January 5, 2009

Jett Travolta and the fear of giving your child necessary drugs.

This is terribly sad:
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....

"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.
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?

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.

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.
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.

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.

72 comments:

Original George said...

I didn't know that autistic children saw psychiatrists.

Is that right?

I know nothing about autism. I do know there's an awful lot of prescribing of an awful lot of stuff, and doctors are under an awful lot of pressure to move patients in and out of their offices more quickly than ever. Here's a new book "Medication Madness" by a Harvard-trained doctor about the sometimes strange effects of mood-altering medications. TV interview here.

Meade said...

I hope their religion at least offers them the comfort of believing their suffering is part of the plan of the higher power to whom they pray.

I don't know much about Scientology but I too will suspend criticism unless it condones honor killings, genital mutilation, or stoning to death homosexuals, etc.

TMink said...

"but you have to be rational about weighing the likelihood of the side-effect and the benefit of the drug."

Well, you certainly do not HAVE to, but it is best to.

Some very low functioning autistic kids see a psychiatrist because they can injure themselves or others when upset. I believe that most of the autistic kids do not have to see a psychiatrist.

There are several alternative meds to Depakote. I wonder if any of those were tried? Also, the anti-convulsants are also used as mood stabilizers for bipolar patients.

Trey

aberman said...

There are many many drugs that can reduce or eliminate seizures. Depakote is an old one, but more come on the market continuously.
At the same time, some people have seizures that simply can not be treated through medication.
I don't know the stats, but, as someone involved with people who have this disorder, I am surprised that the news reports don't include reports of trying multiple other medications after Depakote 'stopped working.'

One more thing: Seizure disorder drugs are often the same drugs that are used for psychiatric disorders. Klonopin, for example works for both. On the other hand, Prozac can increase seizure activity.

aberman said...

As far as autistic children seeing psychiatrists, you can basically assume that if you meet a child with a major problem, there are probably a host of other problems you don't know about.

MayBee said...

Did the Travoltas ever talk about religion in connection with their treatment of their son?

They have talked about putting him through their detox program, which they thought would clear his bodies of the impurities causing his disease.

I don't know about the anti-seizure medicine. Scientologists believe that you overcome mental and emotional problems - problems with your head- by facing them and refusing to succumb to them. I don't know if those are the proper terms.
Basically, feelings, thoughts and emotions can be confronted and controlled. You don't fight them or coddle them.

Ann Althouse said...

"They have talked about putting him through their detox program, which they thought would clear his bodies of the impurities causing his disease."

There are a lot of people who are into "detoxing" nonsense for non-religious reasons. Look at Jenny McCarthy, with her absurd diet-to-cure-autism nonsense. That's not religious, is it?

muddimo said...

Liver damage is nothing to sneeze at, particularly with a young person. If his seizures were infrequent it was a rational decision to suspend use. If he was still having seizures every week, however, it was ill advised.

Richard Dolan said...

"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."

"Analyzing ... responsibility" would require knowing all of the pertinent facts -- such as the patient and his medical history, as well as what the Travoltas' doctors were telling them to do, which, in difficult cases, is rarely consistent. One specialist says do this, another one looks at the same medical history and test results and says do something different.

I doubt that anyone here has the necessary access to the critical facts that would be needed to "analyze ... responsibility" in any sensible way. Instead, what this story is likely to generate is an unhappy combination of platitudes and gossip, reflecting mostly whatever views the commenter had already formed about Travolta, scientology, drug therapy for mental diseases, etc.

The "decisions parents make for children" are important to talk about. But that's not the same thing as talking, or gossiping, about the Travoltas, their particular family tragedy, their religion or, least of all, their level of "responsibility".

MayBee said...

That's not religious, is it?

Detoxing isn't strictly religious, because as you said many people are into it.
But it is a part of the religion of Scientology. They have specific detox programs.

Lem said...

Donnie: [to his mother] How's it feel to have a wacko for a son?

Rose Darko: It feels wonderful.

Original George said...

