A U.S. doctor will stand trial for killing a 5-year-old autistic British boy by incorrectly administering a controversial chemical treatment.
Dr. Roy Kerry, 69, used the wrong drug and administered it incorrectly while trying to use chelation therapy on Abubakar Tariq Nadama, another doctor testified Thursday.
The boy went into cardiac arrest in Kerry's office immediately after receiving the therapy, which removes heavy metals from the body, in 2005.
Chelation is not approved by the U.S. government for treating autism, though the Food and Drug Administration has approved it for treating lead poisoning. Some people link autism to a mercury-containing preservative that was once common in childhood vaccines and advocate chelation as a remedy.
Kerry will stand trial for involuntary manslaughter.
Kerry's Lawyer, Al Lindsay, had argued there was not enough evidence that the doctor had committed a crime.
Dr. Mary Carrasco, a pediatrician who testified for prosecutors, said Kerry used the wrong drug and administered it incorrectly. She called his actions "extremely reckless."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed Abubakar's autopsy in January 2006. The agency said the boy died because the doctor administered a drug that removes calcium from the blood, disodium EDTA, rather than calcium EDTA, which is FDA-approved to treat heavy metal poisoning.
Carrasco also said Kerry administered the drug in one intravenous "push," but should have given the drug over several hours.
The boy's parents, Mawra and Rufai Nadama, had moved from England so he could receive the treatment. They have filed a wrongful death suit against Kerry. The parents, who have returned to England, did not attend Thursday's preliminary hearing.
Kerry has argued that the boy's autism symptoms improved after the first two treatments. He acknowledged there may have been "miscommunication" about which medicine to administer during the third treatment, but said it did not amount to gross negligence.
Kerry also will stand trial on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment. The doctor has no prior conviction, so he is unlikely to face the maximum sentence of decades in prison.
John Gismondi, the family's attorney, welcomed the decision.
"It was obviously reckless conduct. He did something no doctor in the world would do," Gismondi said.