Thursday, January 14, 2010

Where things stand today

A note of sincere thanks to all who have so generously given to help Nicole Bottles and her family pay for emergency medical care for Lyme disease. Nicole’s mom, Chris Powell, says that to date about $4300 has been received and, in her own words, “we’re completely and utterly overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers.’ Lana Popham and I want to add our thanks to all of you who responded to our request for help during the holiday season.

The fact is, anyone with chronic Lyme disease in B.C. today has no healthcare insurance, period. Government policies support Infectious Disease doctors in their refusal to allow longer courses of antibiotic treatment, valid tests from accredited laboratories showing borrelia infection are rejected. That leaves sick people having to privately pay for the only therapy shown to offer relief for chronic Lyme disease. If intravenous antibiotics are needed – often the case when Lyme goes undiagnosed for a long time, which nearly always happens in Canada – people have to pay for diagnosis and treatment out-of-country and out-of-pocket. If something goes wrong with the device used for IV antibiotic therapy – as happened when Nicole’s ‘port’ sprang a leak before Christmas – B.C. healthcare refuses to enable the treatment to continue. That meant emergency travel to the USA for a new port to be installed, which could have been done quickly and safely in any emergency room in B.C. No one in Nicole’s situation (and there are many in B.C.) can even qualify for homecare to monitor the treatment to ensure it goes smoothly and safely. Lyme disease sufferers are totally de-insured and left to fend entirely for themselves. Imagine being disabled by disease to the point of not being able to walk, and being refused needed care in a public healthcare system!

With the help of family and friends, and with treatment supervised by a lyme-literate doctor in another country, Nicole is slowly making her way back from being bed-bound. Nicole and all the other kids and adults being failed by B.C.’s healthcare system need support from the broader community of caring people.

Ultimately we have to change government policy that denies Lyme sufferers access to medically necessary care, a clear breach of the Canada Health Act.

Writing a letter to express your opposition to government policies that victimize people with Lyme disease is another step you can take. Letters will reach Health Minister Kevin Falcon at:

Room 337
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4
108 – 17700 No. 10 Highway
Surrey, BC
V3S 1C7
250 953-3547
604 576-3792
250 356-9587
604 576-3797
This blog is about the rise of Lyme disease and other tick borne infections, in British Columbia and across Canada, and the failure of public health agencies to adequately warn and protect the public from this debilitating disease. Its purpose is to alert people to a danger that increasingly surrounds them, in the outdoors and in their backyards, and to pressure government, opinion leaders and public health officials to reform the medical framework for Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment. Today, due to faulty tests, lack of physician knowledge and inadequate treatment protocols, many patients are being forced to live with a devastating chronic illness rather than being given medically necessary care. Most have to travel to the United States to purchase healthcare they are entitled to under law in Canada, but currently denied. Many people are living in poverty as a result of personally financing antibiotics, which are the sole control and cure for chronic Lyme disease. This blog discusses issues and offers resources relating to Lyme disease diagnosis and cure. It aspires to be an instrument of change.