nbc30.com New Haven Pediatrician Reprimanded By State, Fined POSTED: 9:21 am EST December 19, 2007 UPDATED: 9:28 am EST December 19, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A New Haven pediatrician who has been praised by patients has been reprimanded by the state.
Dr. Charles Ray Jones has been fined $10,000 and placed on two years probation for violating care standards.
The Connecticut Medical Examining Board said he diagnosed Lyme disease in a boy and his sister who lived out of state months before examining them and prescribed antibiotics based on a phone conversation with their mother.
Jones' lawyer said his 77-year-old client will appeal.
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Regulators Approve Probation, Fine For Controversial Doctor
By WILLIAM HATHAWAY
The Hartford Courant
5:54 PM EST, December 18, 2007
State regulators today upheld a review panel's recommendation that controversial pediatrician Charles Ray Jones be reprimanded and put on two years' probation for his diagnosis and treatment of two Nevada children.
The New Haven area pediatrician - who gained support across the nation because of his willingness to ignore consensus treatment guidelines and prescribe long-term antibiotics to children with symptoms of Lyme - will also have to pay a $10,000 fine and pay a doctor to review records of his patients.
The decision by the medical examing board sidestepped the question the medical validity of treating patients who show symptoms of Lyme disease - such as aching joints and fatigue - but don't meet the criteria established by mainstream doctors. Instead, the board said Jones violated established standards of medical care by diagnosing a disease and prescribing treatment for children he had never examined.
Advocates for patients who say they have chronic Lyme disease, who showed up at today's hearing, argue the decision has a chilling effect on doctors and lead to needless suffering.of thousands of patients.
But the panel from the Connecticut Medical Examining Board upheld most, though not all, of the state health department's allegations about Jones' diagnosis and treatment of two Nevada children in 2004 and 2005, which came into question during a bitter custody dispute.
Jones prescribed antibiotics to the son of Jeffrey and Robin Sparks and told the boy's school principal that he had diagnosed late-stage Lyme disease without having seen the boy, the panel found.
Courant.com Lyme Doctor Sanctioned Board Punishes Him For Diagnosing Children, Prescribing Meds Without Examination By WILLIAM HATHAWAY
Courant Staff Writer
December 19, 2007
Lyme disease patients across the nation have lionized Dr. Charles Ray Jones of Hamden because of his willingness to prescribe long-term antibiotics in defiance of conventional medical wisdom.
DR. CHARLES RAY JONES is shown during Tuesday's hearing before the Connecticut Medical Examining Board. (RICK HARTFORD / December 18, 2007)
On Tuesday, state regulators put the 81-year-old pediatrician on probation for two years -- not because of the controversial way he treats Lyme patients, but for diagnosing two Nevada children he had never met with Lyme disease and prescribing them antibiotics over the phone.
After hearings that lasted 18 months and triggered grumbles Tuesday from more than 100 Jones supporters in the audience at the Legislative Office Building, the Connecticut Medical Examining Board, without a dissenting vote, fined Jones $10,000 and ruled that he must pay a medical monitor to oversee his New Haven-area practice.
Advocates for Lyme patients, many from out of state, had been in Hartford for most of the day, not only to support Jones, but also to lobby state legislators to protect doctors like him who prescribe antibiotics to treat chronic Lyme disease, a condition many infectious disease specialists say probably does not exist or is, at most, a rare condition.
"He's a complete gem on every level," said Kim Harrison of Newtown, whose 11-year-old son was treated by Jones. "There are thousands of kids he has treated, and the majority, successfully."
At a breakfast Tuesday, state Rep. Jason Bartlett, D-Bethel, told a group of patient advocates that he will try to introduce legislation to protect doctors like Jones from actions by the state.
However, the board and the Department of Public Health sidestepped the controversial issue of how best to treat people who have symptoms of a disease that, left unchecked, can cause devastating fatigue and neurological problems. Instead, the board focused on the propriety of Jones' long-distance Lyme diagnosis of a brother and sister who lived in a state where the disease is rare.
