Illinois charges DAN doctor with unethical behavior

13 Oct

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has charged a well-known Naperville physician with “unprofessional, unethical and/or dishonorable conduct.”

Dr. Anju Usman, a familiar face at anti-vaccine conferences in the US and abroad,   allegedly lied about or exaggerated the value of treatments, and “demonstrated extreme departure from rational medical judgment” and “abused the patient/physician relationship.” Regulators are moving to have Usman’s medical license revoked or suspended, or otherwise disciplined.

The report, written by science writer Trine Tsouderos, says:

The complaint, filed Wednesday, revolves around Usman’s care of a boy diagnosed with autism whose treatment was described in the Tribune’s series “Dubious Medicine.” The series detailed the many unproven therapies prescribed for the boy and found that many alternative treatments for autism amount to uncontrolled experimentation on children.

According to the complaint, the boy began seeing Usman shortly after he was diagnosed with mild to moderate autism in the spring of 2004. He was not yet two.

Usman allegedly diagnosed the child with a calcium-to-zinc imbalance, yeast, dysbiosis, low zinc, heavy metal toxicity and abnormally high levels of aluminum, antimony, arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, silver, tin, titanium, and selenium.

Dr. Anju Usman

Usman is the defendant in a civil suit filed by the boy’s father in 2010. Also named are Dan Rossignol, a Florida DAN doctor; and Doctors Data, a Chicago-based laboratory that performs tests used to convince patients that they have dangerously high levels of lead, mercury, or other heavy metals that require “detoxification” to reduce these levels.

Usman is also associated with the 2005 death-by-chelation of five-year-old Tariq Nadama. According to court records, Usman diagnosed the boy with “high aluminum” and referred him to Roy Kerry, a Pennsylvania physician. Kerry, an ear-nose-and throat surgeon, inexplicably treated the boy for lead poisoning.

According to Kerry’s notes, which were published by the Pennsylvania Medical Board:

“We don’t have the entire record at all. Mother left her entire volume of his records home. But we have been in communication with Dr. Usman regarding EDTA therapy. He apparently has a very high aluminum and has not been responding to other types of therapies and therefore she is recommending EDTA, which we do on a routine basis with adults. We therefore checked him to it … But on testing for the deficiency indicator we find him only indicating the need for EDTA at the present time. Therefore we agree with Dr. Usman’s recommendation to proceed with the treatment. She recommends 50mg per kilo. He is 42 pounds today. So we’ll treat him with a 20-kilo child and give 1 gram of EDTA.

Nadama arrested and died in front of his mother during the third chelation round in August, 2005. A year later, Kerry was certified as a DAN doctor after completing an eight-hour training course. Prosecutors declined to charge Kerry for the death, and the state medical board suspended his license for six months and ordered extra training.

Usman spoke at AutismOne in Chicago last May, a cult-like annual gathering that expels skeptical writers and news reporters. Her topic: Prevention & Raising Healthy Kids in a Toxic World.

15 Responses to “Illinois charges DAN doctor with unethical behavior”

  1. Lisa R. October 14, 2011 at 01:13 #

    About time! This is one of the great-grandmothers of the “autism toxicity” movement.

    • Sullivan October 14, 2011 at 01:20 #

      How can Dr. Usman defend herself? She can’t claim that her methods are effective. The literature is against her. She can’t claim that her methods are accepted by actual toxicologists, as they aren’t. Will she defend or will she settle? If she defends, she has to be hoping that the court takes a stance of not wanting to make pronouncements on medical efficacy.

  2. Anne October 14, 2011 at 09:26 #

    Trine Tsouderos is my hero.

  3. MikeMa October 14, 2011 at 13:41 #

    A successful, rational defense may seem unlikely, but this woman seems to have swallowed the whole pill and be unable to process reality like a normal person. It would be nice to have something precedent setting to caution other DAN crap dispensers.

