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DR. DREW

Protecting Our Kids

Aired May 22, 2012 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.

A man is accused of luring and videotaping little girls in a store, but my guest says fears about child predators are overblown. She even started something she calls "take your kids to the park and leave them there" day.

What do you think of her plan? Call right now at 1-855-DRDREW5.

And later, three people in Georgia are infected with the flesh-eating bacteria. I`m speaking to one live just after surgery. Call in with your questions for him and me about the flesh-eating bacteria.

Let`s get started.

(MUSIC)

PINSKY: Good evening. Welcome. Thank you for joining us.

We`re live tonight. And, of course, we`ll be taking your calls all evening.

We`re going to start out talking about a controversy surrounding -- oh, all of our anxieties about our childrearing. We`re going to start with that. We`re going to talk later about flesh-eating bacteria, something you have tons of questions about, and it`s about time I answered those completely. And then, we`ll do a potpourri of all your questions later on in the show.

Now, parents` worst nightmare, child abduction, right? Molestation, violence against your child, these are all things that we just -- we live in fear of. But are parents so worried they`re robbing their kids of their childhood?

And, by the way, we`re bringing this up when this Friday is national missing children`s day. Perhaps the time to talk about this.

Joining me is Stefanie Wilder-Taylor from Babble.com, blogger, "Baby on Board" is the name of your blog, is that right?

STEFANIE WILDER-TAYLOR, BLOGGER: Yes.

PINSKY: OK. Fair enough. We have met your lovely children. They`re in the greenroom.

WILDER-TAYLOR: Nearby.

PINSKY: They`re nearby and they are very busy. I can`t imagine --

WILDER-TAYLOR: Being watched.

PINSKY: Right, I can`t imagine them being let loose -- I`m nervous about them being in our greenroom here. That`s me as a parent.

Same way?

WILDER-TAYLOR: Yes, I completely agree. I mean --

PINSKY: All right. You agree. I agree.

But Lenore Skenazy, author of "Free Range Kids", disagrees.

Now, Lenore, you started our, quote, "Take or children to park and leave them there" day. It just makes me anxious saying that. Tell me about that.

LENORE SKENAZY, AUTHOR, "FREE RANGE KIDS": Just saying it.

Well, actually the holiday was this past Saturday and the idea is that a lot of times when I want my sons to go outside, they`ll look outside and they`ll say, mom, nobody`s there and they`ll slump back into their chair and go back to some kind of electronics.

But I have a feeling that there`s kids across the street who are looking out their windows and also saying, mom, there`s nobody there.

I wanted to start a day when all children meet at their local parks and if they`re old enough, if they`re young kids, if they`re, you know, up to age 7, we would supervise them. But age 8, 9, 10, we leave them there to play with each other, to do that old-fashioned thing that we used to which is just hang out with friends, get a ball, or get a jump rope.

And I was hoping that by having all the kids together in the park on that day, at that time, that the next day they would just go and do it automatically the way we used to do.

PINSKY: Now, Lenore, that all sounds pretty rational on the surface. But I heard -- maybe I`ve been misled about your story. I heard you take a group of kids, your friends` kids who are similarly minded to you and take them to Central Park and cut them loose. Is that right?

SKENAZY: I say if you live near Central Park and that`s your local park, yes, there`s a lot of playgrounds in Central Park. It`s not one giant park. I was there tonight just looking around before I came here and I did see kids just playing basketball and other kids just kicking a ball around. I thought that was lovely.

I think that that`s something great for kids, to have to come up with something to do to problem solve. I want to play baseball, you want to play soccer. Are we going to compromise? To have fun.

You know, actually I hate to talk about studies all the time because I don`t think parenting needs studies but studies do show that when kids are on their own playing together, they actually get more exercise. It`s better for them than when their parents are with them saying, honey, do you need help, was he bothering you, can I cut you a grape, can I peel the grape for you? It`s really great for children when they`re on their own.

WILDER-TAYLOR: What if something happens?

PINSKY: Where do they go?

WILDER-TAYLOR: What if something happens? Which is bound to happen. And also, I`m sorry, but I can`t be the only person that thinks it`s insane to leave a 7-year-old out at the park with no supervision. You`re saying there`s a group of kids, as young as 7 years old, which is barely the age of reason. You`re right there at the age of reason.

What if something happens? What if somebody falls and breaks their arm? And there`s no parent and no adults around.

SKENAZY: Couple things, I chose the age of 7 because that`s the age around the world most parents send their children to school on their own, whether by public transportation or walking. If you go to most, you know, Europe, Asia, Africa, it`s age 7 which parents think is an OK age for kids to start heading out on their own.

We always tend to think of what I call worst first thinking. Rather than thinking of kids playing, or coming up with a hide-and-go-seek game or getting exercise and fresh air and some memories, some happy childhood memories like we have.

