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Doctor Obsessed With His Own Medical Theories Sentenced For Fatally Poisoning Wife


NEW YORK (MDAO / News Release) – Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Jr., today announced the sentencing of Dr. Jeffrey Harris, 59, to an indeterminate term of 5-to-15 years in state prison, the maximum penalty, following his trial conviction for recklessly killing his wife, Tammy Harris by treating her unethically and improperly. On October 26, 2023, a New York State Supreme Court jury found Harris guilty of Manslaughter in the Second Degree for killing her by giving her numerous supplements and alternative treatments, including poisonous levels of selenium, and preventing her from seeking treatment for lupus.

“Jeffrey Harris betrayed his duty as a physician and as a husband by ignoring all medical evidence and advice and experimenting on his wife, leading to her slow and painful death,” said District Attorney Bragg. “Dr. Harris prevented his wife, Tammy, from being treated for lupus, and instead filled her with unnecessary prescription medications and herbal supplements that exacerbated her symptoms and left her in excruciating pain. He moved from one diagnosis to the next, finally falsifying mercury poisoning and giving her such high doses of selenium that he eventually killed her with his reckless treatment. My heart goes out to her loved ones, and in particular her children. I hope they have some sense of resolution as this final chapter closes.”

As proven at trial and according to court documents and statements made on the record in court, Harris met Tammy in 2003 when he was her doctor and she was his patient. After mentoring her while she trained to be a nurse, they married in 2007 and lived together in Washington State. In 2016, Tammy began to experience aches and pains. She was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease by her primary care physician, who suspected she had lupus – which was later confirmed by other doctors. Despite this diagnosis, Harris refused to believe her doctors and took her treatment into his own hands. He searched the internet for rare and unlikely causes, including cat scratch fever and avian bird flu. He began prescribing her antibiotics, antifungals, pain medication, and a vast variety of herbal supplements.

Tammy’s health began to rapidly decline. She lost a significant amount of weight, became severely jaundiced, and was eventually bedridden. When they went to the hospital in August 2017, Harris argued with her physicians, instructed her to spit out the medications they prescribed, and continued to provide her with his preferred supplements without her doctor’s knowledge. Over the course of the next four months, a similar cycle repeated. Isolated and subject to Harris’ treatments, Tammy would decline at home, briefly improve with hospitalization, and then decline again when the defendant removed her from the hospital against medical advice.

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Beginning in late summer 2017, Harris determined, with no medical basis and despite multiple negative tests, that Tammy had mercury poisoning. He dosed her with extraordinarily high levels of selenium, which eventually led to her death. In January 2018, Harris flew Tammy, who at this point weighed less than 80 pounds, to New York City to visit an alternative medical center in Midtown Manhattan run by a doctor Harris admired. Testing done at that center came back negative for mercury poisoning but showed an enormous amount of selenium in her blood – more than 10 times the reference range.

On February 22, 2018, Tammy’s heart failed in the Palace Hotel, where they were staying. She was rushed to Lennox Hill Hospital, where she died six days later at 55-years-old.

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