The News Tribune logo

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lyme-Awareness Month Goes Out With A Bang!

I am so very pleased to announce to my neighbours that yesterday, May 29th., the Connecticut Senate passed HB 6200, the Lyme disease doctor protection bill...36-0...following its unanimous passage in the Conn. House of Representatives on April 30th. Can you see me dancing?

From the Lyme Disease Association:

HB6200 contains language that will protect Connecticut licensed Lyme-literate, treating physicians from prosecution by the State of Connecticut Medical Examining Board, solely on the basis of a clinical diagnosis and/or for treatment of chronic Lyme. The bill provides the definition for Lyme disease which includes "the presence in a patient of signs and symptoms compatible with acute infection with Borrelia burgdorferi; or with late stage or persistent or chronic infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, or with complications related to such an infection." It also defines clinical diagnosis as determined by a physician, "...that is based on knowledge obtained through the medical history and physical examination alone, or in conjunction with the testing that provides supportive data for such clinical diagnosis." In addition, it provides for updating the Lyme disease definition if other strains are found to cause Lyme disease.

The final bill was the result of months of negotiations between Legislative Leaders, the Conn. Dept. of Public Health and patient groups. According to Maggie Shaw,k Newtown Lyme Disease Task Force, who has been spearheading the Connecticut effort, "Patients in Connecticut and their families will experience some relief as a result of the passage of this bill and Governor Rell's hoped-for decision to sign it into law. Instead of having to drive for hours to other states, Conn. residents may actually be able to receive treatment in tht State for their debilitating symptoms, since the bill opens the door to a more friendly treatment climate for physicians."

Pat Smith, president of the national Lyme Disease Association, who has been working with legislators in Hartford to secure passage, underscored the importance of the bill to patients everywhere: "This bill hits at the heart of the Lyme problem, recognizing chronic Lyme infection, long-term treatment of Lyme disease, and recognizing and defining clinical judgment by physicians. Legislators are to be commended for being knowledgeable about the problem, focusing on finding a solution acceptable to disparate groups, and taking action to make this bill a reality, a win-win for patients, doctors, and the State itself."


Yes, Connecticut is where Lyme first became a big problem....named for the Connecticut town rife with the infection. The known numbers of cases are in the thousands there, crippling the state financially as residents have been struck hard by this disease. Slowly we are reaching legislators about the schism within the Medical System and the patient's right to informed consent.

Here on the west coast, California has passed legislation protecting Lyme-treating physicians because they realized the state was endemic. North of California, the taking of statistics stops, the understanding of Lyme stops...despite the knowledge that ticks thrive even more in this cooler, wetter clime of Oregon and Washington. We risk losing physicians to witch-hunts who are saving lives and returning some quality of life to suffering patients. I can't say it enough times....


I thank you all so much for walking with me this month. We push for May because it is the most dangerous month for Lyme disease. The ticks are tiny, waiting to hitch a ride, waiting for a host so they may feed. What you DON'T know, may kill you. I'm not throwing that in for dramatic effect, my friends. Three days ago we received a parcel from our incredibly courageous Lymefighter friend, Tracie Schissel, who advocates on behalf of the Lyme community despite being compromised so much by the disease and co-infections. In the parcel were two tiny brass and mother-of-pearl urns. They contain the ashes of our beloved Leslie Wermers, Tracie's sister who was taken by Lyme disease last November. We loved her so much...and this was our first physical meeting.

We have a chance to be pro-active in Washington. We have a chance to get ahead of the numbers and save lives. Olympia...I'm comin' for ya!


Stephanie Frieze said...

YEAH! Let me know whenever you need an opinionated radical granny, Lorraine. I stand with you.

Lorraine Hart said...

Bless your rad-gran heart Stephanie! I appreciate you...and love you heaps and piles. Thank you. Lox

Stephanie Frieze said...

You, know, I think some of my relatives shy away from me because I am so opinionated and my opinions are so different than theirs. Sometimes it makes me sad, but you know, I wouldn't trade my liberal radicalism for all the relatives in the world. I still love them, but my vision goes beyond me and mine. So let's go storm the Lyme Bastille!

Kim Thompson said...

And the "baby" of the group squeals, "me too, me too!"


Lorraine Hart said...

LOL...come on 'Baby'...we'd never leave you behind...we need you and your drive for compassionate medical justice too!

Mizu Sugimura said...

Way to go girls!