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Swift
Written by James Randi   

Critics of John Travolta's church, the Church of Scientology, are claiming that his 16-year-old son Jett was autistic and was not given the proper diagnosis and/or treatments because Scientology disapproves of psychiatric and drug treatment of autism, also rejecting psychiatry as a pseudoscience. Jett died last week while on holiday with his parents, apparently from a fall in the hotel bathroom. In 2007, Ocala, Florida, restaurant manager Tim Kenny, the father of an autistic child himself, and who committed suicide in March of last year at age 41, said he'd asked Travolta what special treatment Jett was getting:

As one autistic child's father to another, I asked him if he was doing anything special in terms of therapy for Jett. Travolta responded, "Well, we involve him in the arts"... Scientology is keeping him from acknowledging his son's autism. They see it as a weakness.

The Travolta's lawyer said claims that the Travoltas were negligent in their care of Jett are outrageous, and he has released a report that Jett was treated for several years with the medication Depakote - which treats epilepsy and/or seizures. Maybe. If Jett was autistic and was not given the proper diagnosis or treatments because his parent's religious beliefs prevented him from getting these advantages, that needs to be said. Critics claim that Scientology disapproves of psychiatric and drug treatment of autism, and also rejects psychiatry, calling it a pseudoscience.

Experts who viewed a video released of Jett recently easily diagnosed autism or autism spectrum disorder - ASD. All the expected symptoms were present and apparent. He had no use of speech and was not provided any autism speech-related therapy. Some 25% of all ASD victims develop epilepsy, usually during their teen years. There are many treatments known for this disorder, if religious beliefs don't intervene. Scientology denies psychological behavior disorders, including autism and ASD.

The drug Depakote is a treatment for epilepsy/seizures, not for autism. While we have to wait for the autopsy reports, we hope that these are made public and are strictly objective and unbiased. At this present stage of the investigation this seems to have been an accident, and whether the Travoltas treated their son for autism or not, there are effective medical treatments and therapies that can help significantly. Deliberately withholding those treatments because of misguided religious belief is apparently not illegal.

Scientology's attempts to block people from criticizing them are well known, and regardless of the final findings, I cannot see that there will be any reconsideration among its followers, even though it's now becoming more evident to everyone else that Scientology just doesn't work. There are many treatments for autism that do work, and therapy that could have enabled Jett Travolta to communicate.

However, if these allegations are not true, the speculations should be ignored and the Travoltas should be left to properly handle this personal tragedy.

I look forward to the official autopsy report.

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IF....
written by Willy K, January 06, 2009
IF.... the reports are true about Jett's autism then the Travolta's must be in two levels of denial. Denying the diagnosis and denying that any treatment will work.

IF.... the reports are true about Jett's autism then I would consider the Travolta's denying him treatment as very foolish.

IF.... the reports are true about Jett's autism then I would consider the Travolta's denying the diagnosis as damn near criminal.

Others who might be suspicious about the evolving methods of treatment for this condition can only have their fears calmed by open and honest discussions between medical researchers and the families with an autistic child.

If some high profile celebrities deny the existence of this condition, progress in treating it will be severely hampered.

I hope that if poor Jett did truly suffer from this condition and his parents beliefs contributed to his untimely death that they might realize just a little bit that their beliefs need to be changed. It could be manifested simply as John and Kelly no longer extolling the virtues of Scientology. Let their ignorance be the killer of stupid beliefs, not the killer of children. smilies/cry.gif
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"scientology"
written by L.holden, January 06, 2009
I am just floored that anyone could follow this ridiculousness called "scientology." The more I learn about it the more disgusted it makes me. Why isn't it obvious to people how far-fetched these beliefs are? I even have a family member who let themself be "converted" to this nonsense and is attempting to have me follow...HA! I don't think she is aware of all the whimsical woo she is getting herself into. I, myself, am not religious however, as much as I love her IF I were to partake in any such groups it would definately NOT be scientology! Not in this lifetime!!!

Perhaps if the Travolta's were not also swindled into this madness that has the audacity to be called religion, this tragedy may have been avoided. smilies/angry.gif
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written by BillyJoe, January 06, 2009
IF ... only.
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written by GMJ, January 06, 2009
This tragic for all involved. I am sorry for the loss suffered by Travolta's family. It is horrible that their religion views autism as a weakness. A condition like autism cannot be blamed on the individual.

Something else I wonder about is what the autopsy may reveal. It is possible that John Travolta's love for his son trumped his religion's teachings and that medication for autism will be found in his son's body. No telling how that cult would react to that information.
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Back off
written by pxatkins, January 06, 2009
Oh dear. This is not the time to put the boots to a man who has lost his son.
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written by Alan3354, January 06, 2009
Remember that the difference between superstition and religion (any religion) is money.

Scientology was well covered on South Park.
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written by Alan3354, January 06, 2009
written by L.holden, January 06, 2009

Perhaps if the Travolta's (sic) were not also swindled into this madness that has the audacity to be called religion, this tragedy may have been avoided.

Scientology is as reasonable a religion/superstition as any, imo. You got your magic underwear, the dead jew on a stick, killing for the prophet, etc. Pick one.
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written by BillyJoe, January 06, 2009
pxatkins,

Who is putting the boots in?
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written by MadScientist, January 06, 2009
It's just sad that people would deny the existence of such conditions as autism. I would have thought families would have a tough enough time dealing with autism if they were well informed. Perhaps denial is just one of those coping mechanisms.

A friend of mine, who is an educator, once said to me: "I think you're mildly autistic."
"Oh no!" I said, "I couldn't draw to save my life!"
"You're also an idiot." she says.
"I try not to be one," I said "but I'm not always successful."
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As much as i hate defending any religion ...
written by Bill Henry, January 06, 2009
Holton - I disagree. I am an athiest and agree all religions are silly. But some are worse than others and scientology is the worst of all. these incredibly stupid ignorant people take the cake. I got served papers by them for a tv show i did long ago, so i am a bit biased.

Too bad the US gov't doesn't have the guts that Germany did and ban this abomination.
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A little thing ...
written by drowven, January 06, 2009
The thing that protects Scientology and all religions is the Constitution. When the U.S.A decides it no longer needs to follow one of the basic tenants of the Constitution that's the day the government will have too much guts and far too much power.
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"The thing that protects Scientology and all religions is the Constitution"
written by feldesq, January 06, 2009
The fundamental problem here is that you can call any belief system a religion. If I can get enough adherents to believe that my left foot is a divine instrument embued with the powers of Scrid the Magnificent. And thus, when my left foot become gangrenous, and I insist that my religious convictions prohibit any amputation of my left foot, I will be Constitutionally protected against the "intrusion" of secular medicine upon my belief system. This is what flows from a religiously based society (vs. a reason based, truly secular society). A truly secular society will not allow unethical behavior pass in the name of any "belief system." Unfortunately, this must lead to the utter prohibition of most (probably all) religions, as most (probably all) religions are supported by irrational, illogical, fantasy-based, magical inanity which co-opts truth and reason. We will inevitably rethink Constitutional protection for irrationality, magical thinking, faith-based bigotry and anti-reality. Small battles have been won (ending slavery, granting civil rights to women and African-Americans, etc.), and further battles will be won (e.g., granting full rights to gays, etc.), but these battles remain to be fought over many more years. The enemy in these battles (as it has been before) is principally religion.
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written by Willy K, January 06, 2009
Gee... I thought the US Constitution does NOT protect religion.

I thought it only prevents the government from endorsing any particular religion and it protects individuals right to have any religious/non-religious belief.

I thought that what qualifies as a religion in the US is business/tax laws. If a religious organization does not abide by the rules the only thing the government can do is to revoke their tax exempt status.

Any Constitutional scholars which to step in here and clarify? smilies/cry.gif
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written by BillyJoe, January 06, 2009
I thought it only prevents the government from endorsing any particular religion and it protects individuals right to have any religious/non-religious belief.

It surely couldn't do that absolutely.
Otherwise there would be no law against "female circumcision" for example.
Given that the law cannot be absolute, there must be limits to what the law regards as religious. Given that, why is scientology still legal? It must surely lie on the wrong side of the line, wherever that line is.
.
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written by Willy K, January 06, 2009
It surely couldn't do that absolutely.


It protects every religious/non-religious belief, but not all actions! smilies/tongue.gif

The actions done in the name of Scientology or any other religious organization have to conform to the Constitution. The Constitution defines what actions are permissible. smilies/grin.gif
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Autism & Scientology
written by donjunbar, January 06, 2009
I thought Scientology specifically forbade people with autism, schizophrenia, or any other mental illness from joining. That must've made it hard for Travolta.

Anyway, he and his "religion" are no more guilty of anything than Jehovah's Witnesses who let a child die because they don't believe in blood transfusions.
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written by BillyJoe, January 06, 2009
Does the law permit the child of parents who are Jehovah's Witnesses to die because of the parents' belief?
I surely hope not.
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From Watchtower:
written by donjunbar, January 06, 2009
If asked, “Would you deliberately allow your child to die if blood would save it?” the Watchtower organization suggests that Jehovah’s Witness parents answer, “I would demand that medical science do everything possible to save my child’s life short of giving it blood.”
-Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusion the Facts, published by Watchtower, July 4, 1960; p. 8

And in the May 22, 1994 issue of Awake, p. 2: "In former times thousands of youths died for putting God first. They are still doing it, only today the drama is played out in hospitals and courtrooms, with blood transfusions the issue."

In some countries, including Japan, Canada, and the UK, medical staff are permitted to throw religious beliefs to the wind and save lives. However, in the US they must respect religious beliefs, no matter how life-threatening they may be.
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written by BillyJoe, January 07, 2009
As Richard Dawkins says: "Children are no Catholics, Muslims. or Jehovah's witnesses, their parents are".
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written by Roo, January 07, 2009
I know the Travoltas are grieving and all, but isn't there an element of child neglect here? If you know that your child is ill, and you fail (for whatever reason) to provide the medicine he/she needs, then surely you are failing in your duty of care to that child.

Scientology disgusts me (and even frightens me a bit). Especially their concept of "fair game".
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Irrational thought
written by Blackheart, January 07, 2009
The problem here is not the US constitution; the problem, as ever, is irrational thought. And don't believe there is a person on the planet who is entirely free of irrational thought.
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written by Trez, January 07, 2009
Sadly I don't think this will change anything at all. It isn't the first case where children have died after being denied medical treatment on religious grounds, though its probably the most high profile so maybe that will start the ball rolling.
I suspect that the Travolta's will only retreat further into their "religion" as a coping mechanism

If I recall correctly some States will actually permit parents to withold treatment for their children, whilst others dont. Here's one from earlier in the year where charges were brought. Sadly I don't know what the outcome of that was
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/usa.religion

and there have been a number of cases with Christian Scientists being prosecuted
http://www.childrenshealthcare.org/victims.htm

The UK doesn't have that right. Whilst people over 18 have the right to refuse treatment on religous grounds, minors and the parents of minors don't and the doctors can get courts to over-rule the wishes of the parents. Thankfully
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written by Son of Rea, January 07, 2009
Who is really the victim here? It's not the one who has died, it is those who have survived and will miss the departed. In that sense, IF the survivors are the ones responsible, then they have manifested their own punishment.

The same is true for any religious zealot who refuses medical treatment for their loved-one. When their loved-one dies from such neglect, it is a just punishment for the foolishness of the survivor.

Grieve not the departed, for they truly are at peace. Their suffering is done.
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Definition of a Cult
written by GusGus, January 07, 2009

Don't forget that the definition of a cult is: "The other guy's religion!"

