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Chicago Tribune Trumpets Another Anti-Treatment Autism Lawsuit. Why?

Mystery By Teresa Conrick

For those of you who are new to the autism-vaccine saga, the Chicago Tribune keeps sinking to new lows with its coverage.  In November, they had an article that described an ugly divorce in which a disgruntled father was fighting for custody of his autistic child.  Now this past March 4th, they came out with part 2 in that family's personal drama.  This time the father is suing the Defeat Autism Now! doctors, "family-practice physicians Dr. Anjum Usman of Naperville and Dr. Daniel Rossignol of Melbourne, Fla. — are prominent in the Defeat Autism Now! movement.....Both have spoken to groups of parents at autism conferences and trained other physicians in their methods." HERE

Being prominent in the DAN! movement, speaking at autism conferences and training other doctors has the potential for making you a prime target for possible trumped up lawsuits.  The child is reported to be "a playful, funny and outgoing 7-year-old" per his father in November 2009 yet the Tribune reports the father "alleging they harmed the child with "dangerous and unnecessary experimental treatments."  I need to insert here that my daughter is also a patient of Dr. Usman so I consider myself very fortunate for that as well as more than a casual observer in this story. Both of these doctors, Usman and Rossignol. are passionate and tremendous in their care to our children and commitment as medical doctors.  I find myself suspicious of this lawsuit on many levels.

While googling to find the Tribune article, I instead found Orac's site.  Who is Orac?  Well, suffice to say that he has some mysterious desire to want autism to be only a genetic disorder.  He gets upset if you discuss vaccines or the environment as causative factors.  The usual suspects of the neurodiverse world and the assorted anonymous Wackosphere characters were hanging out at his site with their typical sarcasm and "blood-thirsty" DAN! comments.  Orac though was beyond his usual histrionic self as his comments were pointed at the exact wording of the lawsuit.  He actually had the lawsuit in a pdf file for the taking on his site!  Now how, within hours of the Trib posting and to be exact, the Trib article by Patricia Callahan was posted online at 5:19 p.m. CST, March 4, 2010 and Orac had his pdf and blog up at March 5, 2010 3:00 AM. Appears to be quite bizarre and a bit suspicious?   

What makes this even more concerning is that Dr. Usman herself had not received the lawsuit, all 46 pages to be exact, yet anyone could obtain it from Orac.  The question remains how did Orac get it and who gave it to him?   He is a vocal critic of the research on the environment/vaccines causing autism reality and spends an inordinate amount of time protesting research and treatments as he blogs to what appears to be an agenda, and now displaying lawsuits to try and shut them up.  But why?

Included in the suit are the names of the attorneys.  Another odd thing is that one is from California and happens to have been spotted on a website with Dr. Stephen Barrett. I had written about Barrett here.  Also, the Tribune has covered this divorced family now twice though they are not famous in any way except they have a child with autism.  Here we have some regular folks, not stars and not politicians yet their personal saga of autism is all over the big, old Chicago Tribune, not once, but twice.  How come I have missed the tales in the Trib of couples divorcing with children of cochlear implants or alternative cancer treatments bashing it out and dragging their Loyola Hospital doctors into it?

I find this all to be strange, odd and worthy of questions.  I'll end with some comments posted to the Tribune in their latest soap opera drama passing as news. There are so many children who have been struck down into a medical illness called "autism" and THAT is the story the Tribune keeps purposefully missing. 

My comment:

My daughter is a patient of Dr. Usman's and I have nothing but praise and sincere appreciation for the care and medical treatment we have received.  Megan, who just turned 17 this week, regressed after a series of vaccines as a toddler.  She lost language, began to withdraw and then started to exhibit symptoms of autism, loss of eye contact, repetitive movements, and isolation.  More importantly, she began to have one illness after another, have pain and GI distress for years.  Dr. Usman was the only doctor who actually helped my daughter these recent years, after numerous office visits to pediatricians, a neurologist, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and so on as they offered nothing but psychoactive medications or worse, institutionalization.

