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Looking for doctor in Melbourne, Australia

Discussion in 'ME/CFS Doctors' started by athomeinRwanda, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. athomeinRwanda

    athomeinRwanda

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    I've very recently moved to Brighton, VIC from Europe and have begun looking around for a decent doctor. Donald Lewis is so busy his office isn't even making appointments. I've been told that two doctors close to where I live take an approach similar to Dr Kenny de Meirlier - they are Dr. Braham Rabinov and Dr. Robert Hannah. I'm trying to get confirmation of this - it is extremely expensive to see them, and I'd rather not be throwing money away. Has anyone heard of them or had experience with them?
     
  2. Victoria

    Victoria Senior Member

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    Melbourne, Australia
    I haven't heard of either of those doctors, but I am not actively seeking treatment for CFS.

    I would suggest that for the time being,you find a really good, sympathetic GP (General Practitioner) and/or a Naturapathic Dr who can help treat your symptoms in the interim (depending on what your preference is for - orthodox or alternative).

    I might add that in general, GP's don't have the time in an appointment to listen to your whole medical history, so may I suggest that if you haven't already done so, you try to summarise all your medical history & current symtoms down on paper (before seeing any medical practitioner). This will save some time & give you some notes to get the facts straight for when you DO find someone. Also ensure you book for a longer INITIAL consultation (rather than the standard 15minutes).

    Don Lewis is certainly accredited with being one of the best in Melbourne in treating CFS, but the 3 inital consultations (& tests) with him are very expensive. Being only a GP, I'm not sure that the govt Medicare rebate would be very much for his fees - I'm guessing. There are many other qualified GPs who have an interest in diet & nutrition & alternative therapies, but on the whole, most GPs find CFS too difficult to diagnose & treat. You may find you have to consult a number of different specialists depending on your symptoms.

    It's an expensive business having chronic ill health in Australia, so I recommend the first thing to do is join a private health insurance fund. Many have 12 month waiting periods before they will cover pre-existing conditions, but shop around & compare the cover each private insurance company offers. That's just my view.

    I have still kept up my top private health insurance 'hospital' cover, & 'super extras' cover even though I am no longer working & have a substantially reduced income.

    Note: the 'super extras' cover in my fund covers 80% of certain alternate therapies as well as optical & dental - up to certain limits each year. Eg Physiotherapy up to $600 per annum, so that I get 80% rebate on a physiotherapy session & can afford about 10 sessions a year. Same with acupunture & chiropractic etc. There's also things like myotherapy or remedial massage, podiatry & TCM. in my own 'super extras' insurance cover. 'Super extras' cover as it is called in many private health funds, is an additional cost to private 'hospital' insurance cover.

    But DO shop around & compare insurance funds to find the one that fits your health needs (IF you wish to take out private health insurance - I highly recommend it, living in Australia).

    I also recommend paying for Ambulance insurance cover. A short trip in an ambulance could cost $2000. Single ambulance insurance cover for me as a 'single' person is $75 per year. I think I've only had about 3 ambulance trips in my life, but there's no way I could afford an ambulance without insurance cover.

    Having private health insurance also means good cover if you have any unexpected surgery & lengthy hospital stays.

    To give you an example. In June 2008 I had lumbar disc surgery. Four days in the neurology unit of a private hospital & 8 days stay in the attached rehabilitation unit. The hospital bill alone was $10,000+ & was completely covered by my private insurance. Then there was the neurosurgeon, the assistant surgeon, the anaethetist, daily attendance by a doctor in the rehab unit & so on. The MRI's & other scans also cost alot of money.

    I don't know your financial situation, or your health condition & symptoms, but if you have chronic health problems, private health insurance might be your first step, depending on your need for hospital surgery & alternative therapies.

    Private health cover doesn't cover GP & specialist consultations though. They are partially rebateable through the Govt health care system - Medicare. You need to register for this (if you haven't already done so).

    I have found that when I am referred to any specialist, on ring to make an initial appointment, I am often asked if I have private health insurance. I seem to get very quick appointments with specialists (when I DO say I have private health insurance cover).

    Hopefully, there is another PR member living in Melbourne who can recommend some Doctors they like (or dislike).

    Personally, I have found a knowledgable, sympathetic GP who has some knowledge of CFS & the symptoms a good starting point. If you find someone who instantly wants to hand out the anti-depressants or tell you it's all in your mind, I would not go back to that GP.

    You will need a GP's referral before you can see a specialist (to get a reasonable Govt. Medicare rebate on your specialist bill fee).

    So a GP is your starting point (I believe).

    Other PR members who lives in Melbourne might offer different advice. It all depends on your personal requirements for your existing health conditions & symptoms.

    But be warned, healthcare in Australia is expensive.
     
