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The murder of autistic teen Alex Spourdalakis by his mother and caregiver: What happened?

Editor’s note: This is an extra “bonus” post. Basically, it’s a revised version of a post I did at my not-so-super-secret-other-blog last week. The issue, however, has disturbed me so much that I felt it appropriate to post it to SBM as well. Fear not. There will be a new post by yours truly on Monday.

Sometimes, in the course of blogging, I come across a story that I don’t know what to make of. Sometimes, it’s a quack or a crank taking a seemingly science-based position. Sometimes it’s something out of the ordinary. Other times, it’s a story that’s just weird, such that I strongly suspect that something else is going on but can’t prove it. So it was a few months ago when I came across the story of Alex Spourdalakis, a 14-year-old autistic boy who became a cause célèbre of the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism.

I first noticed the story in early March when perusing AoA and came across a post by Lisa Goes entitled Day 19: Chicago Hospital Locks Down Autistic Patient. In the post was a shocking picture of a large 14-year-old boy in a a hospital bed in four-point restraints. He was naked, except for a sheet covering his genitals. A huge gash was torn in the bedsheet, revealing the black vinyl of the hospital bed beneath. The boy’s name, we were informed, was Alex Spourdalakis. Further down in the post was another, equally shocking, picture of Alex that, according to Goes, showed severe dermatitis on Alex’s back due to the hospital sheets. The photos shocked me for two reasons. First, if the story was as advertised (something always to be doubted about any story posted at AoA), for once I thought that I might be agreeing with Goes and thinking that AoA was actually doing a good thing, as disconcerting as that possibility was to me. Second, however, I was extremely disturbed by the publication of such revealing photos of the boy. Undoubtedly, Alex’s mother must have given permission. What kind of mother posts pictures like that of her son for all the world to see? Then there appeared a Facebook page, Help Support Alex Spourdalakis, which pled for readers to help the Spourdalakis family.

As I said, something just didn’t seem right at the time.

Now I know that something most definitely wasn’t right, but I still can’t yet figure out what was wrong at that time three months ago. What is wrong now is that a little more than a week ago Alex was brutally murdered by his mother and caregiver, stabbed to death, in fact. The murder was carefully premeditated and quite gruesome:

Convinced that Alex Spourdalakis’ severe autism was growing worse, his mother and caregiver allegedly planned for at least a week to kill the River Grove teenager and themselves.

But the alleged murder plot initially went awry last weekend when the stocky 14-year-old didn’t succumb to an overdose of his prescription medications.

After waiting for several hours, Dorothy Spourdalakis, fatally stabbed her 225-pound son four times with a kitchen knife, then cut his wrist so deeply she nearly severed his hand, Cook County prosecutors said Wednesday.

His caregiver, Jolanta Agata Skrodzka, later stabbed the family cat with the same knife, then washed the utensil and put it back in a butcher’s block, prosecutors said.

Their suicide pact never succeeded: Both women took drug overdoses, then locked themselves in the bedroom with the slain teenager.

They were found semi-conscious inside the second-floor apartment on Sunday afternoon when Alex’s father and uncle came to check on the teen, prosecutors said as the women appeared in court to face first-degree murder charges.

More details are described in this Chicago Tribune story about the murder. Dorothy Spourdalakis and Alex’s caregiver Jolanta Agata Skrodzka had apparently discussed the plan to kill Alex using an overdose of prescription sleeping pills and explained why they did it in a letter. Apparently they killed the cat because they didn’t want it to end up in a shelter after they committed suicide. We also learned that police had been to the house several times to assist with transporting Alex to doctors’ appointments because “he was big and strong and unwilling to go to the doctor.”

Over the last three months, as I occasionally read articles and posts about Alex Spourdalakis, going back to March, I increasingly got the distinct impression that there was more going on that met the eye. Now, on the one hand, Lisa Goes might have been right. That has to be conceded. But while I occasionally looked at stories about Alex on AoA, they just didn’t seem to pass the “smell test” to me. Something, it seemed to me, was being left out. Neither did a lot of the claims being made about the care Alex was receiving strike me entirely credible. At the very least, it was very clear that a highly biased, one-sided version of events was being presented. For instance, Goes claimed that Alex was kept in four-point restraints 24 hours a day at two different hospitals, Gottleib Hospital and Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), for 19 days:

According to her, at 14 years of age, Alex has a diagnosis of severe autism and cognitive impairment. He is non-verbal. In October of 2012, Alex began to suffer neurological events that prevented a healthy sleep cycle. He was awake for many hours at a time. Agitation and aggression ensued as a result of sleep deprivation. During this time, symptoms and behaviors that were indicative of severe gastrointestinal distress developed as well. A cycle of constipation, diarrhea and formed bowel movements surfaced and became a chronic problem. On February 16th at 5:00 am, with the assistance of police and paramedics, Dorothy took her inconsolable and highly-distressed non-verbal child to Gottlieb Hospital in Melrose Park, Illinois.

Because of Alex’s physical aggression, he was placed in locked restraints. At that time, Dorothy did not know the ER would be their home for the next several days, as Alex lay naked, in locked restraints, suffering bouts of violent vomiting, severe constipation and diarrhea. Neither she nor Alex bathed for the next 13 days while hospital staff and administrators attempted to devise a plan to care for Alex. “He was given Colace for his constipation and sometimes it would take security staff and nurses more than 15 minutes to arrive to help unshackle him so he could use the bathroom,” Dorothy explained. “Alex would scream as best he could when he knew he was going to have a vomiting episode, but security took several minutes to respond so Alex would lay in his own vomit, waiting to be released by a representative of security. He would be wiped down and returned to the same restraints.”

Sure, it was possible that the boy was being abused so horribly, first at Gottleib Hospital and then at LUMC, but the story as presented struck me as implausible, although at the time I had no way of refuting or confirming the increasingly lurid stories being posted at AoA about Alex. For one thing, there are very strict laws these days about patient restraint, particularly when it comes to children. The last time I ever had to order four-point restraints was over 14 years ago, back when I moonlighted as a trauma attending in, yes, the Chicago area, the same metropolitan area where Alex lived and died. Before that I sometimes had to deal with the restraint of patients when as a resident I rotated on the trauma services at the hospitals where I trained. Sometimes patients with head injuries or severe intoxication would be violent and require restraint. There was always a strict protocol that we followed, even back then. My understanding is that the protocols have only gotten more strict. Restraining a patient, particularly a minor, is not something that is undertaken lightly, nor should it be. To believe the AoA account, we have to believe that a severely autistic teenaged boy would be kept in the emergency room for several days (also very, very unlikely) and put in restraints in an abusive fashion at not just one but two different hospitals, continuing after Alex was transferred from Gottlieb Hospital to Loyola University Medical Center on February 28. Actually, it was three different hospitals, because later Alex was shown in four-point restraints at Lutheran General Hospital during his last admission in May. More on that later.

