A Naperville doctor nationally known for offering alternative autism treatments has agreed to have her Illinois medical license placed on probation for at least a year after state regulators accused her of subjecting two children to unwarranted, dangerous therapies.
Dr. Anjum Usman, whose treatment of a Chicago boy was featured in the Tribune's 2009 "Dubious Medicine" investigation, will continue to practice but will take extra medical education classes and will submit 10 of her patients' medical charts quarterly to Dr. Robert Charles Dumont, an integrative medicine physician who will assess them.
The Tribune investigation found that many alternative treatments for autism are unproven and risky, and are based on scientific research that is flawed, preliminary or misconstrued. The treatments, the Tribune found, amount to uncontrolled experimentation on vulnerable children. Some of these therapies were at the heart of the disciplinary case state medical authorities filed against Usman.From a 10/13/11 post at Left Brain/Right Brain:
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which will oversee Usman's probation, had alleged that Usman provided "medically unwarranted treatment that may potentially result in permanent disabling injuries" to the boy featured in the Tribune series and another child. In prescribing chelation, a hormone modulator and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Usman subjected the Chicago boy to unproven treatments and demonstrated "extreme departure from rational medical judgment," state medical regulators originally had charged.
Usman is also associated with the 2005 death-by-chelation of five-year-old Tariq Nadama. According to court records, Usman diagnosed the boy with “high aluminum” and referred him to Roy Kerry, a Pennsylvania physician. Kerry, an ear-nose-and throat surgeon, inexplicably treated the boy for lead poisoning.
According to Kerry’s notes, which were published by the Pennsylvania Medical Board:“We don’t have the entire record at all. Mother left her entire volume of his records home. But we have been in communication with Dr. Usman regarding EDTA therapy. He apparently has a very high aluminum and has not been responding to other types of therapies and therefore she is recommending EDTA, which we do on a routine basis with adults. We therefore checked him to it … But on testing for the deficiency indicator we find him only indicating the need for EDTA at the present time. Therefore we agree with Dr. Usman’s recommendation to proceed with the treatment. She recommends 50mg per kilo. He is 42 pounds today. So we’ll treat him with a 20-kilo child and give 1 gram of EDTA.
Nadama arrested and died in front of his mother during the third chelation round in August, 2005. A year later, Kerry was certified as a DAN doctor after completing an eight-hour training course. Prosecutors declined to charge Kerry for the death, and the state medical board suspended his license for six months and ordered extra training.