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“Ticked off” about Lyme disease treatment

Yale Medicine Magazine, 1998 - Fall


While physicians discussed therapies, vaccines and research at a Yale symposium on Lyme disease in early June, several dozen people took to Cedar Street to protest what they called improper diagnosis and treatment of the tick-borne illness by Yale clinicians and researchers. According to the protesters, who carried placards and distributed flyers saying they were “ticked off” at Yale, medical school physicians minimize the severity and frequency of the illness. “Many of us have gone undiagnosed and untreated because of the Yale protocol,” said Maureen Albertson of Bridgeport.

Physicians at Yale have maintained that many cases of Lyme disease cannot be verified. “Lyme disease has become a magnet for people who do not feel well,” said Stephen E. Malawista, M.D., a professor of medicine and one of two researchers who identified Lyme disease in 1975. “No one doubts that they are suffering. The question is whether they are suffering from Lyme disease. There is a difference between hope or belief and hard clinical evidence. A danger is that some other condition will be ignored while the possibility of Lyme disease, however remote, is being endlessly pursued.”

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