Two Colorado doctors claim baby boy fatally overdosed on marijua - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Two Colorado doctors claim baby boy fatally overdosed on marijuana

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DENVER -

Two doctors from Colorado claim that their patient, a baby boy, died of an overdose on marijuana.

The case in question happened in 2015 the second year of recreational marijuana sales in Colorado. An 11-month-old boy came into the ER after a seizure, barely conscious.

Doctors had to insert a breathing tube into the baby, but his heart began to fail.

"The kid never really got better, and just one thing led to another and the kid ended up with a heart stopped," said Dr. Chris Hoyte. "The kid stopped breathing and died."

Dr. Hoyte was on duty at the Regional Poison Control Center in Denver that day and was called to help. He and another doctor at the center set out to explain why the baby died when the boy's blood and urine tested positive for marijuana.

"We just wanted to make sure that we're not going to call this a marijuana-related fatality if there was something else that we could point at. And we looked and looked and couldn't find it."

Which led the doctors to come to what in scientific speak amounts to a very bold claim: 

"As of this writing, this is the first reported pediatric death associated with cannabis exposure," Dr. Hoyte said. 

"I'm gonna have to call BS on this one," said Dr. Noah Kaufman

Dr. Noah Kaufman is an ER specialist who reviewed the report published in a medical journal earlier this year to give us a second opinion.

"That statement is too much," Dr. Kaufman said. "That is too much as far as I'm concerned because that is saying confidently that this is the first case... and I still disagree with that."

To understand the controversy you need to know exactly how this boy died.

The condition that killed him is not in dispute. The autopsy found he had Myocarditis, an inflammation of his whole heart muscle which pushed into the sac around the heart.

"There's fluid that builds up on the inside of that sac. Sometimes it doesn't allow the heart to fully expand and beat like it's supposed to normally," Dr. Hoyte told KUSA.

Doctors know Myocarditis can be caused by drugs, but more commonly it's caused by an infection.

(sot: dr. Chris hoyte - rocky mountain poison and drug center)
"We thought it was more likely that it was something else but we tested a lot of things, even things that are very rare to find in kids, and we found none of those things on this kid," Dr. Hoyte said. "The only thing that we found was a high concentration of THC in this kid's urine and ended up in this kid's blood also."

One thing all of the doctors agreed on: If you keep marijuana products in the house, keep them out of the reach of kids.

It can make kids sick, but sick enough to die?  

"We may never know really," Dr. Kaufman said. 

New restrictions on edibles went into effect last month in Colorado with the aim of preventing kids from accidentally eating them. They cannot look like an existing candy product or be made to look like an animal, person or fruit.

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