Also missing from these stories was a clear and cogent explanation of why Alex was ever admitted to Gottleib Hospital and then transferred to LUMC in the first place. It’s mentioned in some places that Alex was “inconsolable, highly-distressed and suffering bouts of violent vomiting, severe constipation and diarrhea.” I had to look for clues to explain it, and, I must admit, I still remain puzzled. Certainly, these Change.org petitions demanding that LUMC provide what Ms. Spourdalakis considers to be “standard medical treatment,” which to her included gastroenterology. Peppered through various reports were indications that Alex had multiple allergies and GI issues. Having observed a fair amount of autism quackery on the Internet, these terms were huge red flags to me that strongly suggested the possibility that Ms. Spourdalakis was heavily into “autism biomed.” Another hint as to what might have been really going on comes from reports of a care plan conference on March 12. Allegedly (we only have one side of the story given that the hospital and doctors are bound by HIPAA privacy law not to discuss the case), if Ms. Spourdalakis failed to agree completely to the care plan Alex would be placed in the care of the Illinois Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS).

Elsewhere, I found references to demands that LUMC consult with an “Autism Medical Specialist to ensure Alex’s dietary needs were met to ensure his food allergies and intolerance’s were not aggravating any underlying gastrointestinal or other medical conditions that may also cause adverse behaviors”, which sounded suspiciously like an autism biomed quack. In this post, Lisa Goes described a visit to LUMC with Jeanna Reed of Autism Is Medical, whose website if chock full of standard antivaccine and “autism biomed” tropes, such as a section on mitochondrial disorders, banners asking if autism is vaccine injury, and the like. It’s actually a pretty bare-bones website with lots of bugs, but the intent is clear. Besides, it’s obvious (to me, at least) that Lisa Goes is antivaccine, given that she has been a regular at the (Not-So) Thinking Moms’ Revolution. Indeed, in the very same post, Lisa Goes unwittingly portrayed Jeanna Reed as ranting and haranguing Alex’s doctors with pleas to read quack studies and claims that “many of these children present with bowel disease and mitochondrial dysfunction. He could have GERD, duodenitis, esophagitis, ulcers in the small intestines, colitis. How can we know if we don’t test?” This was pure autism biomed rhetoric, leavened with the arrogance of ignorance. When one of the doctors referred to autism as a “mystery,” Goes totally lost it, yelling, “No! No! It’s not. It’s a medical illness that causes bad behavior. All you have to do IS READ*!”

Such is the arrogance of ignorance that leads antivaccinationists to lecture physicians.

Based on what was in retrospect in plain sight on the antivaccine blogs, it’s hard for me not to suspect at least a little bit that Dorothy Spourdalakis was subjecting Alex to “autism biomed” treatments, that she came to know Ms. Reed and thereby spread her story to the wider autism biomed movement at large. If my suspicions are ultimately revealed to be true through police investigation of the murder and in the upcoming trial of Alex’s mother and caregiver, it would certainly explain a lot. Certainly, it would explain why Lisa Goes and AoA rallied to Alex’s cause so enthusiastically. It would also explain why the hero of the autism biomed movement himself, Andrew Wakefield, visited Alex during Autism One and posted to YouTube on the Autism Media Channel a video making an appeal for Alex:

Note that, in this incredibly creepy video (is it just me, or does Wakefield look creepier and creepier each time I see him?), Wakefield stated that Alex was scheduled to go to long term psychiatric care in 72 hours, as if that were the worst fate imaginable for him. He appealed for funds to allow Alex to be transferred to a facility where he would “get the care he needs.” What that facility is, Wakefield does not say. What also isn’t clear is why Alex was back in the hospital again. I say “back in the hospital” because on March 23 his mother published a post on AoA announcing that Alex was being discharged from LUMC. She thanked everyone at AoA, but she also revealed her antivaccine proclivities:

It is during times like this we as a family realize our full potential. We know no one will help us unless we help ourselves. The continued abuse, medical neglect, discrimination and ignorance have to stop. Vaccines have maimed too many already and there are many more to come. The CDC’s latest stats confirm that. We are not going away, nor are we giving up. My son Alex is just one of millions of children and adults who no longer will be silenced.

We as a group have been deceived and lied to long enough. Our children have paid and are continuing to pay the ultimate price because of greed. The health care system has failed terribly. It is our responsibility to continue to bring about change.

Please continue to follow Alex on his journey toward better health. Allow us to be a part of your lives. Our strength will continue to come from everyone and anyone who would like to continue with us. Alex will hopefully get the medical testing he needs but was denied until now. So much needs to happen in order for us ensure his recovery and I still need so much help! Please continue to follow my team of helpers for updates and fundraising efforts. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate and value every single one of you who have gotten us to this place. Thank God for the internet and facebook!

To me, this was the strongest suggestive evidence that Ms. Spourdalakis had likely been subjecting Alex to autism biomed treatments. The language was pure “autism recovery”-speak. The antivaccine sentiment was there. So was the conspiracy-mongering against conventional medicine and big pharma. In another story, I learned that another antivaccinationist and advocate of “autism biomed,” Polly Tommey of the Autism Media Channel, was involved with the Spourdalakis case, and Ms. Spourdalakis claimed that all Alex needed was “something simple, in the country, where he can run around, get the treatment that he needs so he can get better.” For some reason, however, in May Alex was back in the hospital. When the new reports of Alex in the hospital started coming out, even AoA denizens and supporters wondered what had happened, for instance, on the Facebook post announcing Andrew Wakefield’s appeal. The response from Jeanna Reed:

He’s back in the hospital. The sad truth is that this will be what is left, the only path…unless we start to treat the MEDICAL conditions, provide an appropriate treatment plan and support the families while doing it. A VERY TALL ORDER but one that has to become the norm. Alex does NOT belong in a psychiatric facility. Sadly, this is the only option so many face when all of the above is not available. We did our very best to try and help them, and will continue to do what we can but it’s not enough. We know so many who (if given the opportunity) could heal. So complicated…at the minimum PRAY for them and again realize this could be any one of our children.

I don’t know about you, but if I had seen this at the time it was actually published instead of now, knowing the ultimate outcome, I would have still found the language ominous. In any case, not long after Wakefield’s appeal, Alex was released from the hospital. Andrew Wakefield provided a statement to the Daily Mail after Alex’s death explaining what happened and covering his posterior in the process:

On Sunday May 26, members of the Autism Media Channel (AMC) went to the Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois. There we visited the late Alex Spourdalakis, his mother Dorothy, and his Godmother. Alex was in four-point restraint and apparently refusing to eat or drink.

His mother was beyond exhaustion and despair. The main reason for her despair was the prospect of Alex being sent to a long-stay psychiatric hospital and heavily medicated with behavior-altering drugs drugs [sic] without any treatment of his underlying medical problems.

AMC issued an appeal on Alex’s behalf to protect him from this fate. We did not, at any stage, advocate for his release from the Lutheran General Hospital.

The following day Dorothy informed us that the hospital could find nowhere that would take Alex and that his insurance carrier had refused to pay for any further inpatient care at the Lutheran General Hospital.