My daughter had intense GI pain and an inflammatory response due to food allergies, chronic bacterial infections, mitochondrial dysfunction, originating from a huge body burden of toxic metals, high viral titers, and an impaired immune system. Megan's existence has changed from one of head banging, biting, lashing out at others to a new, pain-free life filled with joy, laughter, and an increased ability to learn at school, where she has been promoted from the more severe, 1:1 classroom to an independent track, where she is learning how to type on the computer.

An angry divorced father is not a reason for this attack. Dr. Usman is a doctor of integrity and medical hope for an epidemic of children who on paper, have a list of behaviors though  in reality, they are medically ill and have been abandoned by the American Academy of Pediatrics and most standard physicians. Instead of believing this angry father and his very suspicious legal team it is time for the Tribune and the media to believe us, the parents who have witnessed first the regression of our children and now the healing that only the Defeat Autism Now (DAN) doctors are providing.

Comments from the Tribune website:

"Dr. Rossignol is my son's physician and has been the most caring and professional doctor we have had the opportunity to work with. He has caught problems with my son that have been previously overlooked by the other MDs in our life and he has given my son back his voice. He is always cautious and backs his recommendations with lots of research."

"When no other doctor would help unravel the numerous medical conditions afflicting our son, both Dr. Rossignol and Dr. Usman realized that all was due to a single cause, mitochondrial disease. They took the time to research and integrate science from numerous, specialized journals to discover what is effecting these children and how we can treat them safely and effectively as possible. The simple fact is, they are ahead of their colleagues, and brave enough to ask questions, seek answers, integrate and utilize proven science to help alleviate the suffering of these children, in an extraordinary effort to help them make progress in communicating, responding, and relating to the world around them."

"I'm the mother of a 7 year old with ASD. At 12 months our son was engaged and reaching all developmental milestones. 10 days after his MMR shot, he regressed: seizures, eye contact lost, vocalizations ceased, motor development halted, visual abilities regressed, sensory issues and severe diarrhea emerged. The worst, we could not console him as he lost all connectivity with his family and the world. While investigating his unraveling, we learned that he also had a stroke and "gliosis, brain inflammation. All the doctors ignored the real possibility that he had Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis as a result of his vaccination. Instead, an Autism diagnosis was slapped on and his real suffering and pain ignored. With little support from mainstream physicians, we pursued biomedical interventions with both Dr. Usman and Dr. Rossignol, the two doctors your paper so carelessly disparage in a series of articles that can best be described as a witch hunt, not a journalistic endeavor fairly revealing two sides of a debate."

"Before Dr. Usman, Noah could not speak so it was easy for one to judge his repeated groans and moans as the actions of a mentally defective child, rather than a little boy in excruciating pain. He now has over 100 words. Thanks to probiotics, enzymes, and a gluten-casein free diet, his bowels have improved dramatically. His skin conditions have disappeared. This would not have been possible if not for Dr. Usman."

"My five year old son has been a patient of Dr. Rossignol for two and a half years now. He is the most thorough doctor we have ever worked with. Our pediatrician, neurologist, psychiatrist, etc., declined to run basic bloodwork or even acknowledge that my autistic three year old was chronically ill when he was missing forty plus days of school a year due to constant vomiting, fatigue and repeated viruses. It was Dr. Rossignol who discovered my sons severe reflux. Dr. Rossignol who ran blood work and discovered he was anemic and severely deficient in Vitamin D. Dr. Rossignol who discovered my child was developing a pectus due to nutritional deficiencies. How could his pediatrician miss a pectus? Our ped might as well have been treating my child over the phone, sight unseen, for all help they gave my son. My son was in the 15-20th percentile for height/weight consistently since his one year check up. Now, at five he is in the 60-70th percentile after the gfcf diet and cutting out food allergies. At two he slept about five hours a day, now he sleeps twelve hours a night. At five and a half he no longer meets the diagnostic criteria for a diagnosis of autism, Asperger's or any other ASD. We owe this in large part (VERY large part) to Dr. Rossignol and his fantastic standard of medical care. Not only did my son survive chelation, but he is recovered and thriving."