  4. Steve October 16, 2011 at 00:42 #

    I find the blogs above by Anne and others narrow minded and vindictive and I would bet uninformed and manipulated by so called quack hunters like tsouderos. I have a copy of the Dan text and their treatment protocols are not without scientific basis and for the most part are more benign than medications. Furthermore there are thousands of reports from parents of patients with autism treated by Dan doctors demonstrating greater effectiveness than any other medical treatment. I think we should applaud the work of Dan doctors and not persecute them like some witch hunt. FDA approved pharmaceuticals and medical treatment is responsible for over 100,000 deaths per year. Don’t be so quick to condemn that which know nothing about.

    • Sullivan October 16, 2011 at 01:18 #


      can you tell me how many deaths, or just adverse reactions there are per year in children treated by DAN doctors? If so, would you point me to where they keep that data? As far as I can see, no one tracks this. No one. Read the biomed yahoo groups and you will find a steady stream of adverse reactions.

      Can you point me to where anyone has shown any part of the DAN methodologies to be beneficial? I need more than vague statements that parents claim these methods work. Parents thought secretin worked. It doesn’t. Parents think homeopathy works. It can’t. How about data.

      Seriously, how is a parent supposed to do a risk/benefit calculation without any data on risk or benefit?

    • America Luv1 April 13, 2013 at 02:28 #

      I can reply as I’m very familiar with this phony treatment. As an investigator for our state medical board, I investigated individuals involved with this scheme and they were severely penalized by the Board.

      Beware: there are people out there who are claiming to be physicians, nurse practitioners, etc., when they actually have little to no training or even a license to practice.

      This is a very dangerous game greedy people are playing at the risk of children’s lives.

  5. Visitor October 16, 2011 at 19:21 #

    Eight hours training to become a Dan doctor. Hell, I’m impressed!

  6. Julian Frost October 16, 2011 at 20:38 #


    FDA approved pharmaceuticals and medical treatment is responsible for over 100,000 deaths per year.

    Oh, really? I’ve seen this claim before. What I’ve not seen is any, you know, hard evidence for it. I mean evidence that the person was killed by the pharmaceutical or treatment, and not by the condition for which they were receiving treatment.

  7. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. October 17, 2011 at 04:10 #

    Steve… grow an IQ and think about what you said in your post!

  8. Anne October 17, 2011 at 05:29 #

    BTW, I should’ve made it clear that I’m a fan of Ms. Tsouderos after reading many previous fine investigative reports, not just because she reported on this case.

  9. RAJ October 17, 2011 at 22:32 #

    Actually the rate of death by medical errors is 225,000 per year, including 106,000 deaths by FDA correctly prescribed medicines. This is a study published by Johns Hopkins researchers in the US :

  10. Chris October 18, 2011 at 00:42 #

    [citation required]

    (and not a link to a conspiracy website)

  11. daedalus2u October 18, 2011 at 02:06 #

    I looked it up and found the paper the number is based on.

    It is a poor paper with flawed methods. A good analysis of it is:

    These authors asked a number of questions about the paper:

    “The answers to the questions originally posed in our review of the ADR meta-analysis are as follows:”

    (1) Were ADRs defined with sufficient precision and consistency across studies to permit pooling of study results? No.
    (2) Were preventable ADRs reported separately from all adverse events in each study? No.
    (3) Were the correct numbers (ie, number of patients with probable/definite ADRs) used for computing ADR incidence rates? No.
    (4) In meta-analyses, were appropriate adjustments made for differences in studies, patients, and outcomes? No.

    The results were the extrapolation of small numbers following inappropriate imputation of what the numerator or denominator should be.

    Better studies with much larger patient populations over much longer times show far fewer deaths (about 2 orders of magnitude lower).

  12. Chris October 18, 2011 at 02:42 #

    How many people would have died without real medical care?

    Well, I know that number would include myself (six weeks of nasty bacterial pneumonia) and my oldest son. In fact we had to call 911 for my oldest due to issues with his genetic heart condition about two months ago, just like we called when he had seizures as a toddler.

    Tell me, RAJ, what options do DAN! docs have for kids with seizure disorders and abnormal heart anatomy? Be sure to post the actual factual scientific evidence on the studies that show DAN! protocols are really good in kids with seizure disorders, and actually keep mitral valves from being damaged from increased pressure due to enlarged heart muscle. Just list the journal, title and dates of those papers.

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