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written by LovleAnjel, January 07, 2009
It's a tragic loss that the Travolta's son died. What seems to have been overlooked by a lot of posters here is that there is no drug treatment for autism. Autism (which is actually several probably unique diseases) is treated through cognitive or behavioral therapy. The fact that the Travoltas denied their son this therapy is tragic, but it did not cause his death. He died as a result of a seizure, which he WAS on medication for. I do not think Scientology killed this child.
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written by Trez, January 07, 2009
I think Im correct in saying that Jett was apparently being treated for a form of epilepsy, not autism and that the treatment programme and drugs used to treate seizures caused by epilepsy are not the same as those used to treat seizures which are sometimes caused by autistic spectrum disorders.

Its the same principle as the AIDS denialists, in believing that a VERY real condition does not exist, so deciding to treat the "mysterious illness" with antibiotics or dietary supplements instead of AZT

Scientology didn't kill Jett. A seizure killed Jett. However it was a seizure that might have been avoided had a proper diagnosis and programme of treatment been sought.
Maybe he would have had the seizure and died anyway but he should have had the opportunity to have a proper diagnosis by people who know what they're talking about (as far as I know L Ron Hubbard wasn't medically qualified).
Sadly because of the gullibility of his parents and their belief in an entirely fictitious belief system he never had the chance to get that

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refusing treatment
written by donjunbar, January 07, 2009
It's probably worth remembering that John Travolta's son didn't receive treatment not due to some moral objection to medicine, but a more general Scientological belief that psychiatrists are Xenu-worshippers who are plotting to enslave the entire planet from their cozy chairs.
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written by cwniles, January 07, 2009
I think any speculation on this subject is just that, speculation. $cientology is very high on my list of things the world would be better off without but at this moment, this issue is not about $cientology, it's about a tragic loss.

Until the facts are revealed I think the only proper response is grief and compassion.

It's people like Jett that make me wish there really was a heaven.....
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written by latsot, January 07, 2009
"Experts who viewed a video released of Jett recently easily diagnosed autism or autism spectrum disorder"

I'm not at all sure that such a diagnosis is possible from a video. There is a long history of mis-diagnosis of autism in both directions in proper clinical situations: can we really pay any attention to anecdotal diagnoses from unknown people without direct access to the patient?

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written by redwench, January 07, 2009
My understanding of the current information released is that Jett had been treated by medical doctors for epilepsy for years with drugs, including trying dosage changes, with limited success. Depakote is used to treat seizures in autistic individuals (citation below). This is not medical neglect by any stretch of the imagination.

Perhaps the right drug was not tried, perhaps there was no right drug. But while scientology may have prevented him from receiving the therapy he needed, he obviously was on reasonably correct medication. I find scientology to be a very disturbing religion on a number of fronts, but it was probably irrelevant to this poor child's death.

citation: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health...tion.shtml

Seizures. Seizures are found in one in four persons with ASD, most often in those who have low IQ or are mute. They are treated with one or more of the anticonvulsants. These include such medications as carbamazepine (Tegretol®), lamotrigine (Lamictal®), topiramate (Topamax®), and valproic acid (Depakote®). The level of the medication in the blood should be monitored carefully and adjusted so that the least amount possible is used to be effective. Although medication usually reduces the number of seizures, it cannot always eliminate them.
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written by The Apostate, January 07, 2009
Treatment for autism is generally long-term therapy to mitigate negative behaviors, to improve social skills, and to promote self-care skills. Given that Jett lived in a highly rarefied environment and likely would have had private caregivers until his demise from old-age, I don't think he necessarily required the formal and approved treatment. He may have been getting some version of these interventions at home. I expect he was happy and well cared for in this regard.

While seizures are rarely fatal, accidents resulting from the loss of motor control may easily result in injury. Anti-seizure medications are strong and may cause lethargy and medically significant side-effects. If Jett was difficult to treat with medication then I could see choosing to increase his supervision and controlling his environment to prevent injury as an acceptable alternative. As we know little about his function (or the accident) it is difficult to know if the supervision was generally adequate. He might well have been totally independent in whatever he was doing uo until the accident.

