Wednesday, March 14, 2007



"Dr." Phil is NOT an M.D.

I've never been a big fan of Dr. Phil. As a psychotherapist, I think oftentimes his "advice" is questionable. After his most recent comments about Lupus, I think he needs to have his license revoked.

On Monday, March 5th, Dr. Phil was talking to a friend of Anna Nicole Smith, who claimed that Anna had told him that she "had a blood disorder and it was lupus". Dr. Phil commented : "{lupus} is an autoimmune deficiency. BUT IT IS NOT A LIFE THREATENING ILLNESS. It is something that is rather akin to athritis. And it can cause very debilitating problems of the joints, heart, lungs and skin. All types of things, but it can be controlled very effectively in most cases with medication".

This portrayal of Lupus contributes to the public's misconceptions about this devastating illness. Lupus is NOT just about aches, pains and fatigue. It can be, and often is, a life-threatening and life-diminishing disease.

I sent an e-mail to Dr. Phil. I explained to him that my oldest daughter was diagnosed with Lupus Nephritis three years ago. I asked him how he came to the conclusion that Lupus was NOT a life threatening illness. Had he held his child's head as she vomited continuously from chemotherapy, watched her as her blood pressure soared to 170/120, or sat next to her as she lay comatose in PICU? I told him that I was a psychotherapist, too, but that I would NEVER give out medical opinions like he just did because I do NOT have an M.D. after my name, and neither does he! I said that he had perhaps even a greater moral and ethical obligation than I did to NOT give out medical opinions because he reaches a far larger audience than I do, and people view him as an "expert" on these things. I asked him to set aside some time on his show and space on his website to explain that he erred in his comments, and to apologize for minimizing this disease and for giving out false information, if he was professional enough to do so.

Guess what?

He hasn't responded personally to my email, he hasn't responded to the Lupus Foundation of America's pleas to address this issue on his show, and his website still has not retracted his statements nor has he issued an apology.

Doesn't suprise me. His lack of professionalism reeks. Do me a favor and send your comments to "Dr." Phil - http://www.drphil.com/plugger/respond/?plugID=9164

Thanks for letting me vent.

17 Comments:

At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I noticed your comments on Sarah's (Anna's mum's) blog and that you were quite worried.

I'm liver-families member and think she checks in there irregularly (last activity in Feb '07), still doesn't have a computer, but as far as I know the kids are doing fine.

Have you noticed there is an e-mail-address on her blog?

Best wishes for you.

 
At 8:50 AM, Blogger HeyJules said...

You go, girl!

 
At 10:53 AM, Blogger Julana said...

I'm sorry about that, Valerie. I once had a counselor give me her "professional opinion" on a medical issue affecting our son, recommending a plan of action. It was none of her business. Her opinion was not professional. It was less informed than mine, on that issue. Last time I saw her.

So I kind of know how you feel.

 
At 11:02 AM, Blogger Darlene said...

Val, I'm sorry about this. I know how much you care about your daughter and her illness, and how wrong it is that someone is making light of the seriousness. I would assume that Dr. Phil would be an authority on medical issues, but he isn't anymore than I am. I linked this post on my blog today.

 
At 11:38 AM, Blogger Praying for your Prodigal said...

Well my dear--your venting is completely understandable. I heard him say that and I cringed. I would hope that he addresses this boo-boo of large magnitude! It would be very disappointing if he didn't.

I have emailed Oprah (when I began my boycott of her show following the James Frey ordeal) and never heard back from her or anyone in her office. So I sent a certified letter directly to her! Never heard back. I know they must receive thousands of letters and emails....but how rude! Within the group of "her people" you would think she would have hired someone to handle such correspondence.

Your venting holds such a personal knowledge.....if it is read...you may end up on the show!

My college roommate suffers with lupus...and I so agree with you...it is a life diminishing illness and I always understood her belief that it had the potential to be life threatening.

God Bless you...and your daughter.
Diane

 
At 2:34 PM, Blogger Rosemary Bogdan said...

Good for you, Valeri, for holding Dr. Phil accountable. What people say, particularly people with a lot of influence, does matter. He should apologize and correct his error.

 
At 3:16 PM, Blogger Beckie said...

Hi Val. I read about your post at Darlene's blog and wanted to come read it myself.

