A couple of days ago, I wrote about a story of a sort that I’ve had to write about far too many times over the last eleven years. I wrote about the death of a child—but not just any death of a child, the death of a child who could have—should have—lived. The child’s name was Ezekiel Stephan, and his parents are David and Collet Stephan. The reason that child should have lived is because he suffered from a disease that medicine can treat, meningitis. Unfortunately, his parents didn’t take him to a real doctor. They took him to a naturopath, who recommended maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root as a treatment for meningitis—all without ever having examined the patient.

Now, quite rightly, they are on trial, and, as you will see, are trying to paint themselves as persecuted by The Man, who, if you believe them, is coming down on them hard as a way to bypass Canadian law and bring about forced vaccination. 

You might think that there wouldn’t be much to write now, only two days after I last wrote about this case, but you’d be wrong. First, the name of the naturopath who treated Ezekiel was revealed, Dr. Tracy Tannis. It turns out that I had narrowed down the list of suspects pretty well, to Cindy Cervanka, Clayton J. Koganow, and Tracy Pike. Tracy Pike, it turns out, is Tracy Tannis and is listed on her practice’s website as Tracy (Pike) Tannis. Or perhaps I should say was listed. The website for her practice, Lethbridge Naturopathic Medical Clinic, has been scrubbed, including Tannis’ page. Fortunately, the Internet never forgets, no matter how hard a quack tries to shove the evidence down the memory hole, and the almighty Archive.org contains a recent (January 30) snapshot of Tannis’ website. Right there on the front page I see:

Our clinic offers the following services:

  • chelation
  • IV nutrients
  • IV vitamin C
  • blood lab services
  • acupuncture
  • herbal medicine (Tinctures & Dry Herbs)
  • ozone therapy
  • hair analysis
  • allergy testing and more!

All these services are provided by a Naturopathic Doctor.

Dr. Tannis provides individual and family health care. The clinic commonly treats: andropause, asthma, high cholesterol, candidiasis, common colds, sinusitis, food & inhalant allergies, chronic pain, digestive issues, depression, hormonal imbalances,thyroid diseases, GERD, PMS, heart disease, fertility problems, menopause, memory loss, obesity, ovarian cysts, adrenal fatigue, cancer, rheumatoid & osteoarthritis,chronic fatigue, psoriasis, eczema & fibromyalgia.

In other words, it’s the usual naturopathic quackery. Chelation therapy, as I’ve pointed out before, is potentially deadly. IV vitamin C doesn’t treat anything, much less cancer. Acupuncture, of course, is quackery. Ozone therapy is just plain frightening, as it often involves intravenous injections of hydrogen peroxide.

How do we know that Tracy Tannis was involved and what she did? Lexie Vataman, an employee of the Lethrbridge Naturopathic Medical Clinic, testified yesterday:

An employee at a southern Alberta naturopathic clinic says the mother of a gravely ill toddler asked for an immune system boost because she feared her son had viral meningitis.

Lexie Vataman, who fills holistic prescriptions at the Lethbridge Naturopathic Medical Clinc, told a jury Wednesday that she received a call from Collet Stephan in March 2012.

“She needed something to build up her baby’s immune system,” said Vataman.

“She said, ‘My baby might have a form of meningitis and we think it might be viral and not bacterial.”‘

Vataman said she asked if Stephan had taken her son to a medical doctor. She said Collet replied that a friend who was a nurse was keeping an eye on him and he didn’t have a fever.

This is what belief in alternative medicine does. It inculcates magical thinking into medical decisions, as though “boosting the immune system” can take care of meningitis so easily, be it viral or bacterial. Indeed, if there was even a question whether it might be bacterial, it’s the height of folly even to consider anything other than real medicine to treat it. Now here is how this naturopath dealt with this problem:

Collet Stephan came in within a day or two of the call and spoke briefly to naturopathic Dr. Tracey Tannis, who asked Vataman to make up a tincture of echinacea.

“I told her the tincture was pretty strong and she said, ‘That’s OK, the baby is used to things like horseradish,”‘ Vataman said.

“I was quite surprised that a baby would be able to tolerate that.”

So it’s true that the naturopath prescribed a treatment for a potentially serious condition without seeing the patient. As I said last time, naturopaths want to function as primary care providers even though they are grossly unqualified. Well, one of the key attributes of a primary care doctor is responsibility, and responsibility mandates that a physician should not prescribe a treatment for a potentially serious disease without actually evaluating the patient by physical examination and, if indicated, appropriate diagnostic tests. Yet that’s exactly what Tannis apparently did. A key skill of a primary care provider is to know when to tell a patient to go to the emergency room.

This is what ultimately happened:

During an recorded interview on March 15, 2012, Collet Stephan told RCMP that Ezekiel’s body was too stiff to get him into his car seat. The couple put a mattress in the back of their vehicle to take him to the naturopath.

David Stephan told an officer during his interview that he and his wife had come up with a “game plan” to give Ezekiel additional natural remedies for meningitis and, if the treatment didn’t help, they would take him to a hospital.

Breathing wasn’t normal

Then his condition grew worse.

“All of a sudden his breathing wasn’t normal,” Collett Stephan told RCMP.

The Stephans called 911 and performed CPR on the toddler as they drove to meet an ambulance from a nearby community. The boy stopped breathing several times.

“He was blue by the time we met up with the ambulance,” Collet Stephan told a Mountie.

The child was hospitalized, but ultimately died. It was tragic, and potentially preventable if the child had been taken to a real doctor earlier.

Sadly, none of this seems to have sunk in. The parents appear to have gone on a PR offensive designed to build sympathy for them among the alternative health crowd. For instance, on Facebook, they are denying that they were trying to “boost the immune system” with maple syrup, juice and frozen fruit, but their reason why reveals how far the rabbit hole of quackery they’ve gone, as they declare that they would never have done anything so stupid because, essentially, “As all of these items contain high amounts of simple sugars, I would suspect that they would serve to feed viruses and bacteria and actually do the opposite of boosting the immune system.” Sugar doesn’t feed viruses and bacteria in infections.

Then, the Stephans hooked up with Erin Elizabeth of Health Nut News. You remember Elizabeth, don’t you? She’s uber-quack Joe Mercola’s girlfriend and runs a quack-friendly website that was one of the foremost promoters of the conspiracy theory that “somebody” is killing holistic doctors in order to…well, what Elizabeth never quite made clear. Not surprisingly, Elizabeth lapped it all up and published an article entitled The Real Story of the Parents on Trial for Their Son’s Death. Less surprisingly, she’s using the story of the Collets in order to spin a conspiracy theory:

Almost 4 years ago, the Stephan family experienced the tragic death of their son Ezekiel, just 18 months old at the time. Now, the Canadian government is prosecuting the parents, and the outcome of the trial could set a legal precedent that would have a devastating chilling effect on parental rights. David Stephan says that his family’s tragedy is being used to further an agenda that cannot be obtained by legislation under the Canadian Constitution, and the precedent could affect families all across Canada and even cross international borders.

And:

David and Collet Stephan have been charged with “failing to provide the necessities of life,” a charge that is similar to manslaughter, because they chose not to vaccinate their son. Even though there is no evidence that Ezekiel’s death would have been prevented if he were vaccinated, David says that the government of Canada has made it clear to the family that they intend to use the death of their son to accomplish an agenda. If successful, this could create a legal precedent through the courts, rather than through legislation, that would accomplish 2 things:

  1. Compel parents who have chosen not to vaccinate to seek traditional medical attention when their child gets sick sooner than parents who vaccinate, and
  2. Allow for criminal liability for parents if their non-vaccinated child suffers harm for any illness for which there is a vaccine.

