Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Father blames son's suicide on 'telemedicine'

In August 2005, John McKay, a 19-year-old Stanford student and former high school debate champion, committed suicide by rolling up the windows in a car at his mother's Menlo Park home and piping in exhaust fumes.

In the next few weeks, a Colorado doctor who had prescribed a generic form of Prozac for McKay after receiving his request over the Internet, without ever seeing or examining him, will go on trial in Redwood City on possibly precedent-setting charges of practicing medicine in California without a license.

A conviction of Dr. Christian Hageseth, 67, "would send a clear message to those individuals who are blindly writing prescriptions to patients they know nothing about," said the youth's father, David McKay, a former Stanford professor now living in Colorado. They would have to ask themselves, he said, "whether quick and easy money is worth the risk of a criminal conviction and permanent loss of their medical license."


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