For those of you who have seen the documentary on Lyme disease, “Under Our Skin”, you will recall the heroic park ranger, Jordan Fisher Smith, who was featured in it. This is a letter he wrote last year to the IDSA, and as it gets right to the heart of things in all its pithy elegance, I had to share it with you.
From: Under Our Skin Blog
Jordan Fisher Smith, the eloquent park ranger featured in UNDER OUR SKIN and the author of the acclaimed naturalist book “Nature Noir,” has written this open letter to the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), in response to the society’s decision to make no changes to their controversial 2006 IDSA Lyme Disease guidelines.
To the Infectious Diseases Society of America:
Almost twelve years ago, I was bitten by a tick at work, and contracted Lyme Disease and Babesiosis. Because of the job you’ve done at diminishing the perception of danger about tick-borne disease and pressuring doctors who treat it aggressively out of business, it took a year and a half and a nationwide search to find a doctor who would treat me.
By then I was dreadfully ill, and as a result I lost my job and my 21-year career. In my first year of antibiotic treatment I got worse. I pursued aggressive treatment for another six years, during which time I got steadily, if slowly better. During this time one of my two doctors was forced out of practice as a result of your work. Thanks to my heroic physicians, I am recovered after a nine-year battle with tick-borne disease. And I am now contributing to society, working, and raising my kids.
Your ineffectiveness and the extent of your compromise with the insurance and HMO businesses are noted. You and your work will be forgotten eventually, as we have forgotten the names of the opponents of Copernicus. Shame on you for the suffering you are causing on the way to your eventual obscurity as prideful scientists who called it tragically wrong. The monument to your life’s work is an unchecked epidemic.
—Jordan Fisher Smith, recovered victim of tick-borne disease