Transcripts of the Rashid Buttar hearings–a peek at how alternative medicine treats autistic children

4 May

Dr. Rashid Buttar was recently reprimanded by the North Carolina Medical Board. The reprimand was basically a slap on the wrist. A weak one at that.

The inquiry into Dr. Buttar discussed a number of his patients. One, patient E, was autistic. Dr. Buttar has allowed us to read about his practice by posting the testimony from the hearings.

This, from the opening statements for Dr. Buttar’s hearing:

Patient E is a pattern-in-practice patient. Patient E is an eight-year-old school girl who is severely autistic. Her mother contacted the Board after receiving a solicitation from Dr. Buttar to support him in this matter.
Like the ?- like the cancer patients, Patient E’s mother came across information that Dr. Buttar could help her child’s autism. And without ever seeing the doctor, without ever traveling to North Carolina, Patient E was sent a kit to ?- to basically self-administer a chelation therapy on her own daughter.
And when things started going ?- deteriorating for Patient E, Patient E’s only interaction with Dr. Buttar was through his nurse practitioner or other staff members in his office.
And the nurse practitioner who essentially, from the medical records, as you will see, made all decisions about the treatment and diagnosis of this child’s autism across state lines without personally seeing the patient, has no formal training in autism or oncology, much like Dr. Buttar who does not have any formal training in oncology or autism.
Yet, nonetheless, they convinced Patient E’s mother to take the child off of her medication so that he can apply a transdermal chelation cream on the child. A cream, not so coincidentally, that is developed and invented and sold directly by Dr. Buttar to his patients.
The mother did as instructed and took her daughter off her medication and applied Dr. Buttar’s transdermal chelation cream. Her daughter began to deteriorate. The child began to have violent tantrums. She couldn’t leave the house or attend school. During the weeks and months as the child deteriorated, Dr. Buttar never followed the child.
And when the mother did not get a satisfactory responses to her concerns, she called the office, made an appointment to see Dr. Buttar and drove her family to North Carolina. However, when she got to North Carolina, she did not see Dr. Buttar, only the nurse practitioner.
And the result of that meeting was that the nurse practitioner attempted to convince the patient ?- the patient’s mother that the child needed to be converted to a more aggressive intravenous form of chelation therapy.
The evidence will show that Patient E’s situation mirrors that of the other patients. Little or no physician involvement with the patient. Patients are seen primarily, if not exclusively, by the nurse practitioner. The patients have serious illnesses and Dr. Buttar and his nurse practitioner have no formal training in those illnesses.
The patients are prescribed expensive treatments that come straight out of their pocket because insurance does not pay for the treatments. The treatments are arbitrary, one size fits all. They have no basis or evidence of science. The therapies are ineffective and not been subjected to clinical trials and are potentially unsafe.

Dr. Buttar did not see the patient. She was in a different state, after all. But, her mother drove her to North Carolina to see Dr. Buttar and he still didn’t see her?

Without seeing her, he took her off her other medications and gave her his own–and she became worse.

Here are sections from the actual testimony.

Q And your daughter never made a personal visit to Dr. Buttar’s office prior to these treatments?
A That’s right.
Q When you had these telephone consultations with Dr. Buttar’s office, did ?- was it with Dr. Buttar?
A No.
Q Who was it with?
A With Jane Garcia.
Q And who is Ms. Garcia?
A I understand her to be his nurse.

Dr. Buttar was not in contact with the family. His nurse practitioner was handling the case. Remotely. Without seeing the patient.

Q Okay. Did Ms. Garcia ever make any recommendations about what to do with your child’s medication she was presently on?
A Yes. She insisted that we remove my daughter from the medication or they would not pursue the treatment.
Q What medication was your daughter on?
A Lexapro for anxiety ?-
Q And ?- and how long did ?- how long had your daughter been on Lexapro?
A About a period of a year.
Q And who prescribed that Lexapro?
A Her local pediatrician.
Q Did Dr. Buttar’s office consult with your local pediatrician when they recommended that she be taken off Lexapro?
A No, they did not.
Q And at some point what happened to your daughter after she started ?- after you started self-administering this chelation cream?
A Initially, it was uneventful, but she began to deteriorate, regress is how it’s referred to, and the regression was extremely significant. We were unable to even get her to come out of the home when she had previously been very social and happy. She wouldn’t wear clothes. She was no longer sleeping through the night. She wasn’t eating properly and she was extremely restless.
Q Okay. And did you consult Dr. Buttar’s office about these issues?
A Absolutely.
Q And what was the response?
A That we just needed to continue because this was to be expected, that she was moving metal and that we just needed to keep doing what we were doing.
Q Okay. And ?- and did you continue to do that?
A Yes.
Q And at some ?- and how did your daughter respond even after you continued the ?- the treatments?
A She just continued to get worse.
Q And at some point did ?- what did you do after that?
A Well, we had made an appointment to come to the office in person and we had hoped at that point, with an in-person physical examination by the doctor, we would get some remedy and advice for the significant amount of deterioration we were experiencing.

