Doctor fired over autism treatment

Jan. 10, 2012 at 7:59 PM

SECAUCUS, N.J., Jan. 10 (UPI) -- A neuroscientist who would have been in charge of a controversial therapy for children with autism has been fired by a New Jersey hospital, officials said.

Philip DeFina was to oversee an ambitious proposal by Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus to offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy to children diagnosed with autism, The (Newark) Star-Ledger reported Tuesday.

The hospital had applied for permission from the state Department of Health and Senior Services for the therapy, typically used to treat burns and other wounds by suffusing dying tissue with oxygen, the newspaper said.

The application encountered strong opposition from traditional medical and psychological experts who said the treatment would offer families false hope while leaving them with a large financial burden because such a use for the therapy is not covered by insurance.

Questions have been raised about DeFina's doctorate in clinical psychology from Fielding Graduate University, a mainly online university with monthly in-person sessions.

Meadowlands withdrew the application to treat autism using hyperbarics Nov. 30.

Hospital spokesman Bill Maer confirmed last week DeFina was terminated Dec. 2, giving no additional information regarding his dismissal, the Star-Ledger reported.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
North Korea officials defecting in fear of rising executions
North Korea: Airport terminal is 'new face' of country
Texas police body cam video shows fatal shooting
North Korea seeks help from Iran in battle against drought
Volkswagen assembly robot kills worker