I don't like Scientology, and I think that the Scientologists are deluding themselves when it comes to medical care. It's easy to be overcome with bias and start the finger pointing, but I'm not sure the Travoltas did anything wrong here. They may very well have been providing Jett with the very best of care and supervision.
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written by BillyJoe, January 07, 2009
Son of Rea

Grieve not the departed, for they truly are at peace. Their suffering is done.

Was Travolta's son suffering sufficiently to prefer death to life? Otherwise he was indeed a victim.


Latsot,

I'm not at all sure that such a diagnosis [autism] is possible from a video.

Of course not in all cases, but autism certainly can be diagnosed from a video. In marginal cases, misdiagoses can be made even by experts that is one of the reasons why we now have a category called Autism Spectrum Disorder.


The Apostate,

I think your post provides a very accurate summary of this case.
One of my wife's female friends was under good medical care for her epilepsy but still had a convulsion every now and then. One day she had one in the shower and managed to fall over the plug hole and block it. Being only recently married, she had locked the door out of habit. By the time her husband forced his way in she had drowned.

BJ
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written by Son of Rea, January 07, 2009
Was Travolta's son suffering sufficiently to prefer death to life? Otherwise he was indeed a victim.


When we go to bed at night, are we victims of sleep?
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written by Trez, January 08, 2009
We're not victims of sleep but (as a general rule) we do wake up the next morning. Jett Travolta won't be waking up any time soon
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written by BillyJoe, January 08, 2009
Son of Rea,

There is no afterlife, right?
So, this life is all we have, right?
And, if you die early because of someone's neglect, you lose part of your life, right?
So, unless death is better than life, you were a victim, right?

PS: In Travolta's son's case, of course, the neglect has not been proven.
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written by Son of Rea, January 08, 2009

"Being" dead is no different than what it was like before you were born. Simply non-existence. Do you weep for the unborn?
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written by ScanningFool, January 08, 2009
Treatment for epilepsy almost always requires changing drug therapies over time. Most seizure medication becomes ineffective over time and must be changed or adjusted. Claiming that the medicine stopped working for Jett and then they stopped using it is not a very good answer. When the medicine stops working it only means that it is time to try another one. It seems to me that it may have been part of their bias against this sort of medical treatment due to Scientology that caused them to abandon drug treatment that might have controlled his seizures.

Want to know more about Scientology:
http://www.southparkstudios.com/guide/912
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written by BillyJoe, January 08, 2009
Son of Rea,

I am interested in this part of what you said:

Grieve not the departed, for they truly are at peace. Their suffering is done.

Is that how you feel?
If you died today, would your suffering be over?
Would you be truely at peace?

I see your semantic point, though, about the dead person not being a victim. That person is dead. His friends and lovers are the victims.
Still, at the point of death - for example, when someone aims a gun and shoots you in the head - you would feel like a victim, wouldn't you? If you were enjoying being alive.

BJ
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written by Son of Rea, January 08, 2009
Yes, that's truly how I feel.
If I died today, my suffering, happiness, and all that is in between would be gone forever.
If I were shot in the head, I would by definition be a victim of a crime, but the REAL victims of the crime (meaning those who would suffer) would be those who would miss me.

As logical thinkers, we must realize there is no true purpose to life...no ultimate goal.
For the non-religious, even the most influential figures in history lived a pointless life, as viewed from the perspective of 5 billion years in the future, when the sun will destroy our planet.
In the grand scheme of things, your life has no more meaning than that of an ant you unwittingly squash as you walk down the sidewalk.

We all are just biding our time. How you choose to do so is up to you, but ultimately meaningless.
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written by BillyJoe, January 08, 2009
Son of Rea,

Yes, that's truly how I feel.
If I died today, my suffering, happiness, and all that is in between would be gone forever.

Well, let's just sat that is a little different from:

Grieve not the departed, for they truly are at peace. Their suffering is done.



If I were shot in the head, I would by definition be a victim of a crime, but the REAL victims of the crime (meaning those who would suffer) would be those who would miss me.

And, again, this ia a little different from:
Who is really the victim here? It's not the one who has died, it is those who have survived and will miss the departed.

