The parents of a four year old boy are said to be “devastated” that their actions left him in hospital in London.
Doctors at Newham Hospital in east London told the BBC the parents had tried to treat their son’s autism with 12 alternative medicines – which culminated in him becoming very sick.
The boy developed a potentially fatal condition after taking a combination of supplements over a number of months, including Epsom bath salts, camel’s milk, Vitamin D and silver.
He was admitted to A&E after losing 3kg over just three weeks, vomiting and suffering from extreme thirst.
Dr Abdul Moodambail told the BBC that the parents thought the health supplements were natural and therefore had no side effects to worry about.
“The situation was stark because the child developed vitamin D toxicity leading to very high calcium levels, making the child quite unwell,” he said.
Luckily for his patient, the boy made a full recovery over two weeks, after being treated with hyperhydration and medications to reduce the levels of calcium in his body.
In the report on the case, Dr Moodambail and Dr Catriona Boyd said many parents turn to alternative remedies to treat children with long term conditions, but many are unregulated and can therefore be dangerous if not used correctly.
According to the NHS choices website (National Health Service of the UK), complementary and alternative therapies are classed as:
• Complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) are treatments that fall outside of mainstream healthcare
• Generally when a non-mainstream practice is used together with conventional medicine, it is considered "complementary"
• When a non-mainstream practice is used instead of conventional medicine, it is considered "alternative"
• Examples of CAMS include homeopathy, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic and herbal medicines
• Some complementary and alternative medicines or treatments are based on principles and an evidence base that are not recognised by the majority of independent scientists
• Others have been proven to work for a limited number of health conditions, such as osteopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture for treating lower back pain
• When a person uses any health treatment - including a CAM - and experiences an improvement, this may be due to the placebo effect
• Osteopaths and chiropractors are regulated in the same way as mainstream medical professionals
• There is no statutory professional regulation of any other CAM practitioners