An article published in Slate on December 9, 2014 discussed pending changes to New York’s laws regarding medical misconduct. The author writes that:

“In May and June, the two houses of the New York State Legislature unanimously passed a bill prohibiting the state’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct—the agency that disciplines doctors who put their patients in danger—from so much as investigating a claim of medical misconduct that is ‘based solely on treatment that is not universally accepted by the medical profession.’”

The author goes on to say that that no treatment is universally accepted (a debatable point), but the real crux of his argument is to allow doctors to continue to treat “chronic” Lyme’s disease with an antibiotic regimen, despite:

  1. The Infectious Diseases Society of America “repeatedly characterize[ing] chronic Lyme disease as ‘not based on scientific fact’” and
  2. Mainstream doctors rejecting long term antibiotic treatments because they do not work.

The legislation passed in New York would not affect people in Maryland, but it is worth discussing for a number of reasons. First, it grants authority to people who believe that chronic Lyme’s disease is a real thing, despite evidence to the contrary. Secondly, states tend to follow precedents set by other states when it comes to medical negligence and malpractice (at least, they have so far in terms of damage caps and tort reform). The most important reason, though, is that New York wants to pass legislation that limits the ability of the Office of Professional Conduct to do its job – and by doing so, could cause needless suffering and deaths as patients are given treatments that may not have any real basis in scientific fact.

This is not the first time we have seen people rally behind a scientifically unfounded – and completely incorrect – belief about medicine: remember Jenny McCarthy’s insistence that vaccinating your children could make them autistic? This is especially scary, however, because if the writer is correct, a governing body plans to ignore medically proven facts in order to supposedly push an agenda on behalf of wealthy patients who believe they have this disease.

We care deeply about protecting patients, and about demanding accountability from doctors who may harm them by discounting important facts and research. For more information about how the laws affect your healthcare, we invite you to visit Plaxen & Adler, P.A.