“For Matthew Irving, the 21-year-old former North Providence honor student, who has become the focus of so many prayers these days, tonight’s flight from Boston to Germany will be far from routine.

He has reached the point, family members say, where the pain racing up from the base of his spine has been relentless. He has become so sensitive to light, sound and touch, they say, that even the sound of light music is painful to his ears, requiring him to lie motionless in a darkened room.

An experimental treatment in Germany may lead to a cure. The treatment is not allowed in this country, the parents say, because the FDA does not allow patients to be deliberately placed in comas for more than two days. The treatment in Saarbrueken, Germany, involves putting the patient in a coma for five to seven days, during which the body is filled with massive amount of ketamine in an attempt to “reboot” the body system.

Dr. Schwartzman has written that of the 41 patients he has sent to Germany, 14 came back pain free and have remained free for five years, while others have come back with their pain reduced.”

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