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At least fifty Dutch parents of children with Lyme accused of child abuse

Written by Huib, published Wednesday March 1st, 2017

At least fifty Dutch parents of children with Lyme accused of child abuse

Recently Dutch national television highlighted how at least fifty parents of children with Lyme were accused of child abuse by the Child Protection Services during the last two years.
“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”  C.S. Lewis 
[The movie has been deleted, but I’m trying to get it back online. I added English subtitles. If you cannot find them, click on the icon with the red bar underneath it, as shown in this screenshot. If that does not work, chose ‘settings’ (the cog symbol) in the Youtube screen, go to subtitles and select English. ]

The broadcast was watched by over a million people and shared many times on Social Media. In the preparation of it, I asked the editor if she could manage to show how much impact an allegation like this has on the social life of a family. A life that was already under strain due to a misunderstood illness.

While the medical and political discussion about Lyme diagnosis and treatment remains a battlefield, as it has been for the last forty years, at least the people around these fifty families can see through the ‘if there is smoke, there must be a fire’ prejudice. If they don’t automatically believe the accusers, it makes all the difference in the world for the ones being accused. The broadcast did this beautifully by focusing on a few people, while no medical experts were included.

The mother in the broadcast, Erica Vrijmoet, wrote the Dutch book ‘Chronically Happy’ as a ‘friction’ book about the adventures of her family with what she calls the ‘medical mafia’. In 2006 her husband and all of their three children were infected with Lyme by bugs in an Italian swimming pool and she spend all her time, energy and money on taking care of them and finding the possible treatments. After six years of trying to find help in Dutch hospitals, they find medical help abroad.

Her daughter Freek tells the viewers how both she and her sister were traumatised by the raid of ‘Safe Home’. “They tried to tell us that our parents were some sort of criminals. That they inflicted our illness upon us. To me, that was completely ridiculous. My parents were the only ones who fought for us. And then somebody just barges in, basically throws it all out of the window and claim my parents made me ill.

Her mother Erica reads the ‘allegation’ against them out loud: “The parents were very tender and loving towards each other and their children in our presence. Also the nurses involved found this behaviour to appear unreal sometimes.” Based on accusations like these, they were accused of child abuse and making their children ill.


Lori Dennis, author of Lyme Madness, calls this ‘gas-lighting’. Gas-lighting is a manipulative tactic that can be described in different variations of three words: “That didn’t happen,” “You imagined it,” and “Are you crazy?”. 

This is why I am happy to be able to work with the BVIKZ, the interest group that is now investigating the reports of parents about their conflicts with ‘Safe Home’. They are now providing the validation needed for these parents and their children.

This was also my main reason to write my book for caretakers, instead of for the people that are victim of this system that is reversing the blame of a disease that they do not understand. Friends and family can make so much difference by their willingness to understand the complexity and controversies of Lyme. At least I hope they will be less tempted to do an anonymous call to the authorities to report their neighbour or friend, who is simply trying to find out what is wrong with the health of her children and needs to go abroad to find actual help.

A systematic problem around a system disease

‘Lyme’ is not only a physical systems disease, it is also a social systems problem. An organisation such as Safe Home is bound to follow Dutch law and excisting protocols. They are obliged to follow up on anonymous tips. Because they will be slaughtered in the press, if they miss even one actual case of child abuse.

The social workers of Safe Home need to rely on the judgments of their paediatricians, who are called Confidence Doctors for some reason. They don’t know more about Lyme and its invalid tests than your average doctor. All they read in their professional information channel is that Lyme does not excist, that the cause of all these symptoms is MUS and that all patients are conspiracy nuts.

What they don’t see, they don’t know. Such as the reaction from the director of an American pathology institute that has been conducting Lyme research for over thirty years, that the same magazine refused to publish without any reason provided.

I would hope that the current media exposure and the resulting interaction with the BVIKZ makes them more curious about why Lyme has such a bizarre medical and legal status compared to an equally serious disease such as cancer. I’m pretty sure that parents of children with cancer would not be accused as easily neglect and abuse, as happens to parents of children with Lyme.

At least I hope to start to think more in terms of possibility and nuance, instead of assuming everything about Lyme is as clean-cut as national government policy dictates. Stemming from inadequate diagnostic codes at the World Health Organisation, the confusion about Lyme trickles down from an international institutional level. Leading to unimaginable misery and trauma as described in the recent broadcast.

Upcoming interview

Yesterday the BVIKZ had a conversation with Tanno Klijn, the chairman of the national board of the Dutch Child Protection Services who is featured in the broadcast. Next week I will interview the chairman of the BVIKZ about the general outcomes of their investigation and her suggestions for improvement. It will be published on the website of the On Lyme Foundation.

