Iowa Doctor Fined and Banned from Treating Lyme Disease Patients

by lmatthews on July 11, 2013

iowa lyme disease doctor charged

Iowa welcomes you, but doesn't welcome unscrupulous medical professionals.

Dr. Jeffrey Piccirillo of Grinnell, Iowa, has been fined $10,000 and told to refrain from treating patients with Lyme disease as part of a settlement reached with the Iowa Board of Medicine. The doctor stood accused of using strong antibiotics inappropriately for so-called Chronic Lyme disease in the absence of positive test results indicating ongoing infection.

Diagnosing chronic Lyme disease is problematic because of the insensitivity of tests, particularly when bacteria may, over time, morph from a spirochaetal form to a cyst form that evades detection. Many patients are diagnosed with other conditions prior to being tested for Lyme disease and/or are keen to attribute symptoms to Lyme disease, simply so as to end the stress of diagnostic procedures and confusion. The worry is that unscrupulous physicians looking to peddle expensive therapies take advantage of this desperation in patients and treat an illness that is not actually present, leaving a patient at risk of both side-effects from antibiotics and progressive symptoms from their still undiagnosed illness.


Problems Diagnosing Lyme Disease

Many of the symptoms of Lyme disease mimic other infections, conditions and diseases, even appearing similar to Multiple Sclerosis, depression, Alzheimer’s Disease, and schizophrenia in some cases. Where patients are wrongly diagnosed with an inflammatory illness or autoimmune disease they may be prescribed steroids to suppress the immune system. In the presence of Lyme disease this can exacerbate tissue damage and lead to permanent disability as the body becomes less able to fight off the bacterial infection.

Many patients with chronic Lyme disease will likely jump to the defence of the latest Lyme disease doctor to be charged with inappropriate treatment of patients. However, it should be noted that Piccirillo was also accused of improper sexual relations with a patient, in addition to the medical malpractice charges.

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