It may take a long time, but sometimes justice does eventually move to act against a wrong:
A Butler County doctor will stand trial on charges he caused the death of a 5-year-old autistic boy by negligently ordering a controversial treatment, a district judge ordered Thursday.
Dr. Roy Kerry of Portersville ordered chelation therapy – which the federal Food and Drug Administration approves for treating acute heavy-metal poisoning, but not for autism – on Abubakar Tariq Nadama in 2005. During a third treatment, on Aug. 23, the boy went into cardiac arrest and died.
Kerry, 69, is charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of children and reckless endangerment.
A pediatrician called to testify during Kerry’s preliminary hearing yesterday accused him of “extreme recklessness” because he prescribed the wrong chemical, and because he ordered it in an IV push — administering all the medication intravenously at once — rather than injecting it over the course of several hours.
It still irritates me that this whole “wrong medication” thing is being repeated. It was more than the case of the “wrong medication” given by IV push, instead of over several hours. It was much more than this, and I blame the CDC for foolishly having said this in the first place. What this was was a case of using a therapy that has no sound scientific or clinical rationale why it should work and no scientific evidence that it does work to do anything to relieve the symptoms of autism, leading to Dr. Kerry’s exposing a five year old child to all of the risks of chelation therapy, with no potential for any benefit. Worse, Kerry is still practicing medicine:
Lindsay said Kerry is still practicing medicine. The Pennsylvania Department of State has charged him with practicing medicine negligently and unprofessional conduct. He faces suspension, revocation or restriction of his medical license and fines of up to $10,000 for each violation.
That Dr. Kerry still has a license to practice medicine after his clean kill of an autistic boy is beyond outrageous. Even if you buy into the argument that his only mistake was to administer the medication incorrectly, he should have been stripped of his medical license two years ago:
His attorney, Al Lindsay, said Kerry should not be tried on criminal charges because he did not intentionally harm the boy.
Carrasco said ignorance is not a defense.
“I cannot comprehend someone using (the chemical) in an IV push for this,” said Carrasco, whom prosecutors called as a pediatric and child maltreatment expert. “How can you not know? You cannot be licensed to practice medicine if you don’t know why medications are being used.”
Exactly. Even when it comes to medications that have scientific and clinical evidence of efficacy, a physician should not be prescribing them unless he understands how they work and what the expected and possible adverse effects are. When a patient dies because of a physician’s double ignorance (namely that the medication should never have been used in the first place for the condition being treated and that he botched its administration in a way that killed the patient), there is no forgiveness. There should be no second chance.