Couple Whose Daughter Allegedly Died of AIDS-Related Pneumonia Without Having HIV Test Allowed To Keep Son
A Van Nuys, Calif., couple who were investigated for possible child endangerment after their three-year-old daughter died in May of what the Los Angeles County coroner said was AIDS-related pneumonia will retain custody of their eight-year-old son, the Los Angeles Times reports. Three recent test results showed that the boy is HIV-negative, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services said on Wednesday, and the department expects to close its investigation (Costello, Los Angeles Times, 9/29). Prior to the girl's death, her parents did not have her or her brother tested for HIV even though their mother, Christine Maggiore, has tested HIV-positive and breastfed both children. Maggiore does not believe that HIV causes AIDS and is the founder of Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives, a not-for-profit organization that challenges "common assumptions" about AIDS. Maggiore said her daughter's death has not changed her views on HIV, and she and her husband, Robin Scovill, have questioned the coroner's findings and are sending the report to another reviewer (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/27). The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the parents on possible criminal charges for their handling of their daughter's health care (Los Angeles Times, 9/29). Jay Gordon, a Santa Monica, Calif., pediatrician who had treated the girl since she was one year old, said he regretted not demanding that she undergo an HIV test. But another doctor involved in the case, Paul Fleiss, said he did not believe it would have been right to force Maggiore to get her daughter tested for HIV (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/27). The Medical Board of California is investigating both doctors, as well as a third, Philip Inaco, who prescribed antibiotics for the girl two days before her death, even though he is not licensed to practice medicine in California (Los Angeles Times, 9/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.