New film provides insight into life of a mother who killed autistic son

ct-met-aj-dorothy-spourdalakis-jpg-20130612A mother, charged with murdering her 14 year old son is the subject of a new documentary film to be shown by the Autism Media Channel in America.

The Chicago mother, Dorothy Spourdalakis was found guilty and charged to be held without bond along side caretaker Jolanta Agata Skordzka, for the murder of Alex Spourdalakis in June of this year.

Producer of the film, Polly Tomey spoke to CBS this morning about her relationship with Ms Spourdalakis, stating:

“Dorothy was like any other autism mother, desperate to get help for her child. His death didn’t need to be. It was because there wasn’t anything in place for him.”

One in 88 children are diagnosed as having Autism or a disorder on the Autistic Spectrum in America per annum. It raises questions about how equipped the country is to deal with the increasing pressure on the medical community, and support available to families of Autistic children.

Alex was non-verbal and was coping at home until in early 2013 he became prone to fits of frustration which would in turn lead to hospitalisation. His mother believed that this was down to intense gastric pain that he was experiencing, but medical professionals were never able to pin point the problem.

After a 12 day prolonged stay at hospital after one episode,  Dorothy received help from an Autism advocate, who put her in touch with a specialist Gastroenterologist in New York, who confirmed that he was experiencing abdominal pain due to stomach lesions and ulceration.

But, as she pursued treatment her health care insurance, which is mandatory in the USA to receive medical care, refused to pay for Alex’s appointments and medicine. One email to the insurance company states:

 “Alex has been forgotten. … I don’t have a safety net so I could help him recover.”

Mother and caretaker were both found alive in June, despite attempting suicide themselves after dosing Alex up on his medicine and then stabbing him in the heart. She had left a suicide note read that her son would no longer be treated like an animal or be “subject to restraints”.

Allegedly, three months before the murder state investigators cited Loyala Gottlieb Memorial Hospital for wrongly keeping Alex restrained without doctor’s orders. The hospital will not comment due to patient confidentiality and records show they took required corrective action, such as retraining ER staff.

The murder charge is under appeal for a lesser insanity charge, Autism Daily Newscast will bring you further details as they happen. For the full CBS video, click here.


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About Shân Ellis

Shân Ellis, is a qualified journalist with five years experience of writing features, blogging and working on a regional newspaper. Prior to working as a journalist, she was a ghost writer for top publishers and was closely involved in the editing and development of book series. Shân has a degree in the sciences, and 5 A levels. She lives in the UK and is the mother of an autistic child.