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Huib Kraaijeveld

Author of “Shifting the Lyme Paradigm” and chairman of the On Lyme Foundation

If you want to support me to continue my work, thank you.

drs. Huib Kraaijeveld

In: Blog Youth Care Human rights Social

"This book perfectly describes the plight of millions of patients, who suffer from chronic Lyme Disease in many countries all over the world."
Prof. Christian Perronne, France

"This book is a gift of truth and passion to humanity."
Mia Morales, Lyme patient, USA

"I received the book exactly on the day that I had decided to end my life. Huh?! Yep. I am 35 years old years and have been ill for 19 years. Now I know why: Lyme. Everyone should read this book!"
Miranda, the Netherlands

"This book offers a new practical, human centered way of dealing with health information. It is also ringing a bell for the new time how to work together towards health and thriving."
Kim Schimmler, MD, Germany

"This pioneer's work made it perfectly clear that, when "i" becomes "we", even illness becomes wellness."
Frans Vermeulen, journalist, the Netherlands

"In his crucial work on Lyme disease, dedicated social researcher Huib Kraaijeveld does not pretend to have all the answers, but guides us towards asking the upsetting and essential questions."
Prof. Cees Hamelink, professor Communication Sciences & Human Rights, the Netherlands

"This book reads like a thriller! It touched me deeply and I am sure it will change the course of history."
Linda Graanoogst, journalist, the Netherlands

"Well, I am wiping my eyes and blowing my nose, while tears stream down my face. I guess that is a good sign. You hit the nail on the head claiming that Lyme survivors need 'understanding'. I would like my own partner to read this book."
Anodea Judith, PhD & author, USA

"What an awakening perspective! Huib has successfully set a quantum leap for understanding and managing Lyme disease by common people."
John Wong, bestselling author, Singapore

"A true and unpretentious caretakers' guide to understand Lyme. This book will help you to completely understand what your friend is going through; regardless of the symptoms they have. I wish it had been written ten years ago, because it can actually save lives!"
Cheryl Versalle, Lyme patient, USA

"This book actually speaks to people beyond its target audience (caretakers of people with Lyme Disease): people like me who are not travel companions, but to whom it is not hard at all to have or develop understanding and compassion. This makes the reach of this book bigger, much bigger if you’d ask me. I am amazed a book can do all of this!"
Saskia Steur, business blogger, the Netherlands

"This book reads like an exciting novel, were it not that it concerns a deadly serious issue. It calls to contribute and take care of each other and our world. Read, weep, feel and act!"
Manfred van Doorn, leadership expert, the Netherlands

"A creative and very intelligent vision to dive even deeper into the world of Lyme, to look at yourself, other people, but also the entire world around you."
Friend of someone with Lyme

"The book indicates that Lyme disease can be a sexually transmitted disease. This will cause a tidal wave of awareness all over the world. Like the child in the old fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes, who exclaimed: 'But the emperor is wearing no clothes!'"
Ola Aniel Petterson, STD campaign leader, Sweden

"What a brilliant sociological work! I am sure it will have much impact."
Professor Neuropathy, Germany

"This book is a big eye opener. Both for friends of people with Lyme disease as well as for people with Lyme. Or for any other health issues, for that matter."
Martin Möhrke, medical research leader, Europe

"I cannot read any other book for more than two minutes now, in this hell called Lyme. Yet yours I cannot stop reading! I should have put it away hours ago to clean the house. But I simply cannot stop."
Ineke, wife of a husband with Lyme, the Netherlands

"This book is a delight to read. It offers soft candlelight and warm campfire camaraderie on an often dark and lonely journey."
Laura Bruno, medical intuitive Lyme expert, USA

"A very honest and yet witty way of helping those with Lyme disease. This book is full of ideas on how to help your friend with Lyme, as a travel companion on this crazy journey called 'Lyme'."
Lisa Hilton, Lyme advocate, USA

"Both the personal experiences as well as the author’s sharp mind turn this into an incredibly inspiring book that raises the consciousness of its readers."
Kara, ex Crohn disease patient, the Netherlands

"Tempting, informative and eminently readable! Shifting the Lyme Paradigm is an absolute eye-opener for those who are not aware of what the journey of Lyme disease entails."
Terri Mackinnon-Cross, CEO WorldLymeDay.com, Canada

"This book gave us the recognition and acknowledgment, which were like a band-aid on an open wound."
Sara, Lyme patient, Belgium

"Very insistently written based on intensive, almost existential, personal experiences, this book also gives a clear overview of all relevant information for both patients and caretakers."
Jan Eendebak, former chairman Lyme Foundation STZ, the Netherlands

"A relief to read, written by an expert who shares his dedication to his own path with us, and brilliantly written."
Muna, mother of a daughter with chronic Lyme, the Netherlands

"Playful, frightening, informative and encouraging."
Merel, kinesiologist, the Netherlands

"This book made me realize that there is too little known behind the phenomenon Lyme. In a challenging manner the author provides understanding of Lyme disease and suggestions for tackling this disease. I have 'prescribed' this book to many of my patients and mostly astonishment was soon followed by recognition. An absolute must for anyone with (still) unexplained symptoms or the people close around them."
Duco Kanij, osteopath, the Netherlands

"This book guides you through the labyrinth of Lyme swiftly, while it took us YEARS to even get this far."
Eugenie van der Linden, ex-Lyme patient and therapist, the Netherlands

"This book is an absolute 'must read' for everyone! For patients, for family and friends, and for doctors who can finally learn that Lyme is more than what is written in their textbooks and that they should not be able to dismiss "unexplained" complaints as psychological too quickly!"
Anne Fierlafijn, MD, Belgium

"Shifting the Paradigm of Lyme is not like any other book on Lyme that I have read. It appeals to a higher consciousness, and is analytical in an introspective way that is pleasant to read. This book is a friendly and warm reminder that no Lyme patient is ever alone."
Thomas Grier, biologist, USA

"This book show how caring friends can intervene to provide succor and alliance ‘against the odds’ of a potentially serious and very complex illness that is still poorly understood by mankind."
Kenneth Liegner, MD, USA

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