We immediately go to, what if somebody breaks an arm? Well, if there`s another kid there, that kid calls for help. Generally, somebody has a cell phone these days when they`re out there.

WILDER-TAYLOR: So your 7-year-old being with somebody who has a cell phone?

PINSKY: Guys, let`s take a call. Let`s see what those callers have to say about this.

Paul in Canada, go ahead, Paul.

PAUL, CALLER FROM CANADA: Hi, Drew. Thanks for having me on.

PINSKY: Sure.

PAUL: My 3-year-old plays in our backyard by himself all the time. We kind of spoiled him, got him a really nice sand box and big play set.

PINSKY: Yes. But, Paul, playing in your backyard is a lot different than turning them loose in Central Park with 8-year-olds, you know what I`m saying? It`s just different.

PAUL: Definitely, but he`s 3 at this point. I`m sure he`ll be at the park by himself when he`s, you know, 6, 7, 8, with other kids obviously. We`d have no problem with that.

PINSKY: Do you live in an obscure northern part of Canada where there`s no crime? Just curious.

PAUL: I live in Edmonton, Alberta, the murder capital of Canada.

PINSKY: All right. Fair enough. Excuse me.

I`m just saying, to me it makes me anxious. Maybe it`s because I deal with kids who are sexually, physically abused all the time. I had John Walsh sitting on this set saying, eyes on all the time, no male baby sitters. This is so common. It`s a pandemic in our country.

I tell you what, let me just say, let me say, I`ll let you talk in a second. Let me just say that this is something that`s been exponentially increasing, because when someone is a perpetrator, they don`t perpetrate on one kid. It`s not a one-on-one thing. Somebody`s abused in their childhood, they turn into a perpetrator, they do it one time. They do it hundreds of times.

And then this thing grows exponentially and it`s a cancer in our society right now. That`s what parents are feeling. That`s all I`m saying.

What do think? What do you say to that?

SKENAZY: I`m really interested to hear that because the exponential thing that`s happening is a drop in crime since the time that most of us were kids and our parents let us go outside and play without always thinking about the broken arm and the predator and the murder around the corner.

Crime is actually down. I know it never feels like that. I know if you`re sitting here after we just saw "NANCY GRACE," and coming up after me is flesh-eating bacteria, it feels like a pretty scary world out there. But crime is lower than the `70s and `80s and `90s when our parents let us go out.

So the crime rate is lower. It feels like it`s higher, because frankly, when my mom was raising me, she was a stay-at-home mom and she stayed at home. She didn`t feel like she had to come outside with us all the time. I think the reason she had that perspective and that calmness that allowed us to have a sort of fun childhood was that she couldn`t immediately name, you know, 10 children, and having seen their videos, who were abducted.

PINSKY: I`m not talking about child abduction. I`m talking about other forms of covert -- not covert, but silence -- let`s take a call.

Julie in Washington, D.C., go ahead.

JULIE, CALLER FROM WASHINGTON, D.C.: Hi. I don`t really have a problem so much with free range parenting, but I do question a couple of things about the event of leaving your kids at the park. The first is timing. This Friday is National Missing Children`s Day, and it`s a week where, you know, the community and people who work in the area of child protection are trying to educate families on how to keep kids safe, but the crime statistics that are being quoted sort of imply they don`t have any real work to do.

I feel like sort of that dismisses them as being fearmongers when they do meaningful and important work.

PINSKY: I agree with that.

SKENAZY: I totally agree we should find owl missing children.

What I feel like we`ve been sort of going around the corner on as parents is we`re told so much about stranger danger. It rhymes, it sounds like the main thing we have to worry about. In fact, Drew, I`m sure you`re aware of this, that 90 percent or more of the crimes against children are not committed by strangers. They`re not pulled of the street. It`s things that happen in the home.

And so I think to keep our children --

PINSKY: You`re misquoting that a little bit. It`s by somebody they already knew. Somebody who had been, perhaps, stalking them in the park, somebody who was a neighbor.

Stefanie, I want to give you the last word here.

WILDER-TAYLOR: I don`t understand why it has to be leave your kids at the park all day. You wouldn`t leave your 7-year-old at home in your house all day.

SKENAZY: Not all day.

WILDER-TAYLOR: I read it was 7:all day for the kids to be in the park. Why can`t they be in the backyard, if front of the house?

Why are you thinking maybe there will be a responsible person there, maybe someone will have a cell phone? It just feels like gambling to me.

PINSKY: We`re going to keep this conversation going.

Next, we`re going to talk to a mom whose child was abducted. We`re going to get her take on leave your kids in the park. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PINSKY: We are talking with the mother who started the take your kid to the park and leave them there day. Now to footage of a man in Florida. Police say he is a pedophile. They caught after he was using a camera phone to videotape young girls in a local store, his attempt to lure the girls on camera.