Detox on a 10-day all-natural, all-organic all-raw vegan liquid diet, and get rid of the spackle that's been clinging to the inside of your colon for 10, 15, or 20 years. Act now and get your free homeopathic wellness infusorium, including Silicea, Kreosotum, Agrentum Nitricum, and Mezereum for 1/3 the price you would pay at Whole Foods. And for a limited time only we'll throw in not one, not two, but three pairs of Kinoki foot detox pads. You say, Rush, how does it work? Well, friends, let me tell you: A little research into how the body detoxifies (from the liver!) will tell you that the whole idea of removing "toxins," "parasites" and even "cellulite" from the bottom of the feet is completely accurate. The surface of the pad picks up dead skin and dirt, and a chemical on the pad ensures the color. Repeated use of this pad will clean your feet, and your liver, colon, and gallbladder. It is known that when water is applied to the pad, it will turn brown. Yes, friends, it will turn brown. Ask your local iridologist and chelation ionoscopist for more information.

AllenS said...

Their detox program consists of taking a lot of pills that, IIRC, contain something similar to nicotine and then you take a long and very hot sauna. This is to remove the radiation from your system. I know a Scientologist.

Stephanie Carnes said...

"Look at Jenny McCarthy, with her absurd diet-to-cure-autism nonsense. That's not religious, is it?"

Certainly many people detox for non-religious reasons, but Jenny McCarthy believes her son is an "indigo child" - a New Age term for unusual children misdiagnosed as autistic, ADD, etc. She's also anti-medication, anti-vaccination, and *rumored* to be a Scientologist.

Joan said...

Original George, you crack me up. The whole detox industry is such bunk.

The linked article contains much gossip and unfounded speculation, but this:Was there really no effective drug for his condition? really hit me the wrong way. I read it as, Of course there was an effective treatment, they just chose not to use it.

I probably read too much into it, but I have way too much experience with medicines making me more sick with new symptoms while not alleviating the symptoms for which they were prescribed. Side effects and quality of life are real issues.

And no, typically autistic kids don't see psychiatrists, although as already mentioned, seizure disorder drugs have a large overlap with psychoactive drugs.

MayBee said...

although as already mentioned, seizure disorder drugs have a large overlap with psychoactive drugs.

That would be a problem for a Scientologist.

Pogo said...

I don't know enough about Jett Travolta to comment, except to say that having a child die before you is sad and awful and beyond words.

Daryl said...

I didn't know that autistic children saw psychiatrists.

Who else is going to prescribe mind-altering meds?

aberman said...


Who else is going to prescribe mind-altering meds?


A neurologist. For children, a pediatric neurologist.

MayBee said...

Here's more about the detox

In her 2003 TV interview with Montel Williams, Kelly Preston talked about how she detoxed her son Jett with Scientology methods after he was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease. Kelly said: "Initially I had a friend of mine...an environmental scientist and a toxicologist, go through our home and tell us exactly what was going on in the home. It wasn't only the carpet. We had lots of cleansers under the sink. We were using all sorts of chemicals."

Kelly says she started Jett on a detox program called Clean--Clear Body and Clear Mind," an L. Ron Hubbard program. Hubbard is the founder of Scientology.

"This is a program that's detailed in the (Hubbard) book," Kelly told Montel. " We basically store all of these chemicals and poisons and toxins that you breathe, eat, that you're around constantly. Radiation from the sun, you store it in your fatty tissues. And over the years it builds up and this is a program of how you can detoxify it completely and purify your body. It's brilliant."
===
Obviously, not an impeccable source but it does refer to an interview that should be findable.

garage mahal said...

There are a lot of people who are into "detoxing" nonsense for non-religious reasons. Look at Jenny McCarthy, with her absurd diet-to-cure-autism nonsense. That's not religious, is it?

What do you find absurd about it? She thinks it helped her son and I say more power to her. I seen a brief bit about this on the bloob and her son seems to be doing alot better than he was. I happen to think McCarthy is right about there being way too many vaccinations and being toxic on top of it. We found my first daughter had Type 1 Diabetes three weeks after she got a load of vaccinations and that's why the 2nd only get's one at a time, and without mercury. Of course we'll never know if they had anything to do it or what caused it. But still.

Original George said...

"We were using all sorts of chemicals."

Somewhere recently I read/heard that the word "chemicals" means the same as "poison" to a majority of people polled. They were asked a question like "Do you think it's a good idea in your daily life to avoid chemicals?"

One of the latest and best scams involves some harmless and helpful chemical that is in children's toys and baby bottles....bisphenol A.

Great Forbes article revealing how a small company played to Mommies fears to promote its own bisphenol A free products....

