Thursday, January 17, 2008
Medical Reports: Bad Blood
Imagine learning you beat cancer, but your treatment caused another disease that almost paralyzes you. Tonight, Seven's Diana Diaz shows us how one hospital is helping patients back on their feet by getting rid of Bad Blood.
WSVN -- In 2000, Phyllis Lakow got the news no one wants to hear, she had leukemia.
Phyllis Lakow: "Each of my doctors told me I only had a 30 percent chance of living. I said, 'That's not going to happen to me,' and it didn't."
She was treated with a stem cell transplant. It cured her, but left her with another disease.
Dr. Lyle Feinstein: "Approximately 50 percent of patients will develop graft versus host disease after a transplant."
Graft versus host disease can literally paralyze patients.
Phyllis Lakow: "I couldn't walk at all. I really couldn't."
Jim Roomy also survived his battle with cancer but later developed the same disease.
Jim Roomy: "The scar tissuing and the lack of flexibility, your joints are sore."
Both Jim and Phyllis sought help through a new treatment program at Memorial Hospital West called extracorporeal photopheresis.
Dr. Lyle Feinstein: "Extracorporeal photopheresis, permits us to safely and effectively reduce the cells of the immune system that cause graft versus host disease."
This is how it works. A machine collects a small amount of the patient's white blood cells, treats them with medication and AUVA light, essentially cleaning them and then returns the cells to the body.
Dr. Lyle Feinstein: "The whole process takes about four hours. It's done on two consecutive days."
As the condition improves, the treatments are less.
Dr. Lyle Feinstein: "Most patients generally require treatment for approximately six months."
Phyllis is already seeing results.
Phyllis Lakow: "Even if I have to walk with a walker, as long as I have the endurance, I'd be very happy."
For Phyllis and Jim, the treatment is a life-saver.
Jim Roomy: "Being able to move around and get out in the yard and having the flexibility. When you lose that, you realize how precious that is."
Diana Diaz: "One good thing, because of the treatment, patients often get off medications faster. It is covered by insurance and has very few side effects.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Lyle Feinstein
Memorial Hospital West
801 N Flamingo Road, Suite 11
Pembroke Pines, FL 33028