Police say Jonathan Davis used cat calls and laughter to get the girls` attention and win their trust. Police have released this audio. Listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JONATHAN DAVIS: You can`t see what I`m hiding.

You can`t have a butt that nice when you`re 8.

Let me see. Turn around. Oh my God.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

PINSKY: Wow. I mean, I am sorry. I should have given you a disclaimer for that one. That is disturbing stuff potentially.

Joining the discussion, author of "My Body Belongs to Me," Jill Starishevsky, and Diena Thompson, whose daughter, Summer, was murdered by a sex offender.

Diena, what to you think of the take your kids to the park and leave them there day?

DIENA THOMPSON, DAUGHTER MURDEREED BY SEX OFFENDER: I hate to say it, but that obviously comes from somebody who hasn`t lost their child to a complete stranger, you know, stranger danger, because they are dangerous. So that comes from someone who has no clue what kind of world we live on in my opinion.

PINSKY: Diena, maybe you and I are jaded by our experience. I mean, you because of a horrible tragedy, me, because I`m seeing people who live under the consequences of having been victimized. I mean, to me, why do we want to play roulette, you know, roll the dice with our kids? Don`t we want to be certain about them? Isn`t that the deal here?

THOMPSON: We don`t. We don`t. I think your last guest was Stefanie and sounds like gambling. I`m not a gambler. I would say that most parents aren`t gamblers and don`t want to gamble with their children`s lives.

PINSKY: Now, before I go to our caller, I believe I have to read a statement, do I not, about the video we saw. Can someone put that up for me? Again, it`s live television. There we go.

We ask, John Davis, the gentleman you saw in the videotape, asked for a response from his lawyer from him. His lawyer responded. And he said the following, "What has been related to the media has been taken out of context. I hope the media does not prejudge Mr. Davis based on the misleading leaks by the police. He should have presumption of innocence like any other in our country."

All right. Well, I don`t know. OK. Be that as it may.

Let`s go to a caller. Janet in Kentucky -- Janet.

JANET, CALLDER FROM KENTUCKY: I have a question. I`m just wondering. Is the lady crazy?

But besides that, what about the kids who molested and killed other children? You`re sticking them together and nobody is there to watch?

PINSKY: Lenore, what about that? Now, let me throw out some data. You were quoting data before we went to break. Some data suggests 10 percent, 25 percent of women in this country were sexually abused by someone in their childhood and one of the more common forms of sexual abuse is child on child sexual abuse. If there are no adults around in the park, who`s to protect the kids from even that?

SKENAZY: It`s so interesting to me the way we think about children and children being outside, and are always thinking in terms of it as the creepiest possible thing, when I think most of us do remember it fondly.

First, I actually wanted to say something to the mother of Summer. First of all, my heart completely goes out to you. And I can`t imagine being in your shoes.

When we talk about not wanting to gamble with our children`s lives, none of us want to. And none of us deliberately do that. What`s interesting, to me, is that we don`t think that way whenever we put our children in a car to drive them someplace. We don`t think, how would I feel if something terrible happens? I couldn`t live with myself, I would feel too guilty, I`m just not going to do it, even though children die in car accidents. In fact, that`s the number one way children die.

What we`ve been sort of taught to do, because the horrible stories like yours come to us and the daily stories of just another car accident don`t, is to focus on how endangered children are by strangers, and to give driving a pass. And I don`t say that we should be worried every time we put our kids in the car. It`s just that somehow we can keep the danger in perspective when we put our kids in the car. Yes, there`s a small danger that we might be in a car crash, but it probably won`t happen and we go on with our lives.

But we have stopped being able to do that when we think of our children leaving the house.

PINSKY: I want to give Jill a chance to respond to that. Jill Starishevsky, go ahead.

JILL STARISHEVSKY, AUTHOR, "MY BODY BELONGS TO ME": I have to say I`m going to have to be the voice of reason here. You know, I see these cases just as you do, Dr. Drew. I see the children who are sexually abused. And I have to say, although you call it, Lenore, take your children to the park and leave them there day, the predators call it opening day on hunting season for children. And that`s what it is.

Not only are you leaving young children 7 and 8-year-olds who can`t be responsible enough to be alone in a park alone, you`re advertising on blogs which park, which kids are going to be at.

So the predators get their pens out. Let`s see, this one sounds good. Is that really what we want?

SKENAZY: Jill, is your book --

PINSKY: Lenore -- I`m going to take a call here.

Rose in California, go ahead.

ROSE, CALLER FROM CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew. I just want to say it`s an honor to talk to you.

PINSKY: Pleasure`s mine. Thank you.

ROSE: I think this is very irresponsible. I`m in California now but I grew up in a small town in the Midwest. We used to go to the park by ourselves all the time with tons of kids there and I was actually almost kidnapped at 7 years old. Luckily, I got away, but that`s a one in a million chance.