"After hearing the news report, Lemel, 45, figured scare stories about the chemical bisphenol A would spread. He decided to make the bottles available right away. "Maybe in these bottles we have something bigger than we thought," Lemel recalls telling his partners, brothers Ron and Dan C. Vigdor....

"BornFree's execs decided talking up the dangers of bisphenol A would help them promote their product. Company President Ron Vigdor...was already chatting up moms in the U.S. about milk-delivery devices for babies. "I started walking through the mall with my kids talking to moms about lactating breasts," he says.

"Vigdor, 39, then started writing and speaking to interested groups, including the People for Children's Health & Environmental Justice, to promote concerns about bisphenol A. Vigdor sometimes exaggerates when comparing bisphenol A-free bottles to polycarbonate versions: "One is with arsenic, one without. Which one would you like to buy?"

Like, people have been dropping dead from plastics for 50 years already. It always astonishes me that people will pay astounding sums for organic vegetables (because pesticides kill people!) and yet they drink fluoridated water which has been proven to cause socialism.

Pogo said...

Weirdly, seizures can cause abnormal heart rhythms, including ventricular fibrillation, and kill someone thereby.

Jett's history of Kawasaki's syndrome put him somewhat at greater risk for arrhythmia, too.


Ventricular arrhythmia complicating Kawasaki disease
I Haney, M Beghetti, BW McCrindle, RM Gow
November 1995, Volume 11 Issue 10: 931-933

Sudden Death and Epilepsy
Elinor Ben-Menachem, MD, PhD
Epilepsy Curr. 2005 November; 5(6): 223–224.
Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy "usually occurs during the night, with no witness. Although the cause is still unclear, the main hypothesis is that the deaths occur during a seizure or postictally because of centrally induced respiratory insufficiency. Occasionally, the cause is a cardiac arrhythmia induced by a seizure".

Paul Snively said...

Dr. Althouse: "There are a lot of people who are into 'detoxing' nonsense for non-religious reasons. Look at Jenny McCarthy, with her absurd diet-to-cure-autism nonsense. That's not religious, is it?"

To the extent that "religious" implies "having faith at least without or, at worst, against available evidence," you might consider Ms. McCarthy's faith in "detoxing" religious in nature.

SteveR said...

Sadly, a very similar tragedy happened to the 20 year old son of one of my cousins last week. He had a history of seizures and was found in the morning after not awakening as normal.

PatCA said...

My heart goes out to them. They had a son with complex, and maybe incurable, problems and they did the best they could. They always seemed like a devoted family.

I have a family member who is on lots of the same types of medication, and believe me, every one of them has terrible side effects. I can't imagine how difficult it would be on a parent to administer these to a growing child, hoping to only ameliorate a condition. This kind of speculation is inevitable but sad. As I say, my heart goes out to them.

MadisonMan said...

Kelly Preston may be an excellent parent, but seeing sentences like Radiation from the sun, you store it in your fatty tissues make me question her basic knowledge.

What nonsense.

AllenS said...

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I think that's applicable here.

Xmas said...

Ann,

To be fair to Jenny McCarthy, there is a link between autism and food. A gluten and casein free (no wheat, no dairy) diet can help some children with autism.

It certainly isn't a cure-all, though.

save_the_rustbelt said...

"It's too late to say that to the Travoltas, but maybe some other parents who are drug-phobic will come to their senses."

Strong conclusion based on slim evidence, with an ad hominem attack to boot.

Tsk, tsk.

(Liver toxicity is nasty, and maybe fatal.)

Jen Bradford said...

Detox may not be religious per se, but for a lot of people it is like an exorcism. The idea that there are devil chemicals, stored contaminants etc. that you are flushing from your body. It's an emotionally potent idea, the notion that you can be purified.

I suspect they got very conflicting advice from people with incompatible agendas. They couldn't have been strict scientologists and also agreed to depakote, which is hardcore medication - a relative of mine took it as an alternative to lithium for bi-polar disorder, and was never okay afterward.

Trooper York said...

It is a terrible tragedy when a child dies before a parent. My heart goes out to them. I am sure they did what they thought best.

I personally don't trust doctors myself. I am sure they could afford the best and it didn't matter. Some things are just fate.

TitusnottheeGorilla said...

Tragic and sad.

former law student said...

