Saving Sammy: Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$12.15
Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.00
  • Save: $1.85 (13%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 15 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Saving Sammy: A Mother's Fight to Cure Her Son's OCD Paperback – October 5, 2010


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.15
$7.28 $6.06


Frequently Bought Together

Saving Sammy: A Mother's Fight to Cure Her Son's OCD + Childhood Interrupted: The Complete Guide to PANDAS and PANS + A Child's Introduction to Understanding PANDAS
Price for all three: $43.88

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030746184X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307461841
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Maloney's debut chronicles her son, Sammy, and the illness that, almost overnight, transformed him from a sunny, bright boy (described by one teacher as "the purest math mind the school had ever seen") into an antisocial stranger "so dominated by obsessions, compulsions, and rules that daily life becomes impossible." Sammy's descent into mental illness was diagnosed as severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Tourette's and a number of other ailments, all promising a lifetime of disability; it wasn't until a family acquaintance, whose son exhibited the same symptoms for 10 years, urged Maloney to have Sammy tested for Strep that they learned his condition was treatable. Describing herself as "part courtroom lawyer and part detective," attorney Maloney perseveres with ferocity and sharp storytelling instincts, making this medical mystery-meant to inform families dealing with mental illness-a tear-wrenching crowd-pleaser. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

From Publishers Weekly (Starred) 
Maloney's debut chronicles her son, Sammy, and the illness that, almost overnight, transformed him from a sunny, bright boy (described by one teacher as "the purest math mind the school had ever seen") into an antisocial stranger "so dominated by obsessions, compulsions, and rules that daily life becomes impossible." Sammy's descent into mental illness was diagnosed as severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Tourette's and a number of other ailments, all promising a lifetime of disability; it wasn't until a family acquaintance, whose son exhibited the same symptoms for 10 years, urged Maloney to have Sammy tested for Strep that they learned his condition was treatable. Describing herself as "part courtroom lawyer and part detective," attorney Maloney perseveres with ferocity and sharp storytelling instincts, making this medical mystery—meant to inform families dealing with mental illness—a tear-wrenching crowd-pleaser. 
 
From Booklist
 
At 12, Maloney's son Sammy won math awards but exhibited bizarre symptoms. The newly divorced mother's concerns grew as Sammy started hopping and spinning instead of walking and repeatedly resorted to uncontrollable headbanging. His disintegration, diagnosed without any thought about causation as sudden onset obsessive-compulsive disorder, included verbal tics, hours-long crying jags, and sporadic refusals to eat. Linking infection to "mental" illness, as strep antibodies are linked to the neurological Tourette's syndrome, has been rejected by many doctors since the rise of psychoanalysis, but Maloney insisted Sammy be tested for strep titers when he became unable to attend school and to walk. He was diagnosed with pediatric neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections, caused by strep antibodes attacking the basal ganglia controlling behavior. Antibiotics ended two torturous years for the family, and Sammy's regains came as rapidly as the symptoms had overtaken him. This stirring account of a mother's determination and a boy's astonishing bravery makes you want to stand up and cheer. –Whitney Scott
 
++++++
 
"SAVING SAMMY is a remarkable journey of a mother's perseverance to save her son. Her discoveries may well hold the key to curing the lives of millions of others."
 
Daniel A. Geller, M.D. - Director Pediatric Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Program, Massachusetts General Hospital; Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
 
 
 
"Of all the children I've treated, Sammy is the one at both ends of the spectrum. I'd never seen one so sick or one who came so far. I think the difference was his mother. Her willingness to be aggressive and fight for her son may help in healing others."
 
Catherine D. Nicolaides, M.D. - Developmental Pediatrics - Marlton, New Jersey
 
 
“As a physician, SAVING SAMMY reminds me that we, as a profession, are prone to hubris.  My heart aches for Beth and her family every time I think of the dozens of doctors who scoffed and dismissed the incredibly valuable information she provided them.  Consideration should be given for making this book mandatory reading at all U.S. medical schools.  As a parent, I am inspired because we all will have our battles and issues.  Few will be of this magnitude, but whether my child has problems at school, the Y, summer camp or whatever, this story reminds me that there is no effort too great to expend on the beautiful creatures that are our children.”
 
Kevin Price, M.D.
General Surgeon, Southern Maine Medical Center
Biddeford, Maine
 
 
“With SAVING SAMMY, Beth Maloney is the first to document the harrowing journey as a mother of a son with strep-triggered OCD— known as PANDAS.  This compelling story is written in such a clear and engaging manner that the reader is hard pressed to put it down.  Ms. Maloney’s poignant description of both the ravages of the illness itself and the hurdles to find treatment not only sheds light on the dark corners of this disorder, but captures the universal anguish of any parent watching their child slip away and at the same time being determined to hold on with all their might. In this gripping memoir, we see living proof of the much contested connection between strep and OCD.  We also experience the agony of a parent who knows that solutions are out there, but can only be accessed by overcoming the obstacles and biases within the medical community. By sharing her family's ordeal and ultimate triumph, Ms. Maloney urges us all to make a pivotal shift in how we look at mental illness and its cure. The quality of life for thousands, if not millions, of families depends on our doing so. 
 
