In March of 2012, 19-month-old Ezekiel Stephan died of meningitis — a disease involving the inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain and spinal cord. Very serious problem. The condition can sometimes be treated with antibiotics or antiviral drugs, but even then, it’s a long shot for full recovery.
What’s appalling is what his parents did as he was suffering.
David Stephan and wife Collet Stephan, who live in Alberta, Canada, gave their son a series of home remedies:
In a bid to boost his immune system, the couple gave the boy — who was lethargic and becoming stiff — various home remedies, such as water with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root as his condition deteriorated.
Court heard the couple on tape explaining to the police officer that they prefer naturopathic remedies because of their family’s negative experiences with the medical system.
The Stephans run a nutritional supplements company called Truehope Nutritional Support Inc. out of Raymond, Alta.
The Stephans didn’t give their son the vaccine that normally helps prevent meningitis.
Normally, when we hear stories like this, of children whose parents neglect to take them to a doctor when they’re clearly in need of help, it’s because the parents belong to some religious sect that forbids outside medical help.
I’ve never heard of parents who let their child die because they thought maple syrup would cure his debilitating disease.
More than a month ago, the Stephans explained their all-bullshit approach to medicine to a jury.
It didn’t work. Yesterday, the jury found them guilty:
The maximum penalty for failing to provide the necessaries of life is five years in prison.
Justice Rodney Jerke did not set a sentencing date. That’s to be decided at a court appearance on June 13. The Stephans were not taken into custody.
“This case is not yet over, but a big chapter has come to a close,” Jerke said.
He noted that you only had to look at the faces of the jurors to tell “this was a difficult case.”
Crown prosecutor Lisa Weich said the charge of failing to provide the necessaries of life ensures that people who cannot care for themselves receive the minimal standard of care expected by society.
“They definitely, definitely loved their son but as stated in our closing arguments, unfortunately sometimes love just isn’t enough,” Weich said outside court. “Parents still have to follow a standard of care as set by criminal law.”
Let’s hope they get the maximum sentence; it may be the only way to send a message to other parents like them that their children need proper medical help instead of their superstitious, evidence-free remedies.
(Image via Facebook. Thanks to Janice for the link. Large portions of this article were posted earlier)