Seizures can easily cause one to bang his head on an object, so this tragedy is not surprising. In fairness to the Travoltas, epileptics can seizure even when taking their meds faithfully; seizures are a sign it's time to up the dosage or change prescriptions. Anti-seizure medications do lose their power to stop seizures, and must be switched from time to time. Seizures must be controlled, otherwise the ignition point of seizures lowers until the person reaches a state of status epilepticus or continuous seizuring, which ends in death. Scienos have had idiosyncratic views of how the brain works: google "Lisa McPherson" for details.

former law student said...

Radiation from the sun, you store it in your fatty tissues

Huh? Ms. Preston was correct according to walgreens.com: Radiation from the sun causes one's body to produce Vitamin D, which as a fat soluble vitamin is stored in one's fatty tissues.

former law student said...

Weirdly, seizures can cause abnormal heart rhythms, including ventricular fibrillation, and kill someone thereby.

I've been told that seizures can actually cause heart attacks, which go unnoticed because they take place during the seizure.

Pogo said...

"I've been told that seizures can actually cause heart attacks"

Very true.

Myocardial infarction following brief convulsive seizures
Peter S. Chin, MD, Kelley R. Branch, MD and Kyra J. Becker, MD
NEUROLOGY 2004;63:2453-2454

"The CNS influences the electrical and mechanical functions of the heart. Seizures can produce EKG repolarization abnormalities, arrhythmias, and perhaps myocardial injury. Acute coronary insufficiency leading to myocardial infarction (MI) has been reported with status epilepticus and occurs rarely in association with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). MI has not been reported after self-limited spontaneous convulsions. "

TMink said...

Oh, so now Jenny McCarthy's kid is an indigo child? I have a patient whose father thinks his child is an indigo child, not that he has one of the 5 worst cases of ADHD I have seen in 20 years or that the kid routinely caught his dad shooting up drugs or stealing their stuff to get more.

Yep, these indigo children are supposed to be part of a new race of humans who can contact the spirit world at will and are going to usher in a new earth of loving kindness.

Right.

And the indigo children stuff is certainly religious material and properly discussed in that vein.

Trey

Pogo said...

P.S. The above reference was about a case of MI in case of non-complex non-sustained grand mal seizure, which had not been previously reported.


P.P.S. I am an Indigo Montoya child:
"You keep using that color. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Michael said...

Trooper: "I personally don't trust doctors myself."

Really?

Which ones?

The ones who respond to a heart attack? A broken leg or arm? How about cancer or if you're a diabetic do you handle that yourself? Problems with your sight or hearing...call a plumber?

It's one thing to discuss what happened here, but to throw "doctors" into the mix is just plain silly.

*Also: I watched a video of Jett last week and he certainly reacted and articulated as if autistic.

Donna B. said...

Are there any drugs out there that do NOT have the potential to cause liver?

Tylenol and alcohol are two readily available ones that can have a major impact on the liver.

Aspirin? I don't know, but it's rough on the tummy.

All I know for sure is that the way the liver deals with a drug has an effect on the drug's effectiveness. At least I think I know that...

Meade: "I hope their religion at least offers them the comfort of believing their suffering is part of the plan of the higher power to whom they pray."

That's one of the problems I have with religion. It had never seemed unreasonable to me until I watched my sister burst into tears when someone said to her "it's God will" when her 18 mo. old son died.

It's actually a very cruel thing to say, IMHO.

former law student said...

It had never seemed unreasonable to me until I watched my sister burst into tears when someone said to her "it's God will" when her 18 mo. old son died.

Because I cannot believe in a sadistic god, I do not believe that God micromanages His world to any great extent.

Pal2Pal said...

My best friend has an autistic child (now an adult) and to my knowledge he has never seen a psychiatrist. (The parents maybe in order to cope.) He was under the care of a neurologist for several years. Autism isn't a psychiatric problem.

Pogo said...

"I do not believe that God micromanages His world "

Michael is proof enough of that.

Michael said...

Pogo: I'm an atheist and could care less what YOU believe.

To each their own, asshole.

Michael said...

Donna B. said..."Are there any drugs out there that do NOT have the potential to cause liver?"

Well, considering the liver synthesizes much of what enters the body and serves as a de-toxifier of all kinds of bad things...who knows what various drugs might do to inhibit its ability to do its job?