"A DAN! Doctor found that my Autistic son's white cells were attacking his brain, a common condition in regressive autism. This doctor stopped that brain autoimmunity in it's tracks and I will be forever grateful. A pediatrician or neurologist would not have even known they SHOULD test for this because they do not treat Autism. Yup, you heard me: neither pediatricians, neurologists, or The Chicago Tribune treat Autism"
Teresa Conrick has two beautiful daughters. When she is not teaching, she is researching the biomedical implications of autism, both past and present.



Could it be that the Chicago Tribune knew in advance about this lawsuit and that the stories were designed to prepare the public for the lawsuit story? I sense a conspiracy (for real).


My child received a Hep B vaccine (12.5 mcg of mercury) on the day of birth before his brain blood barrier was closed (all of his vaccinations came before thimerosal use was reduced). Reputable studies have shown damage to the immune system from mercury exposure. Add to that the antibiotics I received during labor.

My child had a thrush infection at 2 months. Then for the next two years he had at least 6 antibiotics and ear infections. His gut flora and immune system were destroyed. Gut mucosa is the first line of defense from toxins and metals in our environment. As my son's toxins accumulated they shut down enzyme systems that are important for energy and detoxification.

My son was not talking at two-years old. After his booster shots at 5, I lost him to autism. Doctors told me to give him Ritalin(not FDA approved for children under 6) and put him on the list for an institution. But after a week on a GFCF diet and supplements he started to improve.

The most dramatic improvement was with chelation. With every IV EDTA I watched the LEAD and other metals come out and his speech and cognition improved (the damage to his immune and detoxification systems made him more susceptible to other exposures, including lead).

My sister worked at a University Hospital on the pediatric floor. When children presented to the hospital with symptoms of lead poisoning after ingesting lead paint, the treatment would be IV EDTA or DMSA. Chelation is the treatment for lead poisoning and metal intoxication. If such exposures are contributing to a child's autistic manifestations, and there is credible scientific evidence to suggest it does in many cases, it would be neglect to not seek treatment.

Biomedical treatments have saved my son. We continue to repair the damage that was done by overvaccination and overuse of antibiotics. He is now a happy 4th grader in a mainstream class without an aide. Now I have to start saving for another institution (college).

This has been an expensive venture that was not covered by insurance. Insurance would have covered the AAP treatment of Ritalin, Risperidol, Prozac and Abilify. We chose not to go that route, and instead chose to attack the root cause. Do mainstream physicians ever think of the problems and side effects of giving powerful drugs to a developing brain? Where are the long term safety studies on those drugs?

Dr. Usman saved my son. She is one of the brave physicians who ask why our kids are so sick. For my son, she addressed the gut dysbiosis, immune system dysfunction, mitochondrial dysfunction, heavy metal intoxication, MTHFR mutation, bacterial and fungal infections which affected my child's development. Children are improving with biomedical treatments. Why doesn't anyone tell our stories?

We know another family with an autistic child our son's age, and we started down this path about the same time. They chose to go the AAP route instead of exploring newer biomedical treatments. Their child is still non-verbal, attends school in a special placement, and has made little, if any progress. Every improvement we have seen in our child has been related by time and nature of the improvements to particular therapies we have tried.

It is common sense; you don't ingest, inject and expose a child to toxins and expect nothing to happen. This is not only a problem with autism in our kids. Our society is sicker that ever with auto-immune diseases. Ask why?

Go take a look at this website. Have you read the book "Gut Psychology" ?
Autism is a multifactorial disease caused by an overload of toxins from our food, our environment and vaccines. When you treat these issues, children get better. The same issues we see in our kids we see in the adult population. Why are we the sickest nation with the most expensive health care?

