Doctors claim first marijuana overdose death

Two poison control doctors claim 11-month-old died from an apparent medical marijuana overdose in Colorado.

DENVER, Colo. - Medical experts have always believed that you can't overdose on marijuana, but that may no longer be true. 

The case in question dates to 2015. An 11-month old boy was brought into an ER in Denver, Colorado.

“The kid never really got better. One thing led to another and the kid’s heart stopped. He stopped breathing and died,” said Dr. Christopher Hoyt.

Dr. Hoyt was working at the regional poison control center in Denver the night the boy was brought to the emergency room. He and another doctor set out to see try and explain why the baby died.

“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,” said Dr. Hoyt.

The findings led Dr. Hoyt and another doctor to make a bold claim: “As of this writing, this is the first reported pediatric death associated with cannabis exposure,” said Dr. Hoyt.

The finding is not, however, accepted by everyone in the medical community,

“I’m going to have to call B.S. on this one,” said Dr. Noah Kaufman.

The report was recently published in a medical journal earlier this year.

“That statement is too much. It’s too much as far as I’m concerned, because that is saying confidently that this is the first case, we’ve got one,” said Dr. Kaufman.

To clearly understand the debate, you must know exactly how the boy died. The reason is not in dispute, as an autopsy showed he had myocarditis, an inflammation of the entire heart muscle.

“The fluid builds up and it doesn’t allow the heart to fully expand and beat like it’s supposed to normally,” said Dr. Hoyt.

Dr. Hoyt and the other doctor admit they could only rule out other causes and that it’s not unusual for myocarditis to go unexplained.

“There’s been thousands of ingestions, and there’s generally not a big problem,” said Dr. Kaufman.

All medical experts agree you have to keep marijuana products out of reach from children, but whether it can kill them is still unclear.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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