Letter to Dr. Oz (re: Dr. Teitelbaum)
I sent the letter off to Oz 3 days ago
Also sent it to Dr. Donnica- got a very warm response back- She's going to do a great job on the show (rather, I'm sure she did a good job today- it taped today)
Dear Dr. Oz,
Please be careful when presenting Dr. Teitlebaum as an expert on CFS. Dr. Teitelbaum oversimplifies a devastating disease, and overstates his ability to control the condition. Very few people are ever cured from CFS, and Dr. Teitelbaum's claim of helping hundreds of thousands recover is pure fantasy.
Dr. Teitelbaum conveniently refers to CFS as Chronic Fatigue on television, which widens his target market from 1 million Americans who are debilitated with a neuro-immune dysfunction (of which fatigue is but ONE symptom) to people who feel generally tired, which is nearly everyone on the planet.
CFS destroyed my life. It onset over 3 years ago, when in my mid-30's I was in tremendous physical shape, exercising for hours a day in a boxing gym, and working as a Creative Executive. One day I got the flu- and it NEVER LEFT.
I read "From Fatigue to Fantastic" and went to the Fatigue and Fibromyalgia clinics, where Dr. Teitelbaum is the Medical Director. After spending thousands and thousands of out of pocket dollars, I was very far from a recovery, as was every single other patient with whom I encountered, who had taken Dr. Teilebaum at his word. The final blow came when the head physician at the Connecticut F&F clinic left the practice. Privately, he confided to me that he could not "emotionally handle treating people and watching them not get better." He confirmed that he had not seen ANYONE get cured on Teitelbaums SHINE protocol. That was the last time I went to the clinic.
Yes, Dr. Teitelbaum has some relevant knowledge on herbal supplements, which may offer very modest benefits to CFS patients. But his overall message is one which oversimplifies a devastating condition, and further alienates CFS sufferers from a world in which we have been ignored, disrespected, and left to lose everything we have in life. Such practices have left us unfunded and unrecognized by the CDC for years- a travesty beyond explanation.
The final insult is being told that we have imagined this condition, which is nearly always the first assumption, and usually the final diagnosis. In fact, Dr. Teitelabum himself told me in person at one of his appearances, that I was clearly a very driven person, and that I needed to examine the issues in my life if I wanted to get better, when I pressed him on why I was seeing no benefits from his protocol. Dr. Teitelbaum is used to wooing crowds with a library like knowledge of Herbal Remedies, and is not very used to pointed questions about his recovery discrepancies. Pretty ironic, coming from a man who touts himself as a CFS advocate fighting against the nitwits who dont believe CFS is a physical disease. In many ways he perpetuates the very same stigma he claims to guard against.
I would rather this disease go unrecognized than see this man do further damage on your show.
I can only hope in the future you will not further the grossly inflated "cure" claims of your guests, and do the homework necessary to validate the suffering of people who have dealt with more than you could imagine for longer than you would ever hope to believe.
If you want a reference point- just think of MS patients being laughed at in the early 20th Century, and called crazy.
Pretty unbelievable, huh? Well, believe it, because this is the reality for a million CFS patients in the early 21st century. And from the looks of the treatment of this condition as presented on your show, things are not about to change any time soon.