  3. knackers323

    knackers323 Senior Member

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    hello Athome, I have not heard of the two Dr you mentioned but have seen a Dr Fred Spittel in melb. I went to see him as I had heard of three pthers seeing him and becoming well again. I myself only seen him twice as I ran out of money at the time as I was flying from Sydney to see him and from what I could tell most of his treatment seemed to focus on diet. but who can argue with results. i you have any more questions just ask and please let me know how you get on
     
  4. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    With the price of air fares maybe a trip to brisbane to see dr deed, he is brisbanes cfs doc, sometimes it can be a few weeks to get appointments but sometimes can be lucky. he's upto date with cfs and will prescibe antivirals and antibiotics if neccessary and is into alternative treatments as well like hormones/dhea etc, he will do alot of testing as well. He works at Mediwell medical centre cooparoo, brisbane, ph 07 34217488, and he's a nice guy too, not arogant like some docs. but also would be good to work with a local GP who can help u treat symptoms like sleep and pain, but dr deed can do that too, a holiday to brisbane every 4 months or so.

    cheers!!!
     
  5. athomeinRwanda

    athomeinRwanda

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    Hi Victoria,

    Thank you very much indeed for all this good advice. I'll begin looking into private health insurance asap. I have already signed up for medicare (thanks!). Yes - the cost of everything here really is a shock!

    Nicky
     
  6. athomeinRwanda

    athomeinRwanda

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    Hi knackers,

    Thanks for that name - I'll look him up. Apparently Dr Hannah also focuses on diet. Would love to hear from anyone who's seen him.

    Nicky
     
  7. athomeinRwanda

    athomeinRwanda

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    Hi Heapsreal,

    I'm not well enough for trips up to Brisbane, but I'll hold on to the name just in case. When you say he prescribes "antivirals" do you mean he's prescribing antiretrovirals, as in the same drugs used to treat AIDS? Along the lines of what Dr Deckoff-Jones is doing (http://treatingxmrv.blogspot.com/)? If so, that would be the first time I've heard of a doctor doing that. I'd be interested in hearing more. What kind of success has he had?

    Nicky
     
  8. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    not antiretro's yet but i could see him doing it when testing is common place in australia. mainly prescribing valtrex,famvir and valcyte if u can afford it
     
  9. athomeinRwanda

    athomeinRwanda

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    Good to know - thanks!
     
  10. Glynis Steele

    Glynis Steele Senior Member

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    Newcastle upon Tyne UK
    I'm not sure if this is helpful to you, but Prof Paul Gooley is looking at d-lactic acid levels in CFS patients at Melbourne University. He might be able to advise on a suitable doc. Here is a link to his application regarding biomarkers in CFS. Please let me know if you want further info on d-lactic stuff, as I have a shed load, however the papers are in relation to short bowel patients, in which dla is usually seen. Paul Gooley was involved in the "Increased d-lactic Acid intestinal bacteria in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome" study, see bottomlink.

    http://sacfs.asn.au/download/Lactic acid study 2008 - Ethics Application.pd

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19567398

    BW

    Glynis
     
  11. athomeinRwanda

    athomeinRwanda

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    Hi Glynis,

    Thank you for this information. This area of research is new to me. One of the most frustrating aspects of trying to find useful information is the failure of just about the entire research and medical community to properly distinguish between ME and "CFS" when selecting their research cohorts. To the best of my knowledge it is only people with ME who experience post-exertional malaise, i.e. any kind of exercise makes the condition significantly worse. The brain fog and neurological symptoms seem to be present in a wide range of conditions, many of which are lumped under the name "CFS" so are not a distinguishing feature for ME.
    Anyway, I can always give Prof Gooley's office a call and see if he's able to recommend anyone - so thanks for the tip!

    cheers,
    Nicky
     
  12. Tony

    Tony Still working on it all..

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    Melbourne, Australia
    http://www.acnem.org/modules/mastop_publish/?tac=35

    You'll find some doc's on the above list who you could see. I've read that Dr Bagot in Camberwell has been interested in ME/CFS for many years. You could also call the ME/CFS society and see if they have any other names.
     
  13. ggingues

    ggingues $10 gift code at iHerb GAS343 of $40

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    Concord, NH
  14. Francelle

    Francelle Senior Member

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    Victoria, Australia
    The ACNEM website http://www.acnem.org/modules/mastop_publish/?tac=35 as posted by Tony (post #12) suggests that Dr Robert Hanner does NOT treat CFS/Fibro.

    Dr David Bird from Narbethong also sees CFS patients - scroll down ACNEM list. I saw David Bird early on in my illness, then his house burnt down in the devastating February bushfires last year and he went off the radar until recently.

    I have PM'd you.
     
  15. athomeinRwanda

    athomeinRwanda

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    Thank you Tony, Ggingues and Francelle;

    Tony - I've followed your posts about Dr KdM's treatment with interest. I'm still going to see if I can eventually get an appointment with him.
    Interesting that Dr Hanner (I mis-wrote his name earlier) is listed as not treating "CFS". After my initial post, and following an inquiry at the offices of Dr Hanner & Dr Rabinov, Dr Rabinov actually called me (I was very surprised!). However I was very pleased to learn that both doctors are familiar with the work of Dr KdM and also Dr Byron Hyde. They do thorough testing, and then based on results look more closely at the gut & diet issues. Since I initially became ill while working in east/central Africa, I'm going first to an infectious diseases specialist (Dr Michael Richards at Epworth), and will most likely then follow up with Dr Hanner, or Dr KdM if there's any chance of getting an appointment.

    Hope to have more to report in a few months' time. It's a slow process, for sure!

    Nicky
     

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