Name: Jarred B. Sparks
Died: June 10, 2011
Age at death: 19
Cause of death: Suffocation inside hyperbaric oxygen chamber
Location: Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA
Jarred loved bananas. He was a Special Olympics swimmer who had won the gold medal in the 1500-meter race shortly before his death at 19.
Jarred's parents spent a lot of money trying to treat his autism. As a child he was subjected to intensive behavior modification based on the Lovaas style of ABA. At 19 years old, Jarred was put into a home hyperbaric oxygen chamber his parents had bought. The oxygen valve disconnected, and Jarred suffocated.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves sitting inside a high-pressure tank and breathing high concentrations of oxygen. It is used for treating decompression sickness and encouraging wound healing when there is poor blood circulation. It has not been shown to be beneficial for treating autism, and has side effects including seizures and collapsed lungs.
Jarred's parents are suing the company that made the oxygen tank.
Sparks et al v. Oxy-Health, LLC, et al
Hasty: Photo captures joy of Jarred Bryan Sparks' short life
The Jarred Bryan Sparks Foundation
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Gets More Popular as Unapproved Treatment