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September 28, 2006
from Sandy Berenbaum

Well over 100 people were present in the tightly packed room, for the 5th day of the hearing against Dr. Jones (estimates say between 120 to 175)

There was just one witness testifying - R, the former wife of the man who had filed the complaint against Dr. Jones, with the health department of the State of CT. She testified regarding Dr. Jones treatment of her two children, and specifically addressed the charges against Dr. Jones, clarifying a number of points involved in these charges. Her two children, who had been diagnosed and treated by Dr. Jones, were in the courtroom with her.

One point in question has been whether Dr. Jones prescribed antibiotics to treat Lyme disease in children he had not seen. R's testimony indicated that he had simply renewed a prescription for antibiotics for an illness diagnosed by a Nevada physician. No Lyme diagnosis had been made until the children were seen and examined.

Another point, the question of Dr. Jones' involvement with the school prior to seeing the children, was also clarified. The school psychologist, faced with the problem of expelling R's son due to an uncontrolled chronic cough and multiple behavior problems, telling the mother that she did think there was something wrong with the child, beyond simply behavioral issues, called Dr. Jones to discuss the matter. He did not diagnose Lyme at that time, advising the psychologist that the children did have an appointment to be examined and evaluated for Lyme, and suggested that an interim measure, instead of expelling the child, might be to place him on homebound instruction. The school did that, the child, who was failing everything, received instruction at home, was eventually diagnosed with Lyme, and, once treated, returned to school at the beginning of the next school year. R testified to how well her son was now doing at school, both behaviorally and academically, telling the panel that her son began to like school, and look forward to going, for the first time in his life.

R poignantly told of her children's medical history, ill from birth, and her valiant efforts to pursue answers, to find out what was causing their array of symptoms. Her own diagnosis of Lyme, by a physician in Florida, who thought the children might have been born with Lyme, led to her seeking out Dr. Jones, learning from her doctor that he was the best in the country where pediatric Lyme disease is concerned.

R's extensive background as a nurse, with both ER and trauma experience was very impressive. She testified that, in addition to the possibility that her children were born with Lyme, she had told Dr. Jones that there had been tick-bites. Her ability to recognize ticks carrying Lyme disease, previously called into question by the health department attorney, was answered well by R when she advised the panel of her professional background. In addition to her work as a nurse, she had worked for the forest service for 5 years, and had, in fact, written a report that included identification of ticks, including Ixodes Scapularis. Clearly, this supported Dr. Jones' testimony that R was able to identify the type of tick that had bitten her children!

R testified as to the extent that the children's father went to in order to discredit her. She felt compelled, due to financial problems, to pursue shared payment of medical bills, and she had to address her children's expressed concerns about their physical safety when with their father. Actions R took led to her ex-husband's threat that he would seek sole custody, and allege that R had mental problems. R's testimony also attested to the children's father making threats against various physicians, if they were to treat the children.

R painted the picture of a punitive father, with a background of abuse of his ex-wife, then his children, who did not become involved with the children's medical care until he was threatened with the possibility of having to pay for the cost. There was no attempt on the part of the health department attorney to challenge the picture of a vindictive father whose agenda was contrary to the best interests of his children when he filed the complaint with the health department. Again, one must question why the CT Dept. of Health would file charges against Dr. Jones without investigating the source of the complaint, particularly since they claim the pursuit of Dr. Jones is NOT about Lyme disease!!

R testified regarding the problems her son was having in school - academic, medical (among other things, the persistent cough) and behavioral. The school did not know what to do. R testified that she would have home-schooled him, but knew that her ex-husband would not agree to that. The school psychologist, to her credit, sought out Dr. Jones, to get input, in her attempts, it appears, to do her job - provide an education for a complicated, difficult child. R was grateful that Dr. Jones made a suggestion that could work, and provide an education for her son.

R testified as to the thoroughness of Dr. Jones' medical examination of her children. She testified that she "was very impressed with his examination.I have never seen a doctor do that, except in trauma." She testified regarding the thorough record keeping she did, in order to provide Dr. Jones with the feedback he needed during the course of her children's treatment. She had approached doctors regarding locally monitoring the children, and two agreed to do it, until they received threatening phone calls from her ex-husband, and that led to their backing down.

R refuted any allegation that the cause of her children's symptoms was psychological. She said, "You can't alter an EEG, or the blood test results (anemia)." She spoke of the times when her children were playing happily, then would suddenly be stricken with headaches so bad that they lay on the couch crying for hours.

R gave testimony regarding the severity of her children's symptoms, and the wide array of symptoms (certainly supporting what is known about Lyme being a multi-system illness). Her testimony of the years and years of pursuit of medical diagnosis and treatment for her children, brought tears to the eyes of many. She certainly presented herself as a highly educated medical professional, and a compassionate mother, who did a wonderful job of parenting, in pursuing answers ever since the birth of her children.

She testified as to the current good health of her children, and their ability to function well, and attributes these facts to Dr. Jones' diagnosis and treatment.

R's testimony ended the 5th day of the hearing.

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

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