How often does that happen?

PINSKY: That somebody almost gets kidnapped?

ROSE: Well, that they get away. Usually the predator, you know, actually succeeds and takes them. Luckily I got away.

PINSKY: Yes. Diena, maybe you want to respond to that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank God.

THOMPSON: Yes, I mean, the numbers, you know, tell us that 800,000 people under the age of 18 are missing every year in the United States, alone. So I don`t think that that leads us to believe we should take our children and leave them at the park alone at 7. Summer was walking home from school with crossing guards on a bright sunshiny day in beautiful Florida, and this monster picked her up right off the street, in front of other children. I`m sure with who had cell phones. And there were parents driving by and people on bikes. So it`s just insanity to me.

PINSKY: Rose, thank you for your call. Diena, thank you for that comment. Lenore and Jill, also. Stay with me.

Coming up, how can we protect our kids without becoming overprotective? Lenore`s got a point. We`re all becoming helicopter parents and we`re over-intrusive and over-involved perhaps. I don`t disagree with that part. I don`t necessarily think we should be leaving them out in the park by themselves. I`m just saying.

So, we`ll keep this conversation going. Stay with us. Call in.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAYMOND KELLY, COMMISSIONER, NYPD: Nothing more innocent than an 8- year-old child and to be, you know, killed in this manner is just -- it`s heartbreaking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PINSKY: Welcome back. That was New York`s police commissioner Ray Kelly talking about 8-year-old Levi, the boy got lost while walking home alone from his camp in his orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. He was killed, dismembered by a stranger. He had asked for directions.

Heather in Indiana. You had a question?

HEATHER, CALLER FROM INDIANA: Yes, Dr. Drew. How are you?

PINSKY: Good. Thank you.

HEATHER: I -- I played along with the leave your kids at the park day a little bit with what was comfortable with myself, for my family. We let them stretch the boundaries a little more. My question is, how do you let go? How do you stop yourself from being that helicopter parent that doesn`t want to let their kids push the boundaries and be independent?

PINSKY: So what is that happy medium? Jill, you`re up on the screen here. Why don`t you address that first?

STARISHEVSKY: I think your question is a good one. It`s all about moderation.

You have to, first, consider how old your child is. How mature your child is. And what you feel most comfortable with given the area that you live in.

Most importantly, you have to start the whole thing with the safety conversation, of what to do if you do get lost. And that you go to a mommy with kids and that`s who you approach if you need help. And, you know, that no one can touch your body. This is what happens if someone does.

All those steps need to be taken first. It is all about moderation.

PINSKY: Diena, I want to ask you. You`re the one here who really has suffered. I mean, it`s just unthinkable what you`ve had to go through. Yet, my understanding is you did everything right.

So, what is your message to us parents out here?

THOMPSON: Obviously, you know, I`m ashamed to say that, you know, I didn`t take a bigger stance in this before I was actually thrown into this boat of mine, of a lot of ours. But radKIDS is a really great program to empower our children.

That`s what we need to do. Empower our children and teach them they can fight against the monsters, whether that`d be someone they know or someone they don`t know.

PINSKY: We`re looking at a picture I believe or your child, Summer here.

Let`s go to a call. Derrica in Washington, D.C. -- Derrica.

DERRICA, CALLER FROM WASHINGTON, D.C.: Hi, Dr. Drew.

PINSKY: Hi, Derrica.

DERRICA: First I want to say what she`s doing is absolutely ludicrous. As a veteran law enforcement official, leaving your child unattended is a form of child abuse and neglect and you can be arrested. Now, I heard Diena say earlier that 800,000 children are reported missing every year. That`s one child every 40 seconds.

And you know, just having an unattended child on the playground is definitely a pedophile and human trafficking ring`s hunting ground. I just don`t understand. There`s other ways to teach our children to be responsibility, but you`re actually throwing them in an area where they can be victimized.

PINSKY: Derrica, thank you for that comment.

Lenore, I`m going to give you just 15 seconds. That`s all I have. Please respond to that, and thank you to all of you, but go ahead.

SKENAZY: I agree we should train our children to recognize, resist, and report abuse, but in just these 23 minutes, as I can see on the clock here, we`ve talked about three murdered children and an attempted kidnapping and we haven`t talked about the hundreds of millions --

PINSKY: That`s it. That`s all I had, Lenore, 15 seconds.

I`m sorry. I have to interrupt. Thank you. Also thank you to Jill and to Diena.

All right. Next, we are switching gears -- thank you, ladies -- to the flesh-eating bacteria. It cost Aimee Copeland her legs and hands. Next we`re going to speak to a man who himself is infected, just having had surgery.

I`ll answer your questions. Stay here after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PINSKY (voice-over): So-called flesh eating bacteria has families in the south scared. What is the real threat? I`m speaking to a victim who had surgery just hours ago for this condition. What would you like to ask him? Call in now at 1-855-DrDrew5.

