Peter Mayne is a notorious quack doctor who started the Sydney Lyme Clinic in 2013, even though there is no evidence of Lyme disease in Australia.
The Australian Health Care Complaints Commission found Mayne guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct for his horrific treatment and inappropriate diagnosis of a patient. Like some other victims of chronic Lyme health fraud, the patient’s true diagnosis was cancer.
Years of misconduct
Mayne is known for promoting conditions unrecognized by medical science, including “chronic Lyme disease” and Morgellons. Unsurprisingly, Mayne was a member of ILADS, a dangerous pseudoscience group.
In an effort to legitimize themselves, ILADS members released so-called guidelines in 2004. In 2010, the Healthcare Protection Agency of UK issued a lengthy report that contained scathing conclusions about these guidelines:
- The ILADS guidelines are not evidence-based and are poorly constructed.
- Application of the ILADS guidelines’ poorly defined case definitions will result in a very high risk of misdiagnosis.
- Use of ILADS guidelines’ vague treatment recommendations, including prolonged use of antibiotics, has potentially serious consequences.
- Patients misdiagnosed with Lyme disease risk losing opportunities for diagnosis and treatment of other conditions. They also risk serious physical, psychological social and financial adverse events.
In addition to ILADS, Mayne has been associated with other dangerous pseudoscience groups, including Australian Chronic Infectious Disease Society (ACIDS) and the Charles E. Holman Morgellons Disease Foundation. Mayne has also spoken at ILADS and Morgellons conferences.
The absence of Lyme disease from Australia did not stop Mayne from diagnosing many hundreds of patients with it, including those who had never left the country.
In the chronic Lyme cult, it is a fundamental belief that people are infested with multiple chronic coinfections, not just Lyme. Therefore, it is not a shock that Mayne recklessly diagnosed people with exotic infections, such as Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum.
As of September 2020, Bartonella-Lyme coinfection has never been credibly documented, and Babesia has been only reported once in Australia.
Mayne also admitted in his papers (1, 2) that he utilized the shady California lab, IgeneX, which was founded by ILADS cofounder and leader Nick Harris. IgeneX’s testing has been criticized by the NIH as unreliable.
One study found that IgeneX testing criteria might result in 57.5% of healthy people being falsely diagnosed with Lyme disease. And Nick Harris’s son—who became an IgeneX employee—Steven Jeffrey Harris became an ILADS quack doctor and menace to the public who was disciplined for having his patients injected with garlic.
In 2017, Health Care Complaints Commission finally disciplined Peter Mayne, finding him guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct in that he:
- Inappropriately diagnosed the patient with Lyme disease;
- Inappropriately commenced the patient on intramuscular antibiotic injections for Lyme disease;
- Inappropriately treated the patient with weekly and then biweekly antibiotic injections for Lyme disease over approximately 30 weeks but failed to investigate or consider the patient might have cancer due to his age and medical history;
- Failed to obtain informed consent from the patient for the experimental, novel or unproven antibiotic therapy from March 2012 to January 2013;
- Maintained poor records for the patient and in doing so contravened the regulations governing medical record keeping for medical practitioners.
The HCCC decision affirms the allegations against Mayne and describes appalling treatment of a man whose true diagnosis was lung cancer, not Lyme disease and bartonella as Mayne falsely claimed.
According to the HCCC:
Patient A was 68 years old, a smoker, and was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He also had documented ischaemic heart disease, hypertension and emphysema.
Patient A relocated to another regional centre in Queensland, in early 2013, and accordingly, consulted different doctors there. There he was diagnosed with lung cancer with brain secondaries, and died in mid-2013, aged 69.
In her Complaint made to the HCCC, Patient A’s wife stated that her husband had ongoing symptoms, including weight loss, approximately a year before his diagnosis of lung cancer. She recalled that Patient A experienced rapid weight loss, swelling in his hands and feet, and bowel problems. Approximately six months before the diagnosis, she also noticed the whites of his eyes started to look an orange/red colour. She stated that Dr Mayne was aware of these symptoms, and treated Patient A for some of them. She stated that: He did not discuss with me any other possible diagnoses, and continued to attribute these symptoms to Lyme Disease.
To attempt to justify his malpractice, Mayne cited guidelines by ILADS and Joseph Burrascano, an ILADS leader who has also been found guilty of professional misconduct.
According to the HCCC:
We are also mindful that neither ILADS nor Burrascano are mainstream. They were described by [Infectious Diseases Physician and Clinical Microbiologist] Professor Beaman as fringe.
Mayne’s inexplicable treatment regimen consisted of:
- intramuscular penicillin injections for a duration of 30 weeks from 5 March 2012;
- combination intramuscular penicillin injections and Ceftriaxone between May and August 2012;
- Trimethoprim from 30 October 2012.
Not only did Mayne falsely diagnose the man with Lyme neuroborreliosis and bartonella, but he prescribed dangerous drugs that were inappropriate for those diagnoses.
Mayne also used discredited CD57 testing that is nonetheless still frequently used by quacks who claim to be “Lyme literate”. According to the HCCC decision, ILADS member Dr. Cathy Morris “agreed that CD57 is not a test suitable to diagnose Lyme disease.”
Fatally flawed papers
Mayne has been a coauthor of several very poor papers with other quacks, including Eva Sapi, ILADS member Marianne Middelveen, and former ILADS president Raphael Stricker. Stricker was found guilty of scientific misconduct by the NIH and UCSF. Stricker was also fired by UCSF.
Even though there is no compelling evidence that Lyme disease is sexually transmitted, Mayne, Stricker, and Middelveen promoted the idea. They also promoted the bizarre belief that Lyme disease is associated with the unrecognized Morgellons diagnosis.
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NSW Health Care Complaints Commission: Dr Peter Mayne – Unsatisfactory professional conduct
Professional Standards Committee: Full decision