A Mexican Standoff – Canadian Style

The controversy over Lyme disease in Canada has finally hit a point where even the most disinterested members of our society can no longer ignore it.

Public health officials insist that the disease is rare in this country, that diagnostic testing is accurate, and that many people who claim to have the disease really don’t. Many doctors lack the training to clinically diagnose the illness, treat patients using guidelines that have been shown to have significant flaws, and rely on problematic (to say the least) diagnostic blood tests to help them determine who has the disease and who does not.

Then there are the patients, many of whom find themselves caught in a medical No Man’s Land where getting a firm diagnosis is difficult, managing baffling symptoms is a burden, and dealing with a healthcare system that places significant barriers between Lyme sufferers and the care they need is a travesty. Ultimately the controversy forces many Lyme patients to leave the healthcare system – and in many cases the country – to seek help.

And while all this is going down, everyone involved in the Lyme debate is pointing fingers at everyone else, each trying to place blame for this mess on whomever or whatever seems most at fault. It’s a Mexican standoff. A medical stalemate. An average day in a dysfunctional family. Welcome to Lyme disease in Canada.