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June 22 2006
from Sandy Berenbaum

The 3rd day of Dr. Jones' hearing began with the cross-examination of Dr. Eugene Shapiro. Discussions of motions included the question of whether testimony of witnesses from California be accepted telephonically, given the distance, and time off it would require for them to travel. One witness mentioned was Nick Harris, President of IGeneX Labs. Shapiro's testimony on the 2nd day of the hearing had challenged the credibility of IGeneX testing.

Discussion continued regarding to what extent this case was about Lyme disease. Attorney Pollock continued to suggest that if it was not about Lyme disease, the health department could withdraw Shapiro as an expert witness, and withdraw any charges related to Lyme. No move was made to withdraw Shapiro or to amend the charges, so Pollock cross-examined him for most of the day. (Lyme is a big part of the case against Dr. Jones, or Shapiro, who is one of the authors of the IDSA guidelines, would not have been on the health department's witness list.)

Pollock brought up derisive statements Shapiro has made in public forums regarding Dr. Jones, chronic Lyme disease, and Lyme patients. Pollock referred to published material on the possibility of gestational Lyme; Shapiro denied the possibility that Lyme could be contracted by the fetus in pregnancy. On the question of breast milk, Shapiro stated that Lyme disease could not be transmitted by breast milk.

Pollock made the point that this was one example of the lack of agreement over the standard of care for Lyme disease, diagnostics as well as treatment. At no point did Shapiro agree that there is a standard of care other than the one he espouses. Pollock noted that a CT hearing held in 2000 concluded that there was no single standard of care, yet Shapiro continued to refuse to acknowledge that there are two standards of care.

Pollock questioned Shapiro on opinions of experts, (Brian Fallon, MD, Jennifer Nields, MD, Virginia Sherr, MD, Tessa Gardner, MD, Sam Donta, MD, Eugene Escow, MD) including their publications on neuropsychiatric, headaches and gastrointestinal symptoms, on co-infections. None of these distinguished physicians were seen as experts by Shapiro; he did not see Lyme as probable with the above symptoms, and did not acknowledge the relevance of co-infections. At one point, he indicated that, in his opinion, except for acute meningitis LD does not cause neuropsychiatric symptoms in children.

He did, however, make the outrageous statement that 95% of Lyme patients have the EM rash. He also stated that usually 95% or 99% of the patients who have Lyme will have a positive test, and that the vast majority of tests are false positives

Shapiro's cross-examination ended the presentation of the case against Dr. Jones, and Pollock began to present Dr. Jones' defense. Steven Phillips, MD was the first witnessed called.

Dr. Phillips indicated that, in fact, Lyme disease is present in Oklahoma where the mother of the children in question said they were bitten, a fact Shapiro denied. He also discussed the fact that Lyme can be present, despite the fact that the blood work is sero-negative and there is no rash. He referred to research indicating the presence of neuropsychiatric Lyme disease, citing the clinicians who reported it, another fact Shapiro denied. He discussed the limitations of relying on spinal fluid, given the low yield for Bb in CSF. He commented on gestational Lyme, citing evidence of spirochetes on autopsy of an infant, again naming the researcher. He cited the inadequacy of the IDSA guidelines, indicating that they don't recommend treatment beyond one month.

Dr. Phillips continually referred to studies, to back up his statements, something Shapiro failed to do. Again and again, he refuted Shapiro's testimony, with solid evidence. Dr. Phillips testimony was on point, clear and concise, and backed by study upon study upon study. Even the manner in which he presented his points far surpassed Dr. Shapiro.

Dr. Jones' next hearing date is September 7th, in Hartford.

Sandy Berenbaum, LCSW, BCD
Brewster, New York

Note: The health department claims they are taking this action against Dr. Jones because he:
1) prescribed medication over the phone for two patients he had not seen (extension of short term antibiotics for an illness they had already been diagnosed with - " not Lyme!), and
2) had spoken with the school about options for not expelling a child he had not seen.

Therefore why was Lyme included in the statement of charges? Why was it brought up at all?. The fact that the health department has never removed Lyme from the statement of charges, and called Eugene Shapiro as their expert Lyme witness indicates an agenda far beyond those two cited charges.

All Lyme patients, physicians, other Lyme professionals, advocates, all those who care about someone who is suffering from chronic Lyme must keep that in mind, and support Dr. Jones' efforts to clear his name!

Next Day...