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May 25, 2006
from Sandy Berenbaum

Dr. Jones' hearing continued on May 25th. About 45 people were in attendance. All were respectful, and behaved appropriately.

Attorney Pollack, representing Dr. Jones, completed the cross examination of the doctor sworn is as the "expert witness" in pediatrics for the health department. The pediatrician continued his arbitrary support of the health department's position, including its position that it was wrong for Dr. Jones to suggest homebound instruction for a child who, attorney Pollack pointed out, was threatened with expulsion at school for behavioral issues. Cross examination of the pediatrician ended. (There is no evidence that the school had problems with Dr. Jones' advocacy on behalf of the child. In fact, the school appeared to be pleased with Dr. Jones' recommendation.)

Eugene Shapiro, MD, was sworn in as the health department's "expert witness" on Lyme disease. Attorney Pollack strongly objected to any Lyme disease expert witness being accepted since the health dept. attorney indicated in his opening statement on the first day of the hearing that the thrust of the charges against Dr. Jones was not the question of standard of care regarding Lyme disease. Attorney Pollack.s position was that this opening statement therefore modified the "statement of charges", and it was therefore wrong to have an expert witness on Lyme disease.

The medical board committee dismissed this objection, and Dr. Shapiro was sworn in as the health department's "expert witness" regarding Lyme disease.

It was noted that Dr. Shapiro was on the committee that drew up the Infectious Disease Society of America's Lyme disease guidelines. The prosecuting attorney questioned Shapiro on the incidence of Lyme in Nevada, and in Oklahoma, where the family had traveled. Among the documentation he submitted was a map from 1996. To discuss indications of Lyme in those two states, CDC reporting was cited as evidence.

Among the allegations Dr. Shapiro made were the following:
* In order to transmit Lyme disease, an infected tick must be attached for at least 48 hours.
* There are "no credible documented cases of Lyme disease transmitted through gestational exposure."
* Lyme disease contracted through breast milk: "This has never been documented."
* Re blood testing - there is "no such thing as a [Lyme] specific band."

Given the health department's attorney's opening remarks from the 1st hearing day, it was interesting that only opinion that followed the IDSA guidelines were entered into evidence by the testimony of this witness. ILADS guidelines were not cited as an option.

Following Dr. Shapiro's direct examination, Attorney Pollack requested a recess until the next scheduled hearing date, in order for him to prepare a proper cross examination, citing the fact that numerous documents, entered as exhibits, Pollack was seeing for the first time at the hearing. He needed time to review the new exhibits.

The hearing adjourned until June 22nd. It is expected that Dr. Shapiro will be cross-examined on that date.

Sandy Berenbaum, LCSW, BCD
Family Connections Center for Counseling
Brewster, New York

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