Thursday, February 25, 2010

Big Brother is Watching Over Us

“Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of Men and deny equal privileges to others; the Constitution of the Republic should make a Special privilege for medical freedoms as well as religious freedom.” 

— Benjamin Rush, M.D. (circa 1787)

Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) was a colonial physician known as the “Father of American Medicine.” He signed the Declaration of Independence, served as the Surgeon General of the Continental Army, and opened the first free medical clinic at the Pennsylvania Hospital. (1)

Do you think old Ben Rush is sitting somewhere looking down on us with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson saying, “I told you so.”?

Medical care in our country is not a right nor a privilege. It is big business for profit. Insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, doctors, researchers and even universities are all looking for their piece of the pie no matter the cost.

Those who stand in the way of this multi-billion dollar industry run the risk of being persecuted.

Like Dr. Charles Ray Jones, the physician in Connecticut who is accused of what? Making kids well? Don’t they normally award people for saving lives? Apparently if in doing it big business feels threatened it is not OK, better those kids suffer and die. Right and wrong don’t matter as much lining pockets.

Bills are currently being passed that will make it easier for doctors to treat Lyme disease with long-term antibiotics. Some states, like California and New Jersey already have protections in place that allow doctors to use long-term antibiotics without fear of losing their medical license (4). This is a big step in the right direction for effective Lyme treatment. For some of us long-term antibiotics are the only way we are going to get better. Standing in the way of their prescription should be considered cruel and unusual punishment. The drug companies should be happy, those antibiotics are EXPENSIVE! It must be the insurance companies that are fearing this move.

Others of us, even with these changes, are still being left out to dry. We aren’t using antibiotics at all. For some of us this is a personal choice, others of us failed on antibiotics. Sometimes man’s wonder drugs cause more harm than good. Many of us are left with alternative or natural treatments as our only option. This is definitely not profitable for the drug companies and an excuse for the insurance companies to ignore us.

Quinine has been used to treat malaria since the 1600’s. It remained the antimalarial drug of choice until the 1940s, when other drugs took over. Since then, many effective antimalarials have been introduced (3). Mepron the foul yellow synthetic poison is a much more profitable and therefore accepted treatment option. It might be covered at least partially by your insurance. At up to $1300.00 for a three week supply, you would hope they would help! Mine did, they paid $1.50 per bottle. Thank you big pharmaceutical business for making me poor. Both mepron and quinine are commonly used for the treatment of babesia in Lyme patients. Quinine Bark retails at around $14.00 for 100 capsules.

Damn hippies and their natural medicines. Our new fangled antibiotics are far more effective to anything in nature. Why, Man made them himself with his superior intelligence! He stole the idea from nature and patented it, the big cost of research and development should not be wasted on a medicine anyone can sell. After all, it is Man’s God given right to profit from Mother Nature’s gifts, brilliant!

I do believe that many of the advancements in modern medicine are, without a doubt, useful, necessary and in many cases superior to the primitive medicine of past centuries. That doesn’t mean that it is all better. Or even all good for that matter.

Some religions believe that God has provided all we need in Nature. Others believe that the hand of God has guided man to create these medical advancements, antibiotics and procedures. Neither is wrong.

I have a hard time though imagining any God giving high 5’s to the corporate insurance bigwigs as they turn their backs on those in need. When they get their big bonus as the result of weaseling out of covering the treatments people need to get well, I don’t imagine God joining them on their private jet as they whisk off to their 2nd home in the Hamptons.

Would any God approve of harassing doctors and charging them with crimes for saving children’s lives? No, that man is not God, he just thinks he is. In the case of Dr Jones these false idols assume the form of the Connecticut Medical Examining Board (CMEB) and the Connecticut Department of Health (CT. DPH). They have imposed a $10,000 fine and a four-year license probation during which time his practice will be monitored. Luckily they have not yet succeeded in forcing him to surrender his medical license.

Aside form the charges they have placed against Dr Jones, the CMEB, are also attempting to introduce a restrictive ‘four part standard of care for Lyme disease’. Jones warns us that this would set a very dangerous precedent that could be used against other doctors and shut down the treatment of chronic Lyme disease. (2)

Benjamin Rush was right. Medicine has officially organized into an undercover dictatorship that restricts the art of healing to one class of men and denies equal privileges to others.


1. Benjamin Rush
2. Letter from Dr. Jones
3. The History of Quinine
4. List of state protections regarding Lyme
5. More on Mepron

Dr Jones’ legal battle is far from over. He continues to fight not only for his patients but for the rights of all Lyme patients. If you would like to make a donation to help Dr Jones you can do so by following this link t0 THE DR. CHARLES RAY JONES DEFENSE FUND


Joanne said...

An excellent post.

Kim said...

Thanks Ashley. Awesome post. And speaks to why I'm struggling with health care reform. While I want everybody in this country to have access to affordable healthcare, I don't want anyone--whether its insurance companies or the government--telling my doctor how to treat me.

Alix said...

Nice, Ashley. Well said. This is exactly why I still have NO IDEA where I stand on health care legislation. In some utopian ideal, I think if we had national health care, then government would have more skin in the game and more reason to truly help people be well so we wouldn't be so expensive... but Ben Rush's prescient words scare me... then govt would define what healthcare is and is not and Lyme patients would likely be left more in the dust than we are now.

I'd imagine there would always be fee for service specialty doctors outside the government system, though, right???

Scary times.