(Although you might quibble about the tense of the verb you used - but I have already covered that point in the previous post.


As logical thinkers, we must realize there is no true purpose to life...no ultimate goal.
For the non-religious, even the most influential figures in history lived a pointless life, as viewed from the perspective of 5 billion years in the future, when the sun will destroy our planet.
In the grand scheme of things, your life has no more meaning than that of an ant you unwittingly squash as you walk down the sidewalk.

Yes but, from the point of view of Son of Rea (which is the only point of view you can actually experience), you are the most important person who has ever lived. Because, if you had never lived, there would never have been a Son of Rea point of view from which to evaluate the worth of anything else.


We all are just biding our time. How you choose to do so is up to you, but ultimately meaningless.

Well, for a start, I think it is important to not just bide your time. Then next thing would be to find your own meaning. And discovering that you are the most important person who has ever lived could be a good starting point along that journey

BJ
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written by Son of Rea, January 08, 2009
You cite different wording in my replies as if they were contradictory. They are not, rather one simply expounds on the same idea.

If I were shot in the head, I would by definition be a victim of a crime, but the REAL victims of the crime (meaning those who would suffer) would be those who would miss me.


And, again, this ia a little different from:

Who is REALLY the victim here? It's not the one who has died, it is those who have survived and will miss the departed.


Note how I used the term REAL and REALLY in each statement. I never declared one who died was not a victim. I was indicating that the REAL sufferers or victims were those left to grieve.

I agree that, to ourselves, each of us is the most important person who ever lived. But we are still just biding our time, whether we create great meaning in our life or not. Most are not aware that they are biding their time, and they play out their role, just like a bee in a hive...unaware of its ultimate insignificance.
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written by Rogue Medic, January 09, 2009
Redwench wrote,
Perhaps the right drug was not tried, perhaps there was no right drug. But while scientology may have prevented him from receiving the therapy he needed, he obviously was on reasonably correct medication.


He was not on medication. The Depakote had been stopped. The reason given was that his seizures were happening frequently, in spite of the anti-seizure medication. Unfortunately, there is no indication that he was receiving any medical treatment for his seizures at the time of his death.

According to the information released to the press, the sole cause of death was a seizure. While the seizures may be related to autism, the debate of the influence of autism is not really relevant.

Seizures are treatable.

He had been receiving treatment for seizures.

At the time of his death, from a seizure, he was not being treated.

Maybe no medication would have prevented this, but somebody needs to explain why a minor was not receiving appropriate therapy for the condition that killed him (according to what was released about the autopsy report). Was this the recommendation of his doctor? Was this due to pressure from Scientology? Was this the parents' decision? I have no idea who decided what, but somebody should be explaining why he was not being treated.
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written by BillyJoe, January 09, 2009
Son of Rea, you have a strange way with words. smilies/smiley.gif
They make you sound like you're saying the exact opposite of what you intend to say.
(But maybe it's just me)
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written by BillyJoe, January 09, 2009
Rogue Medic,

You could be right.

Apparently the autopsy showed that Jett had no injuries to his body, in particular no injuries to his head. He was found dead (Jett's nanny and the htel manager attempted to resuscitate him and this was continued by paramedics) in the bathroom of his parents' holiday house. The autopsy report indicated that he died of epilepsy, not head injury, which probably means that he died in status epilepticus. This is often the result of withdrawal from anti-epileptic medication. Reports quote his parents saying that they stopped his medication (Sodium Valproate) because it was "becoming less effective". Of course, the apporopriate course in these circumstances is to try an alternative medication. There is no indication from them that Jett's doctor approved of the decision to stop his treatment and no indication that an alternative medication was commenced, so the assumption has to be that this was not the case.

However, there does not seem to be any link in all of this to the parents' belief in scientology. And, as I understand it, scientologists do not deny medical treatment, only psychiatric treatment. At least Tom Cruise has been quoted as saying that.


Head injury?

