San Diego

Woman Dies After Turmeric IV: County Medical Examiner

Jade Erick, 30, was rushed to Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas on March 10 from the office of Dr. Kim Kelly on 121 West E Street

An Oceanside woman died following an IV of turmeric solution administered by a local naturopathic practitioner, the San Diego County Medical Examiner confirmed Thursday.

Jade Erick, 30, was rushed to Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas on March 10 from the office of Dr. Kim Kelly on 121 West E Street in Encinitas.

Erick had sought treatment from Kelly for her eczema, according to the medical examiner's report.

Kelly was in the process of giving Erick a a 250 mL infusion of turmeric, an Indian spice used by naturopathic doctors to treat things like arthritis. After just 5 ml was administered, Erick became unresponsive, according to the autopsy report.

Kelly called 911 and administered CPR while awaiting emergency crews, the document states.

Erick was admitted into the ICU unit of the hospital, diagnosed with "severe anoxic brain injury secondary to cardiopulmonary arrest, most likely due to turmeric infusion," according to the autopsy report. She passed away six days later.

Her death has been ruled an accident.

According to the medical examiner's report, Erick had multiple food allergies to soy protein, lactose and gluten as well as hypothyroidism and pre-diabetes.

Erick had never had an infusion of turmeric before the office visit on March 10, her mother told investigators, according to the report. However, Erick had used the supplement through capsules and shakes.

The infusion was administered on Erick's second visit to Kelly's office. The initial visit was a prescreening, her mother said, according to the autopsy report.

NBC 7 spoke with the Medical Board of California. The Medical Board said Dr. Kim Kelly was licensed through the naturopathic committee, which is run by the Department of Consumer Affairs.

He has an active license and no administrative charges have been filed in this case.

NBC 7 has requested a comment from the licensing board for naturopathic physicians.

Steve Schechter, who started the vocational college “Natural Healing Institute” in 1996 and has practiced in the field since 1966, said he knows Kelly to be a fine, sincere and caring person.

"I'm not trying to imply defending him or being critical," Schechter said. "Every doctor, every therapist I know at times, has made mistakes, every person I know has used things correctly and you get that incredibly small percent of people who are hyper reactive."

Schechter said he does not sell any health products to clients or students, and he does not administer infusions, instead teaching traditional, natural therapy involving oral consumption.

He does not want the news of this death to take away from many studies showing Turmeric's health benefits.

"There's over 6,200 scientific studies, all peer reviewed, on Turmeric, primarily focusing on the varied health benefits," he said.

"I don't want this story to obscure the thousands of years of beneficial use," he added.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said they’re not currently involved with any form of criminal investigation in connection with Erick's death.

In San Francisco, a man and a woman fell critically ill and were hospitalized after consuming herbal tea from the a Chinatown herbalist. The woman later died. Public health officials said the tea contained the plant-based toxin Aconite, a lethal poison.

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