy decision.


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