Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Under Our Skin

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Damning Documentary Traces Evolution of Lyme Disease Epidemic

Lyme disease takes its name from the town in Connecticut where it first emerged in the early Seventies. Until then, the malady was referred to as Mrs. Murray’s new disease in deference to the intrepid reporter who had been desperately attempting to direct the medical establishment’s attention to the assortment of ailments which had suddenly started afflicting so many local folks.
Presenting such symptoms as headaches, rashes, swollen knees, stiff necks, fatigue, shooting pains, blurred vision and memory loss, the patients found themselves being misdiagnosed as having everything from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to Crohn’s to Lupus to Rheumatoid Arthritis to Parkinson’s to Lou Gehrig’s to ADD to MS to Fibromyalgia to Syphilis. Consequently, people with Lyme were put on all sorts of medications which had no effect with their underlying illness.
Eventually, researchers did identify the spirochete microbe which triggers the disease, and determined that most patients make dramatic improvements shortly after taking antibiotics. However, many are much slower to show improvement, especially those who were tardy in correctly identifying Lyme. For, when allowed to proceed untreated to later stages, the debilitating disorder is capable of taking a shocking toll on the host’s heart, brain and central nervous system.
Sadly, today, patients with chronic Lyme disease and their doctors have become the prey of avaricious insurance companies who seize on any excuse to deny coverage. And this frightening development is the subject of Under Our Skin, a damning indictment of the broken healthcare system by Andy Abrahams Wilson.
We learn that the insurance companies have embarked on the 21st Century equivalent of a witch hunt in order to purge their rolls of any clients who negatively affect their balance sheets. Apparently, their attorneys’ m.o. is to pressure the disciplinary board to suspend the medical licenses of any physicians who insist on treating Lyme as a chronic affliction and then, if successful, to sue them for millions.
A scary expose’ illustrating exactly what happens to a country when you let the powerful medical insurance lobby set a pro-corporate agenda which puts profits ahead of healthcare. Are you listening, President Obama?

Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 103 minutes
Studio: Open Eye Pictures
Distributor: Shadow Distribution

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