Anti-vaxxer parents who treated dead son’s meningitis with maple syrup get torn apart on witness stand

The parents of a 19-month-old toddler are being prosecuted for allowing their son to die from meningitis after refusing medical treatment in favor of “natural remedies.”

David Stephen and his wife, Collet Stephan defended their actions, saying they decided against taking the child to the hospital because they didn’t understand the severity of his condition. When child became ill in early March 2012 with what they believed to only be croup, an infection that results in coughing that isn’t usually deadly.

According to the Lethbridge Herald, Ezekiel was sick for over two-and-half weeks without medical attention. It was only until he stopped breathing that they rushed him to a hospital near their home in Glenwood, Alberta.

“Hindsight is 20/20,” David testified. “Looking back at it … had I known that this was going to take place, I would have been the first person to be advocating something else. Nobody would want an outcome like this as a parent.”

Once at the a hospital, the first physician to examine Ezekiel shared a CT scan with the parents and explained that he had suffered brain damage.

Ezekiel was flown to a larger hospital in Calgary on March 18, 2012, where doctors determined that he should be taken off life support. After investigators learned no medical treatment was sought for their son, the Stephens were charged with “failing to provide the necessities of life.” Instead, his parents, the owners of a nutritional supplement company, treated their son with natural remedies such as olive leaf extract, hot pepper and horseradish smoothies, water with maple syrup and juice with frozen berries.

David testified that the he and his wife believed that their son had become ill with the flu and they tried to treat his worsening symptoms with natural remedies to try and boost his immune system. David admitted that neither him nor his wife have any medical training.

“You’re working in the dark here,” said prosecutor Clayton Giles. “You were throwing things at something without understanding what you’re throwing those things at. I’m going to suggest, in fact, you felt you knew better than the medical establishment about how to deal with this issue. You are aware that doctors are out there?”

A nurse friend of the Stephens also testified that she had warned the couple that their son might have meningitis, a potentially fatal condition.

“You don’t trust conventional medicine very much do you?” asked Giles.

From Raw Story:

[David] Stephan believes the Canadian government has targeted them to force parents through the courts — rather than the legislature — to vaccinate their children.

He argues that no evidence shows Ezekiel’s death could have been prevented if he had been given the vaccine for Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).

Stephan even expressed doubts on the witness stand that his son actually died from meningitis — although it’s not clear what he believes killed the child.

“I think it’s very likely he died of meningitis, but I’ve still got some questions around it,” David testified. “I’ve heard many situations like that, but never once have I heard a situation like ours.”


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