Doctor certain that heat caused sweat lodge deaths
CAMP VERDE, Ariz. (AP) — A medical doctor who reviewed autopsy reports and medical records of participants in an Arizona sweat lodge says he’s 99% certain three people died from heat-related illnesses.
James Arthur Ray is facing manslaughter charges for the deaths, stemming from a sweat lodge ceremony he led near Sedona in October 2009. He has pleaded not guilty.
While prosecutors have pointed to recklessness on the part of Ray, defense attorneys say toxins could have factored into the deaths.
Dr. Matthew Dickson testified Tuesday that the signs and symptoms of the victims were inconsistent with organophosphates – a chemical typically found in pesticides.
Other medical experts have testified that they could not rule out organophosphates.
Dickson resumes testimony Wednesday.