Young Girl Misdiagnosed with Bipolar Syndrome

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“One day, Tessa Gallo was a typical sixth-grader, performing in school plays, running on the track team, goofing around with her two sisters and giggling with girlfriends at sleepovers” her mom Teresa told, “(Then) she was psychotic and mentally retarded.”

Tessa would dart away from her family and into the middle of traffic, hide in bushes, and you would see food falling from her mouth because she somehow couldn’t swallow, reported Her parents didn’t know what was wrong, then Tessa stopped talking entirely for nine months she didn’t say a word.

When her Doctor’s heard about this they diagnosed Tessa with bipolar disorder, for ten months they had her on psychiatric drugs that did absolutely nothing, she was going in and out of psych wards but nothing helped her. Then, Dr Frankovich and Dr Chang, a pair of Stanford doctors contacted the Gallos’ and told them that their daughter wasn’t bipolar at all but instead she was “suffering from a tragically misdiagnosed condition that mimics mental illness in a way doctors are only starting to understand,” reported

With nothing helping Tessa in the psych ward her parents had little hope that this new treatment would help their daughter. But after only three days on autoimmune and anti-inflammatory therapies Dr. Frankovich used on lupus patients, whose immune systems become hyperactive and attack healthy tissues, she rapidly started to improve.

Then finally, at one appointment Tessa spoke but sadly she only did so for about two hours. “It was heartbreaking and she didn’t speak for another five or six months,” Teresa stated to More heartbreak followed when the doctors started to take Tessa off her medicine and she relapsed and for the first time she started hearing voices in her head.

Dr Frankovich and Dr Chang were determined to bring Tessa back to her normal self so they had to take extreme measures. So they decided to conduct a three-day treatment called “plasmapheresis”. It would run Tessa’s blood through a machine to clean out toxic antibodies, followed by a powerful immune-suppressing drug. This could either cure Tessa or could make her symptoms become even worse.

“This was literally what we thought was Tessa’s last hope,” Teresa stated to

At first little improvements happened for example, for the first time in months Tessa was finally able to sleep through the entire night. Then bigger improvements were made, by February 2013 Tessa was talking and even singing. Soon after Tessa started talking she was released and she went home to her family in June of that year according to

Because of her illness Tessa had missed two years of school, so now at 16 she is in a special education class trying to catch up on all of her missed work. Tessa still gets mild cases of OCD and she had another small episode back in December but with the help of immunosuppressants brought her about 90% back.

“I feel good,” said Tessa, now 16, according to