"This isn't about creating a new standard of care, but reinstating an old standard of care," said David Tilles, an attorney for the Department of Public Health, which brought allegations of misconduct against Jones.
But by bringing a case against Jones, the state sought to suppress alternative methods to treat a complex and poorly understood tick-borne disease, said Jones' attorney, Elliott Pollack.
"It's just not rational. When has this board ever punished physicians for curing patients?" said Pollack, who received a standing ovation from the audience when he finished his oral arguments.
But Pollack drew a sharp rebuke from board member Dr. David Goldenberg, who called Pollack's assertions that Jones cured the two Nevada children "obnoxious" and unfounded.
ELLIOTT POLLACK, Dr. Charles Ray Jones' attorney, addresses the Connecticut Medical Examining Board in Hartford on Tuesday. The board placed Jones on probation for two years for diagnosing two Nevada children he had never met with Lyme disease and prescribing them antibiotics over the phone. (RICK HARTFORD / December 18, 2007)
Pollack said Jones will file an appeal of the decision in Superior Court.
The case, which has drawn national attention, began as fallout from a long-running custody dispute between Jeffrey and Robin Sparks over the health of their two children. According to examining board hearing transcripts, Jones told Robin Sparks that some of the behavioral and physical problems her son experienced might have been caused by gestational Lyme, or Lyme passed through the womb from mother to child. Jeffrey Sparks said the children had no physical health problems.
Jones prescribed antibiotics over the phone to both children and recommended home schooling for the son months before Robin Sparks flew them to Connecticut to be examined by Jones in 2004.
Tilles argued that there was no evidence that Lyme can be transmitted from mother to infant and that there are no ticks known to transmit the disease in Nevada. The board was not persuaded by Pollack's arguments that the children might have contracted the disease on vacation and that Jones wrote antibiotic prescriptions for the children's pre-existing conditions.
The board, however, failed to uphold the state's allegations that Jones did not consider other more plausible causes of the children's symptoms. It also declined to say that Jones erred when he persisted in his diagnosis, even though tests for Lyme came back negative. Patient advocates and some doctors have argued that existing tests for Lyme miss many cases.
The decision also left alone one of the most divisive issues in the Lyme disease debate -- whether extended antibiotic treatments for patients with Lyme-like symptoms are warranted.
Advocates for Lyme disease patients say thousands of patients with debilitating neurological problems, crushing fatigue or joint pain have recovered, thanks to doctors like Jones. And the state's case against Jones has had a chilling effect on doctors who are afraid to prescribe antibiotics to Lyme patients.
However, the consensus medical viewpoint, outlined in several major medical journals, is that there is little evidence that chronic Lyme exists in people who have received an initial short course of antibiotics. Most of these patients probably have other disorders with similar symptoms, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis or severe depression.
But Lyme disease groups argue that mainstream doctors ignore evidence that, despite treatment, Lyme bacteria persist that are hard to detect with existing tests. Co-infections with other tick-borne pathogens can make diagnosing and assessing treatment for Lyme disease even more challenging, they say. Long-term courses of antibiotics, sometimes for a year or longer, are necessary to hold the disease in check, they say.
The majority of infectious-disease doctors argue that antibiotics carry their own health risks. Also, the most rigorous clinical trials of extended use of antibiotics have failed to find lasting benefits from long-term antibiotics, compared with a placebo.
However, his supporters say they believe that Jones, not a placebo, helped their children get better.
Great job, Tracy! Just saw your report sent to one of the support groups I attend! Now which one are you, of the women in the lower left-hand corner?
Posts: 13069 | From San Francisco | Registered: May 2006
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NO- some of the content is GREAT!!!! A few articles have been written with GREAT things in them- Kay Lyons daughter praising Doc Jones- another patient saying, "Dr. Jones is a compelte gem."
Some good stuff!!!
But Hathaway from the Courant is a $%&)@!
-------------------- There is no wealth but life. -John Ruskin
All truth goes through 3 stages: first it is ridiculed: then it is violently opposed: finally it is accepted as self evident. - Schopenhauer Posts: 5639 | From Aptos CA USA | Registered: Apr 2005
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