cover image Widening Circle

Widening Circle

Polly Murray. St. Martin's Press, $23.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-312-14068-7

Murray, an artist and mother of four from Lyme, Conn., tells of her tenacious struggle to convince doctors that she and her family were indeed sick, and not hypochondriacs, after they were afflicted by a mysterious illness. In the 1960s, Lyme disease, the tick-borne infection then unheard of, began its invasion of the Murray family. Frustrating rounds with doctors, referrals to specialists and batteries of medication became the family modality, documented in records of the puzzling ailments kept by Murray. In 1971, Murray, vilified as a ""doctor-chaser,"" began her own systematic research, seeking out investigative medical personnel and sharing stories with fellow sufferers. A lonely journey that attracted media attention also attracted the attention of the medical community to the unusual cluster of cases in Lyme. In this exhaustive report, Murray has established a model by which doctors must listen to their patients. (Apr.)