Jett Travolta: Scientology = Christian Scientism != real science

Friggin’ religions that think they know better than the accumulated world’s medical knowledge.

Who knows if the kid was actually autistic. All I do know is that whether he was or wasn’t, it’s for damn sure that there are other kids in the same fucking situation with Scientologist or Christian Scientist parents who refuse to get advice and therapy that could radically improve their kids’ lives.

No parent deserves to have something like this happen to their kids… but parents who deliberately turn a blind eye to entire medical disciplines come damn close. Sure, be skeptical of psychotherapy and don’t dose every grade schooler with Ritalin – but that’s not the same as ruling out the very existence of autism, for fuck’s sake!

(And what the fuck is with these religions with “science” in their names, whose dogmas are among the most fundamentally anti-scientific – especially medically speaking – of all? The irony is literally sickening.)

With all the press on this I don’t know which side to believe. According to the parents and their doctor, they did have Jett on medication, he suffered from grand mal seizures for most of his life. The medication he was taking apparently had lost it’s effectiveness and the doctor recommended that he stop taking it (due to heavy side effects.)

So I dunno. It’s way to easy to jump on the “Fuck Scientology” bandwagon here, but I’m not entirely sure it was the case of that affecting the parents and their treatment of the child. One strange item though, many of the statements from the family have come by way of a lawyer. Why would a lawyer need to give statements for the family about a supposedly accidental child death?

Yeah, it’s hard to tell. Scientology usually pressures people to stop taking medications, but they may apply a different standard to their celebrities.

What I’ve read:

The kid was having seizures at an alarming rate–at least one a week–his entire life. Whether he was autistic or not, seizures–and these appear to be grand mal seizures–are not autism. Here’s the money quote:

Jett had been having seizures on an average of every four days, until he started taking Depokate. Ossi and McDermott say the drug initially worked, reducing the frequency to approximately once every three weeks.

Jett took Depokate for “several years,” but it eventually lost its effectiveness, according to Ossi and McDermott. They say “it began to cause serious physical damage” including damage to Jett’s liver. And, Jett went back to having at least one seizure every four days. So Travolta and Preston, after consulting neurosurgeons, stopped administering the drug.

Here’s the thing, Depokate is pretty serious shit, some serious fucking medication, and medication that no doctor willingly prescribes, especially for children.

I’m as disgusted by the ramifications of Scientology as much as the next guy, but the internet ghoulling and second-guessing on what appears to be a family tragedy of circumstance is pretty fucking disgusting. Sometimes, bad things happen, and no one’s at fault…things just happen.

I would think the fact that there is news coverage and rampant musings about the parents’ possible wrongdoing to be a good answer to your question.

Yea, seriously fuck Scientology and Christian Science, but we don’t have all the information here, so we can’t really be sure that the church in question had something to do with the boy’s death.

That’s not that out of the ordinary – both parents are really famous and are currently dealing with the death of their 16 year old son (some accounts have him dying in his father’s arms). You want to put a public face on this sort of thing, so you get your lawyer to do it. The last thing you want to do, as a parent right now, is talk to ravenous reporters that want to spin every question they have into how bad of a parent you are.

Yep, I tried to take it as prevention for migraines. Seems like I took it daily, but was warned it would screw up my liver. It did not really work and I got off it. Even if the effectiveness had not worn thin, prolonged usage of that drug can mess up your innards.

Yes, scientologists are looney, but we do not know how closely any of these people hold to the church’s system of beliefs. Not big on condemning people “Just in Case” they did something stupid. I did that with Heath Ledger because I got all self-righteous about his “possible” suicide while he had a kid. I was wrong. Until you know someone’s specific situation, conjecture is silly.

As others have already pointed out, we don’t know all the details here. That said, freedom of religion and parental rights mean that parents have the final say in most situations about how to deal with medical situations involving their kids, though there are safeguards in place in most states.

The autism activists angle really bothers me, though. While there are legitimate autism cases, there are also very marginal things that are now being lumped in under autism that create the impression the problem is bigger then it actually is.

Ok but then you know your kid is at risk for seizures at any time. Do you send him off to the shower unattended and then not check on him till the next morning!

I’m curious, how many kids do you have? I find non-parents often have very idealistic notions about how easy it is to devote limitless time and energy into attending children constantly.

I don’t know how many kids Travolta has, but if the kid is having a seizure once a week, someone should check on him before and after the shower and right before bed. It’s not like Travolta can’t afford to hire someone if it’s too much of a bother for himself or his wife.

Jett Travolta had a full-time nanny, in addition to his parents keeping an eye on him. The timeline of what happened is still unclear, but numerous news reports say that his parents or his nanny were with him almost all the time.

