Thursday, March 21, 2013

PLEASE HELP Montanans with lyme disease: Senate Bill 296

MONTANANS especially, please SHARE these links and please contact your representative. 

Montana Senate Bill 296 proposes to protect doctors who treat lyme with long term antibiotics.  Protocols currently call for 28 days of antibiotics early into onset.  But 28 days is not always enough even in the acute stage.  Chronic lyme is very difficult to get diagnosed in this state, as I've posted about before, so the odds of getting diagnosed and treated in the acute phase are pretty slim.  Once diagnosed, longer term cases of lyme cannot be treated as easily as acute cases.

In other parts of the country, even where lyme is known to occur and more commonly diagnosed and treated, doctors have lost their licenses and suffered serious financial consequences for treating patients with lyme.  The risk to doctors and the full complexities of the multiple debates surrounding lyme treatment and diagnosis are too much to dive into here, but a VERY good introduction to these issues is the movie Under Our Skin (it can be rented and is available on netflix and youtube in clips).  
My hope is that reducing the risk associated with treating patients will also reduce the resistance to adequate testing and diagnosis.

It took me almost three years to get diagnosed, during which time I lost my job and had to endure a federal formal EEO process to get it back (a year and a half of grueling attacks, lack of pay, a lawyer, and an out of pocket trip to DC to mediate).  I have a very good local doctor, but current accepted protocols and beliefs about lyme lead her to different conclusions than me about where and how a person can get lyme, which meant having to go out of state for care.

This is why a bill like this one matters.  Without a reasonable hope of diagnosis (testing accurately is difficult, at best, with lots of different causes for false negatives) there is no hope of timely treatment and every Montanan I've come across with lyme took years to get diagnosed.

 This passed the floor 47 to 4 but I've heard there may be parties generating opposition, so please help generate support. This could really help. 


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