Soldier claims Lyme disease led to dismissal
Jean-Nicolas Blanchet, QMI Agency
First posted: Thursday, July 03, 2014 09:33 AM EDT | Updated: Thursday, July 03, 2014 09:40 AM EDT
MONTREAL -- A former Canadian soldier has filed a grievance against the military, claiming he was turfed instead of being treated for a debilitating bacterial disease.
Leaf Tremback, of Sharbot Lake, Ont., says military doctors failed to properly treat him for Lyme disease.
He says he contracted the disease while training in bug-infested woods east of Montreal.
Lyme disease is spread by ticks and can cause fatigue, fever, muscle pain and mental disorders if not properly treated.
Tremback was 25 when he arrived in Farnham, Que., for officer cadet training in July 2008. He was bitten by an infected tick and fell ill.
He claims military personnel improperly removed the insect and told him he might have the flu. A few months later, he said, his symptoms got worse.
The young man's condition improved after he underwent several treatments, but he said he relapsed despite assurances from army doctors that he had been healed.
The army agreed to let Tremback seek a second opinion from another military doctor.
Military records reviewed by QMI Agency show the army insisted his symptoms "are a figment of his imagination" and sent him to a psychiatrist.
"They told me, 'What's your f---ing problem? Stop pretending,'" Tremback said. "I didn't know what to do."
Feeling abandoned, he informed the military that he had sought a civilian doctor.
"They told me that I didn't have the right and that I would be sanctioned if I did it."
The outside examination confirmed that he had Lyme disease, but the army discharged him in 2012 and refused to recognize the diagnosis.
But documents show the army also prescribed him a cocktail of drugs to treat symptoms including those of Lyme disease.
Veterans Affairs contradicted the military's conclusions and found that Tremback did, in fact, have Lyme disease. The department granted the ex-soldier financial compensation.
The military would not discuss the case with QMI Agency but said it has taken the necessary steps to prevent Lyme disease, including the installation of warning posters at its Farnham training facility.
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