Tamar Chansky, Ph.D. - Author: Freeing Your Child from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Freeing Your Child from Anxiety and Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking
Director, Children's Center for OCD and Anxiety, Plymouth Meeting PA
 
 
“There isn't a parent who would not want to have this information.  The implications of this riveting story reach far beyond children who are afflicted with obsessive-compulsive disorder."
 
Christopher P. Leddy - Assistant Attorney General, State of Maine
 
 
“I might not have believed Sammy’s stunning transformation if I had not seen it for myself.  I watched a gifted young mathematician robbed of his life, lose all control and hope, and then regain his former self.  Beth Maloney’s relentless battle and ultimate success in reclaiming her son captures the heart of anyone who has ever loved a child.  Her victory sheds new light on ways of treating mental illness and inspires us all to greater good.”
 
Fern Brown, M.S.Ed, CAS
Gifted and Talented Coordinator - Co-Director, Maine Odyssey of the Mind




From the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

This story is heartbreaking and inspiring.
May
Saving Sammy is an excellent memoir written by a recently-divorced and determined mother of three boys.
Neil Dewitte
The book was a very interesting and informational read.
Marie L. Gentile

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Laura on August 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What could be more compelling than the story of a mom who simply will not accept that her son's suddden onset OCD/Tourette's Syndrome is irreversible? At the age of twelve years old, Sammy began developing symptoms of OCD that grew in intensity over a fairly short period of time until they seemed to control all phases of his life. Sammy's mother, and his two brothers, were forced to watch helplessly as he went from being a normal young boy, who liked school, loved playing Dungeons and Dragons and was an acknowledged math wizard, to one who was positively paralyzed by his need to engage in ritualistic and repetitive behaviors that controlled his every movement; who could not touch a door handle or a telephone or virtually anything else; who could not attend to basic matters of hygiene or change his clothes, and who could not eat to the point of becoming emaciated and dehydrated. As Sammy's mom put her entire life on hold to attend to Sammy's condition, and even as Sammy bravely tried to continue going to school and to his math events (it could take him hours to get from the house to the car, and then from the car to his ultimate destination), eventually, Sammy became virtually housebound, and his mother with him. Sammy's mom was told that he had OCD (later he was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome as well), a difficult and probably irreversible mental illness which might get worse or might get better and was given various medications to help deal with its effects.

Sammy continued to deteriorate, and mom's research into her son's condition seemed to confirm that there was little that could be done for him. She continued to take him to doctors and continued to follow their advice concerrning medications, all the while watching her son develop new and more complex compulsions.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T. L. Jones on October 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I expect this book to draw critics regarding the diagnosis of PANDAS. It's also very easy to criticize the mom if you have never lived through the horror of watching a healthy, intelligent, engaging (I don't dare use the word "normal") child of yours have his or her mind stolen virtually overnight. I walked in this woman's shoes last year. The author does a commendable job of recounting the accumulation of the illness, because there really are no words to adequately convey the experience. It's like being on a water slide into hell. I cried through much of the book.

I was fortunate. My 6 year old daughter DID fit the "accepted profile" of a PANDAS patient. We had sharp and open minded doctors who caught it quickly. I had never heard of PANDAS before her diagnosis, so I wasn't "looking for it". Of course, there were multiple tests to rule out other issues such as seizure disorders. After just a few days on amoxicillin she was dramatically improved, and after a couple of months more on antibiotics, she was "back". I was lucky not to watch my child deteriorate for more than a year, as was the author's experience. We also did not spend tens of thousands of dollars on psychiatric visits and medications. Again, because we had a sharp pediatrician and an up-to-date pediatric psychiatrist.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Badham VINE VOICE on September 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a clinical psychologist, I was trained to believe that mental illness is not "caught." Individuals may be born with a certain genetic predisposition or they may acquire their disorder as a result of difficult life experiences, but since psychoanalysis there has been no accepted theory of infection or transmission. (Even now, as this book will tell you, there is still not wide acceptance.)

Then along comes this important, well-written account. The author, an attorney who serves as a guardian ad litem on behalf of neglected and abused children, started to notice that her 12-year-old son Sammy was exhibiting some strange behaviors: stepping over invisible walls, holding his breath, spinning and jumping, not being able to eat when he saw bare feet, etc. Things escalated to the point where it would take him perhaps two hours to go from his house to the car and another couple of hours to get from the car to his intended destination. He could no longer tolerate people touching him or the tasks of personal hygiene. He could not open doors or flush the toilet. He could not eat food as he did before, bringing him to the brink of emaciation and dehydration. Eventually he became housebound, and his mother along with him. When she sought medical help, Sammy was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and later Tourette`s Syndrome. She was told that his condition might wax and wane, but that it was basically incurable.

Then a friend of her mother's told Maloney--who was suffering by now under the strain of Sammy's demanding care--that her own son had similar symptoms for ten years due to an undiagnosed strep infection.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews