By Kim Stagliano
The Chicago Tribune has been no friend to the autism community. And their article about Dr. Anju Usman is no exception - see below. They have consistently dredged up stories that denigrate, belittle and cast aspersions upon all manner of autism treatments. They have attacked families (from this I know) and the professionals who devote their careers to helping children on the spectrum. Here is a list of several articles about The Trib that we've written over the years.
Tribune Watchdog Or Tribune Skunk? Part 1
Tribune Watchdog Or Tribune Skunk? Part 2
The Chicago Tribune and Autism Treatment Community: Thrice Bitten, Twice Shy
Autism Recovery Revisited: Tell the Chicago Tribune They Are Wrong
An Autism Mom's Video Response to the Chicago Tribune Story
Autism Father to Chicago Tribune: "Cancel My Subscription."
On Media: The Chicago Tribune Fails Children with Autism
Chicago Tribune Trumpets Another Anti-Treatment Autism Lawsuit. Why?
Cherry Picking Science: Chicago Tribune's Shotgun Journalism Strikes with Another Shoddy Hit Piece
Chicago is the home of the American Academy of Pediatrics. A union for physicians who used to be the guardians of pediatric sick and well care management. Peds have become vaccine retailers and gatekeepers to see myriad specialists kids now need thanks to chronic illness, like allergists, gastroenterologists, neurologists, endocrinologists, ENTs and psychiatrists. And let's not forget their great skill in sending our kids to Early Intervention. Our Editor-At-Large Mark Blaxill wrote in Support Your Pediatrician, Condemn Their Union:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is the union of American pediatricians. Their job is to defend the commercial interests and reputations of their constituents regardless of what the larger social interest might be. One activity of the AAP is to lobby the Federal Government to spend more money to help pediatricians to make more money.
Even when they make the case for things like expanded health insurance coverage for children, they’re also making the case for their members. Along the way, they make sure they make a case for things like: “Providing appropriate physician payment within Medicaid and SCHIP to ensure children receive access to care.”
The AAP also has a journal named Pediatrics, a publication that they claim is “intended to encompass the needs of the whole child in his physiologic, mental, emotional, and social structure.” In practice, the journal serves the agenda of the practicing pediatrician, often publishing shoddy science if it furthers the policy interests of the Academy. The stunning failure of Pediatrics to face the facts regarding the autism crisis is one of the sad byproducts of a tragic situation in which so few medical leaders have found a moral compass to guide their choices.
If you want to cut to the chase and find the commercial life blood of the pediatric profession you don’t need to look much further than the pages of the AAP’s web-site where the childhood immunization program is featured under nearly every tab. You can’t underestimate the importance of the childhood immunization program to the business of the practicing pediatrician. The reason goes right to the heart of the economic tension between customers and suppliers in our upside down health care system.
In 2010, The Trib ran this article, Bad Medicine, about my family and the fact that we were using Dr. Boyd Haley's OSR - accusing me of sprinkling toxic waste onto my children's breakfast. It was a twisted display of vitriole - and the former cupcake food beat turned science beat writer did her best to disparage me. And Dr. Haley. My daughter did so well on OSR that she started speaking and learned to tie her shoes. I even have a photo from the first day she tied her own sneakers - thanks to increased fine motor skills as a result of OSR.
The Tribune ran this article about Dr. Anju Usman, a physician in Chicago who has devoted her life and put her career on the line to treat sick children - who happen to have autism. We support Dr. Usman's work. And we thank her for her service to pediatric health and wellness.
Naperville Doctor Disciplined in Controversial Autism Case
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.
. . . 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. . . .
If you've watched any news channel recently, you've probably seen the ads by law firms about lawsuits for Risperidone - tradename Risperdal. This is a prescription drug and one of the only arrows in the AAP autism quiver. It's a common "go to" Rx for behaviors in autism. And it sucks as a drug, frankly. It causes breast engorgement and lactation in males. Read that again. Slowly. LAC-TA-TION-IN-MALES. Here is a recent statement on Risperdone by APP "celeb doc" Dr. Vincent Ianelli:
Still, it is reassuring to know that using Risperdal has been found to be safe and effective by the FDA to treat irritability and behavior problems associated with autism, including...:
Of course the BRA SHOPPING can be awkward.
As we enter a new year, 2015, I can only pray young parents find orgs like TACA and GR and NAA and others to help them make real gains for their children. And that newspapers like The Trib will follow my 92 year old father's favorite poem, and "shall fold their tents like the Arabs, and as silently steal away." The day is NOT DONE for our children. Sorry Tribune.
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her new novel, House of Cards; A Kat Cavicchio romantic suspense is available from Amazon in all e-formats now. Her memoir, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa is available in hardcover, paperback and e-book.