And later, a father puts his toddler in a washing machine. It locks and suddenly begins filling with fluid. How did this end? What do you think should happen to this parent? Start dialing now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PINSKY (on-camera): Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us. Reminder that we are live and taking your calls. Now, we just did a whole half hour on how to parent effectively, whether we should be letting our kids run around the park. The reason I wanted to do that subject matter is, I spend most of my career dealing with people who suffered abuse in childhood.

And I`ve seen it over and again that the people that are perpetrators perpetrate on dozens or hundreds of kids. And so, this is something that`s been growing in our society for a long time. And, as a result, our parenting has become anxious. We become worried about it. That`s why I thought it was important to have that conversation.

Now, we`re switching gears, and we`re going to talk about flesh-eating bacteria. And, as a physician, I`m an internist, I used to see this problem -- I wouldn`t say all the time, but I saw a number of cases of what`s called necrotizing fasciitis which the press calls flesh-eating bacteria.

The one thing that just drives me crazy is how the flesh -- how the -- excuse me -- how the press reports things. It`s so scary. It`s so mysterious. This is a common problem. I want to sort of demystify it and take a good look at it. It is a scary problem. And it is a kind of common problem, much more than you might imagine.

It shouldn`t be headline news, but it is. Three people in Georgia are now infected with the so-called flesh-eating bacteria. And this cluster is raising fears, I`m saying, across the country. How common is this? Should we be fearful of losing limbs and dying? I`m going to answer these questions.

But first, I want to check in with Bobby Vaughn (ph) who underwent his sixth operation this morning. He had this infection, the so-called flesh- eating bacteria. So, Bobby, how are you doing there, buddy? You with us? I wonder if he is there. Bobby Vaughn (ph), do we have you on the phone?

It`s a novel effort on our part. If he`s not there, I`m going to keep going. Bobby, do I have you? All right. Let me go to the next caller who`s Danine Vallestre (ph). She is on the phone. You were misdiagnosed and almost lost your leg during spring break. Is that right? There you are.

DANINE (ph): I had thought I sprained or broke my foot on spring break. And then, when I got back to New York, I was misdiagnosed. They told me I had torn ligaments, because the infection didn`t surface yet. And then, after MRI and two x-rays, they saw the blisters.

PINSKY: Well, Danine (ph), let`s sort of think about this. So, you thought you had sprained your leg but, in fact, you got a local infection. Is that right?

DANINE (ph): Yes.

PINSKY: OK. And let`s sort of -- so people understand what the symptoms are, describe what it was like. It was red, it was hot, it was swollen. Is that right?

DANINE (ph): No, my foot started out swollen, then progressively, it got worse, and I had, like, a slight irritation, like the black and purple skin which is the dead skin. I had chills and a fever.

PINSKY: Again, some people -- OK. So, these are the criteria. So, people -- oh, show that picture again. I want to see that. Put it behind me so I can walk up to it and actually maybe describe what`s on there a little bit. Can we do that? Can you put it -- come on, now, let`s do that.

Anyway, what you described was fever and chills, which is a sign that you got to go see a doctor right away, number one. Number two, you said there was dead tissue, which is black or blue tissue. There`s the picture of our victim there. Let`s see her leg, though. There she is. That`s how sick people get from this.

There`s actually toxins released by the bacteria. There it now. Hold that picture up there. People get toxins released from this infection where they actually can go into kidney failure, respiratory failure, end up on ventilators in ICU. And you see here, this sort of swollen area, it`s red and it`s blistering.

And usually, it looks duskier and darker. And what will happen is it will advance very rapidly like within minutes, it will start moving up the leg. And sometimes, people actually will lose their limb. They have to take off the limb. At the very minimum, what they have to do is debris the area and often un-glove the whole area, which is take of all the skin and soft tissue so it doesn`t get down into the muscle.

Remember, this is called necrotizing fasciitis. Necrotizing meaning dead tissue or dying tissue. And fasciitis is the layer of tissue below the skin just at the muscle that the bacteria gets into and rapidly progresses. Now, there`s a lot of consternation about the fact that that one Georgia case got it while she was in a river or lake or something.

Those are pretty rare cause of necrotizing fasciitis. Usually, believe it or not, it`s plain old streptococcus. The same thing you get sore throats from, it`s the same bacteria group "A" strep that can cause this devastating infection. Now, I`ve seen it caused from even from a hangnail, believe it or not.

So, any way the bacteria gets in through a wound, it can start advancing. So, it`s hard to prevent. The key is to be aware of it if it kicks up. Now, am I hearing did I have Robert or Dinine on the line? Robert is there. Robert, are you with us?

ROBERT: Yes, I`m here.

PINSKY: There you are, buddy. How are you doing?

ROBERT: I`m doing good. How about you?