Sym Cusimano Rankin RN, CRNA

Sue Homer

The press and "so called scientists" are out to discredit homeopathy too. They try all sorts of stuff on the media, ridiculing in the most non-scientific way i.e. in total ignorance.
I'll re-cap on "ignorance": they will have done their homework, and know that homeopathy helps a lot in autism - parents have reported significant improvements in health with homeopathy. Big Pharma is running scared of Homeopathy, as well as with those wonderful DAN doctors.
The truth will come out as more and more patients turn away from ineffective and dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. There is hope that these scourge-mongers will be taken to task.

Amanda Blinn

I see on Wikipedia that in 2009, the FDA approved use of Aripiprazole for autism, because, according to studies, it reduces aggression and self-injurious behavior. Aripiprazole is the key ingredient in Abilify, which my husband and I see ads for on TV. One of the possible side effects is Tardive dyskinesia, an incurable and potentially fatal condition where the body jerks repetitively. So the FDA is OK with that, but chelation is dangerous. I'm amazed, and I'm scared. The Big Lie is trying to take away our cures, and they're offering us something very very bad in exchange for it.

Wade Rankin

The web site for the Cook County Clerk of Court provides only general docket information. The site clearly states:

"The case data available on-line is the electronic docket which contains brief summaries of court documents and court events in a particular case. Currently, the Illinois Supreme Court's Electronic Access Policy for Circuit Court Records of the Illinois Courts (April 1, 2004) prohibits remote access to actual case documents. "

The only way for Travis to have procured a copy of the Complaint on-line from the Clerk would be to hack into the court's system. I am relatively certain that the Cook County District Attorney would frown upon such a "wonderful" use of the internet.


You are suspicious someone posted about this within 24 hours of the article being posted? How long does on have to wait before it is okay?
The internet is wonderful for many reasons. Things can be published quickly and easily, you can access them easily. RSS feeds let me be up to date on blogs, podcasts and news feeds. All this adds up to the fact that we can get updated on current events very easily and quickly. Waiting for a few days for news to trickle to you is not needed any longer.

The internet is also nice for finding things. It took me a couple of minutes to track down that pdf based on the Tribune story. You can just go to the Cook County Court website, find the Online Case Files section on the left hand menu, and search for the defendants or plaintiff. Tada.


You are absolutely right AnaB - when they go after our docs, what they are really doing is going after our kids.

We have to stop them.


What kind of ads are they running??? Really when you go into anything: Educate yourself; do research. These doctors don't promise your child will be cured. Its like any other medical procedure: some get better and some recover. Weigh in if you do nothing; nothing will happen. What's happened is people are more open to sue doctors than the real culpuit. Sure they are negelant doctors but these aren't the ones. continue to pray for justice.

michael framson

The Chicago Scumbune produces another one for the trash can.

Thanks Teresa for your great work.


Free speech is turning into hate speech that blocks sick children from receiving prompt and appropriate medical care. Appalling.

Does David Gorski (Orac) have some kind of vaccine development grant from or contract with the Department of Defense? If that's true, then it's no wonder why he'd want to neutralize any people who might criticize the product he would have for sale.


I really wish all our docs would just quit talking to the press-totally. At this moment in time, the press is so corrupt, and operating so antithetically to our interests, that anything we tell them will simply be manipulated and used against us.


I take these attacks on the doctors, labs, and others who help our children as attacks on my child. If my child, who routinely writhes on the ground holding his stomach while screaming, "it burns, it burns" cannot get a GI doc to give him an examination (he can't) because of the media promulgated chilling effect then yes, make no mistake about it, that is an attack on my child. And what do they say about Momma bears who are backed in a corner while defending her cubs? Multiply that by hundreds of thousands. It's war!


I thought at the time this article came out that this divorce would involve this dad suing the DAN doctor. I read about this last night on Orac’s page. It is painfully obvious this is orchestrated. The Tribune and Orac along with others have got a plan laid out to go after DAN docs and this is the start. Vilify Wakefield and then go after the rest. We better take this really seriously; they will not rest until they shut everyone up.


