Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Sunday, June 26, 2016

In The Capable Hands Of Loving Parents

"Ultimately it comes down to whether we  have the right to vaccinate or not vaccinate without being held liable ... or whether or not we have to rush our children to the doctor every time they even get just the sniffles in fear that something may just randomly happen and then we're held liable."
David Stephan, Lethbridge, Alberta

"The trial was not about vaccination. This is far beyond a child that has the sniffles."
"Mr. Stephan's post conviction actions demonstrate a complete lack of remorse. To this day he refuses to admit his actions had any impact [on the death of his toddler son]."
Justice Rodney Jerke, Lethbridge courthouse
Ezekiel Stephan
Ezekiel Stephan. (Facebook Photo)

This was a child with bacterial meningitis who had the gross misfortune to be born to a couple whose belief in naturopathic medicine was unshakeable. The father and the child's grandfather, in fact, were involved in the manufacture of 'natural' medicaments. The little boy Ezekiel became gravely ill, and his parents treated the child with natural concoctions that they deemed were appropriate.

The little boy had been extremely ill for two weeks, but the parents had no intention of seeking conventional medical help to diagnose and to treat the child. The home remedies they used included hot peppers and horseradish root, along with supplements and smoothies. To augment their home treatment they conferred for advice with naturopaths.

When the receptionist of one of the naturopathic clinics understood how ill the child was she urged them to immediately seek medical help. That advice was ignored, even though it was the naturopath herself who had instructed the receptionist to render that advice. Instead the couple continued their shopping, to acquire a tincture of echinacea to be administered to the gravely ill little boy.

Soon afterward the little boy stopped breathing and an ambulance was called. The mother had consulted a nurse who was a neighbour, who had diagnosed the probability of meningitis and who had also urged the parents to take the child to a hospital. The parents were charged in the death, a trial was held and they were convicted of failing to provide the necessities of life to their little boy.

In the interim, between that event and the scheduled appearance in court for sentencing, these parents of three other other children have spoken publicly, given interviews and made no secret that they refuse to bear any responsibility in the death of the child. It appears that there was no argument that these were not loving parents, whose grief at the death of the child was genuinely evident.

But they remain firm in their belief that their response was appropriate. The father, David Stephan, felt they had been tried in the media, and the court of justice acted as an "incredible lying machine". Moreover, blame was placed for the child's death on the first responders whose ambulance hadn't been equipped breathing equipment for the paramedics to resuscitate the blue-tinctured infant.

The mendacious trope of vaccinations causing autism, long since scientifically and medically debunked, came in handy for David Stephan to divert attention from his and his wife Colett's neglect of their child's medical needs, and it was evident that their message hit the mark for the true believers who have given their full support to the couple throughout this sad affair.

Supporters, no fewer than 70 who appeared at the courthouse, shouting to the pair "we love you", prayed for them. When the sentence was read out the crowd cried out in anguish at the unfairness of sending this man to prison for four months, his wife to house arrest for three months. A website supporting the pair suggests that "Alberta Justice framed Zeke's parents".

Handout / THE CANADIAN PRESS      David and Collet Stephan pose with their children (left to right) Enoch, 1, Ezra, 8, and Ephraim, 3, while holding a photo of Ezekiel.

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