I agree with you 100%. In his position as a person viewed and "worshiped" by many, he needs to come forward and admit his mistake. I have NEVER put any stock in what he says since the first time I saw him. His advice certainly isn't Godly.

We have a friend with Lupus and I know how she has suffered over the years.

Blessings to you.

 
At 7:11 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Given that Dr. Phil got his "start" on Oprah, one might well expect his perspective to be more "pop" than "professional."

I, too, yelled at him when I heard him make the comment...and I almost NEVER watch the show. Just happened by that day.

 
At 7:14 PM, Blogger Vicki said...

Val, I agree with your post wholeheartedly and am glad you blogged about this serious matter. My husband's mother just died a few weeks ago from lupus complications and diabetes. Dr. Phil needs to apologize for his ignorance.

Blessings to you,
Vicki

 
At 8:34 PM, Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

Don't even get me started on Dr. Phil and Oprah. She is the antichrist and he is the whore of Babylon - in my humble opinion of course. :)

And yes, a preacher's wife said that.

Most importantly, my aunt died this week from complications from Lupus. Tell her grieving husband and children it isn't life threatening.

I boycotted the two of these people years ago, but now I'm double boycotting..in honor of your sweet daughter and my sweet aunt. Thanks for addressing this..I had no idea he'd "gone there."

 
At 9:37 PM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

Anonymous - If there is any way you could get a message to Sarah for me, I'd appreciate it. Just let her know I'm thinking about her and I hope all is well. Thank you!

Jules - Yeah, this one REALLY got me going!

Julana - Thank you, my friend. As a counselor, I would NEVER cross that boundary - and I could lose my license if I ever did! I wish the APA would consider that with this guy.

Hey DArlene - Thanks so much for putting this on your blog - I appreciate it!!!


Diane - In all honesty, I wouldn't want to go on his show. I'm afraid I'd come across as an angry shrill menopausal woman! :-) Thanks for your supportive words.

Hi Rosemary - I agree with you, too. Accountability is what it's all about. And taking responsibility if you've made a mistake (which he has yet to do).

Hi Beckie - Welcome to my blog!
I totally agree that his advice isn't Godly - and that is one of the reasons I don't respect him. Blessings to you, too, and I look forward to getting to know you.

Joe - Yup, he is more "pop" - I like that! Thanks for stopping by.

Hi Vicki - I haven't heard from you in SO long, but I haven't visited you lately, either, due to my light blogging. I'm sorry for your loss - and I hope she didn't suffer greatly. Thanks for your understanding.

The Preacher's Wife - Oh. My. Gosh. YOu hit the nail right on the head with your descriptions of them! I am so sorry for your loss as well. Lupus is a very, very serious illnes. We are blessed that our daughter is in remission right now, but you never know when another flare may come again. I look forward to getting to know you - thanks for stopping by.

 
At 9:43 PM, Blogger Imperfect Christian said...

You go girl! I'd rather listen to YOU on the topic than HIM!

 
At 11:16 PM, Blogger Ruth B said...

You are so right about what Lupus is about. My mother-inlaw has this illness. I do believe you have a right to be angery at Dr. Phil and he should apologies.

 
At 12:22 AM, Anonymous nettie said...

I hope many more like you are speaking out to his inaccuracies. Off the top of my head, one of the Backstreet Boys' sisters died of lupus, and I know nothing of it (was just a teenage fan).

If voices speak out, perhaps they can make a difference. But know that you do make a difference, Val. Maybe you don't reach the audience he has been able to, but you do reach one and you touch people and you educate in your own way. Don't forget that.

 
At 2:20 AM, Blogger bigwhitehat said...

I hate television.

 
At 2:26 AM, Anonymous eph2810 said...

I do not Dr. Phil, but I know what he is really big.
I think it is so sad when people get famous that they feel they know everything and don't even do research on statements they make.
I think it is great that you have contacted them and posted it on your blog.
I know little about Lupus, but I have seen people suffer from it greatly.

 
At 7:02 AM, Blogger Fiddledeedee (It Coulda' Been Worse) said...

I personally know of a girl who died of Lupus. She was in her 20's. I too have had it with Dr. Phil. He manipulates guests and the audience as well. Recently, this happened to a number of people who appeared on his show for an episode on "homeschooling". They were grossly mislead, and then set up on natioal tv. "Doctor" indeed.

I've turned him off.

 

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