TOUCHED BY LYME: Sixth day of hunger strike by Frenchman with chronic Lyme
Matthias Lecoste, a 33-year-old French father of two who has chronic Lyme disease, is in the sixth day of a hunger strike.
He says he’s doing this to call attention to how the French health system ignores Lyme patients, leaving them sick and without resources to help themselves.
According to translated postings on the Facebook page “Le droit de guerir” (the right to be cured), Lecoste was hospitalized last night after suffering a seizure. “He is weak but he asked us to not worry about him.”
In support of Lecoste’s mission, the advocacy organization France Lyme sent an open letter to the health minister. (It is in French, of course. What follows is courtesy of Google Translate.)
We dared to prepare ourselves, but we knew that one day this would happen … a sick man, braver than the thousands of others (but equally desperate), has begun a hunger strike. Not someone who is psychologically unstable or suicidal … no. A good father with a family, honest, kind and hardworking, who dreamed of opening his own bakery.
For too many years, the authorities, the CPAM [health insurer] and major infectious disease experts of
our beautiful country, ignore or even despise patients with tick-borne diseases. We call “Lyme disease” anything that brings a cocktail of infectious agents transmitted by ticks.
Why deny the problem and return the chronically ill home with analgesic/anti-inflammatory drugs or antidepressants ? Do you not see that physicians who prescribe anti-infective drugs (antibiotics, antifungal, antiparasitic) as well as natural therapies, get better results? These are the patients themselves
that show! Hundreds.
Why harass these doctors and prevent them from practicing? How can a medical board of the CPAM decide for a sick person whether he is fit or not to return to work? Are they in that person’s body to have an idea of the pain and fatigue that disables them every day?
Lyme patients are not lazy, nor hysterical … they want to heal and return to work like everyone else. Resuming work and a social life are the most beautiful victories for a patient who has experienced years of misery.
Matthias Lacoste has been on a hunger strike since 18 June. This is his sixth day; he is so tired he cannot even make the 15-minute live video he did every morning on his Facebook page.
Minister, what will you do to prevent this man from leaving his skin? Thousands of people are behind him, waiting for a reaction on your part.
Be quick ! We are at your disposal to engage in dialogue.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s VP for Education and Outreach. She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.