It's all part of the strategy. Attack Wakefield et al so that the researchers are cowed and "encouraged" not to look under any stones. Use resources to discredit anyone who dares speak the truth. Attack parents as unscientific desperate crazies, so that the public doesn't listen to them. Use resources to pillory a mom going through a bitter divorce battle as one sad example. Attack Jenny for standing up for parents' truth. Attack DAN doctors to drive up their liability in the hopes of driving them out of business. Ensure that they no longer treat autistic children so that there are no examples of recovery that damage the genetic theory. Attack the companies that support treatments -- the labs and supplement companies -- by questioning safety and having John McCain introduce legislation that would put natural remedies out of reach. Classify P5P as a drug. Attack and neuter any reputable medical journal editor who dares to publish scientific research that does manage to get funded.

They are insidious, and a danger not only to families with autism but to everyone.

The truth is, no matter what they do, no matter how "successful" this strategy in the short term, the problem is the problem and it isn't going away. And the more people who are affected, the fewer will be left who believe the hungry lie.


In many states, documents filed in court cases (although with certain exceptions) are considered to be 'public record.'

If someone knows that a case is about to be filed, or has been filed, they can go to the courthouse - or send someone - and pay for a copy of the papers.

However, to received them *even before a defendant does* is more than just unusual. Perhaps someone could look into whether that is actually illegal?

Ordinarily court papers served on a defendant are handed over by an actual human being, a process server. That person then certifies the time, date, etc. that the paperwork was handed over.

Is there some way to determine when the document(s) were made available on the ORAC website? As compared to when they were actually served?


WTF?! A lawsuit? Are you serious? OH HELL NO!
The gloves are coming off now, we need to sue CT for libel or something!


Dr. Usman is pretty much a saint and this whole thing makes me sick. And don't forget Doctor's Data. They're an amazing lab. I've spoken several times with lab staff there-- they're incredibly humane and helpful and have a really vast knowledge of toxins and toxic effects.

The whole thing is a fatwa, as low as it gets aside from attacks on Wakefield, Murch and Walker-Smith. I imagine that the industry perpetrators in this case were visualizing the "murder medley" from The Godfather--- they're going to pick off dissident scientists, doctors, labs, parents one by one. A raging husband scorned provides the perfect vehicle for one brand of attack. I knew it when I saw the guy in the bicep-bearing t-shirt for the first Trib hit piece-- obviously he's been working out psychotically since the separation.

The Tribune engineering and publicizing a precedent by which disgruntled exes can more easily sue for custody based on the more dedicated spouses' attempts to heal sick children is definitely "reverso world", alternate universe stuff.

Something which might be relevant to this situation-- the irony of divorce and custody cases is that if a spouse was victimized in a marriage, in some states, they're hampered by a newish fad in custody battles, a designation of "parental alienation".

So if Coman was, say, a violent domestic abuser or ever made felony verbal threats or was otherwise bizarrely controlling during the marriage-- which would be a common M.O. of someone who would go so far as to use his child as a weapon-- his ex may not be able to report this. Parental alienation charges work as a kind of demented T'ai Chi-- using the opponents' real evidence against them. The worse he was-- if he was in fact as ugly in the marriage as he is in the wake of it-- the more the court can charge that she's trying to "alienate" the child from his father, particularly if she attempts to cite "dangerousness" or abuse as a reason not to place the child with the father. If a child testifies that, for instance, dad beat mom, etc., this is taken as yet more "proof" that the victim "coached" the child to say negative things about the abuser.

I've never heard of parental alienation being used on behalf of a victim.

The guy is turning his son into bubble boy; in this case, the runaway "balloon" is supposed to be DAN treatment. I'm sure he's in contact with media consultants. Unless the Tribune itself helped to hook Coman up with that attorney who appears to be enmeshed with Barrett, then Coman had his pharma contacts before this second article went to press. Again, according to the speculative abuser M.O., that's not unusual. He may have contacted father's rights groups as well (most of these groups promote the "parental alienation" fad), any organization which could help him do the greatest damage possible.

Whatever Coman did, it will come out one way or another.