Obviously, something happened here, but ascribing to it negligence or lack of parental understanding or care seems…well, really fucking stupid.

According to Ossi, around 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 1, John said goodnight to his son, who was tired from a long day spent on the water with his family. Jett went to his room with his nanny. “He always had a nanny by his side because he had a history of seizures,” says Ossi. “John took extra precautions. [Jett] was never alone.”

Mike McDermott, John’s corporate counsel, adds, “John did everything in his power to revive [his son.] John and Jett had a very strong relationship. Words cannot explain how close they were. This will take a lot of time. His life will never be the same again.”

From the timeline, it sounds as if the kid got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and had a seizure.

There are conflicting stories on the timeline. He had 2 full time nannies in the house on the vacation with them. Originally it was said he went for a shower in the evening and was found in the morning. Now there are conflicting stories that he under constant supervision the entire time and a buzzer was installed on the bathroom door so they would know when he was in there

I do not intend to demean this event. I have a son and I could not imagine the pain losing him would be like. If they did all they could then fine but clearly someone? <nanny> was negligent here. The long term health issue that may or may not have been ignored by Travolta is a different issue. I do firmly believe that any scientologist who takes this “religion” seriously has a major screw loose. And its attitude toward some medical and mental therapies to the detriment of kids and or loved ones is hard to argue against in my opinion. If you tell me they have to join it to get a break in Hollywood because that is where the money / power / connections are then fine but I can’t take anyone seriously who invests time and effort in a religion based on thetans and space travellers and no I am not a practicing Christian or Muslim either.

OK, well, thanks for posting the info about Jett’s medications. I hadn’t seen any of that (and why no links in triggercut’s posts?), so I was going off the info I’d seen.

My guess is that the episode that John Travolta talks about where Jett was diagnosed with Kawasaki Syndrome was a misdiagnosis, and that the large doses of aspirin administered pursuant to that produced Reyes Syndrome.

And as anyone who has ever had a family member entrusted to a believer in Scientology, trust me, he was watched. They are not believers in psychiatric medication, but they are nothing if not proponents of supervision.

Some facts and speculation:

  • The kid was fairly clearly autistic. Parents with autism recognize the symptoms, a parent who spent time with Jett and the Travoltas, and has an autistic kid said Jett had Autism, and John Travolta’s own brother said it was clear Jett had autism. Kawasaki syndrome has been widely debunked by doctors, (who point out that it doesn’t last beyond early childhood) and various other experts.

  • With autism often comes seizures.

  • Jett’s “caretaker” was also the scientologist who John Travolta was photographed kissing in a totally non-gay way cough. His qualifications for the job include being a photographer and… (perky buttocks?).

  • Seizures can be treated with a vast range of drugs, and when you are on those drugs you may change treatments during your lifetime as your body changes, this is especially true during puberty. Common to anti-seizure treatment is regular bloodwork to make sure the drugs aren’t causing any problems (say, with liver function). That he was supposedly on anti-seizure drugs and then taken off, and those drugs weren’t replaced with others, is telling.

  • Oh, the drug he was on is on a list of drugs Scientology considers evil and bad.

  • Scientology doesn’t consider Autism or epilepsy as diseases, more a product of ones “witholds” and “overts” (sins). People with both of those medical issues have been told to stop taking medication and instead go on the Scientology ‘detox’ program, that though sauna and liver-damaging levels of vitamins (eg, 7g of niacin) will supposedly cure all your problems. That and expensive auditing.

  • There’s some inconsistencies around the timings of when Jett was last seen and when he was discovered. I put that down to incompetence of the people talking to the press mostly, but for a kid who supposedly had a baby monitor and was meant to be closely supervised it seems he wasn’t.

  • While I am sympathetic to the plight of the Travoltas, I am not sympathetic to the fantasy of Scientology and its medical nonsense. Interesting also to note is that within two hours of the accident John’s jett was in Clearwater, Florida (HQ of Scientology) picking up various spin doctors and handlers for his no-doubt intensive “handling” and auditing to deal with this “flap”.

There’s a lot of fuller links, debate and dox over on the forums -

Maybe not, but it certainly helps with drug tests, which is probably where the idea comes from.

Hahaha - never knew you could fool drugs tests!

Anti-Bunny, you are wrong. The Narconon regimen is based on significantly less scientific knowledge than that.

I still think that a megadose of aspirin during a fever caused severe brain damage resulting in seizures. And yes, Calistas is right in that anti-seizure medication falls under psychiatric medication, and the Church of Scientology absolutely denies that Psychiatry is of any value.