Multimillion-dollar recovery for the family of an autistic child who went into cardiac arrest and died after receiving chelation therapy from a Pittsburgh-area physician.
What Is Chelation?
Chelation is a controversial method of treatment employed by doctors who practice "alternative medicine." The theory behind it is that people often have an excess amount of "heavy metals" in their blood stream, which are harmful and cause a lot of different diseases. In chelation therapy, a chemical solution is administered through an IV in order to extract or neutralize these heavy metals. One of the most common illnesses that chelation supporters use the therapy for is to counteract coronary artery disease. It is also used to treat a variety of other illnesses. Traditional medical doctors vehemently oppose this form of "treatment" saying it offers no benefit and can do harm.
In our case, the doctor used IV chelation on a toddler to supposedly "treat" autism. Not only is chelation rarely used on children for anything, there is certainly no documented research saying that it helps to treat autism. Nevertheless, parents of autistic children, desperate to help their loved ones, are often willing to try any form of treatment. In this case, the family had been relying on dietary restrictions to help the child's autism and when that did not lead to long-term improvement, it was recommended that they try chelation.
IV Administration Of Chelation Solution Caused Cardiac Arrest
In this case, the doctor's staff inserted the IV administering the chelation solution and within a matter of minutes, the child went into cardiac arrest and could not be revived. The child was in the arms of his mother while the chelation was administered, and she was holding him when he went into cardiac arrest. It was our contention that the chelation solution was far too strong of a dose, and it was administered much too quickly, all of which caused the cardiac arrest and wrongful death.
Any case involving the death of a child is heartbreaking, and this one was certainly no exception, particularly since the mother actually witnessed the event. Our claim for damages included the mother's claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress and also for loss of potential earnings of the child.