Theodore M. Van Oosbree

I work in the medical field and I can assure you that "standard" medical treatments are much riskier than the typical DAN protocol treatment (they are responsible for around 100,000 deaths a year in the USA).


please send a link to this article to Big Noise Films
[email protected]


Who owns them?


Speaking of Defeat Autism Now! Is there anything in their protocol about using cabbage as a natural chelator? I found a comment today from someone who suffers from hemochromatosis (toxic iron overload) who said a chemist friend recommended eating cabbage. He said the results were so drastic in reducing his iron load that his doctor retested him. All he had done was eat coleslaw with his lunch. If someone has actually tried this, let me know. I already know that unpasteurized sauerkraut is great from a probiotic standpoint, but I wonder if it's helping draw out toxic iron, excess iron has been known to cause all sorts of problems, including stomach and neurologic problems.

David Taylor

In answer to Teresa's question, let's not forget the triumphant vilification of Wakefield, aided by the British "press," and what seems to be an attempt to replicate that successful attack on autism doctors here in America.


There are powerful forces that want to make sure nobody is actually looking inside the bodies of Autistic children. They are trying to spread the chilling effect they've had on GI doctors to the DAN! Docs. They are mistaken. Many DAN docs have Autistic children and are in this to heal. They will not be as easily threatened as the GI docs, who are not invested in Autism. There is an all out war on our families, make no mistake about it. To thm we are dispensable. So what if a kid can't poop for two weeks and another has 8 epidsodes of running diarrhea a day -- the public must not find out, they must not know what is going on inside these children's bodies. So why not use medical McCarthy-ism one anyone willing to treat these children.


Every time I think that rag The Chicago Trib can't sink any lower, it does.

They make the National Enquirer look like high brow journalism!

Maurine Meleck

It's equally possible that the father's motive could be an opportunity to make a lot of money. Thanks for this article, Teresa, and for stressing the importance of our good DAN doctors.


When I read "part 1" of the Tribune hit piece I sensed this was a strategy being employed by the pharmaceutical industry and their sock puppets.

They plan to wage a war of attrition.

In other words, they are going to make it so expensive and difficult from a liability standpoint that eventually physicians get out of the DAN style of practice. Parents will have nowhere to go with their crazy "let's heal autism" stories (except the internet) and ultimately the questions surrounding the safety and efficacy of pharma products (vaccines and off-label drug use) will die down (so they hope).

We must never let this happen.

The truth must prevail if we are to have any hope for this next generation.


Divorces are often horribly vicious and the kids used as pawns. Remember Charlie Sheen and his ex fighting about vaccinations? This was a perfect mix of the Trib's vendetta against autism treatments and a Dad's divorce fight - both benefit from the story. Let's hope it's not the child who loses - and certainly not a doc who is putting herself on the line to treat him.


Wade Rankin

Craig, A mistrial only applies to conduct during trial. It's not unusual for some plaintiff attorneys to provide copies of suits to the press at the time of filing (and before service). To provide it to a physician/blogger, though, is quite unusual. While not illegal, it does prompt a raised eyebrow.

The real issue is whether any harm to the child can be shown. Given the statements Mr. Coman reportedly made to The Trib in November, there does not appear to be any actionable injury (that the plaintiff believes his son would have improved without the care of the doctors as well as he did with the treatment is not grounds for a malpractice suit).

Although I hesitate to cite The Trib as a source, the quotes they attributed to Mr. Coman in their previous articles sure made it sound as if the child is doing well. That fact alone invites speculation as to the motivation for filing this suit.

Craig Willoughby

Well, first off, if Dr. Ussman has not received the suit, then there is a problem. If the trial ever goes to court (and I doubt it will considering it sounds as if the father is trying to accuse the mother of being an unfit mother and is using the DAN doctors and they fact that they aren't "mainstream" to try to prove it. Additionally, it is extremely difficult to prove malpractice if the person is not actually physically harmed), then Dr. Ussman can force a mistrial, seeing as the case is on Orac's hatesite. Hey, as I see it, he did us a favor on this one.

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