It appears that, as a consequence, he was discharged from that hospital despite his precarious position and that of his carers. It is our opinion that Alex’s tragic death reflects the abject failings of a medical system that has no effective answer to the autism crisis.

In the interests of complete openness, I should point out right now that I used to work part time as a trauma attending at Lutheran General Hospital from 1997 to 1999. It was how I made some extra money while I was a surgical oncology fellow at the University of Chicago. (Chicago is an expensive city to live in, and I didn’t make that much as a fellow.) LGH was a fine hospital then, and I have no reason to think that anything’s changed. Be that as it may, do I detect the stench of self-justification from Wakefield? He’s desperately trying to cover his posterior, but his fetid flatus of blame-deflection leaks out anyway. It’s what he does. Even so, if what Wakefield says is true, it does point out another aspect of this tragedy, namely support for parents with children with special needs.

That being said, what’s also utterly despicable is the reaction of the denizens of AoA and other antivaccinationists to the news of the murder of Alex Spourdalakis. For instance, it is not infrequent to see antivaccinationists blame—of course!—vaccines for Alex’s death, the apparent underlying “logic” being that if he hadn’t become autistic because of vaccine injury then none of this would ever have happened. Such “logic” prevails in the comments of AoA posts about Alex’s death, such as this one and this one. For instance:

Though I can’t support the choice these two women made, it isn’t hard to imagine the desperation and hopelessness they were engulfed in. To watch your precious child suffer for so many years and then endure what this past spring brought for them. They fought and fought the beast head on and felt the hatred against them. It isn’t hard to imagine that they were exhausted. All of this happening in America no less.

No, these two women were, as far as I can tell, offered help but refused it because it was standard conventional therapy. From what I can tell from various blog and Internet articles, they appear to have subjected Alex to biomedical quackery and were unhappy that if Alex were transferred to a psychiatric hospital’s long-term care ward he would no longer be able to receive “autism biomed” treatments. Time and investigation by the authorities will tell if that was the case. Whether that is what happened or not, I nonetheless reject the “logic” of such antivaccinationists such as it is, that only makes sense only if you accept the pseudoscience claiming that vaccines cause autism. While one can sympathize with a parent facing the task of caring for a severely autistic child who is very large, very strong, and very difficult to control, as Jo Ashline says, autism is not an excuse to kill your child, ever. As one blogger put it:

So one of the reasons I’m really pissed off is because of the usual [eye rolling] “Oh, he’s in heaven now”. My favorite is the thing that one of the groups that was intended to work towards getting Alex out of the hospital was a letter to Alex in heaven suggesting that he thank his mother for stabbing him in the chest. [Sarcastic eye rolling] “Thank you so much for brutalizing me, it’s my favorite”. Because now, you see, he’s in heaven, which I don’t think exists. And he doesn’t have autism.

Harsh? Yes. But it rings true. The entire narrative of the autism biomed movement is that autism “stole” the parents’ “real child” away from them. Since the idea that vaccines cause autism is basically holy writ for the autism biomed movement, that means vaccines “stole” the real child away by making him autistic. Parents who try to “recover” that “real” child are thus viewed as heroic, rather than abusive, because they’re willing to do whatever it takes to defeat the scourge of autism (and vaccines) in order to rescue the “real” child within. One can’t help but wonder whether what was really happening was that DFCS was going to put Alex into a conventional long term care facility because his mother clearly couldn’t handle him anymore and was treating him with autism biomed. Unfortunately, it appears from what we know right now that Alex’s mother seems to have thought that he would be better-off dead than not being given access to what she viewed as “curative” treatments for autism. Events and evidence from the investigation and trial might prove that initial assessment incorrect, but for now it seems to fit with what we know. Was Alex collateral damage in this never-ending war by antivaccinationists against autism? Although what we know now suggests that this might be the case, we just don’t know yet. We’ll have to keep an eye on the results of the investigation into Alex’s murder to find out.

In the meantime, watching the denizens of the antivaccine crank blog AoA hold candlelight vigils for Alex is very hard to take, as they rant about how the medical system failed Alex. Maybe it did (that remains to be seen), but what Lisa Goes and Andrew Wakefield did themselves certainly didn’t help Alex either.

Posted in: Legal, Neuroscience/Mental Health, Public Health, Vaccines

Leave a Comment (58) ↓

58 thoughts on “The murder of autistic teen Alex Spourdalakis by his mother and caregiver: What happened?

  1. Narad says:

    From what I can tell from various blog and Internet articles, they appear to have subjected Alex to biomedical quackery and were unhappy that if Alex were transferred to a psychiatric hospital’s long-term care ward he would no longer be able to receive “autism biomed” treatments.

    The “psychiatric” trope has been rankling me since I happened upon the Wakefield video. My initial assumption was that the destination would have been the Tinley Park campus, but their developmental-disabilities buildings have apparently been closed since long back when I paid daily visits there.

    The point is merely that state DD and psych facilities are segregated in Illinois.

  2. Ongoing Autistic Community Vigil in Memory of Alex Spourdalakis can be accessed here. This event is desgined to be a pro-neurodiversity, Autistic-safe space, moderated, where thoughtful conversations are taking place. Please read posting rules before deciding to join. https://www.facebook.com/events/387982241320567/

  3. Postulator says:

    Why on Earth is Andrew Wakefield being permitted anywhere near either children or medical institutions? He has been totally discredited, and should be spending jail time for his fraud.

  4. artiecat says:

    Please refrain from writing about a topic you know nothing about. First, Alex never, and I mean NEVER received any biomedical treatments during his life, nor was his mother part of that movement. The candle light vigil held in River Grove, Alex’s home town, was not organized of affiliated with AofA in any way. It was organized by a church member. It honored his life and medical treatments were not discussed once during the vigil or any attendees. You know nothing about the case. The facts will come out and you will see how many assumptions you have made and how incorrect you are. I will tell you that it was a doctor, yes, a doctor at Loyola that called the advocacy group and told them he was afraid they “the hospital” was going to kill Alex, or Alex was going to kill his mother. The advocacy group did not step into this situation, they were asked by a Loyola doctor to help. Finally, in the final weeks before his death and after his discharge, you have no idea what Lisa or Andrew did for Alex. They got him better medical treatment than he had ever received in his life. They spent 30 days, non-stop, helping this family. They did more for him in the 30 days than the entire medical community had done in his 14 years, It is unfortunate that they could not undo 14 years of damage, trauma and abuse Dorothy had suffered at the hands of the medical community. Many more facts will be coming out.I suggest you do not write anymore until you get the facts rather than make assumptions. Oh, to the person who made the statement about Wakefield, you should also be more informed. Wakefield has been vindicated and the British Journal of Medicine retracted their claims of fraud against him stating they “have no basis”

    1. David Gorski says:

      The advocacy group did not step into this situation, they were asked by a Loyola doctor to help. Finally, in the final weeks before his death and after his discharge, you have no idea what Lisa or Andrew did for Alex. They got him better medical treatment than he had ever received in his life. They spent 30 days, non-stop, helping this family.

