Geraghtys: Doctors pushed ALS diagnosis, ignored Lyme

Geraghtys: Doctors pushed ALS diagnosis, ignored Lyme

Family still holding out hope for a cure

CUMBERLAND - A year ago, the Geraghty family was preparing for the holidays just like they always did, unaware of the deep, life-altering trouble to come.

On Dec. 2, 2013, David Geraghty began feeling discomfort in his diaphragm. By the first week of January, he was intubated in the hospital.

Tara Geraghty said the past year has been one of questions, of desperation, of deep sadness as she's watched her husband's health go downhill, powerless to help him as doctors struggled to diagnose him.

Tara and Dave Geraghty were given more theories than they can even remember on what might be ailing the former principal at Shea and Tolman high schools. They've faced one roadblock after another as they've tried to figure out what's wrong with him.

In September, students and staff at both high schools joined a national phenomenon and ran ALS ice bucket challenges to honor Geraghty and raise money for him and his family.

But Tara Geraghty now says her husband doesn't have ALS, short for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and she has questioned that diagnosis for much of 2014. Her work as a clinical social worker has given her enough knowledge to know that ALS patients don't show significant improvement from the disease, and her husband improved for two months this past spring.

The symptoms of ALS very closely mirror those of Lyme disease, said Geraghty, including weakness, paralysis of muscles, and difficulty breathing, but she was shocked at the reluctance of those in the medical profession to even consider the possibility that's what her husband had. She said one doctor even laughed at her.

"There's something about Lyme disease that no one wants to talk about it," she said.

The Geraghtys live on 14 acres of wooded land in Cumberland, said Tara Geraghty, and her daughter and a family dog have both had the illness, further convincing her that her husband had a rare form of the tick-borne disease.

After Dave Geraghty's lung collapsed in August, prompting a rush to the emergency room, Tara made an appointment with a Lyme specialist. The specialist said the symptoms appeared to show Lyme. Other doctors just called the specialist "controversial," she said.

Geraghty said she got so frustrated with doctors that she ended up sending a vial of her husband's blood to California to be analyzed at a specialized lab. By mid-November, she had the analysis back: Dave has chronic Lyme disease.

Doctors have a lot to answer for in how they've treated her entire family over the past year, said Geraghty.

"These people took the Hippocratic Oath to leave no stone unturned," she said. She said she was "outraged" to be "judged unfairly" and made to feel that the Lyme diagnosis was out of the question.

She said she informed the Rhode Island Department of Health right away after learning that Lyme was in the blood, hoping there would be some sort of action taken to look into the disease more.

Even with the new information in hand, Tara said she still had to force the hand of the medical center where here husband is on a ventilator to treat him for Lyme disease.

Geraghty is convinced that Lyme disease has reached "endemic" levels in the U.S., but her experiences over the past year, talking with so many others in similar situations, make her believe that doctors are misdiagnosing patients far too often.

Geraghty said she was shocked at how quickly doctors wanted to diagnose a terminal illness like ALS and how reluctant they were to explore other options. She said they wanted to say it was ALS when they hadn't even done the basic tests for the disease.

"Why not just try it? Give us the antibiotics," she said. "You already have him pegged for dead anyway."

The mother of two wants others to question their doctors when they receive a similar diagnosis, to keep fighting for their loved ones even when they, too, are being mocked by those in the medical profession.

Dave Geraghty still has "a long road ahead of him," said his wife, but she and her twin children are holding out hope that aggressive treatments for Lyme disease can bring him back. Callen and Brynn Geraghty celebrated their 13th birthday last week.

According to his wife, Dave Geraghty calls the experience of the past year "humbling, humiliating, horrifying," but he wants to turn all those awful experiences into something good, helping others who may be in a similar situation. Dave's favorite line to his wife is, "My work isn't done here."

As for Tara Geraghty, she's working three jobs to support the family and pay for treatment and therapy that insurance doesn't cover. She remains committed to her "Save Dave" mission even as she continues to raise two children on her own. She says her faith in God and good people has helped her get through it.

Though many supporters, including Dave Geraghty's former co-workers and students, have been very generous, money has been difficult to come by, she said. She recently refinanced their Cumberland home and the couple has liquidated their children's college fund.

To help the Geraghty family financially, visit www.gofundme.com/980n84 . To leave messages of encouragement, comment on this story at www.valleybreeze.com .

Tara and Dave Geraghty, in the foreground, enjoy a beach trip over the summer with their twins, 13-year-old Brynn and Callen.

Comments

Hi, Tara,
I wanted to congratulate you on your investigative persistence. Most Lyme sufferers have had to figure it out for themselves. I hope you have knowledge of ILADS doctors. Dr. Dave Matrz is a past president, and he also was diagnosed with ALS. He was an oncologist and preparing to die. After figuring out, by himself, that he had Lyme, he is now well and heads a clinic in Colorado Springs, Co. I was wondering if contacting him would help. Otherwise if you google International Lyme and Associated Disease Society, there may be a specialist close to you. The best of luck to you all.
Sue Savod
Alamo, Ca.

Tara and twins, my heartfelt sympathies to you all on the loss of your husband and dad.

