DELMAR, N.Y. (NEWS10) — When doctors in Ireland claimed a little girl’s paralysis was psychosomatic, her parents refused to accept the diagnosis and instead travelled thousands of miles to a clinic in Delmar, New York where they say their 9-year old was successfully treated for Lyme Disease.
Sarah O’Gorman was a healthy happy kid living in Ireland with her family, but this past January, she wasn’t feeling like herself.
“I was really tired and I had no energy and I just got weaker and weaker,” Sarah said.
Her parents Oriel and Heather took her to see the doctor. The diagnosis: Post Viral Fatigue.
“The only thing is we couldn’t remember any virus that she had had. [She] hadn’t even had a cold in the previous few weeks,” said Oriel.
Their concerns grew deeper when Sarah’s lethargy turned into partial paralysis.
“She stopped being able to walk, and we had to lift her in and out of the wheelchair,” her mother, Heather, said.
The couple began to lose hope after Sarah’s physicians suggested they send her to a psychologist.
Family members in the U.S. suspected Sarah may have contracted Lyme Disease during an earlier visit to the States. But Sarah’s parents say there are few doctors who treat tick-borne illnesses in Ireland, and the waiting lists are months long.
“And she was deteriorating so fast. And we got in touch with the Stram Center.”
The Stram Center For Integrated Medicine in Delmar is one of the few clinics that specializes in tick borne illnesses. The O’Gormans made a bold decision to travel to New York where Sarah was treated by Dr. Ronald Stram, who says the little girl tested positive for Lyme and two other tick-borne illnesses.
After the first week of treatment, which included intravenous antibiotics and time in a hyperbaric chamber, she was able to eat on her own again. Ten weeks later, she was walking on her own and even doing cartwheels. Dr. Stram says testing is woefully inadequate and may have been one reason why Sarah was initially misdiagnosed.
Lyme Disease is found in most countries in the northern hemisphere, but the majority of cases are reported in the United States. It was named after a town in Connecticut after a cluster of cases were discovered in and around Lyme in the mid-1970s. But many believe Lyme Disease had its origins years before from a secret island in Long Island Sound, an Island NEWS10 ABC visited back in 2014.