International Coalition for Medical Justice
9 Feb. 2000
A press conference will be held on Wednesday, 9 February 2000, at the Crowne Plaza Metro
Centre to discuss the court's ruling in the highly publicized and controversial case of an HIV+
woman who refused to consent to toxic anti-retroviral therapy for her minor children. The
children were subsequently taken from her care and forced to undergo mandatory treatment.
ICMJ attorney Robert Beard (present in the courtroom) and Executive Director Deane Collie
will discuss the judicial decision and will reconstruct trial data from the proceedings. The mother
"Jane Doe", whose written statement will be available, will be present, but her identity will be
concealed to comply with confidentiality requirements.
Advocates of the further inquiry into the causes of AIDS won a major victory last month when a
judge ruled that a Quebec woman's decision to refuse combination cocktail treatment for her
two HIV-positive children did not make her an unfit mother. Furthermore, the judge ruled that
dissenting medical thought concerning the treatment of HIV-positive persons was appropriate
for decision-making by parents and consideration by the court.
The judge declined, however, to return the children to the care of the mother, citing her decision
to treat her children with homeopathic and natural remedies as opposed to treatment with strictly
Western medicine. This may have far reaching implications for a growing number of Canadians
who choose alternative medicine and healthy lifestyle options for themselves and their families.
While the mother was allowed to retain legal custody, the two children were placed in the care
of their maternal grandparents, while authority for medical decision-making for the children was
confided in the office of youth protection services in Quebec. The court ordered that this
arrangement be reviewed after six months.
Under this office's watch, the children have been subjected to anti-retroviral and other therapies
which include Retrovir (AZT), Norvir, 3TC, Crixivan and Septra. All of these drugs have been
shown to have high levels of toxicity in many categories, and many are dosed according to adult
guidelines because no data has been established for their use and efficacy in children.
The older child (Child A) has since been hospitalized with kidney problems that are not
indicative of opportunistic infections commonly associated with AIDS, but can instead be
directly attributed to the toxic effects of this therapy. The younger child (Child B) has exhibited
signs of lethargy, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and malaise that can also be attributed to this
The older child has since been released from the hospital. ICMJ has been informed that the
treating doctors have identified the kidney dysfunction as a "viral" pyelonephritis, although it has
been clearly established that pyelonephritis is an anticipated adverse reaction to the medications
being given the children.
The mother and her lawyers have made repeated unsuccessful attempts to secure medical
records for Child A since the hospitalization. It is our understanding that neither the lawyer for
the children nor the social workers from youth protection (who make medical decisions for the
children) have had medical records made available to them. If necessary, the mother's lawyers
are ready to seek a court order for the release of the medical records.
"It is morally wrong for 'Doctor X' and his associates to hold these medical records hostage. It is
excessively punitive for the mother, and for all who hold a sincere interest in the health of these
children," says Deane Collie, executive director of ICMJ.
"It is imperative that this therapy be discontinued before further damage can be done to these
children. It is incredible that trained medical professionals would risk possible civil action for the
sake of continuing a method of treatment that they concede cannot cure either HIV or AIDS,"
says Robert Beard, general counsel for ICMJ.
"Because their efforts are focused entirely on the battle with the HIV virus, well-meaning
physicians are unable to perceive that they are diminishing, and not improving, the quality of life
of these children. The medical community says that these children must die, and that this toxic
medication is only their 'best hope' to hold the disease at bay. How tragic that the medical
community and the government have decided that these children need pills more than they need
their mother," Collie says.
For more info see the ICMJ website.