Jett was found on the bathroom floor of the family's posh condo at the Grand Bahama Resort on Friday. Authorities believe he died of a head injury after suffering a seizure and falling....It is very difficult to dose your child on a drug that has warnings of serious side-effects, but you have to be rational about weighing the likelihood of the side-effect and the benefit of the drug. It's too late to say that to the Travoltas, but maybe some other parents who are drug-phobic will come to their senses. But the drug had "apparently lost its effectiveness." I'm not sure what that means. Did they not want to increase the dosage to keep up with the child's increasing weight? Was there really no effective drug for his condition?
"Each seizure was like a death," McDermott told celebrity Web site TMZ.com. Jett lost consciousness and went into convulsions about four days a week when he was unmedicated, he said.
Jett took Depakote, an anti-seizure and mood-stabilizing medication, for several years until it apparently lost its effectiveness. The Travoltas had also become concerned about the drug's possible side effects, which include liver damage, McDermott said, and took him off Depakote some time ago.
I feel sorry that the Travoltas must now put up with everyone — including, now, me — analyzing the extent of their responsibility for their son's demise. They are suffering unimaginable pain. And yet, I think it is still important to talk about the decisions parents make for children. Perhaps many children who need seizure medication will receive it as the result of Jett's death.
Then there is the issue of autism... and Scientology:
There has long been speculation that Jett suffered from autism, but the Travoltas have maintained his health problems were a result of Kawasaki disease, a rare inflammatory ailment affecting the blood vessels that most often occurs in early childhood.But Scientology doesn't forbid anti-seizure medication, does it? I must say I don't even know the details about what Scientologists think about treating autism. It's one thing to tell people with mundane emotional problems that they should turn to religion instead of psychiatry. That might be pretty good advice, common to many religions. But it's quite another thing to tell people to avoid medical treatment for specific conditions of the brain.
Advocates for autistic kids, including other Hollywood stars, have accused Travolta, a Scientologist, of denying his son's condition because it would have required Jett to see a psychiatrist, which his religion forbids.
I don't like to see a rush to blame religion over Jett's death. Parents can be afraid of drugs or in denial about autism without religion playing any part. Did the Travoltas ever talk about religion in connection with their treatment of their son? I don't know. From what I've seen, it looks like an excessive fear of drug side effects. Those side effects aren't the result of religious ideation. They are real, but they were, it seems, given excessive weight.