There are a number of Lyme disease treatment centers in the US, and many other hospitals and clinics where Lyme disease patients can access medical help. Unfortunately, a number of those clinics purporting to treat Lyme disease, and the self-anointed ‘Lyme Literate MDs’ working out of such clinics, use experimental therapies which may be of little benefit to Lyme disease patients and may in fact be quite dangerous. There is a wealth of information on Lyme disease support forums online which can both help and hinder a patient looking for information on a doctor or clinic in their local area. Patients may travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to see a doctor following a recommendation by a fellow Lyme disease sufferer, incurring huge costs in time, money, and effort after exhausting all their options at local medical centers. Checking for the support group in a specific state, via the yahoo health groups site for example (with the format http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/statenamelyme), may enable patients to find well-regarded doctors or treatment centers close to home.
Are There Any Major Lyme Disease Treatment Centers in the US?
Some of the bigger names in health-care in the US have no Lyme disease treatment center and have a poor reputation with many patients suffering from the effects of chronic Lyme disease or post-Lyme syndrome as it may be referred to. The Mayo Clinic is one such example, with numerous reports by patients claiming to have received no recognition of their illness and little benefit by visiting this, otherwise well-regarded, clinic. Johns Hopkins also has no dedicated Lyme disease treatment center, and neither does Massachussetts General Hospital, which leaves the field open to smaller clinics and opportunistic doctors.
An example of one such smaller Lyme disease treatment center is the Rhinebeck Health Center in New York which sees many patients with chronic symptoms suggestive of Lyme disease. This clinic takes the view that conventional wisdom on Lyme disease is incorrect and that antibiotic therapy longer than the standard four weeks is needed to fully address Lyme disease. Prolonged antibiotic courses are regularly prescribed to patients visiting the Rhinebeck Health Center, in an area endemic for Lyme disease, although the center describes itself as integrative and in favor of avoiding antibiotic use for most patients without Lyme disease.
Holistic Lyme Disease Treatment Centers
Another Lyme disease treatment center is the Haverford Wellness Center in Harleysville, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania had the highest incidence of reported Lyme disease cases according to the CDC in 2009 and there are, therefore, considerable numbers of patients looking for treatment in the state. The doctor presiding over treatment at the clinic is Domenic Braccia, an osteopath, who claims to be dedicated to the accurate diagnosis, and ‘reasonable’ treatment of Lyme disease and other tick-borne disease. Dr. Braccia and the other staff at the Haverford Wellness Center will take on patients with long-term illness, and those who consider their conventional treatment to have failed. This clinic tries to make the treatment experience more holistic and encouraging for patients who have often faced a lengthy struggle with misdiagnosis, poor case management, and doctors unwilling to step outside the generally accepted Lyme disease guidelines for treatment and diagnosis.
The clinic uses a combination of conventional and alternative therapy for Lyme disease and co-infections with on-site laboratory testing and facilities for IV treatment should it be required. Their website claims to cure Lyme disease in 88% of patients during their treatment cycle, based on the experiences of hundreds of patients, although they also quote 86% elsewhere on their site and offer no case studies or raw data to substantiate these figures. The Haverford Wellness Center claims to monitor patients for months following treatment to ensure a prompt response should relapse occur which many Lyme disease patients will find encouraging in comparison to other Lyme disease treatment centers that offer little in the way of continued support.
An Integrative Lyme Disease Treatment Center
A Lyme disease treatment center with an actual medical doctor available for consultation is the CLEAR Center of Health based in Mill Valley, San Francisco. Founded by Beth McDougall, MD, in 2002, there are two medical doctors, one osteopath, one naturopathic doctor, and a psychotherapist on the clinic’s staff. As such, patients are offered an integrative treatment approach using a combination of Western medicine and less conventional therapies, with some of the therapies’ costs able to be reimbursed by insurers. Blood and genetic testing, medical history, and investigation of precipitating and exacerbating factors in a patient’s illness are carried out with an appreciation that every Lyme disease patient’s experience is different. The clinic’s naturopathic doctor, Wayne Anderson, is a fairly recent recruit to the CLEAR Center and specializes in treating Lyme disease.
Lyme Disease Treatment Center Claims for Cures
There are, of course, many other clinics across the US, and farther afield, which specialize in Lyme disease treatment, or have doctors with experience diagnosing and treating this infection. Patients need to be aware that there are unscrupulous practitioners out there who have little experience, no actual medical qualifications, and dubious ethical standards just waiting to exploit the vulnerability of those suffering from a chronic illness. Any clinic or Lyme disease doctor claiming to have a 100% success rate of curing Lyme disease, or who is reluctant to provide details of treatments, previous patients’ experiences, costs, or support for unconventional therapies should be approached with caution as these can be indicators of Lyme disease quackery. Where a patient is dissatisfied with their treatment, or where they have a concern over the credentials of their doctor they should approach the local health authority for advice. Many Lyme disease treatment centers do, however, offer a well-rounded approach to caring for a patient with a complex illness comprising both physical and emotional support.
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