``Many doctors will not even test for Lyme''

Home (Main Menu)


Dr. Allen Steere is depicted, in David Grann's article (June 17), as something of a martyr to the cause of scientific research -- a gentle fellow, a former "violin virtuoso," who put it all aside to become a researcher.

The fact is, for the past several years, he has dominated the discussion on Lyme disease with rhetoric that largely dismisses the existence of chronic cases and broadcasts the dangers of over diagnosis to the point that many doctors will not even test for Lyme.

Patricia Houser, Carmel, N.Y.


Would you describe people who are afflicted with H.I.V., epilepsy, diabetes, heart disease or cancer as "stalkers" if they protested the loss of their medication? Dr. Steere's influence has already translated into a rationale allowing insurance companies to reject treatment claims.

Why does Steere focus on side effects to invalidate long-term antibiotic treatment? Has he forgotten that most therapies -- chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis -- have side effects?

Gail Goldstein, New York


Dr. Steere read a letter from a patient who said she suffers from some 20 different symptoms of a physiological, or potentially physiological, nature. In response, he concludes that she is mentally ill.

Is it any wonder that such people feel put down by the medical establishment? Regardless of whether chronic Lyme disease is or is not the ultimate cause of the woman's sickness, patients like this deserve better treatment.

Fred Baumgarten, Sharon, Conn.


In evaluating a patient's numerous symptoms, Steere says, "What I suspect is that she doesn't have Lyme disease but some kind of psychiatric illness." It cannot be emphasized enough that a psychiatric illness is not a diagnosis of exclusion. In the absence of an adequate and comprehensive psychiatric examination, the more appropriate conclusion would have been to say, "I simply don't know what the patient has."

Robert Bransfield, M.D., Red Bank, N.J.

See Letters

Lyme Letters -- Top -- Home -- What's New