Why is this relevant? If you believe Erin Elizabeth and David Collet, here’s why:

As they tried to put the pieces of their lives back together again, they received a copy of their son’s autopsy report 8 months after his death. Instead of a definitive answer to the cause of death, the report listed an “opinion,” with a heavy emphasis on the fact that Ezekiel was not immunized. The opinion was that he died from bacterial meningitis and an infection in his right lung. According to “a non-clinical research methodology,” haemophilus influenzae bacteria was identified in his body, but the particular strain was not cultured or identified. There are 6 strains; b is the most common, and b is the only strain for which there is a vaccine. Even so, haemophilus influenzae bacteria can be found in people who never have any illness from it.

Though the autopsy report contained some uncertainty about the cause of death, there was information in the report that seemed to indicate that Ezekiel’s death could have been prevented by a vaccine.

This raised a red flag in David Stephan’s mind that the issue of vaccines may come up later if anything ever went to court. His instincts were correct.

So here’s the problem. Autopsy reports often don’t use clear, declaratory language because they are based on science-based medicine and have to recognize the limitations of their techniques. I don’t know how it’s done in Canada, but that “opinion” might well be the conclusion of the coroner. What I see, even in the parents’ highly biased presentation, is a conclusion that the child probably had haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) meningitis and pneumonia. It’s a red herring to point out that there are six strains of Hib and that the vaccine only prevents type b. It’s also a red herring to claim that, just because haemophilus influenzae bacteria can be found on people who don’t become ill, then Hib didn’t kill Ezekiel. Yes, Hib can be isolated from the nasopharynx of 0.5-3.0% of normal infants. So what? It’s irrelevant to this case, because we have other information—a lot of other information. Children who die of Hib meningitis and pneumonia have rather obvious findings other than just the presence of the bacteria. There is purulence in the lungs; there is massive inflammation of the meninges (the membrane the lines the brain); there are signs of sepsis that can be identified on autopsy. Take those findings and then add the detection of the bacteria from various bodily fluids or especially from the brain, and these findings converge upon a probable diagnosis of Hib meningitis.

Then there’s the testimony of the coroner (hat tip to Chris Hickle for pointing this out in the comments; which was published late last night after I had gone to bed):

Medical examiner Dr. Bamidele Adeagbo told the court that in March 2012 baby Ezekiel was brain dead when EMS met up with the couple — who had started driving to meet the ambulance because the toddler stopped breathing.

Adeagbo said paramedics’ attempts to revive the child for seven to eight minutes were not the reason he became brain dead.

He stated the toddler was already brain dead when EMS first saw the child. He went on to say the brain acts differently when it has a lack of oxygen, compared to when it’s reacting to meningitis.

And:

Earlier Thursday, Adeagbo testified he performed the autopsy on March 19, 2012 and determined the cause of death to be bacterial meningitis and empyema, an infection of the lungs.

Adeagbo said symptoms of meningitis can come and go, and show more or less severity over the time of the illness. He compared the rise and fall of severity of symptoms to a roller coaster; meaning they can spike and drop over a period of time. For instance, he explained the patient could have a fever one day, then it would be gone the next day and it could return again.

So Ezekiel died of bacterial meningitis, probably due to Hib, although this wasn’t conclusively shown. It had been long neglected, and Ezekiel deteriorated over a period of several days. We already know that at one point when the parents put him in the car his neck was so stiff that they couldn’t get him into a car seat. Of course, Hib is a vaccine-preventable disease, and David and Collet Stephan didn’t vaccinate Ezekiel. So when David claims there is no evidence that the Hib vaccine could potentially have prevented Ezekiel’s death, he is just plain wrong. There’s plenty of evidence that this was probably Hib meningitis. Moreover, the coroner’s testimony makes me very much doubt all the testimony from the parents that Ezekiel didn’t look all that sick almost right up until he stopped breathing. That’s some mighty serious pathology the coroner described in his testimony. While it’s certainly possible (albeit unlikely) that Ezekiel looked a whole lot better than his pathology would lead one to believe, the persistence of his symptoms over a long period of time should have been a cue to take him to a real doctor.

Perhaps that’s why the Stephans, with Erin Elizabeth’s help, is spreading a conspiracy theory. He and his wife aren’t negligent parents, says the conspiracy theory. Not at all! They’re being persecuted by the Canadian government as part of a plot to produce a legal precedent that would allow the Canadian government to do away with voluntary vaccination and force children to be vaccinated. Now that’s a seriously grandiose view of oneself, I’d say! The Collets seem to think that it’s all about them, rather than their dead child, and that they are so important that the government would use them as an example in order to—gasp!—force every child to be vaccinated:

And the situation that Collet and I find ourselves in, is that there is an organization that is attempting to offer our family up on the sacrificial altar of the vaccine industry.

No, The situation that the Stephan’s son found himself is was that he was offered up on the sacrificial altar of his parent’s quack beliefs.

Comments

  1. #1 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    March 11, 2016

    …a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root…

    Why do quack cures so frequently sound like marinades?

  2. #2 Helianthus
    March 11, 2016

    David and Collet Stephan have been charged with “failing to provide the necessities of life,” a charge that is similar to manslaughter, because they chose not to vaccinate their son.

    Trying to move this issue, are they?
    Regardless of its vaccination status, an infant in obvious physical distress – like, I don’t know, being unable to sit in its carseat – is supposed to receive direct medical attention by a professional.
    Getting an unofficial, between-two-doors advice from a nurse could have been a start, provided it has been followed-up by more serious examination. Having a quick medical consultation over the phone with some ersatz of a physician doesn’t count.
    Well, I hope it’s the Crown’s position.

    As all of these items contain high amounts of simple sugars

    Oh, so suddenly the high amount of sugars in these “natural products” could be nefarious.
    Don’t these people have any shame?

    I would suspect that they would serve to feed viruses and bacteria

    Viruses and sugar?
    Head, meet desk at relativistic speed.

  3. #3 Lawrence
    March 11, 2016

    As more evidence comes out at the trial, these parents look more and more like little entitled monsters…..they literally complained that their sick son kept them from getting a good night’s sleep…..

  4. #4 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    March 11, 2016

    Horseradish?! Hot peppers?!

    I pray to Cthulhu that they embraced homeopathy.

  5. #5 Jim Dominic
    March 11, 2016

    Horseradish? There’s the problem. Should have used Eye of Newt or Hair of the Dog.

  6. #6 David Jones
    United States
    March 11, 2016

    Hang ’em high!

    DJ

  7. #7 Michael Finfer, MD
    Edison, NJ
    March 11, 2016

    Every cause of death listed in an autopsy report is an opinion, formulated on the basis of the autopsy findings and the available clinical information. Nothing new here.

    In the US, medical examiners’ autopsy reports are considered to be a matter of public record and should be obtainable. I don’t know if that is also the case in Canada, but, if it is, it should be possible to obtain a copy of the report and see what it really says instead of listening to it filtered through the parents (defendants).

  8. #8 Chris Hickie
    March 11, 2016

    Unambiguously testimony from the coroner that the child died from bacterial meningitis and empyema: http://globalnews.ca/news/2570873/autopsy-confirmed-18-month-old-alberta-boy-died-of-meningitis-medical-examiner-testifies/

    Either of these would make you sick as you know what, including high fevers. Combined, well it’s not additive–more like multiplicative. This child was very sick for very long to have had both of these infections. The fact that the coroner states the child’s brain had been destroyed by the infection before he coded tells me these “parents” are two the of the most selfish, worthless, uncaring, ignorant POSs I have ever seen. They deserve to rot in a cell for the rest of their “natural” lives.