Despite reports that Jett Travoltas struck his head on the bathroom sink, bath, or tiolet seat leading to the suggestion that head injury was the proximal cause of his death, the autopsy report indicates that there was no head injury, or any other inujury to his body. Medical experts have also been quoted as saying that a fall to the floor form a standing postion is very unlikely to result in death.


Kawasaki Disease?

The mention of Jett Travolta having Kawasaki Disease in childhood seems to be red herring. He was 2 when he had the disease and 16 at the time of his death. Kawasaki does not cause epilepsy as far as I can determine from information provided by reputatable medical sites on the net.
Kawasaki Disease is otherwise kown as "Muco-cutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome" and is probably a viral ilness, although the actual virus has not been identified. Complications include inflamed gallbladder, joints, and coronary blood vessels (blood vessels to the heart, not the brain). There do not seem to be any reports of involvement of the brain which means that it could not be a cause of epilepsy.


Autism?

About 30-50% autistic children have epilepsy. But only a very small percentage of epileptic children have autism. Did Jet have autism? Nobody really knows, but his uncle who is described as an "autism activist" thinks he did. HJoe Travolta is a self styled expert on autism and has made an award winning documentary about children with autism for which he interviewed over 60 children. Does it matter? No. It is unrelated to the cause of his death.
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written by Rogue Medic, January 09, 2009
I wrote a bit about this on my blog in Death of Jett Travolta - Part II.

http://roguemedic.blogspot.com...rt-ii.html

It has a link to L. Ron Hubbard stating that seizures should not be treated and another link to a story about Joey Travolta.
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written by BillyJoe, January 09, 2009
Thanks, I could have saved myself a lot of time.

By the audio on my computer is kaput so I cannot listen to the Ron Hubbard video, however, Jett WAS being treated with Sodium Valproate and hence what Ron Hubbard had to say about treatment of epilepsy doesn't really matter. Apparently Jett's parent must have disagreed with him because they DID treat his epilepsy under medical guidance.

Travolta was said to be furious at claims Jett had autism — and that he was denied medication because of the family’s Scientology beliefs.


Also some links from a blog you linked to quote John Travolta as saying that the Valproate was not working and causing liver damage and was ceased:

[Travolta] said the lad HAD been taking anti-seizure medication Depakote, but was taken off it following consultations with neurosurgeons because it did not work and was damaging his liver.

(I think that should be "Neurologists".
"Neurosurgeons" are involved only in the surgical treatment of epilepsy)


Both quotes are from here; http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/ho...&ATTR=News

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written by redwench, January 09, 2009
He was not on medication. The Depakote had been stopped. The reason given was that his seizures were happening frequently, in spite of the anti-seizure medication. Unfortunately, there is no indication that he was receiving any medical treatment for his seizures at the time of his death.


You are correct. He was not on medication at the time of his death. It was in several news items, including the one Billy Joe linked, that the medication had been discontinued because of serious side effects and ineffectiveness. Without knowing the timing of the decision, perhaps the doctors felt it undesirable to give another medication, perhaps one previously tried unsuccesfully, until his liver had been restored to normal function. Obviously, his parents had no objections to treating his disorder with medication, as they had done so for years.

Perhaps Jett himself felt that he would rather risk dying than take medications with nasty side effects. He allegedly had autism, that doesn't mean he was an imbecile. And there have been judges that have allowed 16 year olds to make such decisions, even in more dire circumstances.

Perhaps they were preparing for some other treatment, such as surgery, and therefore did not try to replace the medicaiton. No doubt there are other scenarios that people could reasonably come up with.

More information on whether the Travoltas were neglectful or just following a consensus of medical advice would be helpful. Short of that information, I am inclined to take the snippets in the press at face value. He was treated appropriately for a serious, but rarely life-threatening, illness for years. The treatment was discontinued because it damaged his liver and was no longer effective. He died unexpectedly from said illness. Unless his parents are psychic, which we all agree is highly unlikely, the outcome was as unexpected for them as for everyone else. Would we all be so excited about him breaking his leg while being untreated?

