Attacking autistic kids' doctors is just another variation on blame the victim. The press should know better.
New York, N.Y. (PRWEB) March 12, 2010
Media outlets, including ABC News, Chicago Tribune and Forbes.com, have covered a complaint that Mr. James Coman filed last week in Chicago, Illinois against Dr. Anju Usman, Dr. Daniel Rossignol and Doctor's Data, Inc, a laboratory. The complaint alleges medical negligence, battery, civil conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress for treatments the doctors provided to Mr. Coman's son A.J. who is on the autism spectrum. Mr. Coman's lawsuit arises in the context of a bitter divorce. Much of the media coverage of the treatment methods in question, including chelation therapy, has been biased and misleading, EBCALA says.
Many clinicians consider chelation therapy an important intervention for individuals on the autism spectrum who have the suspected comorbid condition of heavy metal toxicity. James B. Adams, Ph.D., professor at Arizona State University, among others, has published several peer-reviewed articles on the efficacy of chelation therapy for children with autism affected by heavy metal toxicity. The Food and Drug Administration approves chelation to treat heavy metal toxicity, and the National Institute of Mental Health considered a clinical trial for chelation in children on the autism spectrum.
Families coping with autism have few proven options to choose from for effective treatment. Over the course of the past decade, however, scientists have identified a number of pathological processes in children with autism, including intestinal dysbiosis, autoimmune dysfunction and metabolic abnormalities. Treating these comorbid conditions often results in significant improvements, and some children lose the autism diagnosis altogether. According to the Autism Research Institute's survey of treatment effectiveness by parents, 74% of parents believe their children improved with chelation; 23% reported no change; and 3% got worse.
While EBCALA respects Mr. Coman's right to participate in medical decision making within his family, the media should not exploit his personal dispute in ways that might intimidate practitioners and deprive other families of needed treatment options.
Children on the autism spectrum and their families face enormous medical, legal, educational and financial hurdles. Media attacks on the doctors who treat autistic children or the scientists who study their condition are in effect attacks against these children themselves. EBCALA parent advocate Kim Mack Rosenberg said, "Attacking autistic kids' doctors is just another variation on blame the victim. The press should know better."
EBCALA calls on all media covering stories about autism treatments to cover them in a fair, unbiased and balanced manner, giving accused doctors and family members who choose them the opportunity to speak on the record. EBCALA parent advocate Jennifer Keefe said, "we're only asking the press to do its job - provide fair and balanced coverage."
For more information on the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy, visit http://www.autismone.org/content/EBCALA-Legal-Advocacy-Training
Contact: Mary Holland, Esq. (917) 743-3868
# # #