Deadly Consequences

Annette says she wants the right to euthanize her severely-disabled children, who are being kept alive only by feeding tubes. What would you do? Then, former model, Stephanie Vostry, says she’s fighting to survive chronic Lyme disease, an illness some believe she may be faking. Plus, chronic Lyme disease hits close to home for a "Dr. Phil" staff member.

Chronic Lyme Disease or Lie?

Brooke and Kathy

Dr. Auwaerter and Dr. Bhakta

San Diego weathercaster Brooke Landau joins the show and shares her story: She says one day in 1995, she went to bed feeling fine and awoke paralyzed from the waist down and the neck up. She says she didn’t move again for a-year-and-a-half. Seven years later, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Brooke says she had unknowingly been bitten by a deer tick — the most common way of contracting the disease. She says her blood tests had come back negative, despite seven positive spinal tap results.  
Brooke says she lost her short-term memory, hearing in her left ear and part of her sight, and developed colitis, spinal meningitis, heart arrhythmia, palpitations and arthritis. She says she underwent an experimental treatment: pumping high doses of antibiotics into her heart, 24 hours a day for two months, and 30 days of treatment in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

Dr. Phil Senior Supervising Producer Kathy Giaconia shares her personal battle with Lyme disease. 

“I’ve seen you work through when you felt like crap,” Dr. Phil tells Kathy. “Why does it take so long to get this diagnosis for Lyme disease?” he asks her.

She and Brooke both agree: the blood test for determining Lyme disease is inaccurate.

Dr. Phil clarifies that most people who are bitten by ticks do not get Lyme disease or other types of infection, and Kathy agrees.

Dr. Paul Auwaerter, professor and clinical director at Johns Hopkins University, joins the show via Polycom to explain why he does not believe Lyme disease is a chronic illness. Dr. Chitra Bhakta, who specializes in autoimmune disorders and heads the OC Integrative Medical Center in Southern California, is in the audience. She believes chronic Lyme disease does exist, and has been treating Kathy. 

The doctors square off on the chronic Lyme disease debate and long-term antibiotic treatment.

Dr. Bhakta explains her reasoning in prescribing long-term antibiotics. “I’m basically a mainstream doctor who has a patient coming in and saying, ‘Look, those treatment guidelines that you treated me with are not working.’ And then I have to make a decision where I need to help these patients,” she says. She offers to help treat Stephanie pro bono.

“Thank you,” Stephanie responds.

For more information on Stephanie and her struggles with Lyme disease, click here.

   2 of 2