      Andrew Wakefield spent 30 days non-stop helping Alex? Really? That’s news to me! What did he do during that month’s time? I’d really like to know some specifics. Other than the video he shot on May 26 at Lutheran General Hospital, I can’t find evidence of other significant activities by Wakefield to assist Alex and his mother, and, knowing what a publicity hound Andrew Wakefield is, I’d be shocked if he didn’t brag about it somewhere. Andrew Wakefield aside, I already know what Lisa Goes did to “help” Alex, as she posted it to Age of Autism on a regular basis. Unfortunately, what she did appears not to qualify as “help,” at least not in my estimation.

    2. lilady says:

      @artiecat:

      I’m calling b.s. on your account of Alex’s treatment when he was hospitalized. You are parroting everything that you read on Lisa Goes’ blogs on Age of Autism…with the added *inside information* that a physician contacted the “Autism Is Medical” organization, (a group composed of anti-vaccine parents who “have recovered their children from iatrogenic autism”). Their representative/anti-vaccine parent visited the hospital to attempt to impart her *biomedical knowledge* to the physicians caring for Alex…i.e. direct his care.

      If, in fact, Alex’s mother and his full time caregiver/”godmother” felt that his medical needs where neglected, why didn’t they remove him from the hospital?

      Why didn’t the anti-vaccine community contact gastroenterologist Arthur Krigsman…and arrange for Alex to be examined by him? Dr. Krigsman has professional practices in New York and Austin, Texas (Wakefield’s hometown), and has, in the past, diagnosed children with “autistic enterocolitis”, without ever examining the autistic children:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Krigsman

      We’re waiting for you to pony up the GMC reversal of the Wakefield Fitness To Practice Hearing that revoked his license.

      http://www.gmc-uk.org/Wakefield_SPM_and_SANCTION.pdf_32595267.pdf

      1. That’s RICH. Name for me ONE TIME, EVER that Wakefield wasn’t motivated by money? Everything in his sordid career was for money and fame. Everything. For crying out loud, he was stripped of his MD for the things he did! I’m serious. Show me ONE TIME where Wakefield and AoA have done something that wasn’t self serving. One time.

        You seem like the one who knows nothing about this case.

    3. David Gorski says:

      Please refrain from writing about a topic you know nothing about. First, Alex never, and I mean NEVER received any biomedical treatments during his life, nor was his mother part of that movement.

      We now know that Alex saw Dr. Krigsman, who did endoscopy on him. Dr. Krigsman is a prominent and well known advocate of “biomedical” therapies for autism. Clearly, his mother’s intent was to go that route, if she hadn’t been going that route already. It’s documented by Sharyl Attkisson:

      http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/sharyl-attkisson-promoting-wakefields-narrative-about-murder-alex-spourdalakis/

      I will tell you that it was a doctor, yes, a doctor at Loyola that called the advocacy group and told them he was afraid they “the hospital” was going to kill Alex, or Alex was going to kill his mother. The advocacy group did not step into this situation, they were asked by a Loyola doctor to help.

      Well, if true, that’s a very interesting piece of information, but it goes counter to reporting I’ve found and information I’ve found on antivaccine blog sites.

    4. windriven says:

      “Wakefield has been vindicated and the British Journal of Medicine retracted their claims of fraud against him stating they “have no basis”

      Show us where. Link to the source of this. I’ve looked high and low. Lots of stuff about his fraud but not a peep, not a word, not a whisper about BMJ retracting their claims. BMJ added a note clarifying that BMJ receives advertising from vaccine manufacturers – as anyone who reads BMJ already knew. But not even a hint that they were retracting their claims of fraud.

      So put up or take a flying eff at a rolling doughnut.

      1. windriven says:

        Hey artiecat – the silence is deafening. Where’s your proof?

  5. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Really? If the BMJ has retracted their claims, then it should be easy, trivial even, to provide a link to the vindication. Why don’t you get on that.

    1. elburto says:

      The Wankfield groupies are typically hit’n'run merchants, because they know that their clay-footed idol has never been vindicated.

      You should have seen them swarming over the post on Dr Gorski’s NSSOB, they’re disgusting. One even claimed that the Mayo Clinic had performed a blind study that proved vaccinations cause autism!

      Sadly, this phone goes into meltdown once comment threadS reach the 300+ mark, so. I can’t see which vile direction the Wakefield Warrior Mommies, Andy’s Ableist Army, took after I left.

      1. True story. They show up on my own blog from time to time, tell me I’m an idiot, but can’t ever give valid sources for their claims (which should be easy, because I do dumb stuff a lot). It’s like arguing with a cat.

  6. bob charles says:

    The mother always made it about herself not Alex. She was offered assistance from educators and professionals but undermined them.Dothory’s solution proved that she didn’t know what was best.

    1. elburto says:

      Yep, control freaks are well-represented among the AOA population

      Their way is the only way. Giving birth has conferred upon them all of the medical and educational qualifications in the world. They know best, they know what causes autism, and they get to decide how to punish ‘cure” their “damaged children”.

      It’s a sickness.

      1. calliarcale says:

        Indeed. There is a very creepy strand of control freakishness through all of it. Right from the idea of vaccination being a betrayal of a parent’s authority to . . . well, this. Not as slippery a slope as one might hope.

  7. Broken Link says:

    I’m sorry, articat, but to me it doesn’t make sense that a doctor at Loyola would contact the “advocacy group”. It’s not like Andrew Wakefield and Lisa Joyce Goes are part of a well-recognized advocacy group. According to their website “The Autism Media Channel is a video production company designed to improve the life of people living with autism and associated disorders.” And that’s what they did – made a video production, breaching Alex’s privacy.

    As for the vigil, according to Lisa Joyce Goes’ Facebook page, she wrote the eulogy read at the vigil. This newspaper article states that social media was used to organize the vigil.

    http://wgntv.com/2013/06/16/candlelight-vigil-held-for-autistic-teen/

    It’s very clear that Lisa Joyce Goes had a leading role in organizing the vigil.

    1. David Gorski says:

      I’m sorry, articat, but to me it doesn’t make sense that a doctor at Loyola would contact the “advocacy group”.

      If a Loyola physician contacted an “advocacy group,” regardless of what it is, it would also be a blatant and massive violation of HIPAA patient privacy laws, another reason to doubt artiecat’s story. Alex’s mother could do that without violating HIPAA because she is not a health care professional, but a Loyola doctor could not legally do so, with a very few very specific exceptions (for instance, to report a negligent physician to the state medical board). It doesn’t matter whether that physician was directly responsible for Alex’s care or not. Here’s a hint: Contacting an advocacy group is not one of those exceptions.

  8. Thank you for this article. When I read the news reports, my skin began to crawl all over when I saw Wakefield had his hand in this. I hope that when this goes to trial, the truth about his and AoA’s involvement will come out.

