Despite the fact that most experts suggest that you cannot diagnose a young
child with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, Rebecca was "diagnosed" by a
psychiatrist at Tufts-New England Medical Center at age 28 months as
suffering simultaneously from ADHD and bipolar disorder (aka manic
depression), a condition unheard of in children prior to the marketing of a
class of highly toxic drugs the so-called 'atypical' antipsychotics.
Children's lives are being threatened by psychiatrists who prescribe toxic
psychotropic drugs for off-label, unapproved uses.
According to an affidavit by a State Police investigator, the same
psychiatrist also "diagnosed" her 11 year old brother, Gerard, and 6 year
old sister, Kaitlynne, with the same diagnoses and prescribed the same
cocktail of drugs: clonidine, Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug, and the
epilepsy drug Depakote.
FDA-approved Depakote black box warning label :
"HEPATOTOXICITY: HEPATIC FAILURE RESULTING IN FATALITIES HAS OCCURRED IN
PATIENTS RECEIVING VALPROIC ACID AND ITS DERIVATIVES. EXPERIENCE HAS INDICATED
THAT CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF TWO YEARS ARE AT A CONSIDERABLY
INCREASED RISK OF DEVELOPING FATAL HEPATOTOXICITY….
"PANCREATITIS: CASES OF LIFE-THREATENING PANCREATITIS HAVE BEEN REPORTED IN
BOTH CHILDREN AND ADULTS RECEIVING VALPROATE. SOME OF THE CASES HAVE
BEEN DESCRIBED AS HEMORRHAGIC WITH A RAPID PROGRESSION FROM
INITIAL SYMPTOMS TO DEATH."
There is plenty of blame to go around for this child's death.
A dysfunctional family–the parents have been charged with murder for
overdosing the child. It is unclear whether they did so out of incompetence
or intent to harm. The prescribing psychiatrist is on paid leave pending an
investigation into her professional competence.
However, from our perspective, the real fault for the death of this child–and countless others–rests with psychiatry's dependence on psychotropic drugs. Even as the drugs have proven harmful for patients, this profession shields the drugs and the widespread abusive prescribing of these toxic drugs for children.
Harry Spence, Commissioner, Department of Social Services, stated at a press
conference that social workers had questioned the number of medications that
this little girl was prescribed and the doses that she was prescribed but
their concerns were brushed aside by "all the doctors and the psychiatric hospital:"
"In July, Rebecca’s doctors assured caseworkers that she was receiving the
proper dose of psychiatric medication."
Indeed, "All the doctors and a psychiatric hospital caring for one of the
children in July said the drugs were appropriate."
When medical professionals brush aside Black Box warnings about drug-induced
death, those professionals become medical predators.
Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
Hull parents arrested in girl's poisoning death
By David Abel, Globe Staff | February 6, 2007
Kids in danger: DSS says docs won’t help
Controversy, liability keep physicians from joining advisory panel By SUE REINERT
The Patriot Ledger
After doctors misled Department of Social Services caseworkers in the case
of a Westfield girl who was almost beaten to death by her foster parents,
the Legislature gave the department $1 million for a panel of independent
But the agency hasn’t been able to find physicians willing to serve despite
six months of trying, Commissioner Harry Spence said yesterday.
Doctors have declined to join because the department’s cases are invariably
controversial, Spence said. “There are also issues of liability, hospital
privileges, and (getting access to) medical records,” he said.
AMELIA KUNHARDT/The Patriot Ledger Harry Spence, commissioner of the state
Department of Social Services commissioner, discusses DSS involvement of the
DSS in the case of Rebecca Riley, a 4-year-old whose parents have been
charged with murder in her December 2006 death.Spence spoke at a press
conference called after the death of another child, 4-year-old Rebecca Riley
In July, Rebecca’s doctors assured caseworkers that she was receiving the
proper dose of psychiatric medication.
Rebecca died on Dec. 13 of an overdose of two of the three drugs she was
taking and two cold medications, a medical examiner said. Prosecutors have
charged her parents, Michael Riley, 34, and Carolyn Riley, 32, with murder
for allegedly giving her repeated overdoses.
Her psychiatrist, Dr. Kayoko Kifuji, has agreed to stop practicing while
regulators investigate her treatment of the child. Kifuji did not admit wrongdoing.
In the Haleigh Poutre case in Westfield, physicians told social workers
investigating the girl’s repeated severe injuries that she was hurting
herself because of her mental illness. They opposed the department’s efforts
to remove her from her foster parents, Spence said.
Responding to Rebecca Riley’s death, newly appointed Health and Human
Services Secretary Judyann Bigby, herself a doctor, said yesterday she will
appoint a physician to advise the department temporarily.
The Rebecca Riley case shows that the department “needs the capability to
provide an (independent) medical assessment” in cases where “there are
questions or concerns about medical care” for children, Bigby said in a
Spence said the department had 40 nurses on its staff two decades ago, but
now has the equivalent of 1½ full-time positions.
Haleigh Poutre Last July a social worker treating Rebecca Riley filed a
complaint with the agency reporting that Carolyn Riley was “neglecting her
children” and “appeared heavily drugged and unable to respond” on one visit.
The social worker said that during one visit Riley told her that a puddle of
urine on the floor was from when Rebecca had taken a nap on the floor and
urinated, according to an affidavit from investigators in the murder case.
The social worker said she had to tell Carolyn Riley to clean the floor.
Spence said social workers investigating the report looked into Carolyn
Riley’s and her children’s medications by questioning their doctors. Kifuji
diagnosed all three children with psychiatric disorders and prescribed drugs
All the doctors and a psychiatric hospital caring for one of the children in
July said the drugs were appropriate, he said. There was no one else to
consult, so the department did not substantiate the complaint, Spence said.
“If we get additional medical personnel our capacity to assess (medical
treatment) will improve,” he said. “I would hope that lives would be saved.”
After Rebecca Riley died, doctors at Children’s Hospital in Boston agreed to
evaluate the drugs given to her 11-year-old brother and 6-year-old sister,
Spence said. Officials removed the children on the day Rebecca died, and
have not said whether they changed their medications.
“In a case like this, where there is a huge public controversy, an
institution like Children’s Hospital is willing” to step in, Spence said.
“By and large there is resistance.”
Sue Reinert may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.