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Board ordered suspension, probation, for Dr. Roy Kerry

Posted Jan 11 2010 7:44pm

The Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine has ordered license suspension, probation, and a medical skills assessment for Dr. Roy Kerry, 71, who is linked to the 2005 death of a five-year-old boy with autism.

Tariq Nadama died of cardiac arrest in Kerry’s office following an IV push of disodium EDTA, a chelating agent indicated for, among other conditions, the emergency treatment of hypercalcaemia. But there is no credible evidence that chelation is effective for treating autism. It was the boy’s third chelation appointment in Kerry’s office that summer. Tariq’s mother was in the treatment room when her son arrested.

Under the August, 2009, settlement agreement, Kerry admits that he “ordered the treatment of a patient that was contraindicated in the manner and choice of delivery.” The agreement also called for a three-year suspension of Kerry’s medical license, “of which six months will be active, and the remainder … shall be stayed in favor of 2-1/2 years of probation.” He was further ordered to refrain from IV chelation of a minor.

Kerry was further ordered to start a clinical skills assessment at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine within six months of the order.

You can download the decision here .

Tariq’s death was a huge embarrassment to the autism “biomedical treatment” movement, which tried to characterize it as an accident caused by a drug mix up. EDTA comes in two formulations, and the type given to Tariq removes calcium, which is necessary for cardiac muscle contraction. The other version, calcium EDTA, is used for the treatment of lead poisoning.

But Kerry told investigators that he only kept disodium EDTA in his office. From the medical board report: “Respondent stated… that disodium EDTA is the only formula of EDTA he stocks in his office”; he “admits that calcium EDTA is available but that he has never used this agent.”

Tariq’s parents were referred to Kerry by Dr. Anju Usman, a Chicago-area DAN practitioner. According to records, Usman diagnosed the boy with high aluminum levels, and prescribed calcium EDTA. But Kerry said he treated Tariq for lead poisoning, even though his blood lead levels did not indicate the need for chelation.

Kerry became a DAN practitioner about a year after he caused Tariq’s death. He remained a member until last November, when a Chicago Tribune reporter asked the Autism Research Institute, the parent organization of DAN, about Kerry’s membership. Kerry was reportedly dropped one day after the Tribune inquiry.

Kerry’s lawyers claimed, in their client’s defense, that “some physicians believe there is a correlation between environmental factors, including heavy metal overload, and a propensity to develop autism.” Such “beliefs” have no credible scientific support.

The Butler County, PA, district attorney brought criminal charges against Kerry two years ago, but dropped the charges in May, 2008. District Attorney Richard Goldinger said at the time that he “asked the court … for permission to drop charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment against Kerry after new evidence was presented by his defense.”

Goldinger did not specify at the time what information led to his decision. Kerry’s lawyers have maintained that Tariq’s calcium levels were 6.9 mg/dL at the time of death, which is below normal range for children, but above 6.0 mg/dL “which is generally thought to be fatal.”

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