  9. Diane says:

    I wasn’t there so I don’t know what is true, what is false, and/or what is implied. What I do know is that there is currently no cure for Autism. What I do know is that the Vaccine court is settling with families who’s children have autism(from mitochondrial damage)from side effects of certain vaccines. I do know that sometimes traditional medicine fails. I do know that biomed can be dangerous. This is a tragic story. As a parent of a chronically ill daughter, I have experience extreme frustration in what the medical world is willing to do or not do. At times their protocols can cause more damage then good when dealing with complex medical cases. An unwillingness to think outside of the box can be as damaging as only thinking outside the box. Too often parents are not included as partners in their children’s health. A huge lack of education is evident on the part of the hospitals,Drs and parents. Too many extreme’s and too many absolutes from both sides of the vaccine/autism arguments.
    A very sick and damaged young adult died a horrific death at the hands of those who were his only advocates. His Mother will likely spend the rest of her life in jail.
    This story to me is a tragic reminder that the rates of autism continue to increase, and traditional and biomed philosophies aren’t working. That it isn’t going to go away no matter what drugs(prescribed or biomed)are used.
    Could it have been prevented? I don’t know. I do think the lives of families dealing with autistic children could be better with more education for all parties. More could have been done.

  10. Rokujolady says:

    Diane,
    I’m sure you’re a decent person and a well-meaning concern-troll, and I share some of your annoyances with doctors–but then there are a lot of ill mannered people who don’t give a crap and aren’t really good at their jobs in any profession. You just don’t see a lot of them at your most vulnerable like you do with doctors.
    That’s where our agreement stops.
    There’s no evidence autism is on the rise. There’s evidence for more diagnosis due to an expanded definition of the disorder to include kids who would have in the past been on one end “retarded” or on the other “a little awkward socially” but no evidence for an increase in occurrence.
    Secondly, exactly how would more education for families help? Education seems to be a universal solution but is rarely ever elaborated on.
    Thirdly, this is not a “tragedy for all parties involved” any more than the Manson killings were a “tragedy for all involved”. I don’t ever see that argument unless the person making it has an activist axe to grind.
    This was not a crime of desperation that betrays underlying flaws in society. This was a senseless and brutal murder. Anyone trying to make the case for Ms. Spourdalakis as a poor mother pushed to the breaking point by a lack of help from government, medicine, and a violent son is going to have to answer to the fact that she had help from both the government and medicine. Alex was going to be taken to a psychiatric facility. He would have gotten better care and probably led a happier life, and she would have been free to lead a completely selfish carefree existence.
    Also, I find it telling that she killed the cat–just an animal, true, but an uninvolved third party capable of survival on its own. To me that says her motives were not simply desperation. She didn’t just “snap”. This was always all about her and both her son and the family pet existed to gratify her, and when they weren’t useful anymore, she killed them.

    1. Diane says:

      Rokujolady,

      I envy your ability to see the world and each situation in such absolutes.

      Many years ago, I was a lot like you. Then life happened and I found I no longer had any absolutes left.

      Enjoy it while you can you remind me very much of daughters. I take great pride in their confidence, their self assured opinions and each day I hope they can hold on to them a lot longer then I did. We have provided them with a better childhood and education then we had and though I am so proud we were able to do these things I sometimes wonder if we may have made life a little too easy. Time will tell.

      To be honest, I don’t know who to believe as far as the numbers increasing. I have seen the lines of children lined up at lunch time to receive their medicines(prescribed by medical Drs,). I see that Public Schools now have to hire 1 Aid per child with many different types of disabilities including Autism and my yearly doubling tax bill proves they are hiring in droves. We have the largest percent of Americans(children included) receiving disability payments and medicaid in our history and the numbers are growing at a frightening speed. Surely some of those growing numbers reflect children diagnosed with Autism. There are Autism Specialist Departments at many of the Children’s Hospitals that compare to cancer departments as far as funding.. Granted 30-50 years ago we threw our disabled into group homes instead of keeping them home with their families- It was more common to allow a disabled child to die rather provide them with same healthcare as a healthy child.. things change, and so must we.

      Usually the truth lies in the middle.
      Part of the issue is it is easier to drug children into compliance then it is to parent or teach them. Part of the issue is a Society anxious to label anyone as remotely different as “sick.” Part of it is, there really are a lot more terribly sick children today. Maybe some diagnosed with Autism don’t have it, but regardless, it is a major issue for our children and families.

      Something is wrong- be it social, fiscal driven, or medical.

      Lastly your comparison of the Mother to Manson- I opt to completely disagree with you. What she did was horrific. She should be punished. She should be in prison for the rest of her life. But, we need to know why. Our prisons are bursting at the seams with murderers.. clearly the threat of life in prison or the death penalty isn’t deterring murder.

      I don’t just want her punished, I want to prevent it from happening again to another innocent. Throwing them in jail and waiting for the next one to happen isn’t fixing anything.

      1. Jen says:

        Thank you, no one can judge the parents of autistic children until they have one of their own

        1. Chris says:

          Many of us do. And some of us have children harmed by the actual diseases.

          Though it is better to judge on the type of data a person employs. Objective is always better than subjective.

        2. bob charles says:

          Alex’s mother turned down assistance . No matter how much of a struggle you don’t kill your child. Especially planning it a week before.

  11. Rokujolady says:

    No, actually I used to think more like you do. I used to think everyone had a story to tell and everything was reasonable if you took that story into account–most individual tragedies and horrible crimes had a societal problem that produced them.
    To an extent, that’s true. But some actions are beyond sympathy and excuse. There’s a point past which the individual is entirely responsible for their own actions.
    This would be one of those. The funding of autism programs say nothing about its prevalence. It says a lot about the fundraising abilities and resources of activists.

  12. JE says:

    And one more terrible thing is that the ‘ignorance over science’ parents who buy the abuse them until they are cured medical or behavioural ‘cures’ so distort the reactions of the actual medical and educational professionals that they discount most parents judgement. Which is particularly noxious to those of us who are scientifically literate. There ARE parents of people on the autistic spectrum who are intelligent enough to accept and support the development of their children and help them make the most of their particular neurological differences.

    This sad and so unnecessary death appears to be the ultimate act of selfishness; as is the entire autism ‘cure’ industry. Just ask an autistic adult how much they want to be ‘cured’.

  13. Hannah says:

    Great post about a very sad topic, but why the skepticism about mitochondrial disease? There is very clearly a subset of patients with autism who have an underlying genetic mitochondrial disease, and it’s vital that those patients are identified. Diagnosis of mito can allow for better treatment to minimize progression, screen for medical comorbidities, help parents make decisions about future children, ect. I really don’t think mitochondrial disease/dysfunction falls in the same category as vaccine injury!

  14. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Even if mitochondrial disorder is a contributor to some types of autism, at best it appears to be 5% (1) but even that figure is suspect since there still isn’t agreement on which tests to use (2), making the entire enterprise highly speculative. The fact that the mitochondrial dysfunction hypothesis runs with the supplements and nutraceuticals crowd doesn’t help it’s credibility, not to mention the small sample sizes involved (the systematic review identified 18 studies with only 112 subjects – that’s an average of six subjects per study, that’s so miniscule as to be useless).