PINSKY: I`m great. I`m not in the hospital with necrotizing fasciitis. You had your sixth operation this morning, is that right?

ROBERT: Oh, yes. They actually went ahead and did my final operation, I think. This was my final operation.

PINSKY: Right. And can you describe -- I`m trying to help people understand what this thing is. It`s gotten so much mystery and misrepresentation in the press. How did yours present? What did they have to do to really prevent it from harming you?

ROBERT: Really, I mean, it started out as just a little bitty knot that I had for a while, and actually, I`m sorry, it sounds gross, but it was in my groin area.

PINSKY: Yes.

ROBERT: And, it started out as a peanut size and it ended up, like, two grapefruit size. You know, and lumps, like you could literally grab like softballs. And they were -- and it just went all the way up toward (ph) my bladder. All of it was hardening up and starting to swell up.

PINSKY: And Robert, Robert, I`m going to stop you and say there`s something called Fournier`s gangrene or it`s called Fournier`s gangrene, which I`ve seen from piercings, genital piercings. So, I get all anxious about people getting genital piercings, because you can get necrotizing fasciitis or flesh-eating bacteria of that area.

And believe me, the surgical interventions are not kind. They`re not cool. And I`m sure, in your case, there had to be quite a bit of surgical debridement. A lot of tissue had to get removed, right?

ROBERT: Yes. For my understanding, there`s about 2 1/2 pounds of dead tissue that was pulled out of the area.

PINSKY: Yes.

ROBERT: And I was looking -- when the oncologist, whatever you call them, came down and she told me that I`m looking at, you know, amputation -- this is things I could be looking at, amputation, losing, of course, my man part, or death. You know? You know, I wasn`t really scared of it.

You know, the only fact that I`d be losing my family, you know, but it really wasn`t nothing scary. It was just painful. Very, very painful.

PINSKY: Well, Robert, listen. I`m just so glad it turned out the way it did because it can get pretty nasty. We thank God. Have great antibiotics these days. That with surgical interventions and really skilled surgeons, you can often save a lot of tissue, but you have to get in there, carve out what`s destroyed.

ROBERT: Yes. That`s pretty much -- they carved it out. Just rebuilt a lot of stuff and took some stuff out. So, you know, I`m alive. As long as I`m alive, I`m happy.

PINSKY: Now, I`m going to take a call, Robert. I hope this is something germane to your particular situation. Sydnee in Georgia, did you want to ask something or make a comment?

SYDNEE, GEORGIA: Hi, Dr. Drew. Thank you for taking my call.

PINSKY: My pleasure.

SYDNEE: I live in the Atlanta area and have a two-year-old daughter who loves the water. And, I heard what you`re saying about the strep "A." That was one of my main concern. How do we protect her?

PINSKY: It`s not one of those conditions that you can protect yourself against. It`s more like knowing the signs if they develop.

Obviously, if somebody has a streptococcal -- I`m sorry, I`ve got a dry throat here -- if they have a streptococcal throat infection and you have a wound, you don`t want to be in the same vicinity as, you know, you don`t want your wound touching that person with the group "A" strep, but for the most part, it just knowing signs and symptoms and when to see a doctor and to stay vigilant.

We heard from Danine (ph) earlier who was sort of sent home multiple times. Let me have that water. This is what I love about live TV. I appreciate it. And I don`t have any medical problems, thank God, it`s just dry in here. And maybe all that talk about Bob`s surgery -- choking me up a little bit.

But the point is, I`m joking, but it`s a no laughing matter. It`s a serious condition. It`s a sort of classic medical problem. I`ve seen many cases of it. The key is to know it when you see it and then get somebody the medical care immediately, and hopefully, you have skilled physicians who are doing the right thing to prevent it from becoming devastation, because it can become devastating within hours.

Don`t worry about the water. That`s a rare thing. And that case that sort of hit the press the first time, it was called an aeromonas infection, which is a relative -- very resistant bacteria called pseudomonas. These gram negative bacteria are not common causes -- it`s really more of a strep thing, and the strep is very common, as you know.

But it has to be the right strep and get into the right tissue plain, and that is not that common. So, everybody, I think while it`s something to be aware of and understand, get help if you see signs of it. Let`s not freak out about it. It`s making good headlines right now. And -- but I wouldn`t spend a lot of time worrying about it, OK?

SYDNEE: Thank you so much.

PINSKY: All right. Good. Let her play in the water is all I`m saying. Do I have any time left? Am I done? I`m getting out. I think they`re afraid I`m going to choke to death out here.

