Protest Against Lyme Doctor Harassment
"There is only one cardinal rule: one must always listen to the patient." -Dr. Oliver Sechs, British Neurologist
Dec. 10, 1999
HARASSMENT OF DOCTORS WHO TREAT LYME DISEASE PROTESTED
AT NY OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL CONDUCT
Over 100 Lyme disease sufferers rallied in support of their treating physicians outside the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC), 5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY on Wednesday, December 8. Attendees represented states from the East, Midwest and the South. Support and organization was national in scope.
Protesters indicated that harassment via unfounded investigation and sanctioning of physicians who treat Lyme disease in ways that do not conform to very stringent guidelines has accelerated during 1999. Although this has gone on silently for years, physicians who are leaders in open-minded approaches are now being targeted, and a total of 17 doctors are being investigated on the East coast. Accusers in many cases are anonymous as are the initial charges filed against the physicians.
Dr. Perry Orens of Great Neck, NY, had his license revoked on November 24.
Charges against him indicated that he "overdiagnosed", "overtreated" and
"overtested" for Lyme disease. The key to these charges is that Lyme is cured in
about 4 weeks of antibiotic treatment. Protestors strongly disagree citing research ignored by OPMC and demand recognition of open-minded approaches.
The Lyme community publicly protested the OPMC's position on identifying,
harassing and severely sanctioning Lyme disease doctors based on stringent guidelines. They called for the reinstatement of Dr. Orens' license and exposure and investigation of those individuals responsible for this outrage. A massive national write-in and call-in campaign occurred concurrently with the event.
The Lyme community contends that the academically spawned guidelines used
for sanctioning doctors are obsolete, biologically unfounded and ethically
Lyme disease, a tick-borne infection, is the second fastest growing
infectious disease in the US. With about 17,000 cases reported in 1998, the
actual figure may easily be 10 times that according to the CDC. Although
publicized chiefly in the Eastern U.S., this infection occurs on a global
"Investigation and sanctioning of physicians who deviate from conservative
Lyme protocols is a bully tactic used to maintain predominance of a belief
system that cannot be sustained in the light of current research, clinical
experience and patient perspective."
- Lisa Smiley , protest organizer
More Protest Photos
The OPMC's Response
Article on Protest
Report OPMC Bias