Probe into tot's death after cold treated with tea
Published 24/10/2011 | 05:00
A COUPLE who treated their sick four-year-old son with alternative medicine are being investigated for manslaughter, Italian police have said.
Luca Monsellato was taken to hospital with a high fever and cold symptoms but failed to respond to emergency medical treatment and died.
His parents, Marcello and Giovanna Pantaleo, told doctors they had been treating his apparent three-week cold with fennel tea -- a popular homeopathic remedy for coughs -- in an attempt to keep his fever under control.
They eventually took him to hospital when his condition worsened. Staff at the hospital described Luca as looking "pale, thin and breathless".
Mr Monsellato (52), of the southern Italian town of Tricase, close to Lecce, has been a doctor of alternative medicine for more than 20 years.
He is honorary president of Italy's Homeopathic Sinergy Association and an expert on acupuncture.
He told staff at the hospital how his son had been suffering from the effects of a cold for three weeks and they had given him fennel tea instead of other medical treatment.
Alberto Santacatterina, the local prosecutor, said: "A manslaughter investigation has been opened against the parents of Luca. We are looking into the events that surrounded his death and whether they were responsible by not giving him proper medical treatment when he was ill."
A post-mortem examination yesterday ruled that Luca died from natural causes, but police said they were still investigating his parents' actions.
The couple, who have been bailed, have denied any wrongdoing through their lawyer, Alfredo Cardigliano, who said the family were thinking of bringing negligent charges against doctors at the hospital for not looking after their son properly.
Yesterday, a message on the website of the Homeopathic Sinergy Association said: "We are united in our condolences to honorary president Dr Marcello Monsellato and his family.
"We fully support Dr Monsellato who, in 30 years of practice, has worked with love and professionalism with thousands of patients who have turned to him for help." (© Daily Telegraph, London)