Dr. Phil Attempts to Help Quadriplegic and His Relationship

Dr. Phil has been a beacon of advice for the American public ever since Oprah introduced him on her show over 15 years ago. He gives advice on nearly every topic humans can experience, and he has tackled a handful of disability topics on his show over the years, but it wasn’t until this week that he profiled someone struggling so openly with a spinal cord injury. That someone is Bailey, a C5-6 quadriplegic, who has been injured for over 10 years but is still struggling in a very toxic way.

The show didn't just profile Bailey, however. They also had his girlfriend on to talk about their relationship, which is also struggling and on the verge of ending. The couple met on Tinder over three years ago, and she was totally okay with his disability. She still is, but unfortunately she has become his full-time caregiver, and as a result, it's been putting a lot of stress on the relationship. They are verbally abusing one another and it’s not good. Bailey does not want people in his home he doesn't know, which is why his girlfriend is now his caregiver.

This is one of the most contentious issues in the disability community. Mixing romance with caregivers. Is it a good idea? People have different opinions on this depending on their experiences. Some quadriplegics have had successful relationships where their significant others are their caregivers on a daily basis, and they never suffer from burnout or a lack of feeling romantic towards one another.

Other times, however, things fizzle out quickly with the able-bodied partner resenting the partner, or the disabled partner wondering why anyone would want to be with them. Sadly, this is something Bailey thinks. Having low self-esteem is hard to come back from, especially when you’re paralyzed, but it’s possible. He just needs to work on himself.

This is why Dr. Phil brought on Chad Hymas. He is an internationally-recognized motivational speaker and a C5-6 quadriplegic; the same level as Bailey. They also brought on his wife to discuss how they make it work - mixing both caregiving and romance – and they make it work. But many in the disability community have criticized Dr. Phil for his lack of compassion towards Bailey. They are saying he needs to be treated for depression first, which is not happening. Dr. Phil instead recommended a life coach, even bringing one on via Skype.

While we are glad the country got to see life after SCI and the issues that can stem from it because of this episode, it is too bad they couldn’t better explain his lack of caregiver training and occupational therapy (as a C6 quad he should be able to feed himself). His girlfriend must cook all meals, feed him, do all his cares, and the show showed it all. Hopefully, with proper hand therapy, vocational support, and mental health support, Bailey will see his life and mindset transformed.

Bravo to Dr. Phil for trying.

New Call-to-action

Topics: Caregivers, Family & Relationships

Stay Updated on Advancements On Traumatic Brain &
Spinal Cord Injuries

The simplified guide to understanding a spinal cord injury