MOSCOW, IDAHO: Tammy Harris, a 55-year-old woman from Idaho, weighed about 70 lbs and had no hair and fingernails when she died a ‘tremendously painful’ death in a New York City hospital. Harris had been taking dietary supplements for quite some time, and now her husband Jeffrey Harris, 57, who is a doctor, is on trial for her death. Prosecutors have claimed that he interfered with the amounts and types of medicine his wife was taking.
Jeffrey on Friday, November 19, pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter for the alleged murder of his wife three years ago by administering toxic amounts of Selenium, a trace mineral mainly used as a dietary supplement. Selenium, safe when taken in small doses, can cause hair loss, kidney failure and even death when the dosage is increased.
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Reportedly, the couple had come from Moscow, Idaho to New York City so that Tammy could receive treatment for Lupus, which is what doctors believed she was suffering from. She suddenly collapsed at the hotel she was staying in while they had come to the city search for a holistic doctor. She collapsed at the Lott New York Palace hotel and died six days later. An autopsy found that Harris had eight times the average amount of Selenium in her system.
Assistant District Attorney Victoria Meyer has said that “Harris’ starved condition was ‘not something you typically see in wealthier nations”. Harris’ journey to a slow and painful death started in 2017 when Jeffrey began giving her various “alternative” medicine which “worsened her health problems”, Meyer said in court. Refusing to abide by doctors’ instruction, Jeffrey began dosing Harris with Selenium supplements. “He insisted that her true affliction was mercury poisoning due to having worked at a dental office several years prior,” Meyer explained.
According to prosecutors, however, Jeffrey “sneaked in alternative medication” and “cheated doctors” by pretending that she was only being given what she had been prescribed. When doctors eventually understood what was happening, they asked Jeffrey to “be a husband” rather than her doctor. Jeffrey allegedly ignored all these suggestions and instead used his own medical license, writing prescriptions for medication she reportedly did not need. At present, Harris is being held on a $300,000 bond.
When the judge questioned why second-degree manslaughter charges were in place instead of murder, Mayer said that Jeffrey’s belief that Harris suffered mercury poisoning as a result of her job spared him the more serious charges. Harris’ son sincerely believes that Jeffrey loved his mother.
“I have no doubt that Jeff loved my mom incredibly,’ said Joshua Hubbard, 38. “He loved her deeply, almost to a fault. I do not believe that he intended to hurt her in any way. Nothing is going to get my mother back. I have a lot of compassion for Jeff and I don’t know that I hold any anger against him. I would just like to see some closure on this so we don’t have to keep bringing it up and hashing it out.” “He was a physician. He thought he could cure my mother, and what he was doing was wrong. It was a very confusing time … Incredibly weird,” he added.