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McDermott, Tom

doi: 10.1097/01.NNN.0000444215.21514.78
Departments: Letters

Thank you for the article in the December 2013/January 2014 issue on vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) for epilepsy (

My 30-year-old son, who has tuberous sclerosis, had VNS surgery in 2009. The device turned on in January 2010. We were ecstatic when he went a full day without a seizure. In February 2010, he went for his scheduled tuning session. Immediately afterwards (within 72 hours), we noticed he began bouncing checks. He had never had any financial issues prior to this. In March 2010, he had another tuning. Soon after, he maxed out his credit card and his bank account was near zero.

We brought these things up to his neurologist, but they were dismissed. After another tuning, in April 2010, he attempted suicide and was hospitalized. The device had shorted out, but his neurologist did not want to turn the device off, as it was deemed unsafe in my son's condition. The manufacturer determined the device was randomly firing and not at the correct dose. Thankfully it was finally turned off. We have a new neurologist and my son is still recovering.

I would urge anyone considering this implant to find a neurologist who will listen to both medical and non-medical side effects.

Tom McDermott

© 2014 American Academy of Neurology