The Lyme Doctor
Excerpted from the Ottawa Citizen: (05/09/2013)
Dr. Ernie Murakami says he treated 3,000 patients for Lyme disease before he was forced into retirement.
The B.C. physician can no longer prescribe the long-term antibiotics he believes are necessary to treat chronic Lyme. But retirement hasn’t stopped him for directing people to physicians in the U.S. and Europe who diagnose and treat Lyme disease.
By his own count. Murakami has offered free advice to more than 7,000 people looking for help. He will be in Ottawa May 13 for a speaking engagement.
Murakami was the subject of a College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. investigation that began in 2005 and agreed to retire in 2008. He says his story has frightened physicians from treating chronic Lyme with long-term antibiotics.
In the world of conventional medicine, few agree that chronic Lyme exists. They maintain that Lyme is a convenient explanation for chronic fatigue and mysterious pain that is hard to diagnose, backed up by conspiracy theories and an increasingly powerful Lyme advocacy lobby.
In September 2011, the influential medial journal The Lancet published an essay authored by 13 medical experts from institutions like Harvard Medical School and Yale University who argued that people searching for information on the Internet see the websites of Lyme advocates and doctors as reliable sources, drawing attention away from evidence-based medicine.
Long-term antibiotic treatment is profitable for “Lyme-literate” doctors, they wrote. And it can be falsely reassuring to patients to believe they have a chronic infection so they don’t seek diagnosis and treatment for something else.
But Murakami says denying chronic Lyme is “a big, major lie.”
And he’s not backing down.