    So the research base for MD seems to be rather narrow, the posited etiology rather speculative, the tests rather questionable and the consensus rather lacking. Plus, you’ve got associations with quackery and proponents of biomedical tests and interventions that have a cost – but little proof. I’ll also note this rebuttal to Rossignol and Frye’s criticisms of a paper indicating no link between autism and MD (here) in which the rebutters of the rebuttal indicated that Rossignol himself suggested the MD could be “subtle” – which means difficult to detect.

    Further, Rossignol, a primary proponent of the MD hypothesis, is also a proponent of hyperbaric treatments for autism (note that it’s actually recommended against for autism), and has two kids with autism that I’m sure he deeply and sincerely wishes he could “cure”. The fact that the Geier’s are proponents of the idea certainly doesn’t help.

    So maybe mitochondrial dysfunction is a cause, contibutor or effect of autism. Or maybe it’s not. The science is still out on that one. At best it looks like a small number of cases of autism might be due to MD, but I would question even that.

  15. Laura says:

    GI issues causing behavior is a mainstream medical thought and not specific to biomed docs. Special diets are actually the norm when dealing with GI issues.
    http://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/diet-and-nutrition-for-inflammatory-bowel-disease

    IACC Full Committee Meeting – July 2013- Some excerpts
    1) DR.BUIE ON GI ISSUES – presentation starts at 1:07 – can be hard to tell whether a child with limited language is having GI issues or pain – the signs are not always obvious. Dr.Buie starts with a video clip of two children, one of whom is severely self-injurious. It is eye-opening. Dr.Buie’s presentation also talks about Dr.Wakefield’s work and mentions Dr.Krigsman’s new paper.
    2) DR.FRYE ON IMMUNE/METABOLIC ISSUES – presentation is at 1:58 – Some pretty interesting insights in the Q&A – recovery is not just for little kids
    3) PUBLIC COMMENT – Jill Rubolino at 4:00, Jeanna Reed at 4:14, Nick, Andrew and Carolyn Gammicchia at 4:18, Clinton Pataki at 4:41 on behalf of Dawn Loughborough on Alex Spourdalakis – bowel disease was confirmed by Dr.Krigsman, Wendy Fournier of NAA at 4:44 on co-occurring medical conditions.

    http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?Live=12921

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      GI problems may cause behavioural issues, but they don’t cause (or cure) autism – that’s what people object to about dietary biomed crap. If it was sold as “this may reduce gas and bloating that make your autistic child uncomfortable”, that would be borderline OK. However, it’s often sold as “this walnut extract will eliminate the parasites that cause your child’s autism, and turn him into a real boy!” Which is both false and a little insulting.

  16. dennis says:

    The ‘system’ fails everyone who does not ‘know their place’. With most ‘Normals’ (their Preferred word; it speaks of their mostly-delusional moral superiority) this knowing is instinctual, even though they loudly proclaim that this and all other matters are conventionally learned. Why do they lie in this way? Because they gain power thereby.
    In the Normalistic Archetype-run world, becoming ‘more archetypal’ is the ultimate goal. For someone like A, that was not possible – and the Norms kew and know this. Hence their ultimate and (usually unstated) goal of Murder. The reason is simple: the hospital chose to show their self-deified power by abuse, and the caregivers sought to recover their own power by killing A – and then ‘getting away with it’. (hence the pity-ploy of ‘attempted suicide’ and the enabling by AoA).

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      The hospital did not murder Alex, his mother did. Claiming that anyone but the mother wanted to murder the child is inaccurate (and inflammatory, and histrionic). Hospitals must accomodate people in an efficient manner, which often means care is less than ideal for some. In this case, the failure seems to be not recognizing the degree of distress felt by the mother – and also the quacks who promised the mother that they could cure her son in the absence of any proof. It’s a horrible tragedy, it’s truly unfortunate that no way was found to keep Alex safe and help his family function. I’m not sure what you could do when you have a 225 pound body, with all the strength that entails, with a mind that did not understand the world his body moved in. Perhaps he could have been taught skills to allow him to cope. Perhaps not. But attempting unproven “cures”, when autism has such a strong genetic component, doesn’t seem like a promising avenue.

  17. Peg pickering says:

    You, sir are an arrogant ass with a god complex. You obviously think that because you went to medical school, you know it all and can stand in judgement of all others. The world would be much better off if you’d mind own own business…..and focus on your specialty rather than things you so obviously know nothing about.

    1. windriven says:

      And you Madame, are a simple-minded shrew incapable of logical thought. Flounce away. You bring nothing to these pages but superstition and fear and unfettered emotion.

  18. RCHMOM says:

    The State sanctioned Loyola for having Alex in restraints without permission and for too long! You can’t deny that…does this pass your “smell-test” now?!?!!

    1. windriven says:

      What would you have had Loyola do, RCHMOM? The child could have hurt himself or others. it is easy enough to bemoan the restraints but tell me that you wouldn’t have been demanding blood had he not been restrained and had seriously hurt himself.

    1. David Gorski says:

      Everyone note that comments are closed because this post is over 90 days old. If you wish to comment further, go to this update:

      http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/sharyl-attkisson-promoting-wakefields-narrative-about-murder-alex-spourdalakis/

  19. MuthrTurnsOut says:

    This is a true documentary of thousands of mothers in this country at this very second…anyone thinking different is more worthless then cheap cliches…. you know..”walk a mile in their shoes”..lol…trust me – you don’t have the balls to last 10 steps……or “least ye judge”….which you so generously do without even a shred or research to validate your ignorant judgemental accusations… cliches do these women more justice then your ignorant SD macro-micro-mindness does (tried to get as small as possible,,,ehhh, don’t worry you probably don’t get it, lol – which is my point!). Sadly for Alex, these women showed him more love, respect and justice then our community, then our churches, then our local state and federal systems ever will. These women provided more one on one – 24x7x365 care giving hours then ANY medical and/or mental health facility in this country would or even could provide – I challenge you, I CHALLENGE YOU – PROVE ME WRONG!!!!

    More than 50% of the fathers of these kids desert them, 50 % of the mothers try…then find there is no help, no support, no hope…there’s nothing…yeah throw some money at the problem…that will last as long as your would with a wad in Vegas…and PROVE to be as worthless also. then, when resources are totally exhausted,,,24, 48, hour days turn into 62 + hours with nothing but cut benefits less then adequate housing, food benefits being cut (when the meds they give them increase their appetite by 2 and 3 times!!) …no community to support or even help…they are exhausted of everything…then, forced to give their child up or the local services step in and FORCEFULLY TAKES CUSTODY OF THE CHILD AND REMOVES THEM FROM THE HOME MAKING THEM A BURDEN ON THE TAX PAYERS – HELLO TAX PAYERS – YOUR MONEY!!!! lol GOT YOUR ATTENTION NOW – THOSE LADIES SAVED YOU AT LEAST 1 MILLION TAX PAYER DOLLARS!!! (and that is PER CHILD money mongers!!!) AGAIN, I CHALLENGE YOU – PROVE ME WRONG!!!!..

