KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – A 64-year-old Johnson County man died three days after getting a vitamin infusion, a dose of vitamins through an IV.
The medical examiner ruled he died of natural causes from underlying medical conditions, but questions remain over whether the wellness spa did what it should have when the man got sick during his treatment.
The infusion treatments, like the one man got three days before he died, are not for everyone.
While the medical examiner says what happened did not cause that man’s death, it may very well have been a lesson to all these infusion businesses on how to handle it when someone gets sick at their place of business.
The owner of Elements Wellness Spa agreed to talk with KCTV5 for this story Tuesday but ended up being a no show.
The doors at Element Wellness were locked Wednesday afternoon. The owner, Kelly Logan, was nowhere to be found and she’s no longer answering KCTV5 calls or texts for clarification.
KCTV5 has reported on the rise of popularity of infusion treatments before, they’re popping up all across the metro. It’s a place where it’s said you can get relief from everything from hangovers to stress relief to healthier looking skin.
For about a $100 an infusion, you can relax in a comfortable chair with a steady stream of fluids or vitamins coursing through your veins.
“This is a way to accelerate the process and provide the foundation for the body to what it does naturally,” Tara Zeller, owner of IV Nutrition Now in south Overland Park, said.
At IV Nutrition, only paramedics and nurses administer IV’s and each client is screened by the medical director, who is a Medical Doctor.
Zeller said they stand by their product and what it can do for clients 100% but said before you step into one of the spas, you need to come armed with your medical history, all of it.
“If they're not honest about their medical history there's nothing we can do,” Zeller said.
Some people simply aren’t candidates for these infusions.
“People with congestive heart failure, history of kidney issues and pregnancy, there's a lot of conditions we screen for and all those are listed on our intake forms as well, so people can be aware of that,” Zeller stated.
In November of 2018, a 64-year-old Johnson County man received his twelfth vitamin infusion at Element Wellness Spa. According to the medical examiner’s report, about ten minutes into the procedure the man complained his skin felt like it was crawling and then developed nausea and vomiting.
The worker at Element stopped the infusion and the man drove himself home. The next day he wound up in the hospital where he died three days later.
The spa had tossed everything used on that particular client, so it couldn’t be tested after he died but ultimately, the medical examiner ruled the man died as a result of multi-system organ failure due to complications from cirrhosis of the liver.
He also suffered from cardio vascular disease and was morbidly obese.
Zeller said what happened was a powerful reminder to her staff to always call 911 right away if someone gets sick during a transfusion and she said it is policy to retain all materials used on a client if they end up sick during treatment.
“We don't take risks, we don't take chances. It's very black-and-white,” Zeller stated.
But it’s not black and white for all of them and that’s the problem.
Zeller’s business was suspended briefly by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts last year while it investigated a complaint. That reported issue has been resolved and they are free to practice.
In the case of the man who died in December, the medical examiner wrote:
“It is important to assess the overall health of individuals seeking intravenous vitamin infusion therapy, including laboratory studies to assess kidney and liver function prior to the initiation of therapy.”
Bottom line for potential customers is to be sure to give your full medical history before getting a transfusion and make sure you check with your personal doctor before you try it.