Who defines a disease? Who says what tests or treatment should be administered in this 21st. Century? Is it the well-trained critical care physician, accomplished in comparative scientific method and well versed in the history of disease? Or do the leaders of a professional association make those determinations, even when some of those leaders testify for and are rewarded by private insurance companies?
Dr. Liegner, informed by an in depth understanding of spirochetal illness and analogies between syphilis and chronic lyme, believes that patients, families, and the general public would be better served if the public policy which allows for treatment, behavior of professionals, and the capability of laboratories were more enlightened. His new compendium, “In the Crucible of Chronic Lyme Disease” provides solid evidence for this.
Liegner's collection of essays, scientific presentations, professional correspondence, court records, and memos to public officials are collected in a single fat volume. They shine light on the Lyme Disease Epidemic from within. Those documents trace Lyme Disease over the past quarter of a century as a tragic national stage play where physicians have faced increasing demands to produce more formulaic but unsuccessful treatment, The lingering behavior of Lyme spirochetes over time has stymied both misdiagnosed and untreated sufferers, who eventually may present with neurological, cardiac or a host of other multi-system symptoms.
Whether one views Dr. Liegner as an “Horatio at the Bridge” figure concerned with protecting patients and colleagues, or as a reformer, one must acknowledge his extraordinary contribution to patient care and to the public policy process. At the federal level he speaks to public health (CDC), to research priorities (NIH), to issues of reimbursement (Medicaid and Medicare) and to key legislators working on on new laws (Chris Gibson and Richard Blumenthal). At the state level, he speaks to both the issue of conflict of interest within professional organizations, and the regulation of physicians.
Who needs to use this book? It will be helpful to those concerned with health care policy at three levels of government, to practitioners of health care, to hospital administrators, to those who run nursing homes, as well as pathologists, those concerned with the quality of scientific testing nationwide, and any person who has a serious interest in Lyme Disease. After reviewing this compendium and seeing long term Lyme Disease from inside the “Crucible” it is possible one may decide that private for profit insurance is totally inadequate to deal with the serious epidemics of the 21st Century.