Psychiatric Drugs Killed Boy With Autism, Lawsuit Says
A Florida mother is filing a wrongful death suit against a psychiatrist and the owner of a group home claiming that her son died from over-medication while in their care.
Denis Maltez, who had autism, died in 2007 at age 12 after being restrained by staff members employed by the group home where he lived in Miami. An autopsy determined that he was experiencing serotonin syndrome, a condition where the body produces too much serotonin, the chemical that regulates a person’s mood. The syndrome can be caused by a combination of psychiatric medications.
Now Maltez’s mother, Martha Quesada, is suing the owner of the group home and the boy’s psychiatrist alleging that “the co-administration of multiple psychotropic medications with no monitoring or supervision” was responsible for his death.
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The psychiatrist only saw Maltez twice but prescribed him two anti-psychotic drugs, an anti-seizure drug and a tranquilizer concurrently to address the boy’s behavior, the lawsuit says. Furthermore the suit alleges that the drugs were used as “chemical restraints to control Denis’s behavior.”
“This is a clear case of a 12-year-old child who perished because he was given a lethal combination of off-label, dangerous, anti-psychotic drugs to control his behavior without appropriate consent, administration and supervision,” said Howard Talenfeld, Quesada’s attorney. “Tragically, this case is one of many cases where foster children and developmentally disabled children are given powerful drugs to control their behavior instead of utilizing appropriate behavioral interventions.”
The group home where Maltez lived was shuttered by the state shortly after he died, reports The Miami Herald. Neither the group home owner or the psychiatrist returned calls from the newspaper.