I read an interesting story in the Houston Chronicle last week about a doctor being charged in the death of his child patient. A five year-old autistic boy died at after being administered a chemical treatment by a Pittsburgh doctor. The treatment the doctor, called chelation therapy, is an FDA approved; however, it is not designed to treat autism, but acute heavy metal poisoning. Some people believe that there is a link between a mercury containing preservative that was used in vaccines in the past and autism, and for them chelation therapy may seem like a viable treatment. Dr. Roy E. Kerry was charged with involuntary manslaughter last week and has also been slapped with a wrongful death case by the boy’s parents.
The boy went into cardiac arrest immediately after being treated with controversial therapy by Kerry on August 23, 2005. The doctor has defended his actions over the past two years and claims that the boy’s symptoms of autism had significantly diminish after the first two treatments he received. It is suspected that the boy was given a synthetic amino acid used in the process without a calcium additive that it should have contained. The additive’s purpose is to assure that sudden cardiac arrest does not occur from loss of calcium. While the doctor admits that there may have been some confusion, as both compounds are odorless and colorless but he was not negligent.
Investigators, who have worked on the case for nearly two years, talked to several doctors about his methods, and one is prepared to testify that Kerry’s treatment constituted gross negligence, she said.
The Department of State, which licenses physicians, filed six disciplinary charges in September against Kerry. The department contends Kerry used the wrong formula of the drug and prescribed an IV push — meaning the drugs are administered in one dose intravenously — despite warnings that it could be lethal.
Kerry could see prison time if convicted on all charges, but seeing as he has no prior record it is unlikely that he would receive the maximum penalties of several years in prison if convicted.
For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Wrongful Death.