I personally feel vodka works well in keeping it highly tuned and efficient.

Michael said...

Pogo: I forgot to ask - Which "God" are you referring to?

Pogo said...

"To each their own, asshole."

I should hope so.
One asshole per customer is quite sufficient.

Or as Marx put it "From each asshole according to his loaf, to each asshole according to his fiber content."

Michael said...

Pogo: Once again: Which "God" are you referring to?

And are you referring to Karl or Groucho?

Shanna said...

It may be gossipy and wrong, but Scientologists have such a reflexively stance on psychiatric issues and drugs that I wouldn’t be surprised if that played a large role in this. Then it again it may not have. I’m not qualified, with this little information, to tell, but I would be curious to know what the doctors advice was.

It’s terribly sad, either way of course.

Pogo said...

" Which "God" are you referring to?"

The God of Hellfire.

Michael said...

Pogo - You don't even know, do you?

Michael said...

Shanna: "Purification Rundown" and "Narconon."

Pogo said...

Yahweh: I am who am.
Popeye: I yam what I yam.


Coincidence?
I think not.

AllenS said...

Sad, this. We went in a relatively short period of time discussing a sadness that two parents are experiencing, to a turd showing up in our punchbowl of thought. It's not the first time, nor will it be the last.

Michael said...

Allen - I'll assume you're merely sucking up to your buddies here and referring to me...since I'm the only one who isn't one of the regular suck-asses who hang here.

What have I said to upset you, little girl?

Pogo said...

There are always these words after Michael said..., but all I see is blah blah blah.

blake said...

Unfortunately, I'm quite familiar with all of this stuff.

Their detox program consists of taking a lot of pills that, IIRC, contain something similar to nicotine

"A lot of pills" = vitamins

"something similar to nicotine" = nicotinic acid, aka, "niacin", aka "Vitamin B3". You can read about the connection on wiki, if you trust it.

>>although as already mentioned, seizure disorder drugs have a large overlap with psychoactive drugs.<<

That would be a problem for a Scientologist.


Actually, no. I, too, am in the rarified club of people who "know a Scientologist". I know one who received depakote, dilantin, etc., while in the hospital.

Having heard the same rumor I asked him and he said it wasn't an issue. (The issue is apparently about being under a psychiatrist's care.)

On the other side, I have a child who has seizures, and a niece who has seizures, and by virtue of these, know a lot of other kids who have seizures.

Prescribing seizure meds is a guessing game with often dire consequences. They don't always work. They can have horrible side-effects. Sometimes, they make the seizures worse.

Dilantin, for example, works for a week or two or three, then stops working, then makes seizures worse. Yet kids will be on it for years. (This may only be for children, I don't have the study at hand.) It's not just a matter of upping the dosage.

IIRC, the doctors told us that drugs that don't work right away never work, and drugs that stop working don't start working again. (Yet try to get them to stop prescribing a drug that by their own admission wasn't working.)

I've come to theorize that pheno-barbitol works by reducing brain function. (It lowers IQ, but they give it to "retarded" kids. Yay.) But it's considered "safe". (A buddy of mine had a seizure as a kid and spent the next ten years on pheno-barb. I don't think it's a coincidence that he did poorly in school and ended up on hard-core street drugs.)

We went through quite a few meds that didn't work before deciding we were better off without them, and going on the Ketogenic diet.

This worked for us. I've known lots of other kids helped off meds and out of seizures by the IAHP in Philadelphia. (They have an entirely different philosophy of seizures which is interesting.)

Anyway, the doctor and Children's hospital worked against us, both in getting on the diet and getting off the meds. So, like Trooper, I tend to be suspicious of them. Not their motives, but their education.

You know, brain-injured kids die all the time. Their quality of life is reduced by drugs, because not only are they given drugs they ostensibly "need", they're given drugs for depression and other "behavioral disorders".

And so are their moms.

If a child dies at 8 taking prescription meds, after living a horrible life impaired not only by biological defect but by pharmaecuticals, well, it couldn't be helped. No one says "Maybe the doctors' approach is wrong. Maybe they weren't dedicated enough or educated properly."

If that same child dies at 16, having had a better quality of life, though, we must thoroughly scrutinize the parents' behavior, even though we actually have no better treatment--and we're all just fucking guessing--so as to make sure that This Never Happens Again.

Pogo said...

