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US doctor faces charges in 5-year-old autistic boy's death

A doctor was charged for administering a chemical treatment that killed a 5-year-old autistic boy from England.

Abubakar Tariq Nadama went into cardiac arrest at Dr. Roy E. Kerry's office immediately after undergoing chelation therapy on Aug. 23, 2005.

Chelation removes heavy metals from the body and is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating acute heavy metal poisoning, but not for treating autism. Some people who believe autism is caused by a mercury-containing preservative once used in vaccines say chelation may also help autistic children.

The boy's parents, who moved from England to seek treatment for his autism, have filed a wrongful death suit against Kerry, and the Department of State is trying to revoke his license.

Butler County District Attorney Randa Clark said state police asked Kerry to turn himself in by Thursday afternoon or risk arrest. Police also charged Kerry with endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment.

Because Kerry has no prior convictions, he is unlikely to face the maximum sentence of decades in prison, Clark said.

The Department of State has alleged that Kerry prescribed an IV push - meaning the drugs are administered in one dose intravenously - despite warnings that the method could be lethal.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the boy was given a synthetic amino acid to rid his body of heavy metals, instead of a similar chemical with a calcium additive. Both are odorless, colorless liquids and may have been confused, the CDC found.

The additive is used to replenish calcium, the loss of which can cause sudden cardiac arrest.

Kerry has argued that the boy's symptoms improved after the first two treatments. He acknowledged there may have been a "miscommunication" about which medication to give the boy during the third treatment, but said that did not amount to gross negligence.

The receptionist at Kerry's office said he was treating patients and was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.

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