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Doctor Examines the Jett Travolta Case

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Here's what a leading MD has to say.

There's so much speculation and controversy surrounding Jett Travolta's medical history and death. We asked Dr. Charles Sophy, Medical Director for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, to shed some light.

jett travolta and kelly preston

"I think it's eye-opening that someone with that severity of seizures is only on Depakote when there are so many more specific seizure medications that are used today, such as Tegretol or Neurotin -- which are the two biggest seizure drugs on the market and the first choices by doctors all over the nation," Dr. Sophy says. "It's hard to believe that a family like the Travoltas with the resources they have that they would use Depakote to treat Jett's seizures."

"Interestingly enough, Depakote is often not even used as a seizure drug anymore," Dr. Sophy continues. "What we do know is the Travoltas are Scientologists and that means they don't believe in psychiatry, so maybe their doctor prescribed Depakote to both stabilize Jett's mood and to treat the seizure disorder as well. We will never know if Jett was on Depakote for a seizure disorder or a mood disorder such as bipolar disorder."

"Knowing there were two 'mannies' and a baby monitor signifies the severity of the situation -- it could have been autism, a mood disorder or seizure disorder, but no one can diagnose that for sure without seeing all of Jett's medical records or examining the body," Dr. Sophy explains. "They cremated him immediately, so we won't ever have these answers."

What's ultimately most important, particularly for parents, to take from this tragedy, says Sophy, is not the way Jett died, but the way he lived, surrounded and completely wrapped in the unconditional love of his parents, John and Kelly. "There is no medicine or doctor or therapy that can take the place of that," he says. "And as a medical professional, I can say without reservation that there is no diagnosis, especially now, that matters or would have mattered to Jett more than what he had -- the true love and care of his parents. So the message for all parents here is to love your child, be there for your child, and commit to them and their life 100%."

Our thoughts continue to be with the family in this difficult time.

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9 comments so far | Post a comment now
maggie January 6, 2009, 11:37 PM

Great way to say it..he hit it right on. Dr Sophy is on top of it. He did the same on celebrity rehab this season…HE NEEDS HIS OWN SHOW….

Jill January 6, 2009, 11:39 PM

Smart comments..and yes Dr. Sophy said it..there is nothing that replaces the love and protection by a parent for a child. thanks for posting such a complete piece.

Bruce January 7, 2009, 3:14 AM

My son is 23, born at 1 1/2 lbs, developmentally delayed, with seizure disorder. Interestingly enough, my wife and I have also been devoted Scientologists for over 30 years, so we feel a lot in common with the Travoltas, although I do not know any specifics of Jett’s condition outside of the seizure disorder.

Tegretol has remained a foundation of our son’s regimen, but he did continually suffer breakthrough seizures until we got on to Depakote. Fortunately, that has really nipped it in the bud. But Tegretol did almost become irrelevant at one point.

I personally know of nothing in Scientology that denies my sons condition, outside of possibly feeling on a personal level a bit touchy about not wanting to invalidate your child with any certain label. There’s so much general political correctness goes about on these conditions anyway. Personally, my wife and I are not too cautious about it. He’s a beautiful child, we love him unconditionally, and there’s just not much more to the matter.

Our sympathy goes out to the Travolta family.

amy January 7, 2009, 3:30 AM

I have a son w/a seizure disorder. He was tried on Depakote. It didn’t work and now on Neurotin with good seizure control. Different drugs work for different people. But the truth is what the doc said your child unconditionally……..

daisy January 7, 2009, 10:38 AM

Great assessment. Doc Sophy nails it. And so true there is nothing better then the love you have for your child and to show it to them. No matter what. tks Doc and Momlogic

elizabeth January 8, 2009, 1:08 AM

Hear hear to the words that a parents love is all a child needs tks

wombat January 8, 2009, 10:41 PM

The bottom-line is that Jett was a VICTIM of Scientology. The very tenet of Scientology is that psychiatrists and Neurologists ARE EVIL and all their treatments are HARMFUL! The religion would not exist without this belief.
Don’t believe any press release trying to cover this up from the church.
Dr. Charles Sophy has hit the nail on the head. Jett was not getting proper treatment for his conditon and that is what killed him.

Bruce January 11, 2009, 12:40 PM

Wow! Is wombat calling me a liar? Would you like the entire narrative of my son’s birth at UCI medical center at 1 1/2 lbs., our close work with neurologists, his 1 1/2 years at home trached on a ventilator, and the intense visits to docs to establish a proper medication regimen? I’ll give it to you if you need it.

Scientologists are generally opposed to big pharma’s assault on society with antidepressants. People do generally understand that some individuals who approve drug release in the FDA and psychiatry are heavily in the pocket of big pharma. Who could possibly diagnosis a 2 year as bi-polar and deserving of severe psychotropic medication? That is a travesty, and don’t make me bring out the news clippings in this forum to detail it.

Now you’re free to argue that point, but don’t distort Scientology’s attitude or call me a liar for my heart-felt post. My family history is DEEPLY intertwined with the medical profession. And by the way, families still need to side-check, consult with their doctors, and sometimes advocate for their children the way THEY see fit.

I don’t believe this forum is here to have a debate on Scientology vs. psychiatry. I just wanted to offer my personal story, where we’ve struggled to find the right medication protocol. These conditions are extremely variant and volatile, and there is rarely a crystal clear “proper treatment” protocal that even the docs will agree on. Medicating seizures properly is still very tricky, and no one has the perfect answer.

Kate Noelle January 19, 2009, 9:11 AM

Depakote is a commonly used seizure medication, so we can’t say it’s weird someone would use Depakote for seizures.

OTHER seizure medications should have been used to help Jett Travolta, but were not.

Instead (In an interview with Montel Williams) Kelly Preston stated Scientology’s Purification Rundown was used to help her son …

Consisting of high-heated sauna treatments, large niacin doses, consuming vegetable oil and vigorous exercise.

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