Good points all, blake.

Michael said...

As I said before; the video I saw of Jett made me believe he was indeed autistic. (His movements, speech and those around him supporting him.)

Regardless, it's a sad day when anybody loses someone they love.

The Scientology thing just muddies the waters.

Freeman Hunt said...

" Which "God" are you referring to?"

The one that put the human footprints in the dinosaur footprints.

Freeman Hunt said...

Helpful information, Blake. Thanks.

Michael said...

Freeman, you probably believe it, too.

I can tell from the comments you make.

Little education.

MayBee said...

Actually, no. I, too, am in the rarified club of people who "know a Scientologist". I know one who received depakote, dilantin, etc., while in the hospital.

Having heard the same rumor I asked him and he said it wasn't an issue. (The issue is apparently about being under a psychiatrist's care.)


I am in the same club. The Scientologists I know, though they do not say much, believe in spiritual healing much more than medicinal, as medicines (especially for the mind) mask the real problem. Mental problems are spiritual problems. The church does not believe, for example in ADHD and does not agree to medicinal treatment of it.

A public example would be Tom Cruise attacking Brooke Shields for using Paxil:

"When you talk about postpartum, you can take people today, women, and what you do is you use vitamins. There is a hormonal thing that is going on, scientifically, you can prove that. But when you talk about emotional, chemical imbalances in people, there is no science behind that.

"You can use vitamins to help a woman through those things."


Now, perhaps there are exceptions, just as all religions make exceptions. It sounds as if Travolta himself made exceptions for a while.
A question would be whether they felt his problem needed to be treated through spirituality, or whether they just felt the drugs were too physically damaging.

Jennifer said...

As mentioned in the post, there have been significant rumblings over the years - especially from autism advocacy groups - that the Travoltas' son was in fact autistic. That their denial of his condition and their refusal to allow treatment made life pretty hellish for the child.

I certainly hope that those rumblings were off base. But, of course, the alternative is that they have been harshly misjudged for years, have now lost a child and will possibly unfairly be seen as those religious nuts that killed their kid.

It's hard to say which scenario is more tragic.

Trooper York said...

You should always get a second or a third or even a fourth opinions. Doctors make mistakes all the time. Through overwork, or stupidity or laziness or pure chance. You should not trust, but verify by researching and asking a million questions.

Unless you are a witless douche bag like Michael. Then you should just eat shit and die.

chickenlittle said...

@Michael: You probably believe everything you write, don't you?

I can tell from the comments you make.

Little introspection and compassion.

JAL said...

I read some compassion at 5:24.

Unless someone else was using the M name.

Ralph said...

My grandmother started having seizures in her sleep around 80. Dilantin worked well for her, but she started having small strokes at 90, but that could have been the pork brains and salt (she couldn't smell very well).

I've snapped my jaws in my sleep several times in the last few years. Very hard on the tongue.

TMink said...

"That their denial of his condition and their refusal to allow treatment made life pretty hellish for the child."

I have worked with lots of families with a child with Asperger's syndrome or mild Autism and my work is teaching the parents ways to address the kids special needs as well as to help have a realistically positive attitude about what they can do as parents.

When the parents are up to speed, they stop seeing me except for occasional problem solving or emails. People with the resources of the Travoltas could have had wonderful training, enough to make me look like a cave man. So I cannot get down with the idea that by refusing to accept the autism diagnosis the parents were abusing or failing their child.

Having a special needs child is a rough path, emotionally and socially. I do not think I would cope well with the stress. God bless them in their tears. (The God of Abraham.)

Trey

Freeman Hunt said...

Michael, I dropped out of school in the eighth grade to learn dinosaur wrangling. I am, at this very moment, riding a pachycephalosaurus around and commenting from my phone. Later I will dismount the pachycephalosaurus. step in its footprints. and take pictures of the results. Just for you.

I can't imagine losing a child, especially a teenager. The Travoltas appear to be incredibly devoted parents, and until I see evidence to the contrary, I don't think their religion or any overblown concern for side effects contributed to their son's death.

I have a friend who has seizures now and then. They have been very unpredictable and hard to manage.

Guesst said...

The Travoltas were good parents who loved their child.

Their faith in Scientology (not a religion!) prevented them from treating Jett's autism.

Being celebrities doesn't excuse them from responsibility.

NO PASS.