    The loving caring “health system”l straps them to a bed – sedates them, abuses them,..with heart breaking, shameful sadness..,again, i challenge you to prove me wrong. While the mother is ridiculed for not being able to take care of the child when thousands of professionals (lol once again, that the TAX PAYERS ARE PAYING FOR) in the entire medical system has failed to do ..lol all ON YOUR DIME! lolol

    How can you expect a truly loving mother to sit by and watch their child be abused, and strapped down for days, weeks or even longer…which is such a horific disgraceful type of abuse from a county, city sate facility who has forcefully TAKEN custody of the child…then they force them to endure treatment that..PETA WOULDN’T ALLOW FOR DOG OR CAT – YET IT IS FINE FOR AN AUTISTIC CHILD..THOUSANDS ARE THIS VERY SECOND…

    BUT THE JOKE IS ON US….BECAUSE THIS COUNTRY CAN’T EVEN HANDLE DOLING OUT MEDICAL BENEFITS TO PEOPLE PERFECTLY HEALTHY…LOL AUTISM WILL BRING THIS COUNTRY TO ITS KNEES….AND AIDE IN ITS FINANCIAL DEMISE… I SAID IT 15 YEARS AGO…call me in 15 more.

    God bless the children – screw the plum dumb !

    Alas, the last stone is falling….just as this country is.

    Said for FerzTiger,
    with love to all those who know the hell,
    God Blesses – He Promised!
    Aunt Deborah

    1. Broken Link says:

      Aunt Deborah,

      There are options, painful as they may seem, to killing your son.

      http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/mother-who-left-son-with-autism-sparks-push-for-family-bill-of-rights-1.1444625

      Are you aware that your use of lol is highly inappropriate? Do you know that lol means “laugh out loud”? I don’t see anything to laugh about in this case.

    2. windriven says:

      “These women provided more one on one – 24x7x365 care giving hours then ANY medical and/or mental health facility in this country would or even could provide – I challenge you, I CHALLENGE YOU – PROVE ME WRONG!!!!”

      No problem, loudmouth. No medical and/or mental health facility in this country would have murdered him.

      Autism is tough, lady. So is cycstic fibrosis, So is leukemia in a three year old. That doesn’t excuse murder.

      You bemoan severely autistic children being strapped into bed and sedated. What exactly would you do with a big strapping young man given to violent outbursts and totally lacking both self control and the ability to reason? He would be a danger to himself and to those around him.

      Whatever the answer to the horrific problems of autism and the care of the severely autistic, it will not be found in your hysterical shriekings.

    3. lilady says:

      Aunt Deborah: You don’t get to play the “”walk a mile in their shoes” card here.

      Many of the posters here do have children diagnosed with ASDs and other developmental disabilities…and trust me on this, they lovingly care for their children 24/7 around the clock.

      All your inappropriate rants and “lol”s do not change the fact that Alex’s mother and his “godmother” planned the murder of Alex…then cruelly executed him.

      You need to get some professional help for your utterly deranged thinking processes.

  20. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    THOSE LADIES SAVED YOU AT LEAST 1 MILLION TAX PAYER DOLLARS!!!

    What, when they killed him? It was probably more than that over the Alex’s potential lifetime, but I don’t think financial considerations is a valid reason to stab them with a knife.

    Do you know what else would have cost a million dollars? A lifetime of ineffective chelation and consultations with quacks like Andrew Wakefield.

    The loving caring “health system”l straps them to a bed – sedates them, abuses them

    Versus the loving mother that kills them?

    I’m not sure what you are arguing for. Support and funding for the care of the severely autistic? On board. Support and care for whatever parents think will work no matter how speculative and unproven? Not a chance.

    The reality is, there may not have been any “cure” for Alex (certainly not whatever biomedical quackery was sold to his parents at a profit). Some situations lack “cures”. Certainly none was guaranteed by the demands made by Alex’s mother. Hospitals and other care facilities, or at least publicly-funded ones, are limited to delivering services that have evidence of efficacy. And thank Dog for that because otherwise there would be billions of taxpayer dollars being flushed down the drain on nonsense.

    Still questionable whether it’s better or worse use of funds than the military budget for Iraq and Afghanistan.

  21. MuthrTurnsOut says:

    Broken Link, – Winddriven – PROVE ME WRONG – is all I ask…Reply with proof please.

    While you screw around looking for someone to accuse for a horribly sad situation..that will happen over and over and over…here are some facts and points to consider…but wait…from your replies, I am sure you do not have first or even second hand experience in dealing with what these women had to deal with…it is so much more then what the story relays..if you want to reply countering what I say, please do…but reply after you have taken a child just like Alex into your home and cared for him for half the time…then I will listen to you… till then your clueless

    Do either of you have first hand experience in trying to deal with the identical situation that they were in? If so, tell me what you are doing, how are you dealing with your child?

    Name calling…really. What a nice reflection on you and your character. I just wish being a “loudmouth”, and resorting to “hysterical shrieking” would accomplish something to help all the families who are dealing with the identical painful situation to find a solution…a solution better then watching your child being restrained by 2 – 3 fully grown men for 20-30 minutes at a time, three and four times a day suffering broken ribs, head concussions and a collapsed throat caused by inept untrained “aides”, or simply abused by aides simply because they can, there is no on to stop them or make them accountable.. worse yet, having your child killed by aides that do not have the proper restraint training..(for your reading pleasure: https://www.google.com/#newwindow=1&q=disabled+children+killed+by+restraints) or do you prefer a slower death by bed sores that get so infected they are the size of bowling balls..and God knows what else while being strapped to a bed like a dog. Maybe you would find happiness in the case of a non-verbal autistic girl getting pregnant while being strapped to a bed in a loving care giving institution…yeah – like you would take the child home and raise it…

    Broken Link – my use of “lol” – using a phrase in a highly inappropriate way is called sarcasm…and in case you missed it, just like the sentence in the paragraph above.

    William LawrenceUtridge – Your use of “Dog” lets me know your comments are not worth another key stroke.

    All I ask is prove me wrong….I beg you…for the children – for he young adults, for the families who are dealing with the very same situation…please prove me wrong…because I know for sure, those ladies would have given anything to see a better way out for Alex.

    Now, which one of you have lived what they have? Which one of you are willing to take “Alex” into you home and care for him? You are so quick to judge, I challenge you – do it…there are plenty of Alex’s for you to embrace..do it, then reply. Actually, if everyone sitting on their keyboards were to step up and lend a hand in some way…may be the only way to save the next “Alex”. It is obvious what is in place now is failing tragically.

    PLEASE I BEG YOU – PROVE ME WRONG!….also a few basic psychology courses would benefit anyone attempting to comprehend their actions (please note, the definition of the word “comprehend” and “agree” are very different).

