LYME DISEASE: Its existence in Australia has been dismissed by medical authorities in Australia and GPs proscribed for attempting to treat it. Photo Bev Lacey / The Toowoomba Chronicle
LYME DISEASE: Its existence in Australia has been dismissed by medical authorities in Australia and GPs proscribed for attempting to treat it. Photo Bev Lacey / The Toowoomba Chronicle Bev Lacey

Health regulator has ‘mafia-like’ approach to Lyme doctors

THE blacklisting by medical authorities of independent doctors who choose to treat Australian patients for suspected Lyme disease must end, according to the Victorian independent Senator John Madigan.

Senator Madigan, who last year led the establishment of a current Senate inquiry into a Lyme-like illness in Australia, said doctors who treated Lyme were being "pursued" by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Doctors restricted

"Doctors are being put on restrictions or being threatened with de-registration if they treat Lyme disease in Australia and this is having a direct impact on patients' health and lives," he said.

"I have spoken with patients who say their health is deteriorating because their doctor is prevented from treating them."

The Senate inquiry initiated last year will hand down its findings in June, with submissions currently open until March 31.

Stories covered by paper

Over the last five years The Northern Star has covered the stories of several residents of the Northern Rivers and their loved ones who believe they have a native form of the debilitating illness.

They are some of what the Australiam Lyme Disease Awareness Association say are in the thousands of people believed to be suffering from a native version of Lyme, a tick borne illness.

And yet the vast majority of the medical hierarchy and on-the-ground GPs refute the existence of Lyme here.

Affected individuals

Mullumbimby resident Amanda Wright, for example, told of how she was condescendingly offered antidepressants and counselling to treat her "psychosomatic" Lyme, which was diagnosed in 2013 after she sent her blood to the US for tests.

Another affected individual, bereaved Lismore husband John Curnow, told of how the tragic story of his wife Barbara who died in 2012 after five years fighting a mystery illness which Mr Curnow was convinced was Lyme disease. Ms Curnow was discharged from Lismore Base Hospital shortly before her death.

A statement by Senator Madigan's office estimated 50 doctors in Australia had chosen to treat patients for Lyme, which is based on an international protocol involving large doses of antibiotics.

Senator Madigan criticised what he described as a "mafia-like approach" to those doctors by AHPRA who were "helping patients in a tangible way".

"Doctors treating Lyme disease in this country must be allowed to continue their vital work until a thorough investigation of this disease in this country is undertaken."

AHPRA was being contacted for a response to Senator Madigan's comments.



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