Boy Killed By Psychiatric Drugs

A 12 year old boy, Denis Maltez, labeled autistic, in the Miami area, was drugged to death by his psychiatrist, Dr. Stephen L. Kaplan.

The story was covered by the Miami Herald in an article, Red flags overlooked in prescription drug death of 12-year-old.

Dr. Steven L. Kaplan solved the 70-pound boy’s problems with a prescription pad, writing orders for two different anti-psychotic drugs along with a tranquilizer and a mood stabilizer — three of them in the highest doses recommended for adults, records show.

Dr. Kaplan, following a 2007 visit to his office, had described young Denis as “hyper, needy, pesty”. Disturbing, yes, and then.

Two weeks after Kaplan last saw the boy, on May 23, 2007, Denis simply stopped breathing. The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office attributed the death to a life-threatening side effect of over-medication, records show.

The specific psychiatric drugs Denis was taking are detailed in the same article.

Denis was prescribed 20 milligrams of Zyprexa, 800 milligrams of Seroquel —the highest adult dose for both anti-psychotics, a reviewer said — one-half milligram of Klonopin, a tranquilizer and 2000 milligrams of Depakote, a mood stabilizer — also a high dose for Denis’ 70-pound frame. Neither of the anti-psychotic drugs has been approved for use with children.

Emphasis added.

Prescribing drugs for uses not approved by the FDA is a practice known as “off label” prescribing. Although illegal, it is a practice drug companies have tended to encourage.

Dr. Kaplan remains in a state of denial regarding his role in the death of this child.

Another article, in a later edition of the Miami Herald, dealing with Dr. Kaplan’s removal from Medicaid coverage, Controversial Miami psychiatrist dropped from Medicaid program, is more explicit regarding the boys death.

The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office attributed the boy’s death to serotonin syndrome, also called serotonin toxicity, which can occur when an excess of medications causes the body to produce too much serotonin, a chemical that helps brain and nerve cells to function.

Teachers, as well as mental health professionals, had complained that Denis was clearly being “over-medicated” prior to his death by psychiatric drugs.

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