FYI, I was just informed 11.22.15 that my late husband, JACK GORDON, IOWA, was also MISDIAGNOSED and never correctly diagnosed with these 2 dieases!

His brain autopsy showed WORLDWIDE history being made to find both these illnesses in same brain!!

BORRELIA/lyme disease
and
LEWY BODY DEMENTIA, which is what Robin Williams had and commited suicide due to VIOLENT HALLUCINATIONS, LBD, patients suffer thru.

Jack's borrelia lyme disease was NEVER diagnosed in 35 years; yes, 35 years!

He was bitten 10 yrs. after me!

me, xmas 1969, from an unseen tick that bite me that DIDN'T give me a bulls-eye rash or any strange rash. 33

1st wrong diagnosis was mononucleosis.

I was misdiagnosed 35 YEARS also by 40-50 drs, UNACCEPTABLE.

Jack was bitten winter 1979/80 while building an addition onto his brother's home. Tick had to be on lumber they used.

He was diagnosed with essential tremors and 5 yrs. later with Parkinson's disease.

He NEVER was diagnosed with lewy body dementia although I told his neurologist over and over that Jack was having VIOLENT hallucinations.

1 med, amantidine, caused this, but he couldn't wien off it causing MORE SIDE effects than the hallucinations!

Jack's new case is being written up for scientific medical journals and will be published SOON.

I will be shown as the 1st CO-AUTHOR, a non-medical wife/patient over Tom Grier, PHYD, Minn; Paula Pierce, owns a private lab in Norman, Okla, and Dr. Alan MacDonald, Florida retired pathologist!

I sent my summary yesterday afternoon of Jack's health symptoms, his wierd behavior, all antibiotics used during this illness.

Alan wanted 10 sentences MAX; I sent Tom 24 pages!!

You can't limit those 2 diseases to 10 sentences max and be HELPFUL to other families like yours/mine!

Best wishes to you on this sad holiday season, but knowing Dave has his health back in Heaven means to much as it does for me with Jack there now 1 yr, 11.13.15.

Get out videos of your husband/dad on; MAKE COPIES FIRST. File away originals in a safe place.

Play them often when you are missing him. Wonderful hearing his voice/laughter and watching his gestures/mannerisms.

BettyG, Iowa borrelia/lyme disease activist plus many other diseases

The life of Dave Geraghty could have been saved if his disease was properly diagnosed and not misdiagnosed with another disease. This is very sad. When our medical world fails to listen carefully to patients and their family, where should we go to, then? My dear colleagues physicians, let's remember that we do not possess the ultimate knowledge and sometimes our patients and their family can better know what's going on with their disease and direct us to the right treatment. Relationship between patients and doctors is very important and should not be neglected. We are not here to destroy life but rather to save it. Let's not ever forget the Hippocratic oath. May Dave Geraghty rest in peace!

Can you please provide information and details about the testing in had done in California. Blessing to you, your family and to the countless number of people suffering from chronic Lyme.

I diagnosed myself as I knew it did not make sense but was labeled as delusional, somatization and convertion disorders. Trying to get my story and research out. Totally nobody want to publish it. A LLMD confirmed that I have Lyme. I do not know what it is called since I have had it for at least 19 years, never had treatment and after between 8 and 10/11 psych hospitalizations/ strange symptoms and getting a lot of pain I put the puzzle together.
Betty if you read this I will try to get hold of you.

I recommend
All persons that are concerned/worried/know about lyme pandemic to send their story to their state epidiologist
and CDC
Send CDC confirmation sheet to the CDC (doctors do not send them as the CDC only accepts the validation through 2 tier testing) but you can print a basic sheet and send that.
I have tried locally to educate and met with hospital CEO to train doctors. I am getting nowhere there also.

ALSO ON LYME DAY EVERYBODY SOMEHOW CONTACT THE CDC TO CRASH THEIR WEBSITE or whatever means can be achieved.
By the way I believe March 2016 there was a small article by Alan Mc Donald identifying Robin Williams had lyme as found by the autopsy. That article is no longer to be found just the article that Robin had the same disease (lewy body) found in other persons). I had the printout original but could not find it anymore so I looked for it again. SOME STRANGE GREEN ALIENS AROUND. The is the 2nd article that has disappeared that I have been looking for.
Any inf0/feedback
jbfdw1956@gmail.com

I share my desperation, as my wife was diagnosed with ALS last January. I have scoured the internet looking for some glimmer of hope, however,i found one. This is what I know about HEALTH MED LAB Clinic and the drug Nurown. The Clinic HEALTH MED LAB was founded in New York and moved to South Africa. The drug has evidently been given "fast track" status by the FDA, which means trial stages 3 ad 4 are being conducted simultaneously. I believe these stages are 18 month studies which began last spring. I have asked our neurologist about what was happening here. He told us one of his patients Who just got cured again from ALS treatment with his medication, while the cells could be collected and cultured in South Africa, they don't have to go to Austria to get them implanted. Again with positive results. He has also had patients go to China and Mexico for similar treatment, with no success.My wife neurologist should be aware of any clinical trials that are available. My wife is now strong and healthy without any atom of ALS in her blood, You can contact them for ALS Cure at MDA OR healthmedlab@gmail.com