Next up, we`re going to change gears yet again. I got to show you something. A couple that saw a sign that said, "junior wash" at a Laundromat and thought, oh, how funny if we put our toddler in the washing machine with that sign. What happened next was no laughing matter. You`re going to see it. We`re taking your calls, 855-373-7395. After the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PINSKY: All right. Welcome back. Now, this is a video of a dad who thought it would be funny to put his toddler in a washing machine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PINSKY (voice-over): There he is. The door latched and locked with the child inside for over a minute. Someone, thank God, pulled the plug in order to free the child. Look at that. Oh, my gosh. I mean, it`s just -- what were they thinking? Here is what you`re saying about that. Let me go ahead to Kerrie in Ohio. Kerrie, what do you got?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KERRIE, OHIO: I just don`t -- I mean, they`re not very good parents for doing that for one. And you think --

PINSKY (on-camera): Hold on, Kerrie. Slow down. You mean, you don`t put your kids in the washing machine? That`s not something you do.

KERRIE: Oh, no. I keep them in the bathtub.

PINSKY: That`s dangerous enough these days. Oh my gosh. That video is just so distressing. OK. But, you think it`s a bad idea. I get that.

KERRIE: Yes, definitely. I mean, what if they got their kid taken away from them for a year or so and never got to see them or talk to them? I mean, that could be a permanent thing where they`d never get to see their baby again. The baby could have died easily in there.

PINSKY: Yes. I mean, it`s just -- to me, it`s the lack of judgment, and I wonder where else their judgment has been falling short in their childrearing practices. It`s all I`m saying. It ain`t funny to do stuff with your kid that is even close to dangerous. You agree with that?

KERRIE: Oh, yes. I`ve got a two-year-old grandson. If I ever see something like that happen, I mean, I`d just be devastated.

PINSKY: Well, the great news is this kid is OK. Listen, they saw it very quickly they were in the wrong. You know, I don`t know these people. I don`t want to stand in judgment of them. But, come on, now, everybody, let`s learn a listen from this. Thank you for your call. Mona, let`s go to you, in California. Mona, what do you got for me?

MONA, CALIFORNIA: Hi, my 29-year-old son recently had flesh-eating bacteria.

PINSKY: Yes. Hang on a second, Mona. Let me just cut you and say -- show people an example of how the press works. You mean this didn`t make front page news? You mean, they didn`t report it that there`s a cluster in California?

MONA: Absolutely not.

PINSKY: Right. OK. Interesting. So, go ahead. How`s he doing?

MONA: His wound is still open, and this was in March, and they -- he was in -- it was clear up to his hipbone, clear down to his knee.

PINSKY: Right.

MONA: And they had to -- and it`s clear open.

PINSKY: Right. What they will do is they, sometimes, will open the wound and let it heal from the inside out while they take very powerful antibiotics.

MONA: Right. You could just see the muscles. There was just muscle there.

PINSKY: Yes.

MONA: But my question is, what`s the chances of being re-infected while this thing is gapping open?

PINSKY: It`s amazing the way the body is able to protect itself from that kind of thing. It doesn`t work like that. It heals. You`ll see. The healing is rather almost -- when you see a giant wound like that, the way the body heals, you`ll be amazed how OK it is when it`s all done.

MONA: Aren`t they supposed to send them home with antibiotics or something?

PINSKY: Well, not if they got all the tissue. Yes, I would think so. I mean, I`ve never -- you know, here`s what you want to see. You need to see an infectious disease specialist. These are the doctors that really work with infecting bacteria like this and choose the right antibiotics for a situation like that.

So, if he`s not seen an infectious disease specialist, do whatever you need to do to get him in to see one. Next call, Sue in Massachusetts. Sue, what do you got?

SUE, MASSACHUSETTS: Hi, Dr. Drew. Thank you for taking my call.

PINSKY: My pleasure.

SUE: This was a discussion at work. A lot of us have around the same aged girls.

PINSKY: OK.

SUE: My daughter`s nine, and I was wondering when is it appropriate to discuss her monthly cycle?

PINSKY: You know, this is something that -- I don`t feel actually qualified to give you a discreet answer except to say that different parents feel very differently about how to have these conversations and when to have them. And obviously, this is something between mom and daughter that`s of a very intense and delicate matter.

Some schools start in the fifth grade and sixth grade beginning to talk about these things so they`re not so mysterious. There`s a lot of literature out there you can go to. Kids books that are literally designed for parents and children to help them sort of discuss this in an appropriate -- you don`t want it to be a big deal.

You want it to be something that is just sort of matter of fact, use appropriate anatomical terms and talk about it in terms of the sort of the wonder of nature, how we are human beings and we have these aspects of ourselves that are, as we grow up, important and change and that you, as a woman, share with your daughter as she comes into her adolescence.

Kim in Arkansas, what do you got?

KIM, ARKANSAS: I`m in Ohio.

PINSKY: Oh, well, from Ohio, then. Have at it.

KIM: Hi. Hi, Dr. Drew. I have a question. What do you feel about the new recommendation about men getting their PSAs or actually not getting their PSAs?