Dr. Buttar’s office pulled the young girl off of her anxiety medication. They had the family apply a trans-dermal chelation cream. The girl started to “deteriorate”

Q And I’ll read to you a note and ask you to comment. It says: Discussed plan with Jane, concur on issue regarding Lexapro, reassess patient that worsening is to be expected due to Herxheimer’s response and due to mobilization. Due to age consider IV challenge for best metal yield.
Is that when you talked ?- is that when you and Dr. Buttar’s office began talking about ?-
A I’m sorry, can you repeat that? My phone calling interrupted.
Q I’m sorry. It says: Discussed plan with Jane, concur on issue regarding Lexapro. Is that when you had a conversation about taking your child off Lexapro?
A Yes, but I hope that’s not referring to me concurring.
Q Okay. And above that there’s a typed note that says: Plan to wean off Lexapro, discussed with Dr. Buttar.
But is ?- were you having conversations with Ms. Garcia to take your child off Lexapro and then start this chelation therapy for your child’s autism?

Dr. Buttar suggested a “challenge” chelation test. Here is what the Americal College of Medical Toxicologists has to say about “challenge” testing:

It is, therefore, the position of the American College of Medical Toxicology that post-challenge urinary metal testing has not been scientifically validated, has no demonstrated benefit, and may be harmful when applied in the assessment and treatment of patients in whom there is concern for metal poisoning.

I guess I am curious as to why Dr. Buttar thought an IV chelation was needed for the challenge. If his trans-dermal cream chelates, shouldn’t that be sufficient?

Q I’m sorry. It says: Discussed plan with Jane, concur on issue regarding Lexapro. Is that when you had a conversation about taking your child off Lexapro?
A Yes, but I hope that’s not referring to me concurring.
Q Okay. And above that there’s a typed note that says: Plan to wean off Lexapro, discussed with Dr. Buttar.
But is ?- were you having conversations with Ms. Garcia to take your child off Lexapro and then start this chelation therapy for your child’s autism?
A Yes, we had discussed it twice.
Q Okay. And ?- and then you began the autism treatments in January, correct?
A Correct.
Q And how did the materials get to you?
A By the mail.
Q And ?- and was there any lab testing involved?
A Yes, routine lab testing was urine, stool, hair.
Q And who did this lab testing?
A Either we did or if it required a blood draw, a local phlebotomy clinic.
Q And all this was occurring in Michigan?
A That’s correct.
Q And when your daughter got the chelation cream, who administers that?
A We did, the parents.
Q And how did you do it? Did you do it pursuant to instructions from Dr. Buttar’s office?
A Yes.
Q And ?- and all this is occurring without you ever coming to North Carolina to see Dr. Buttar or his nurse practitioner?
A That’s correct.
Q Did you have to send money to Dr. Buttar’s office before these materials were sent to you?
A Yes.
Q How much money did you send?
A The initial was right at $3,000.
Q Okay. You talked about your daughter deteriorating and then you said you made an appointment to see Dr. Buttar. Approximately when was that?
A Approximately April.
Q And what happened after you made that appointment?
A We were ?- we did another round of testing that was expected to arrive in the office prior to our visit for a review on that and other than that, we simply prepared for the trip.
Q Okay. When you got to North Carolina what ?- did you go to Dr. Buttar’s office?
A Yes.
Q Was he there?
A No, he was not.
Q Who did you see?
A Ms. Garcia.

Yes, Dr. Buttar charged $3,000 for them to work with his nurse practioner. They made an appointment to travel from Michigan to North Carolina (a distance of over 800 miles) and Dr. Buttar did not see them. His nurse practitioner saw them and did not examine the patient:

Q (By Mr. Jimison) Okay. Did you have a meeting with Ms. Garcia?
A We did.
Q Did Ms. Garcia examine your child during that meeting?
A She was in a room, but she didn’t have an examination, no.
Q Okay. And what was the result of that meeting with Ms. Garcia?
A The large part of the meeting was the — for lack of a better word — sell — to first do IV chelation.
Q And ?- and did you do that?
A No, we did not.
Q And why not?
A My daughter was already significantly deteriorating and appeared to be very sick and there was no way we were going to go get a more aggressive form ?-
Q Okay.
A?- when we haven’t even seen the doctor.
Q And how is your daughter doing now?
A She’s fine, she’s much better.

The young girl is doing much better since leaving Dr. Buttar’s care.

I’ve kept the commentary to a minimum. Take a read. Tell me what you think. Take a look at the actual transcripts and let me know if I’ve been cherry picking.

8 Responses to “Transcripts of the Rashid Buttar hearings–a peek at how alternative medicine treats autistic children”

  1. NightStorm May 4, 2010 at 20:06 #

    I pity the mother who continued to trust on Dr. Buttar, even though he never saw her or E.

  2. David N. Brown May 5, 2010 at 00:52 #

    Two questions:
    This is what Buttar is willing to disclose to the public??
    The board did NOT take his license???

  3. Sullivan May 5, 2010 at 00:55 #

    Boggles the mind, doesn’t it, David?

  4. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. May 5, 2010 at 04:42 #

    DNA adds a question to DNB’s list of two:

    3- is there something about the relationship between Buttar and the licensing board that we aren’t aware of – yet?

  5. rente August 15, 2011 at 14:35 #

    Ich denke nehme diese Website Bedürfnisse Weg mehr Betracht. Ich werde wahrscheinlich höchstwahrscheinlich werden wieder zu Sprachreisen weit , vielen Dank für die Info.

  6. Andralyn October 18, 2011 at 07:53 #

    I will be pttinug this dazzling insight to good use in no time.


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