Munchausen Mom: Tracy and Kids Now

Munchausen Mom: Tracy and Kids Now

Dr. Phil sends Heather backstage so she doesn't hear her mother.

Tracy speaks to Dr. Phil by phone from jail.

He asks her, "When you were sentenced, did you believe that you had Munchausen by proxy?"

"Honestly? No, I still don't know," she tells him. "I really don't understand what it is. My kids were sick."

Dr. Phil lays the facts out for Tracy. "Between 2001 and 2006, you took Heather to the doctor 384 times. There were seven hospital visits that lasted 15 days," he says.

"Yes, because of her " she had ITP," she says. "Well, for three months, septic meningitis, Parvovirus B19, an enlarged spleen and enlarged liver."

"How did you feel when the experts in court testified that she, in fact, had been abused?" he asks.

"It was hard," Tracy says. "It was very hard."

"Did you abuse her?" asks Dr. Phil.

"No, sir. I never " " Tracy begins, but then changes course. "Yes, I have done things to my kids because I was trained how to do it, like her von Willebrand's disease, you had to give her medicine, you had to give her factor, and I was taught how to do it."

As part of her sentencing,

 Tracy has lost all access to her kids, and Dr. Phil asks how that makes her feel.

"Devastated," she tells him.

"Heather, for example," Dr. Phil says, "if she's watching this, what would you say to her?"

"I'm sorry that I wasn't a good mother to her. I'm sorry whatever I did to her," she says.

"Do you think you did something wrong with her?" asks Dr. Phil.

"I honestly don't know," Tracy says. "I don't see it myself, but I know what I did, what I had to do with my kids."

"Did you cripple these children by the way you treated them?" asks Dr. Phil.

"I don't see it, no, sir," says Tracy. "But I don't know."

 

Dr. Phil presses the point. "Is it possible that everyone is correct that in fact you do have this Munchausen syndrome by proxy where you instigate, exaggerate, fabricate all of these different diseases in order to get attention yourself?"

"OK, if I did that then Heather would not have two diseases that she does have."

"Well, even if she has two diseases, doesn't it seem strange that you took her to the doctor almost 400 times?" Dr. Phil probes.

"With the von Willebrand's disease, because you have to have blood," she counters.

"I understand you gave birth to a child somewhere around 1996 or 1997, and wound up burying the child in the back yard," Dr. Phil tells Tracy. "Does that seem strange to you?"

"The circumstances," Tracy says. "I panicked."

"Were you aware that your daughter says that she knows that that baby was alive and that when you buried her she was alive? And that that would constitute murder?"  Dr. Phil asks, "
Did you murder your child?"

"No, I did not."

Tracy contends the baby was not alive, that it was stillborn, and that she buried it immediately after birth.

"Did it occur to you to call the ambulance, to call the emergency room, to do something to try to help the baby, revive the baby?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Sir, I was scared," she says.

Tracy confirms that some years later she gave delivery to another child in her bathtub. "And you buried the placenta in the back yard," he says.

"I didn't bury it," Tracy clarifies.

"Who did?" asks Dr. Phil.

"My friends did," she replies.

"Do you want to have another baby?" Dr. Phil asks Tracy.

"I do. And then, I don't know. I do," she says.

"Listen, I'm very reluctant to tell people what I think they need to do about their families," says Dr. Phil, "but I'm telling you, if you ever hear anybody, hear me when I tell you, don't have another child."

"Do you know what an empty void feels like?" Tracy asks.

"An empty void is not to be filled by another person's life that you put in danger. Do you agree?"

And with that, Dr. Phil loses his connection. The jail had only allotted 15 minutes for their call.

 

Reflecting on his conversation with Tracy, Dr. Phil says, "It's clear to me she has a longing inside. It's clear to me that she intends to have another child, and I am so troubled by her lack of insight, her lack of willingness to acknowledge the facts and the data and that is tantamount to what we do know about Munchausen syndrome by proxy. But it sounds to me that she intends to continue that pattern and continue to try to get that attention and try to fill what's empty in her by somebody else. This woman, in my opinion, is a danger."

Back in his studio, Dr. Phil addresses Pam, the family friend who has been caring for Heather.  He asks about Tracy's burying her baby in the yard.

 

"Isn't it true that Tracy told you this years ago, one night when she was drinking?" he asks.

"Yes," Pam says, "but I didn't believe her because she was known to tell lies and say other things."


"She would always have to one-up another parent. She had a feeding tube, she had strapped an IV tube onto the baby. There were just so many bizarre happenings," says Dr. Phil. "Did it seem at the time with all this behavior that that certainly could have been true?"

"Once Heather told me, I believed Heather," she says.

Turning to Det. Rose, Dr. Phil asks, "Did you believe her when she told you? Did it seem like a credible report to you?"

"Absolutely," he replies. "Yes sir, it did."

"I guess what I'm trying to figure out is if this child found that baby buried in that grave, or if this is something somebody told her, and she reported it," says Dr. Phil.

"I think that's certainly a possibility as I've gotten more into it," says Det. Rose. "I'm wondering now where these memories are coming from " whether they are genuine or whether Pamela may have said something to her. I don't know."

Dr. Phil asks Pam, "How are you doing with Heather at this point, in your opinion?"

"It's very hard with her," she says. "She's gotten better at dealing with things."

"One of the most unusual statements I've heard in this whole situation is when you said to one of our producers in an interview, 'I wonder if I'm guilty of doing the same thing as Tracy,'" Dr. Phil says.

"It makes you stop and look at yourself as a person. It really does. To stop and say, 'Well, am I going to put myself in the same shoes she was?' It does make you stop and take a look at yourself to know that you don't do that to your children."

"Do you have any concern as we sit here today that you are not in control and could have or might lapse into the sort of things that Tracy was doing?" asks Dr. Phil.

"No," Pam says.

"Well, we want you to have all the support that you can, and I think it is a courageous and generous thing that you've done to step up and be there for that child at the time, but if you think there's anything that's getting out of control, I want you to tell me and let me help you with it. I don't want to be mad at you, but I'd want to help you with it."

"I would like to see Heather get some help to sort through things," says Pam, "to understand how she remembered and just to remember where it came from."