PINSKY: Right. Yes. This is a big controversy that erupted today. Let me just say what the controversy is. What they`ve basically shown is - - I`ve got one minute to discuss this, so I`ll try to make it discernible. That by measuring PSAs, we`re not changing survival or death rates from prostate cancer.

I`m still a big screener. I still believe in screening. The concern is that by screening excessively, as we have been doing, we are going to subject a lot of men to surgeries and potentially dangerous procedures that they really might not need or put them in harm`s way of urinary difficulties, sexual dysfunction, and the surgical misadventures when, in fact, they would never have died of the prostate cancer, in the first place.

Most prostate cancers can be slow and don`t spread. The really issue here is it`s difficult to fair it those cases that really need the intervention and should we or should we not be screening for those? And that`s kind of unanswerable at this time.

But I think, most doctors, generalists will still be screening. Here`s question from actor and "Dancing with the Star" season 13 champion, J.R. Martinez. What do you got?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J.R. MARTINEZ, ACTOR, `DANCING WITH THE STARS` CHAMP: I wanted to ask you, my friend, some advice. I wanted to get -- what`s your biggest piece of advice? You know, a week and a half ago, I became a father to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. And I just want to know what is the biggest piece of advice that you would give a new father?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PINSKY: And not just any, just not any father, J.R. Martinez happens to be that farmer -- that father, not farmer. I`ll answer that after the break. Plus, more of your calls and questions.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PINSKY: OK. Before the break, actor, J.R. Martinez, is a new dad. He asked me advice about being a father. And I`ve got basically three responses for him. One is, dude, relax. It`s going to be fine. Couple other people have done this ahead of you. Most of them have been OK. Some not so much. Secondly, it`s a daughter, and your relationship with her is going to be so important for the choices in relationships she makes into the future.

Know that how you treat her, and any deficiencies in that relationship, will magically get acted out later by choosing the same kind of people that are deficient which you -- you would not want to see your daughter go through that. And finally, to know that the kind of person you are is probably more important than anything else.

In other words, I`m not just saying about your values and those sorts of things, but if you want your daughter to be a good reader, she sees you reading a lot, that tends to predict that she`ll read. That kind of thing. Your example. The kind of person you are, the way you learn, the kinds of ways you spend your time will have a rather dramatic impact on her life and who she is.

Call. Lisa in California, what do you got for me?

LISA, CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew.

PINSKY: Hi, Lisa.

LISA: I have a question about long-term opiate addiction.

PINSKY: All right.

LISA: I`ve been taking opiates for a very long time starting with an original injury back when I was about 16.

PINSKY: OK. So, you need to get off. I get that. All right.

LISA: Yes. How do I do that? And how do I do it effectively and stay off?

PINSKY: There`s two approaches to it. I come from a model where we want people to have complete abstinence. If you were a physician or an airline pilot or an attorney, abstinence would be the only possible way of you continuing in your career. So, all my friends that take sort of half measures, physicians, I always say why do we ever, ever consider doing that with our peers?

We go for abstinence with our peers. And abstinence means going into a hospital, detoxing, and spending many months just focusing on your recovery. I just finished another season of "Rehab." It`s not "Celebrity Rehab" this time. It`s "Rehab." We treated regular old people. And, they were treated for a month, and they`re going to continue for three months.

And the opiate addicts, particularly, may continue for another six months in treatment with this. It`s hard work. Now, there are also people that suggest that because the recidivism is so high, because there`s not that much success percentile-wise in treating opiate addiction. And again, people are very motivated.

I`ve seen some miracles in recovery. But, there are those who would say harm avoidance is the way to go, using replacement therapies like Suboxone or methadone. I think that`s kind of committing you to chronic illness. I`m not of that opinion that that should be the way to go. The other way is very time consuming, very difficult.

Kristin in Michigan. Very quick, what do you got?

KRISTIN, MICHIGAN: Hi, Dr. Drew. My question is for someone who deals with depression and psychotherapy, medication, various medication, and electroconvulsive therapy. If those haven`t been effective relieving the depression long-term, what would you suggest for them that?

PINSKY: Kristin, you`re asking me a question I can`t answer in a short ten seconds I have. You had somebody who had shock therapy, psychotherapy, and good medical management. You know, you`ve got to go back to the doctors and keep -- virtually, all depression can be treated effectively.

Just know that and keep going back until you find an effective treatment. Sorry, I don`t have a more complete answer for you.

Before I go, I want to say thank you to my friend, Wendy Williams (ph). She, apparently, is a fan of our show here on HLN. And, I want to say, Wendy, first of all, thank you for shouting us out. And secondly, come on, be a guest on the show. I want you on here any time, whatever topic that you`re passionate about, you and I will talk about it.

Then, all of you that called in tonight, thank you for your calls and comments. And of course, those of you watching, I do appreciate you being here with us tonight. And to my guests, thank you all, and I`ll see you next time.

END