A Mount Kisco physician who specializes in the treatment of Lyme disease is suing a blogger for $1 million for allegedly misrepresenting his disciplinary action for professional misconduct.
Dr. Daniel Cameron sued Jann Bellamy, a Tallahassee, Florida lawyer and activist for science-based standards in health care, Nov. 8 in federal court in White Plains.
Cameron claims that an article Bellamy wrote last year depicted him as a “predator who preys on Lyme disease patients for his own financial gain,” and that she falsely described his consent agreement with the New York state Department of Health’s Board for Professional Medical Conduct.
Bellamy replied by email today, “I have not been served with any lawsuit and cannot comment.”
Cameron has been practicing medicine in New York since 1985. He primarily treats patients with a history of Lyme disease or associated tick-borne diseases, such as Bartonella and Babesia.
He is active in the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society that has issued diagnosis and treatment guidelines for chronic Lyme disease.
Lyme disease, he states in the complaint, is endemic in Westchester County and most of New York state. His patients come from throughout the world and many find him through internet searches.
Bellamy contends that there is no such disease as chronic Lyme and that the consensus of infectious disease experts is that long-term use of antibiotics to treat these patients can be harmful.
In April 2017, the state Board for Professional Medical Conduct filed a statement of charges against Cameron, concerning seven patients he treated from 1995 to 2010.
The board accused him of professional misconduct, including gross negligence, gross incompetence and failure to maintain records.
Cameron formally denied all allegations and charges in a 14-page response.
He said the state board interviewed him about diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease but did not interview him about the board’s charges.
The state, he said, “manipulated the license disciplinary process.”
He demanded a hearing on the legal merits of his position.
Three weeks later, he signed a consent agreement that put him on probation for three years, allowing him to continue his practice subject to several restrictions.
“I assert that I cannot successfully defend against at least one of the acts of misconduct alleged,” the agreement states.
One week after Cameron signed the consent, Bellamy published her account of the disciplinary action on the website of Science-Based Medicine.
She said Cameron is board certified in internal medicine but has no fellowship training or certification in the infectious diseases subspecialty. She described him as a recognized leader “among those who consider ‘chronic Lyme’ a real disease,” but not among board certified infectious disease doctors “who agree that ‘chronic Lyme’ is not a real disease.”
Cameron, she wrote, “brushes off the expert opinion of infectious diseases doctors versus ‘chronic Lyme’ pseudoscience as simply ‘different points of view.’”
New York, according to Bellamy, does not require doctors to stipulate to particular acts of misconduct as a condition of settling a case. “This means the allegations in the state’s statement of charges were never proven.”
But she said the statement of charges, based on expert review of Cameron’s patient records, “remain uncontested by Cameron.”
“Reading between the lines,” Bellamy continued, “Cameron had only one tool, a hammer, so he saw every problem as a nail. The possibility that the patient might be suffering from something other than ‘chronic Lyme’ was tossed aside via inadequate physical exams and medical records, failing to consider other diagnoses, and bulldozing ahead with inappropriate long-term antibiotics, adverse conditions be damned.”
Those assertions, Cameron states in his complaint, are libelous.
The consent order, he states, made no findings of actual misconduct and did not sustain any of the original allegations.
He never stipulated to charges of negligence or incompetence, the complaint states, but he did formally contest the charges.
“The consent order was merely a statement of all the outstanding charges,” the complaint states, “and nothing more.”
Cameron is demanding $1 million for libel and defamation and in injunction barring future postings of the article.
The lawsuit also names five doctors from across the country who edit articles on the website, but it does not name the publication or organization as defendants.
Cameron is represented by Jacques G. Simon of Jericho, Long Island.