    So I have put you to task – put your actions where your mouth is…adopt an Alex and reply with first hand experience that proves me wrong. Don’t embarrass yourself by providing proof of your ignorance by replying with name calling and petty knit picking at my words..

    Aunt Deborah

    1. weing says:

      I comprehend just fine. I also totally condemn the actions of the mother. Do you comprehend? What do you want proven? No one can prove anything to you, especially that you are wrong. You have to prove it to yourself.

    2. windriven says:

      @Aunt Deborah

      I have no idea what it is you’d like me to prove.

      Profound autism is a bitch. Do we agree?

      An 80 kg man with profound autism is a danger to himself and to others. Do we agree?

      You said: “These women provided more one on one – 24x7x365 care giving hours then ANY medical and/or mental health facility in this country would or even could provide – I challenge you, I CHALLENGE YOU – PROVE ME WRONG!!!!”

      I take it then that your “solution” is to euthanize people with profound intractable autism? We can discuss the ethics of that. But before we go down that road I want to be certain that is your argument. If not, please explain your argument in a couple of sentences without all caps and without appeal to the difficult emotions that we all agree attend care of a profoundly autistic individual. How do you propose that we care for the profoundly autistic?

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      William LawrenceUtridge – Your use of “Dog” lets me know your comments are not worth another key stroke.

      Why, because I refrain from invoking a deity I do not believe in? Do you have some sort of irrational prejudice against atheists? How do you feel about Muslims, or Hindus, or Christians (strike through the one you are not and reply)? They don’t believe in your deity either, do you hold them in contempt?

      Incidentally, I had to work with autistic children. I taught them to sign, to use PECS, to speak, to understand receptive language, and some elements of self-care. They are imperfect tools, but they might have permitted Alex to better navigate the world such that he didn’t need to express himself through violent and dangerous outbursts. What do you think of my rather larger point of “wasting money on unproven treatments”? Did you reflect on that, or just look for an excuse to dismiss it without having to ever think about it. I mean, I saw your ALL CAPS and I still took the time to read and reply to your points in a civil and substantive way.

      watching your child being restrained by 2 – 3 fully grown men for 20-30 minutes at a time, three and four times a day suffering broken ribs, head concussions and a collapsed throat caused by inept untrained “aides”, or simply abused by aides simply because they can, there is no on to stop them or make them accountable.. worse yet, having your child killed by aides that do not have the proper restraint training..(for your reading pleasure:

      …except this isn’t what killed, or even injured him. His mother stabbed him, and her cat, and her self, and her assistant, with a kitchen knife. The errors of inappropriately applied medical restraints are a separate topic, we’re talking about a mother slicing her son open so he bled to death.

      I’m not looking for anyone to accuse. It was a shitty situation and there was no good solution – but I don’t think killing your son was the best choice to do. Accepting he has cognitive limitations he may not grow out of, and learning to work within them (as opposed to believing and being encouraged to believe there’s some magical way of “fixing” him) would probably have helped.

      How exactly do you expect us to “prove you wrong”? I’m not even sure what your point is. That there are autistic kids out there? That there is no cure? That services are less than optimal? Agreed! That we should murder children with autism when they get so large they are dangerous? I’m afraid that’s a line for me, and I would prefer people not cross it. Are you asking for alternative solutions? How about developing and adapting alternative communication systems for autistic children so they can meet their needs without having to resort to violence? That seems like an imperfect but at least somewhat superior solution to slitting their throats.

      I would not adopt a child like Alex, I simply don’t have that in me and I’m honest enough to admit it. If I ever did, or if my child ends up being autistic, I will do my damndest to help them communicate and interact so they are not a danger to themselves or others (as much as is possible), and definitely avoid biomedical “cures” so their lives are not a constant parade of uncomfortable and intrusive procedures and pills.

  22. lilady says:

    Aunt Deborah:

    “While you screw around looking for someone to accuse for a horribly sad situation..that will happen over and over and over…here are some facts and points to consider…but wait…from your replies, I am sure you do not have first or even second hand experience in dealing with what these women had to deal with…it is so much more then what the story relays..if you want to reply countering what I say, please do…but reply after you have taken a child just like Alex into your home and cared for him for half the time…then I will listen to you… till then your clueless”

    I had first hand experience “dealing” with a child who was far more disabled than Alex. My son was born in 1976 with a rare genetic disorder, which caused multiple and profound intellectual, physical and medical impairments. He had grand mal seizures that were only partially controlled by anti-convulsant medication and many episodes of status epilepticus with one episode of post-ictal Todd’s paralysis. He was immune suppressed (leukopenia), had megaloblastic anemia and ITP along with a platelet adhesion and platelet aggregation disorder (Pancytopenia), which caused several internal bleeds. He also had “autistic-like behaviors”…not autism.

    “All I ask is prove me wrong….I beg you…for the children – for he young adults, for the families who are dealing with the very same situation…please prove me wrong…because I know for sure, those ladies would have given anything to see a better way out for Alex.”

    A better way out for Alex?

    The mother allowed Wakefield, who owns the Autism Media Channel, into Alex’s room at the hospital. The mother gave Wakefield permission to have his crew from the Autism Media Channel videotape Alex in a “staged for the camera” hospital bed manacled in 4-point restraints, naked except for adult diaper that barely covered his genitalia. Wakefield, who owns those hours of staged videotape, then handed segments of the tape to Lisa Goes who blogged about Alex several times on Age of Autism. Wakefield also put that disgusting staged tape on YouTube and also made an 18-minute documentary, which he was trying to sell to a major TV network. He apparently was successful with his business venture because he released a 4-minute segment to CBS-TV.

    The mother was offered assistance by the State and by a private agency; she refused. The mother allowed the bio-meddlers (Lisa Goes, Jill Rubolino R.N., and others) into Alex hospital room to “direct” the care that Alex was receiving. The mother refused to have Alex transferred to a childrens’ treatment center where real professionals would evaluate Alex and provide a treatment plan. When Alex was released from the hospital, the mother and the bio-meddlers put him in a car and drove more that 1,600 miles from Chicago to New York and back to Chicago again. While in New York, Alex was sedated and underwent upper and lower GI scoping, performed by Wakefield’s colleague, Dr. Arthur Krigsman, who, like Wakefield, promotes the thoroughly debunked theory of “MMR vaccine induced autistic enterocolitis”. Krigsman apparently found no evidence of pathology in Alex’s bowel, but claimed he saw some ulcerations in Alex’s stomach. There is no evidence that Krigsman, whose practice is limited to diagnosing and treating “MMR Vaccine induced enterocolitis”, actually prescribed treatment for this supposed condition.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Krigsman

    So Aunt Deborah, I HAVE PROVEN YOU WRONG.

    Sorry about the nitpicking but,

    What about Alex? He was exploited when he was alive and still being exploited after he was murdered.

    What about Alex…whose mother and “godmother” planned his murder for a week before they sedated him and plunged a kitchen knife into his chest, repeatedly?

    What about Alex…whose last moments on earth were moments of abject terror, as the mother and godmother who should have protected him, snuffed out his life?

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