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Washington, U.S.A. — Although parents should be the protectors of their children, they can also be their most severe abusers.
This seems to be the case in the life of Ariana-Leilani King-Pfeiffer, a 9-year-old dual German/American Citizen whose father is denying her access to medication that would save her life.
The child has been diagnosed with severe chronic neutropenia (SCN), a life-threatening disease affecting only one in one million people worldwide. The condition entails a scarcity of neutrophils, which defend the body from bacterial infections. She is on the Severe Chronic Neutropenia International Registry (SCNIR) with less than 1000 others worldwide.
While healthy individuals contain between 3000 and 7000 neutrophils per mm^3 in their body, in the case of someone with severe neutropenia the absolute neutrophil count falls below 500 neutrophils per mm^3 for over 3 months according to the SCNIR. In such cases, seemingly minor bacterial infections could result in toxic shock, loss of limbs, or prove fatal—at any moment.
SCN can be acquired in a variety of ways: through chemotherapy treatment, from a viral infection, an autoimmune response and some individuals are born with the condition. Dismissing these possibilities in the case of King-Pfeiffer based on her medical records, Dr. Karl H. Welte, Co-Director of the SCNIR believes her condition has likely been “induced by toxic agents”—meaning someone is purposely introducing harmful drugs into the child’s system.
Patients can be treated with the hormone G-CSF, also known as neupogen. This medication helps them to fight off infections by increasing neutrophil levels. However, according to an affidavit by Dr. Robert Sklaroff, King-Pfeiffer is not receiving adequate treatment. While her medical records indicate that she was administered neupogen during three yearly dental visits, resulting in her ANC levels rising from 3000 to 9000, she is not being given the medication regularly as needed.
However, her father has made securing excessive amounts of the addictive ADHD medication Concerta for his child a monthly priority. Considering this, one is left wondering why he has neglected to provide neupogen for his highly at-risk child, although she is entitled to it free of charge through the SCNIR.
The NGO Innocence in Danger International brought these circumstances to the attention of the German Embassy in Washington DC. They then proceeded to write to the relevant U.S. authorities in order to call them to action, explaining, “we feel that a fully independent medical examination of the child should be ordered.” So far no toxicology screenings or urinalyses have been performed and the only physician treating the child is an associate of her father.
Visit www.Ariana-Leilani.org to learn more about the critical condition of this child and the neglect that is putting her life in danger. Make sure to sign and circulate the petition on the site urging political actors to ensure she receives the treatment necessary to save her life.
Image Courtesy of Ariel foundation