BJ - epilepsy can be treated surgically on occasion, perhaps they did indeed consult neurosurgeons smilies/wink.gif





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written by Rogue Medic, January 09, 2009
Jett had been treated with Depakote. Nobody seems to suggest otherwise.

Did Scientology approve of this? I don't know. I did read in one place, that less and less is tolerated, as you move up in the Scientology ranks. I do not remember where I read it, but that would be one explanation for not putting him on a different medication. Did they try other medications, there are 8 others commonly used? Did they have problems with them? Was the problem with the Depakote that it was not effective? I read that he was having seizures frequently (I think more than once a week), so they did not feel that there was a benefit. Did he have abnormal liver tests? I do not know. The big question, for me, is Why wasn't he on any anti-seizure medication at the time of death?

I can speculate almost endlessly about everything else. Nobody has suggested that he was taking anything for seizures at the time he died. The family's lawyers stated that the Depakote was stopped. They should not be providing false information, especially not information that makes their clients look less than thorough in treatment of their son's illness.

Does Scientology really differentiate between neurological illness and psychiatric illness? I don't know.

Is autism a neurological illness or a psychiatric illness? I do not think that many medical people will tell you that it is not neurological. Anything neurological is bound to have psychiatric aspects, but that does not make it a psychiatric illness.

So, there are far more questions raised than answered. The death of a child requires more of an explanation that it was a seizure.
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An unmitigated tragedy
written by Marlinspike, January 09, 2009
Much as I despise Scientology I cannot help but feel a tremendous sense of sadness for the Travoltas. They have lost a child. Their son. One simply cannot assume anything but that they loved him and gave him the best medical treatment they felt they could. The speculations made by posters here are extraordinarily cruel and insensitive based as they are on news reports which may or may not be accurate or even complete. Medical management of seizures, whatever the cause, can be a complex and difficult process complicated by many factors. This child apparently (again I can only speculate on the veracity of the news reports) had a seizure when he was alone and unattended in a bathroom; the worst possible time or place to have one. The result is a personal tragedy of enormous proportions for his family.

Say what you will about Scientology (and there is much to say, little to none of it positive)if Jett's death is truly the result of John and Kelly's religious belief then they have suffered the ultimate penalty as has their son. I refuse to believe they would not give anything and everything they have, including their own lives, to change the outcome and I cannot imagine the depth of their grief.
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written by Rogue Medic, January 09, 2009
Redwench wrote,

Obviously, his parents had no objections to treating his disorder with medication, as they had done so for years.


Maybe. We do not know that they had not changed their mind about medical treatment. You suggest that Jett objected to taking the medication. This would not surprise me. It might also be a reason why parents would change their opinion about treating a child with medication. Seizure medications are not pleasant. Many seizures happen because the patient has not been taking their medication, or has not been taking enough of their medication, or has been taking something that interacts with their medication.

I think that someone needs to explain why he was not taking medication. I agree that there may be valid reasons for not taking medication. I do not agree that we should presume, in the absence of information about the death of a child, that everything is OK.

I do not think that comparing a broken leg with a death makes your point.

As a paramedic, I am required to report anything that might be abuse. It does not matter if it results in an injury or if it results in a death. A death will almost always get more attention than a broken leg. The times it might not, would be if the broken leg belonged to a celebrity, especially one in a family that has religious beliefs that may have contributed to the injury. Even more so, when there are a lot of unanswered questions about the preventability of the injury.
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written by BillyJoe, January 09, 2009
redwench,

BJ - epilepsy can be treated surgically on occasion, perhaps they did indeed consult neurosurgeons

Yes, I indicated that in my post, but the article said that the medication was ceased after consultation with a neurosurgeon. I think that would be the role of the Neurologist.

BJ
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written by BillyJoe, January 09, 2009
Marlinspike,

I think you have mischaracterised what has been posted in this thread. I have been on the look out for any such posts and have not seen any.
Everything that has been posted has been pretty reasonable in my opinion.
Perhaps my tolerance is greater though.

BJ
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