  9. #9 Eric Lund
    March 11, 2016

    Our clinic offers the following services:
    [snip]
    * blood lab services

    I’m tempted to make a snarky comment involving the word “bloodsuckers”. Maybe it’s because I’m not woo-prone, but I wouldn’t trust a so-called medical practice that offers those other services with blood work.

    Why do quack cures so frequently sound like marinades?

    They are definitely marinating something–the patients’ brains, perhaps?

  10. #10 has
    March 11, 2016

    I hope they remember to explain this new theory to their respective parole boards too. Nothing says “maximum time” better than blatant self-serving dishonesty and utter absence of remorse.

  11. #11 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    March 11, 2016

    While the vaccination part is important, that’s not why they’re being tried. They’re being tried because they took their son to a quack instead of seeking real medical treatment. Of course the anti-vaccine crowd wants to focus attention on vaccines and ignore the fact that real medical care could very likely have saved this child.

  12. #12 Dangerous Bacon
    March 11, 2016

    “My baby’s sick out in the car, I think it’s meningitis.”

    “Nurse, prepare a tincture of echinacea!”

    This sounds like a scene from the YouTube video “Homeopathic E.R.” – only that was a parody (and the homeopaths in the video actually examined patients).

  13. #13 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    March 11, 2016

    Sadly, another little child also recently passed away from meniginitis, but in an ironic twist her parents are doing the very best they can out of a horrible, horrible situation:

    http://globalnews.ca/news/2522823/parents-reveal-heartbreaking-images-of-baby-dying-of-meningitis-to-raise-vaccination-awareness/

    My heart goes out to the parents, as here they are doing everything “right” in seeking actual medical assistance but in the end they still lost their daughter.

  14. #14 KayMarie
    March 11, 2016

    …a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root…

    Why do quack cures so frequently sound like marinades?

    I assume because the godlets requiring the sacrifice of young children upon the altar of natural remedies prefer flavorful meat?

  15. #15 janet
    where it's sunny outside and I'm inside
    March 11, 2016

    My son had a high fever with buccal cellulitis, attributed to Hib, when he was about 3 months old–at the time, there was no vaccine available. I remember the thoughtful discussion his pediatrician and I had when the vaccine did become available: “There’s a vaccine for Hib now, do you want him to have it?” YES!”
    He was so sick just from buccal cellulitis, and I was so panic-stricken it would move just a little farther inward–I cannot fathom someone who would leave a child sick like that. I just can’t.

  16. #16 DGR
    March 11, 2016

    Perhaps that’s why the Stephans, with Erin Elizabeth’s help, is spreading a conspiracy theory. He and his wife aren’t negligent parents, says the conspiracy theory.

    Persecution plays better for GoFundMe campaigns than child neglect/abuse.

    The parents … and folks like Erin Elizabeth who support or excuse their actions … are truly despicable.

    I’d like to believe some good might come out of this, i.e., so-called supplements and those who purvey them, whether grifter or quack, coming under greater scrutiny and regulation by Health Canada but, I won’t be holding my breath.

  17. #17 delta-orion
    March 11, 2016

    This shouldn’t actually be all that surprising. Let’s not forget that these people have a long history of gaming the system and making themselves into martyrs to gain sympathy and get around what rules there are. Frankly, from what I had seen in the past of Truehope, I’m actually surprised that these two were such true believers that they let their child die. The last time I heard a Truehope representative on the radio, everything about him screamed con artist.

  18. #18 Ellen
    March 11, 2016

    I notice that very often alternative “medicine” believers dismiss science based medicine when things are seemingly going okay or at least unknown. But as soon as health or symptoms get really bad or to the point of critical, they then reach out to science based medical services, such as calling 911 for EMS or rush to ER, rather than continue the alternative courses. Where is their alternative equivalent of EMS, if alternatives are so good & science based medicine so bad? I often challenge friends or acquaintances, who dismiss science to stop taking their heart, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. medications immediately & instead rely on just the alternatives. No one has taken me up on the challenge, yet they still believe in this or that & are skeptical instead of what is keeping them alive. Their lack of skepticism for alternative XYZ is the most baffling to me. Didn’t we research & develop science based medicine precisely because “natural & alternative” methods were lacking more often than not? Looks like further proof in this sad loss of life.

  19. #19 Thos Cochrane
    Boston, MA
    March 11, 2016

    Even if they were right in saying that a vaccine wouldn’t have prevented the illness, they still murdered their child by avoiding antibiotics.

  20. #20 Mike
    March 11, 2016

    I think Canada is going after the wrong people. The ND should be the one on trial. I don’t like the parents. That is not enough to convict them. The real damage was done by the ND who prescribed quackery rather than telling the parents to go to a hospital. If the ND had done that and the parents refused, then I could see trying the parents.

  21. #21 Delphine
    March 11, 2016

    As suspected, it was bacterial meningitis. I suspect the Stephans play up the “viral meningitis” angle because from what I understand, it is generally far less potentially devastating than bacterial meningitis.

    David and Collet considered taking him to a doctor, but were concerned about exposing him to other sick children. Instead, they asked a friend who is a nurse to come over and check on him. That was Monday, March 12. The nurse friend found that his vital signs were all normal, and that his lungs were clear.

    However, she had recently seen a case of meningitis, so she mentioned that to the family. They considered that possibility, and researched meningitis.

    But here’s what the nurse said, in her testimony:

    The third Crown witness also took the stand: Registered Nurse and midwife Terry Meynders. Meynders assisted Collet in her home births.

    She said Collet was a good friend and when Collet called and asked for her to come look at Ezekiel’s condition on March 12 because he might have croup, she went. Meynders said Collet told her the toddler had fallen asleep in the bath tub and that concerned her.

    The RN testified that when she arrived at the Stephans’ home, Ezekiel was sleeping. Without waking him, she gave him an exam, checking his physical appearance and listening to his lungs, but nothing appeared abnormal, she said. She suggested to Collet it could be meningitis and said, “I have no idea what it could be and I think you should take him to a doctor.”

    Meynders also said she was there as a friend to give her opinion, not to diagnose Ezekiel. She said it didn’t jump out to her that he was seriously ill and he didn’t appear to be that sick.

    Their spin is just untenable.

    In those situations where legislative efforts fail, could vaccine extremists now have a different strategy by using the courts to prosecute parents who choose to not vaccinate their children, and then later their child comes in contact with an illness from which there is a vaccine in the market to allegedly prevent? If a child is found to have contracted chickenpox, for example, and their parents had chosen not to administer the chickenpox vaccine believing that natural immunity was better than the vaccine, could the threat of being criminally prosecuted for failing to vaccinate become a de facto method of forcing everyone to comply with mandatory vaccines?

    Hey Erin, if you’re reading this, try this on for size — what if an unvaccinated-for-varicella Canadian child gets chicken pox, and he contracts encephalitis or pneumonia or a severe skin infection and his PARENTS STILL DON’T TAKE HIM TO THE DOCTOR, THEY DO NOTHING FOR HIM UNTIL HE IS ON DEATH’S DOOR — should we collectively say “your choice, guise!” Is that “health freedom” enough for you, Erin??

  22. #22 Delphine
    March 11, 2016

    I think Canada is going after the wrong people. The ND should be the one on trial. I don’t like the parents. That is not enough to convict them. The real damage was done by the ND who prescribed quackery rather than telling the parents to go to a hospital. If the ND had done that and the parents refused, then I could see trying the parents.

    While I agree with you that the ND is not blameless here, the parents are responsible for not seeking medical treatment for their child. Ezekiel lingered for weeks. The Stephans live in a rural area but 1 minute on google maps tells me that they had options — medical clinics, a hospital — options that could have prevented this little boy’s death. None of those options would have cost them one red cent out of pocket. They have no excuses.

  23. #23 Delphine
    March 11, 2016

    And they know they had medical options because they admit it are making excuses for their lack of actually getting off their asses and picking one. “Didn’t want to get other kids sick” in the doctor’s waiting room. “We thought about taking him to the ER but we thought we would be sent away because socialized medicine” is another. As is “well he was examined by a nurse” (no, not really.)

  24. #24 Helianthus
    March 11, 2016

    @ Delphine

    Hey Erin, if you’re reading this, try this on for size

    It’s amazing (but definitively not funny), isn’t it, how Erin and her followers want freedom of choice but also freedom from consequences.

  25. #25 Cleo
    New York
    March 11, 2016

    Maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root?

    That isn’t a medical treatment, it’s a salad dressing.

  26. #26 Cate K
    March 11, 2016

    This type of case is so appalling and really there’s no excuse for not getting proper treatment for a clearly very sick child. One would surely have to have a monstrous ego to even try and justify this.

    Incidentally, I am reading a quite interesting book called Cure: A journey into the science of mind over body by Jo Marchant. Before you recoil in horror, it is looking at scientific trials that deliberately employ the placebo effect, and trials using hypnotherapy to supplement conventional pain relief.

    I only mention this because there are some truly interesting avenues that can be explored that are currently outside the norm. So many alternative medicine proponents seem to blindly stick up for the woo component of their favourite orthodoxy though that they are not even prepared to look clearly at what might be happening. It’s a charge often made by alt health users that conventional medicine is blinkered but in my opinion it’s more often the reverse which is true.

  27. #27 Delphine
    March 11, 2016

    @ #7 In the US, medical examiners’ autopsy reports are considered to be a matter of public record and should be obtainable. I don’t know if that is also the case in Canada, but, if it is, it should be possible to obtain a copy of the report and see what it really says instead of listening to it filtered through the parents (defendants).

    It isn’t and it’s therefore not possible to get a copy of the report.

    I notice that very often alternative “medicine” believers dismiss science based medicine when things are seemingly going okay or at least unknown. But as soon as health or symptoms get really bad or to the point of critical, they then reach out to science based medical services, such as calling 911 for EMS or rush to ER, rather than continue the alternative courses.

    Yes, and the trajectory is “blame them if the kid lives or dies.” There is always something wrong with what the “allopathic” people do. We witnessed this with an acquaintance of ours. She chose to give birth at home and there was a shoulder dystocia that the midwives could not resolve. By the time they got to the ER, the OR was ready, but the doctor decided to break the baby’s clavicle then and there. He was freed and he lived and he’s fine, suffered no brain damage or any long-term damage. But he had a broken collarbone, and that’s what she talks about — how they broke his collarbone.

  28. #28 has
    March 11, 2016

    Delphine@27: I guess your aquaintance also misses the good old days of fantastic two-for-one bargains on mommy+baby caskets.

  29. #29 Delphine
    March 11, 2016

    Yes. She is the same person who said to me, “it’s a shame they had to rip out your uterus” (aftermath of a PPH).

    Mommy+baby caskets, indeed.

  30. #30 laportama
    FLORIDA
    March 11, 2016

    In a land that’s known for freedom, how can such a thing be fair?

  31. #31 capnkrunch
    March 11, 2016

    He stated the toddler was already brain dead when EMS first saw the child.

    15 minutes of good CPR can do that to you. 15 minutes of whatever 1 parent was able to do in the back of a car certainly will. Of course it was the paramedics’ fault for not having the right size ET tube and the dispatcher’s fault for sending the wrong ambulance. Convenient how the medics can’t defend themselves due to privacy (at least I think. Is there a HIPAA equivalent in Canada?).

    Personally, I don’t think I would mess around trying to tube the kid while CPR was ongoing if we were ventilating OK with an oral airway and ambu bag. In the US at least, intubation seems to be getting phased out as first line airway management for EMS in full arrests. Which makes sense, you generally don’t see ER docs tube a patient until after ROSC.

    He looked good up until he stopped breathing? I get it, they have to double down lest they come to face the reality that they killed their child. But seriously [redacted].

  32. #32 capnkrunch
    March 11, 2016

    Ezekiel is super cute too. How very, very sad.

  33. #33 Shadowflash
    March 11, 2016

    …a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root…

    Why do quack cures so frequently sound like marinades?

    Haha, I was wondering the same thing!

    For some reason, “mashed onion” brings to mind images of sucussing the onion to release its healing properties.

  34. #34 Sullivanthepoop
    March 11, 2016

    Knowing what I know about the pathology of diseases even reading the parents’ very first accounts of the situation I thought it was Hib. Basically what happens is young children get a sinus infection with bright green mucus. Their immune system fights it back, but not completely and it travels to other locations. The baby had been sick for over a month. First he had a “cold” which turned into croup according to the parents. No, he had a Hib sinus infection that turned into pneumonia. Then after a couple of weeks he seemed better for a couple of days because the Hib was moving on to the pleural spaces and meningies. Then everything goes downhill. An empyema is very painful and causes a lot of respiratory distress. Then the meningitis. An illness that waxes and wanes like this is very serious. If you have a sinus infection that gets better and then comes back you most likely need antibiotics. Influenza that gets better and then comes back you should go to the hospital.

  35. #35 Lighthorse
    March 11, 2016

    @Orac: They took him to a naturopath, who recommended maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root as a treatment for meningitis—all without ever having examined the patient.

    Did the naturopath recommend the use of those substances or were they the choice of the parents? From what I have read of the case so far, all the naturopath did was to comply with the demand of the parents for “something to build up” the immune system of the baby, albeit very late in the game and without exercising the due diligence of first examining the patient and dispensing an extract of <A HREF=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/naturopath-says-collet-stephan-asked-for-something-for-meningitis-1.3484501echinacea.

  36. #36 herr doktor bimler
    March 11, 2016

    In other words, it’s the usual naturopathic quackery.

    There are more indications of Tracy Tannis’ scams in the HTML code for her website, within the meta tags she put in to attract search engines.

    [meta name=”description” content=”Licensed Alberta ND providing alternative disease treatments, intravenous chelation and nutrients, blood lab services, hair analysis, CSA, herbal medicines, homeopathics & professional quality supplements.”]
    [meta name=”keywords” content=”Lethbridge Naturopathic Medical Clinic, Lethbridge, AB – chelation therapy, intravenous vitamin C, Intravenous Myers Cocktail, acupuncture, herbs, ozone, mesotherapy, vitamins, minerals, allergy testing, blood lab, salivary hormone testing, detoxification, hair analysis, hydrogen peroxide, licensed ND, alternative medicine, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, disease prevention, genova diagnostics, doctors data, 505 5th street south, lethbridge, alberta, canada, Alberta Association of Naturopathic Physicians, Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, Alternative medicine, Dr. Pike, Dr. Tannis, B12 shots, B vitamin shots, EDTA chelaiton, DMPS chelation, Intravenous Nutrients Myers Minerals, ND, Dr. Tracey Pike Tannis ND, Lisenced Naturopathic Doctor, Lethbridge, Alberta, Organic Herbal Medicine, Professional Quality Supplements, ND, Douglas labs, Intravenous Chelation, EDTA, arteriosclerosis, heart attack, MI, chest pain, angina, circulation, ND, Southern Alberta Naturopath,B!2, Alberta Assocaiton of Naturopathic Physician, Canadian Association, Licensed Naturopathic Physician,ND, AANP, CAND, Certified Naturopath, IV Vitamin C, alternative cancer therapy, Myers cocktail, B vitamins, minerals, calcium, magnesium,, Ozone, Medical, Naturopath, Oxygen therapy, Intravenous Ozone, Lethbridge Naturopathic Medical Clinic, Southern Alberta”]
    [meta name=”search-terms” content=”Intravenous Nutrients Myers Minerals, ND, Dr. Tracey Pike Tannis ND, Lisenced Naturopathic Doctor, Lethbridge, Alberta, Organic Herbal Medicine, Professional Quality Supplements, ND, Douglas labs, Intravenous Chelation, EDTA, arteriosclerosis, heart attack, MI, chest pain, angina, circulation, ND, Southern Alberta Naturopath,B!2, Alberta Assocaiton of Naturopathic Physician, Canadian Association, Licensed Naturopathic Physician,ND, AANP, CAND, Certified Naturopath, IV Vitamin C, alternative cancer therapy, Myers cocktail, B vitamins, minerals, calcium, magnesium,, Ozone, Medical, Naturopath, Oxygen therapy, Intravenous Ozone, Lethbridge Naturopathic Medical Clinic, Southern Alberta”]

    I have no idea and little desire to know what half those frauds involve, but it did jump out that she uses the hair-analysis grifters at Doctors Data and Genova Diagnostics, and offers to treat heart attacks. A broad-spectrum charlatan.

  37. #37 Lighthorse
    March 11, 2016

    Well, that didn’t post very well.

  38. #38 JustaTech
    March 11, 2016

    I’m confused about if the naturopath actually *saw* this poor kid, or if the parents just called in a request.

    Secondly: does Canada have mandatory reporters like in the US? (Teachers, doctors etc who must report child abuse?) If so, are naturopaths listed?

    My brother had bacterial meningitis when he was about 6 months old (long before the vaccine). I was pretty young, but I remember that one minute we were driving to the grocery store and the next we were at the doctor’s office. I ended up with the neighbors for a few days until my grandmother could fly out to stay with me because my parents couldn’t leave the PICU, for fear that he would die.
    He ended up fine (or fine as far as anyone can tell), but even with the best care another child in the PICU did die.

    Basically, it’s not something you can treat with groceries and hope. Poor, poor kid.

  39. #39 herr doktor bimler
    March 11, 2016

    I’m confused about if the naturopath actually *saw* this poor kid, or if the parents just called in a request.

    They rang a first time for advice for how to treat meningitis without treating it, spoke to “holistic prescriptions filler” Lexie Vataman, and ignored her suggestion that they consult a real doctor.

    A few days later they went in personally and “Tracey Tannis […] asked Vataman to make up a tincture of echinacea.” They had brought their son along — on a mattress in the back of the car because his body was too stiff to fold him into the car seat — but Tannis did not bother to examine him.

  40. #40 Roadstergal
    March 11, 2016

    Meynders assisted Collet in her home births.

    Another square in Woo Bingo (and risk-your-kid’s-life Bingo).

  41. #41 elsworthy
    March 11, 2016

    My husband had viral meningitis as an adult; he was take to the ER after a week of “excruciating” (his description) headache and his hands had gone into the classic “claw” and he could not turn his head. It’s not a thing to mess around with, and just the *thought* of the pain that poor child was in makes tears come to my eyes.

    I really don’t understand how parents can be so cavalier about the suffering of their child. It’s literally unthinkable to me.

  42. #42 KayMarie
    March 11, 2016

    @elsworthy #41

    I may be wrong but I always assumed there was some combination of suffering purifies and the purity of their lifestyle will prevent any serious outcome.

    Mix those the wrong way and the child becoming more and more desperately ill could be seen as a good thing that indicates even more and better health for life! They takes 6 weeks longer to get rid of pertussis than doing nothing folks seem to take that extra sick time as both proof their cures worked and the best exercise the immune system could ever get.

    Unfortunately nature and its illnesses are not designed to perfectly take you to the edge of death in order to make you betterfasterstronger.

    All it takes is a small miscalculation with the wrong germs and disaster strikes. I think perhaps something along the above logic is why so many seem to wait far too long. They trust their “wisdom” will always be just the right thing at the last moment to bring their child back better than ever.

  43. #43 Scote
    March 11, 2016

    Slightly OT:

    “Fortunately, the Internet never forgets”

    I’d like to see this false aphorism retired. The internet forgets all the time. Sometimes we are fortunate and find there is a Google cache, archive.org capture or a screen shot available, but those are not guaranteed to exist, rather we are lucky to get them, because the internet does forget.

  44. #44 brian
    Far south of Glenwood
    March 11, 2016

    Amazing.

    The Stephans refused the vaccine that might have prevented their son’s illness and did not seek appropriate treatment for his life-threatening condition, but–wait for it–their company offers a treatment for autism. They must understand lots of stuff about, you know, health.

    If you or your child suffer from autism and you want to treat the cause effectively rather than “cover up” the symptoms with medication, Truehope EMPowerplus Advanced™ can help.

    EMPowerplus was developed by Stephan’s father (a property manager) with is salesman friend. It’s possible that EMPowerplus would work just as well for bacterial meningitis as it does for autism. I wonder if they tried it.

  45. #45 Orac
    March 11, 2016

    I’d like to see this false aphorism retired. The internet forgets all the time. Sometimes we are fortunate and find there is a Google cache, archive.org capture or a screen shot available, but those are not guaranteed to exist, rather we are lucky to get them, because the internet does forget.

    You do realize, don’t you, my opinion of pedants?

  46. #46 Calli Arcale
    https://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    March 12, 2016

    Delphine @21:
    “As suspected, it was bacterial meningitis. I suspect the Stephans play up the “viral meningitis” angle because from what I understand, it is generally far less potentially devastating than bacterial meningitis.”

    Well, viral meningitis is more likely to resolve on its own, but bacterial meningitis is more treatable. As in, a treatment actually exists — viral meningitis is like most viruses, where the most you can do is try to keep the patient alive long enough for their body to fight it off, while with bacterial meningitis, you can add antibiotics.

    And regarding the RN: “She said it didn’t jump out to her that he was seriously ill and he didn’t appear to be that sick.”

    Uh, ma’am, you said it could be meningitis. If that’s “not that sick”, then kindly turn in your license. Meningitis is a life-threatening infection. You can’t simultaneously hold the thoughts of “it could be meningitis” and “he’s not that sick” without having no clue what you’re talking about.

  47. #47 mho
    March 12, 2016

    “the purity of their lifestyle will prevent any serious outcome.” yes, exactly. Okay if I borrow that phrasing for use elsewhere?
    Did you catch the bit in the video where the grandfather was saying how they never let him eat chips?

  48. #48 KayMarie
    March 12, 2016

    @mho #47

    borrow away!

  49. #49 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 12, 2016

    So, wait, if the Internet never forgets, an elephant never forgets, and Rock and Roll never forgets*, what does that mean? Is it merely coincidence that there are three things that never forget?

    * According to expert musicalologist Robert Clark Seger.

  50. #50 Julian Frost
    South Africa
    March 12, 2016

    @KayMarie #42:

    [T]he purity of their lifestyle will prevent any serious outcome.

    You just summarised the woo mindset perfectly.

  51. #51 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    March 12, 2016

    MOB #49

    OK, I can figure this out…

    Elephants swim, so they weigh the same as a duck. I have a bit of an understanding how the Internet works, but a lot can only be explained by ‘black magic’. Rock and roll is the music of Satan.

    So only witches can Google how to make Thunderbirds?

  52. #52 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 12, 2016

    @Johnny – Thunderbirds are go!

  53. #53 Delphine
    purple Powerade
    March 12, 2016

    Uh, ma’am, you said it could be meningitis. If that’s “not that sick”, then kindly turn in your license. Meningitis is a life-threatening infection. You can’t simultaneously hold the thoughts of “it could be meningitis” and “he’s not that sick” without having no clue what you’re talking about.

    As a kid in the pre-hib vaccine era, I remember my parents asking whichever of their children was sick to move their head and neck. They’d seen meningitis and they had a healthy fear of meningitis.

    They had brought their son along — on a mattress in the back of the car because his body was too stiff to fold him into the car seat

    Still can’t get past this mental image. Anyone who has ever parented or cared for a toddler knows how ridiculously bendy they are. That was their cue (well, their late cue, their 911 cue). He must have been in such pain, it’s just heartbreaking. 🙁

  54. #54 Panacea
    March 12, 2016

    Well, the good news is the court isn’t going to view the autopsy report as mere “opinion” but rather a matter of legal fact that can only be disputed by another pathologist.

    The parents can diss the report all they want to in the court of public opinion. It won’t do them a damn bit of good in a court of law.

  55. #55 Gillian
    Vancouver
    March 12, 2016

    I read yesterday (sorry I can’t remember the source) that the parents consulted another alternative medicine practitioner who said it appeared the child had meningitis and should be taken to the hospital.
    I assume that advice was not what the parents wanted to hear so they ignored it. Even more damning.
    It’s so tragic that Ezekial had to pay the price for his parents beliefs.

  56. #56 Old Rockin' Dave
    March 12, 2016

    Ellen asks: “Where is their alternative equivalent of EMS, if alternatives are so good & science based medicine so bad?”

    I have visions of a homeopath riding up on a unicycle wearing a Camelbak.

  57. #57 capnkrunch
    March 13, 2016

    Old Rockin’ Dave@56

    Reminds me of a great satire by Clay Jones at SBM. It has such gems as “Emergency Chiropractic Technician” and “Acupuncture Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)”.

  58. #58 Old Rockin' Dave
    March 13, 2016

    I once announced a homeopathic orthopedic workshop at an AAPA conference. All participants were required to bring a 2×2 gauze, one teaspoon of casting material, and 5 gallons of water.
    Then there is this: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=that+mitchell+and+webb+look+homeopathic+a%26e

  59. #59 Daniel A. Gautreau
    Canada
    March 13, 2016

    A relative of mine just posted a photo on Facebook of page 1 of the 13-page insert that accompanies the DTaP vaccine, which lists autism as an adverse effects.Can anyone tell me something about this?

  60. #60 shay simmons
    March 13, 2016

    Daniel: If you read the insert, it says ‘the following adverse reactions were reported after getting vaccine X.’ Note that it does not say ‘the following adverse reactions were carefully investigated and found to be caused by vaccine X.’

  61. #61 Daniel A. Gautreau
    Canada
    March 13, 2016

    @Delphine. Comment #22, The parents did not obtain proper medical care for their child. But they may have believed that they had. Someone publicly and legally calling him/herself Doctor (Francis) counselled “treatment “. (a salad). and they trusted in the competence of this “doctor”. After all, he/she is licensed by the the gov’t to play doctor. Many people would take that as a proof of competence.

  62. #62 brian
    March 13, 2016

    @Daniel: As shay simmons indicated, the package inserts contain everything but the kitchen sink.

    Tell your relatives this:

    The package insert that mentions that autism was reported to have followed administration of the vaccine also mentions that SIDS was reported to have followed some administrations of the vaccine. Since SIDS by definition is not attributed to a specific cause (or it wouldn’t be SIDS!), the fact that an adverse event that was NOT attributed to the vaccine appears in the list of events that were reported to have occurred following vaccination should tell them that not all things on that list (like autism) are necessarily caused by the vaccine. Oh, and direct them to the abundant literature that shows that the claimed cases of “vaccine encephalopathy” that may include autistic symptoms have been shown to be due to pre-existing mutations rather than vaccination. PubMed is your friend.

  63. #63 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    March 13, 2016

    Daniel A. Gautreau asks (#59),

    …autism as an adverse effects.Can anyone tell me something about this?

    MJD says,

    The DTap vaccine may contain unwanted antigenic proteins (i.e., contaminants) that can leach into the solution, from the syringe, leading to the development of an autism spectrum disorder.

    See the CDC website below (DTap vaccine):

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/B/latex-table.pdf

    In the spirit of vaccine continuous-improvement, some vaccine manufacturers are starting to use materials that do not contain such harmful contaminants.

  64. #64 Robert L Bell
    March 14, 2016

    One infamous VAERS report detailed an innocent victim of vaccinations being turned into the Incredible Hulk.

    http://thesciencepost.com/new-hpv-vaccine-likely-to-create-race-of-super-humans/

  65. #65 Amethyst
    The Crystal Gem
    March 14, 2016

    @Robert

    Dang it, now I’m angrier than ever that as a boy, errr, Gem, I didn’t get the HPV vaccine in school. The Incredible Hulk is my favourite super hero and everything!

  66. #66 MI Dawn
    March 14, 2016

    @MJD: You have learned not to say the word, but you still promote your idee fixe about latex. The DTap vaccine may contain unwanted antigenic proteins (i.e., contaminants) that can leach into the solution, from the syringe, leading to the development of an autism spectrum disorder. is full of baloney.

    Vaccines DO NOT cause autism, latex exposure does not cause autism.

  67. #67 Amethyst
    The Crystal Gem
    March 14, 2016

    “Latex exposure does not cause autism.”

    Oh, thank Glob.

    *zips up gimp mask*

  68. #68 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    March 14, 2016

    @Daniel A. Gautreau

    A little late, and others have already replied, but here is a post that explains package inserts a little more: Package Inserts – Understanding What They Do (and Don’t) Say.

    The DTaP insert is very popular among those who like to claim that vaccines cause autism, but they generally don’t finish reading the paragraph it’s listed in, nor do they understand just what the package insert is. The short version is, it’s a legal document from the company. The adverse events listed are there because the company is required to list anything reported to them that is a) serious and b) could possibly be caused by the vaccine, regardless of whether there is any evidence of a causal connection. If someone with severe cardiac problems, who had already suffered several heart attacks, got the vaccine, and at some point afterward suffered another heart attack, the company would have to list “heart attack” in that section, too, even though it’s just a coincidental relationship.

  69. […] state. It’s something I had meant to write about earlier, but I was sidetracked by quacks killing a baby, Facebook’s having become a tool for antivaccine loons to use to harass pro-science […]

  70. #70 Douglas Stephens
    United States
    March 14, 2016

    I would like to post that their actions do not make these parents monsters. They are a product of what they were taught, their irrational beliefs, and all of their unfortunate biases. You’ve got to believe that losing a child to one’s own actions (or inactions) must be devastating and quite likely to breed selective memory and rationalizations.

    It is the purpose of the plethora of Science Blogs to destroy that allows these misguided beliefs and biases to prosper.

    I would feel better if they were now able to acknowledge their errors and accept responsibility. One can imagine that had they done so, a criminal prosecution may have been less likely.

    Given that they are doubling down on their biases and rationalizations, prosecution is necessary as a deterrent.

  71. #71 Douglas Stephens
    March 14, 2016

    PS. Why has Tannis not been prosecuted too? I surely hope she is.

  72. #72 Delphine
    this machine kills fascists
    March 14, 2016

    No, Douglas Stephens, just no.

    Let me ask you — if David and Collet were junkies living on the margins, and not Mormons and wooists, would you feel differently?

  73. #73 capnkrunch
    March 14, 2016

    Douglas Stephens@70

    I would feel better if they were now able to acknowledge their errors and accept responsibility.

    That would require that they admit that they killed their child. I do not know if many people wouod be capable of such honest self-assesment

    @70

    PS. Why has Tannis not been prosecuted too? I surely hope she is.

    IANAL, but I think this might illustrate a major issue with licensing quacks and allowing them to self regulate. There is no naturopathic standard of care. How do you show breach of duty when there’s no standard to deviate from?

  74. #74 sadmar
    March 14, 2016

    Why has Tannis not been prosecuted too?

    She did nothing illegal. Much of the commentary contains factual inaccuracies about her role. The quote Orac provided above “Tannis asked Vataman to make up a tincture of echinacea.” is contradicted by all the other press accounts of Vataman’s testimony. At this point in the trial, all that Tannis is known to have done is confirm to Vataman – at some point before Collet Stephan came in – that ‘Blast’ is an ‘appropriate’ naturopathic potion to ‘boost the immune system.’ It’s not clear whether Tannis knew this was for an infant, or that Collet had raised the possibility of meningitis with Vataman.

    We don’t know whether Collet informed either Vataman or Tannis that Ezekiel was lying – stiff as a board – in the back of her car. As a matter of fact, we can’t even be sure Ezekiel was in the car. It appears Collet simply entered the clinic, picked up the ‘Blast’ and left.

    I told her the tincture was pretty strong and she said, ‘That’s OK, the baby is used to things like horseradish,”‘ Vataman said.

    The referent of ‘her’ and ‘she’ is almost certainly Collet, not Tannis.

    The worst that can be said of Tannis may be that she employed an incompetent staffer to dole out naturopathic nostrums, without proper supervision. That’s bad enough, but much less damning than what many commenters have been assuming.

    Believe me, I’d like to have a big hammer to whack naturopathy with as much as anyone, but this case doesn’t seem to be it.

    And, sorry Douglas Stephens@70, but the Stephan family ARE monsters. Truehope is as filthy as CAM-scams go (short of Brian Clement), with at least one corpse on it’s ledger. If David and Collet are products of what they were taught, what they were taught includes fraud and overt mendacity. We may be looking at more than “irrational beliefs” here, and the “unfortunate biases” might include boosting profits and protecting the gravy train.

    Yes, I have details, but way too much to post in a comment…

  75. #75 Delphine
    March 14, 2016

    The worst that can be said of Tannis may be that she employed an incompetent staffer to dole out naturopathic nostrums, without proper supervision. That’s bad enough, but much less damning than what many commenters have been assuming.

    Collet Stephan spoke to Lexie Vataman via telephone.

    “She needed something to build up her baby’s immune system,” Vataman said.“She said, ‘my baby might have a form of meningitis and we think it might be viral and not bacterial.’ ”

    Vataman said she asked if Stephan had taken her son to a medical doctor. She said Collet replied that a friend who was a nurse was keeping an eye on him and he didn’t have a fever.

    Then:

    Collet Stephan came in within a day or two of the phone call and spoke briefly to naturopathic Dr. Tracey Tannis, who asked Vataman to make up a tincture of echinacea.

    “I told her the tincture was pretty strong and she said, ‘that’s OK, the baby is used to things like horseradish,’ ” Vataman said.

    So while we don’t know if Tannis even laid eyes on Ezekiel or not, she still had her staffer make up a tincture for Ezekiel.

    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/mother-asked-for-holistic-immune-boost-to-treat-gravely-ill-toddler-trial-hears

    The way this (and every other piece I’ve read to date) is worded indicates that Tannis had Vataman fill a “prescription” after Collet Stephan spoke to Vataman and after Collet Stephan came to speak to her (Tannis) personally.

    If you have contradictory details, please share them.

  76. #76 Delphine
    March 15, 2016

    I would like to post that their actions do not make these parents monsters. They aren’t on trial for being monsters. Whether you believe them to be monsters or not is not really relevant.

    They are a product of what they were taught, their irrational beliefs, and all of their unfortunate biases. You’ve got to believe that losing a child to one’s own actions (or inactions) must be devastating and quite likely to breed selective memory and rationalizations.

    Tired of the apologia for the Stephans. These aren’t people who put the baby in the car seat and didn’t buckle him in properly or installed a pressure-mounted gate at the top of a staircase. They let a very sick little boy suffer needlessly — not because they lacked resources — but because what they believe mattered more than their son’s well-being.

    They had one job to do. One. One overriding job above all else. DON’T KILL YOUR CHILD. And they did. They need to go to jail and suffer the loss of their freedom, not solely as a deterrent to others but because the deliberate parental negligence of a child leading to his death is worthy of punishment.

  77. #77 Murmur
    UK-ia
    March 15, 2016

    On the “product of your upbringing” question: I was brought up a church-going Methodist, with full exposure to Christian doctrine from as far back as I remember. However, once I was old enough to start thinking and asking questions I realised that it was a pile of fetid dingos’ kidneys and got the f**K out of it and have been happily atheist ever since.

    When I was at university I had several friends who also escaped/rejected religious indoctrination from an early age (some also low church Protestant, some Roman Catholic) and we spoke at length about our experiences…

    I do not buy the idea that one is completely conditioned by upbringing; one can apply one’s brain and reject it; there are choices to be made here.

  78. […] Are Naturopaths Promoting? The trial for the parents of a southern Alberta toddler who died in 2012 from meningitis is also shining an uncomfortable […]

  79. #79 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    March 15, 2016

    Under #70’s logic that acts of an adult are caused by the parents and the upbringing they had; then Hitler is not responsible for his actions. We should be blaming his parents.

    Of course this is BS. How many people through out history have raised above home environments; the number probably can not be calculated. The actions of these so called parents are theirs and theirs alone.

  80. #80 TonyT
    Where-ever
    March 16, 2016

    Delphine has it right, #1 purpose for a parent is to nurture and raise your children. I like the fact Murmur has raised religion here, as I see the indoctrination he speaks of is so little different to what we have seen here. We have seen many a child die where science is refused on the basis of some religious views. Following traditional ways, being mis-lead, and willfully following the sheep. Too many excuses are raised to justify this continued abuse. Every dead person had prayers prayed.

  81. #81 has
    March 16, 2016

    Delphine@72:

    Let me ask you — if David and Collet were junkies living on the margins, and not Mormons and wooists, would you feel differently?

    Of course he would: it’s one rule for trailer trash, quite another for white collar. Typical middle class hypocrisy, pretending their shit doesn’t stink just like everyone else’s. Apologists for these arrogant unrepentant child killers can go get bent.

  82. #82 RTMan
    Alberta
    March 17, 2016

    An article came out about the naturopath’s testimony.

    http://lethbridgenewsnow.com/article/507437/naturopathic-doctor-says-she-recommended-emergency-care

    She says she told her receptionist to tell the mother to go to emergency when she heard they suspected meningitis. She also says she took down her social media due to on-line threats…

  83. #83 Cam the Cat
    Clearwater, Florida
    March 23, 2016

    Although sugar does not indeed feed viruses, it most certainly feeds bacteria & serves as a veritable breeding ground. Diabetics are more prone to a whole host of infections for good reason.

  84. #84 Old Rockin' Dave
    There...there...no, just a little bit down...oh yeeaaah!
    March 24, 2016

    To paraphrase Russell Baker, “Bad things done in the name of religion are not religion; they are just bad things.”

  85. #85 TBruce
    March 24, 2016

    Although sugar does not indeed feed viruses, it most certainly feeds bacteria & serves as a veritable breeding ground. Diabetics are more prone to a whole host of infections for good reason.

    This is oversimplified to the point of being wrong. Hyperglycemia in diabetes interferes with immune function, increasing vulnerability to infection. In addition, the circulatory and neurologic dysfunctions also have a significant effect. As well,the increased medical interventions also increase infection risk. “Sugar feeding bacteria” would at most be a minor component of this risk.

  86. #86 Narad
    March 24, 2016

    “Sugar feeding bacteria” would at most be a minor component of this risk.

    Having recently made an unfortunate discovery at the back of the fridge, I am reminded that it’s a good thing people don’t have chicken broth flowing through their veins.

  87. #87 JP
    March 24, 2016

    Having recently made an unfortunate discovery at the back of the fridge, I am reminded that it’s a good thing people don’t have chicken broth flowing through their veins.

    So that’s what it was.

    No matter, I recently found some fruit that I had left sitting behind a bag of rice for long enough that it turned into vinegar and soaked through the paper bottom of the rice bag, which promptly exploded rice all over the kitchen when I attempted to pick it up and throw it away.

  88. #88 Chris
    March 24, 2016

    Oh, wow. I need to check that carton of vegetable broth from Christmas.

  89. #89 Denice Walter
    March 24, 2016

    For years, I always worried about a gradually blackening viscous puddle of biofilm at the back of my refrigerator which I feared disturbing lest it release some preternaturally deadly plague so I just avoided it and assiduously kept food far away from it.

    Mercifully, a few weeks ago, the door on said appliance absolutely refused to stay shut thus encouraging me to purchase a new, compact, clean replacement that no longer has an unidentifiable but barely noticeable smell.

    No one died or suffered any ill effects.

  90. #90 Wzrd1
    March 27, 2016

    @Denice Walker, thanks! I’m glad that I’m not the only one with a nascent civilization evolving in the back of the fridge. 😉

    Still, eventually, I’ll get in there and interrupt the evolution with some bleach solution.

    As for this story, I sincerely hope that they receive the maximum sentence for this senseless and needless death.

  91. #91 JP
    March 27, 2016

    I’m glad that I’m not the only one with a nascent civilization evolving in the back of the fridge.

    I’m reminded of a Simpsons episode where Lisa grows a miniature civilization (from a tooth in a glass of water or something, I think), and Bart decides to make himself the G-d of it and ruins everything. Or something like that.

  92. #92 Politicalguineapig
    March 27, 2016

    On the subject of recent kitchen disasters, I recently found out that mushrooms could mold. Also, freezing pasta sauce in the jar it came in is a bad idea.

  93. #93 VaccineTruth.co.uk
    UK
    March 29, 2016

    Oh, it’s alright, I forgive the parents entirely now. They didn’t use maple syrup to treat meningitis, they used extra-strong tincture of echinacea. That makes all the difference.

    Then I looked up the reports of adverse effects following administration of echinacea.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echinacea#Side_effects

    Reported reactions include: thrombocytopenic purpura, leucopenia, hepatitis, kidney failure, atrial fibrillation, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, itch, rash, asthma, shortness of breath, and anaphylaxis

    Good old Interweb!

  94. #94 MB
    April 3, 2016

    Please, carefully read this article as well as the testimony of Dr. Tannis before lashing out on here. http://lethbridgeherald.com/commentary/opinions/2016/04/02/clearing-up-factual-distortions/

    also – this one. take-the-child-to-the-er-right-away-naturopathic-doctor-testifies-at-meningitis-trial

  95. #96 Robert L ( 신문 남자) Bell
    April 3, 2016

    @JP #87

    We visited the in-laws in Korea for two months one summer, returning to find that the eggs of some insect had hatched within the 25 kg bag of rice. Lots of little wrigglers from that one, we caught them out only because they had this insatiable desire to climb.

  96. #97 TBruce
    April 3, 2016

    MB:
    I would take the opinion piece from the Lethbridge Herald with a cellar of salt. The author, Karen Sellick, is a lawyer who wrote a piece in the Globe and Mail advocating thermography for breast cancer screening. I wrote a letter disputing her claims which was published a few days later. She is a prolific writer whose opinions are strongly libertarian.

  97. #98 TBruce
    April 3, 2016

    I can’t find the article or my letter (it was a while ago), but I did find that she is a passionate advocate of raw milk, not just from the libertarian standpoint, but also from the pseudoscience standpoint. Here’s an example:
    http://www.torontosun.com/2015/10/04/wrong-that-raw-milk-raids-continue

  98. […] thorough (and unvarnished) reading on this from evidence-based medical perspectives HERE and HERE And HERE is just one example of the father’s anti-vax musings […]

  99. #100 malcolm
    April 6, 2016

    You are clearly not well informed about the truth. The baby was never brought into the ND’s clinic. The parents attempted to claim they took their child into the clinic at the beginning of the trial. Later, the same week, the mother admits she was lying. Which, if I recall, may be considered purgery. She continues on the stand to explain that days after the ND tells her to get her child to emergency, her son was left lying on a matress in the back of her vehicle while she drops into the clinic to pick up echinacea. Although, she conveniently fails to mention this critically horrific detail while casually buying a bottle and leaving. The naturopath Dr Tannis never prescribed any treatment to the mother. She is documented to be in patient appointments during this timeframe. The receptionist actually admits she has little memory about the mother buying echinacea, as the clinic is “very busy” when the mother is there. The conversation about echinacea as an “immune boost” was stated by the receptionist to have been on the phone. A phone call between a receptionist and the mother. There was no direct conversation between the mother & the naturopath. The parents made no appointment because the nd has clearly told them to get to emergency. This from the police statement and court testimony. An educated individual would read the documents and make a fair and informed opinion. It’s amazing no one recalls that Dr Tannis said “tell that lady to take the child to emergency immediately” – 2 days before the baby is placed in an ambulance. An ambulance which has been confirmed to be devoid of pediatric airways & pediatric masks. The medical examiner then confirms that the child suffers 8 minutes of hypoxia from the ambulance ride per CT scan. And to think, what if the parents had actually listened to the ND 2 days before? Apparently, then, she would have been a silent hero.

  100. #101 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 6, 2016

    @malcolm,

    This post is nearly a month old and was based on the details known at the time. You might want to join the discussion at http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2016/04/05/ezekiel-stephan-why-naturopaths-shouldnt-treat-children-or-anyone-else/.

  101. […] About a month and a half ago, I became aware of the case of Ezekiel Stephan, a 19-month-old Canadian toddler living in Alberta who in 2012 developed bacterial meningitis. Unfortunately for Ezekiel, his parents, David and Collet Stephan, were believers in alternative medicine. They didn’t take Ezekiel to a real doctor. Instead, they relied on herbal remedies and consulted a naturopath while their child suffered and died. As a result, they were put on trial for failing to provide the necessaries of life for Ezekiel. During the trial, they raised money by appealing to the worst quacks, claiming they were being persecuted in a plot by the Canadian government to impose forced vaccination. […]

  102. #103 Katie
    Canada
    April 27, 2016

    Following yesterday’s guilty verdict, 43 doctors across Canada have filed a formal complaint against the naturopath involved.
    https://www.google.ca/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=hDTZVIfHEYSekALh-4HYCg&gws_rd=ssl

  103. #104 Heidi
    April 28, 2016

    FYI – the parents never even took this kid in to see Tracy; the bought echinacea from her receptionist. Tracy had nothing to do with any of this. Ignorance is not cute.

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