Baby Rico’s condition improving

Published 6:41 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Brownsdale baby at the center of a controversial case regarding his HIV treatment is doing much better after developing a rash this month, according to his maternal grandmother, Cheryl Nagel.

“He is doing really well right now,” Cheryl said. “He started laughing yesterday for the first time. You can tell he is getting more control over his body.”

The child, Rico Martinez Nagel, was taken off of HIV antiretroviral drugs last Thursday after he developed a rash, which can be one of the drug’s side effects. Cheryl said doctors will likely continue antiretroviral treatments on Thursday.

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However, Cheryl said doctors have discontinued an antibiotic that Rico has taken since shortly after he was born.

“Which is really good news,” she said, and added that medication is only supposed to be given to babies for two weeks at a time.

Rico’s parents, Lindsey Nagel and John Martinez, who have spoken out against such treatments, were ordered on May 6 to continue treatments for Rico with supervision from Mower County Health and Human Services. Rico may remain at home with his parents, however.

John, Lindsey and her parents, Steve and Cheryl Nagel, have fought to keep Rico off of antiretrovirals. Lindsey, who tested HIV positive as an infant when she was adopted from Romania, was on such medications until her parents stopped using them when she was 2. Steve and Cheryl said the drugs were causing severe cramps and killing Lindsey. The entire family has spoken out against such drugs with others, who believe antiretrovirals do more harm than good. Lindsey, now 22, has not taken such medications since she was 2 and says she is healthy.

Lindsey and John’s child in need of protective services case began in January when doctors say they missed two appointments. Doctors say the appointments were mandatory; however, Lindsey and John said they thought the meetings were optional, and they sought a second opinion.

After court hearings, the judge expressed concerns about Steve and Cheryl steering Lindsey’s and John’s decisions about Rico’s medications and whether Lindsey and John would stop treatments without county supervision. Lindsey and John say they have never missed a treatment but would like a court order to take Rico off the antiretrovirals.

Lindsey’s and John’s attorney, Scott Cody, said the parents may appeal the May 6 ruling and are weighing their options.