Child Killer Doctor Walks

I don’t know if you’ve been following this case in the news, but it’s a humdinger. Rebecca Riley, only 4 years old, died of an overdose of psychiatric drugs at her home in Weymouth, Massachusetts on December 13, 2006. A Plymouth County Grand Jury hearing the case has refused to indict her psychiatrist, Dr. Kayoko Kifuji, on criminal charges. Her parents are facing murder charges, albeit reduced from first to second degree.

Rebecca was taking Clonidine, Depakote, Seroquel, and several other over-the-counter drugs at the time of her death.

Although her psychiatrist withdrew her license to practice in Massachusetts pending review of the case, she still wants to practice psychiatry in Massachusetts. She also faces civil charges with regard to the death of this child. The couple claims they were administering the drugs under her orders.

Prosecutors allege that Rebecca died of an overdose of drugs given to her by her parents. They allege that her pill hungry parents tricked her doctor into authorizing more refills of her prescription drugs than were called for. Affidavits allege “a pattern of abuse and neglect” from her parents before she died.

The child’s mother, Carolyn Riley, claims her child died of rare but deadly micro-plasma pneumonia. Dr. Kifuji supposedly warned her that increasing the dose of Clonidone could lower Rebecca’s blood pressure to a level that could be dangerous. The child’s father, Michael Riley, is serving a jail sentence after being convicted in an unrelated case of providing pornography to a minor. He was acquitted of attempted rape of a minor, and indecent assault and battery.

Rebecca was, get this, 2 years old when Dr. Kifuji diagnosed her as suffering from Bipolar Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder! This fact makes me wonder what was going on in the minds of the members of the grand jury when they neglected to indict. The terrible twos may be a terrible ordeal for parents to face, but no child has Bipolar Disorder at 2 years of age! This is a blatant example of gross child abuse.

Had I served on this Grand Jury, I would have surely leaned toward some sort of indictment on the grounds that at best this doctor aided and abetted the parents in the killing of their child. Seriously, would the parents have been giving their child those drugs if the doctor had not given her a diagnosis in the first place? I think not! Doctors are not above the law, and when instances like this occur, they should be held accountable. I don’t think the doctor has been found accountable in this case.

Oh, well, it’s not over yet. Some vague and remote mockery of justice could still be achieved in civil court. We will just have to wait and see what kind of decision is reached there.

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