The man’s autopsy report lists his cause of death as “organ failure due mainly to cirrhosis of the liver, with contributing factors of high blood pressure and obesity.” It questions whether the man should have been given an IV in the first place.
“It is important to assess the overall health of individuals seeking intravenous vitamin infusion therapy, including laboratory studies to assess kidney and liver function prior to the initiation of therapy,” the report said.
The autopsy said that extensive blood tests performed for bacterial, viral and fungal infections came back negative. However, Stanley Goldfarb, a kidney specialist at the University of Pennsylvania hospital and critic of the elective IV industry, said an infection couldn’t have been ruled out unless the IV was examined -- and the IVs used on the man were thrown away.
“It certainly sounds like something happened in the infusion,” Goldfarb said. “Unless the authorities obtained some cultures or chemical analysis of what was infused, it is impossible to know for sure. Toxins can be in the infused material, even bacteria, and not show up on culture or assessment of the patient.”
Wellness spas aren’t among facilities regulated by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, according to department director Randall Williams. But since the man’s death, Williams said those regulations may be updated.
Elective infusions of vitamins began in Las Vegas and have gained popularity in recent years, the Star reported. The medical establishment is skeptical of the treatment, saying most people get vitamins they need by mouth, and that there are risks every time a needle is inserted into someone’s bloodstream, according to The Star.