If there’s one thing that really animates me and angers me, it’s the unnecessary death of a child due to quackery. Competent adults, of course, are perfectly free to choose any form of quackery they wish for themselves or even to refuse treatment at all (which is less harmful than quackery). Children, on the other hand, must trust that their parents or guardians will act in their best interests. When they betray that trust and their duty to act in the best interests of the child, I wonder how this can happen. When there the government sides with the parents, I become even more agitated.

So it was a month ago when I heard about a 19 month old boy named Ezekiel Stephan, who died of bacterial meningitis because his parents relied on quackery to treat him instead of real medicine, and the baby died of his meningitis and an empyema, which is a collection of pus in the pleural cavity surrounding the lungs. Ezekiel’s parents apparently didn’t even take him to a real doctor, and he died. Not surprisingly, his parents didn’t vaccinate him, and it appears likely that he died of Hib meningitis, a vaccine preventable disease, which has led antivaccinationists to claim that the parents, David and Collet Stephan, were being “persecuted” in a conspiracy that would allow Canada to impose forced vaccination on all children, you know, typical stuff.

In any case, the trial is currently on recess and due to resume on April 11, the Stephans having been charged with failing to provide the necessities of life for their son. During the trial, there’s been a lot of commentary about the parents and their negligence. Make no mistake about it, no matter how much the parents clearly loved their son, their beliefs led them to medically neglect him, and he died. Instead of taking him to a hospital, they treated him with homemade smoothies, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and an echinacea tincture. It was probably the same belief system that led them to work for Truehope Nutritional Support, a supplement company.

What I haven’t seen much of is a discussion of the role of naturopaths in contributing to the death of Ezekiel Stephan. For it turned out that the parents sought advice from a local naturopath named Tracy Tannis who practices at the Lethbridge Naturopathic Medical Clinic, who, it was learned, had recommended a “tincture of echinea.” Later in the trial, not surprisingly Tannis denied responsibility:

She said on March 13, 2012 her secretary took a phone call from a woman concerned about her young son. She testified the woman told her that she had a friend who was a nurse with her and she was concerned about viral meningitis. Tannis told her secretary: ‘You need to tell her to take the child to the ER right away.’”

Tannis testified that the next day a woman came into her clinic and asked for an over-the-counter echinacea treatment for her son who was almost two. Tannis told the court she didn’t know if the woman was the same one who called the day before.

And:

The naturopath has testified she was busy with a patient when Collet called ahead of her visit to the clinic, but that she told a staff member to tell the mother to take the boy immediately to hospital. She said she remained by the phone long enough to confirm the message was relayed, and that she was never asked if echinacea would be a good treatment for meningitis.

Under cross-examination, the jury heard the naturopath never told police she had stayed by the phone while the advice was passed on. A worker in her clinic also told investigators she introduced the naturopath to Collet when she arrived at the clinic, and described her as the mother of “the little one with meningitis.”

So it’s not entirely clear whether Tannis ever told the parents that they should take their child to the ER. It is clear, however, that she did prescribe some sort of herbal remedy with echinacea to a child with meningitis. When I first read about this, I wondered how on earth anyone could do that. Britt Hermes, an ex-naturopath who couldn’t engage in quackery any more explains:

I can guess why this naturopath did not perform a physical exam before she made a diagnosis and dispensed a substance. Naturopaths are trained to work through imaginary cases rather than practice on real patients. I know why the naturopath recommended an herbal preparation even for something as serious as meningitis. Naturopaths, more frequently than not, attempt to treat viral infections and other aggressive diseases with herbs. I often used echinacea for ear infections and colds on my former patients of any age. My former boss was using all sorts of “natural” substances on patients with terminal cancer.

However, she is a naturopath, and that means that, regardless of whether she did the responsible thing or not with respect to Ezekiel Stephan, her entire discipline is quackery, with a bit of sensible advice about nutrition and exercise mixed in to make the quackery seem less quacky. Tannis’ website is now down, an Archive.org archive shows that she offers chelation, IV nutrients, IV vitamin C, acupuncture, herbal medicine, ozone therapy, and allergy testing.

Whenever a tragic case like this comes along, it’s useful to consider what naturopaths claim compared to what they actually do. I’m referring specifically to the oft-repeated claim by naturopaths that they can function as primary care providers, not just for adults but for children. In Alberta, Canada, for instance, the provinicial government has granted the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta (CNDA) the power to self-govern their profession. Indeed, as Alheli Picazo notes, there is a profound irony here in that, in prosecuting the Stephans, the Alberta government is prosecuting parents who pursued cures from quacks that it licenses and thereby legitimizes. Indeed, Tannis herself graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2003 and is licensed in “good standing” in Alberta. It’s thus very scary to consider that, despite the extreme inadequacy of naturopathic training that leads them to treat diseases with ineffective herbs and other interventions, naturopathy as a quack field has the extreme hubris to think that its members can actually deal with the common diseases that primary care doctors see and treat.

All of this brings up the difference between adults and children again. Again, adults can choose whatever quackery they want, including naturopaths, although I would point ou that the state should not facilitate such a choice or otherwise legitimize it by licensing such a pseudoscientific profession. That very same legitimization helps lead parents to think that naturopaths can treat children, too. Granted, in this case it clearly wasn’t the fact that Tannis is a licensed naturopath that led the Stephans to think it was acceptable to seek help for their son from her. They are clearly so far down the rabbit hole of quackery in their belief system that it almost certainly doesn’t matter either way to them whether naturopaths are licensed. However, to other parents, who might be a bit woo-susceptible but aren’t hard core believers, state licensure implies a legitimate profession, which might lower their skepticism.

That’s why there are now calls in Alberta for limiting naturopaths’ ability to treat children:

University of Alberta health-policy researcher Tim Caulfield says the tragic death is exposing the sharp and dangerous limits of naturopathic medicine.

Caulfield, who has long argued that naturopathy operates in the realm of “pseudoscience,” said he’s “sympathetic to the idea of restricting the kinds of services they can provide kids.”

“We do a lot of things to protect children and, at a minimum, I get very worried when kids are being taken there,” he said.

Alberta licenses naturopaths, as does Ontario and several other provinces, regulation Guichon said gives the field a “cloak of respectability and professionalism” it may or may not deserve.

There’s no “may or may not” about licensure conferring legitimacy to naturopathy. It’s why naturopaths fight so hard for licensure, because with it comes legitimacy. After the Affordable Care Act, if a state licenses a health care profession, then health insurance companies have to pay for their services, which is yet another reason naturopaths crave state licensure, at least here in the US.

Personally, if it were up to me, I wouldn’t allow naturopaths to treat anything. I’d even be loathe to let them give nutrition advice, so steeped in pseudoscience and prescientific mystical ideas is their world view. That being said, stopping them from being able to treat children in order to make it more difficult and less likely for a woo-believing parent to take their children to a quack naturopath quack.

Comments

  1. #1 Eric Lund
    April 5, 2016

    Naturopaths are trained to work through imaginary cases rather than practice on real patients.

    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they are not.

    Ms. Hermes implies that in jurisdictions that license naturopaths, an ND can get a license without first getting clinical experience. Perhaps some of these jurisdictions have requirements for clinical experience or continuing education, as is normally the case for MDs. But if Alberta is letting naturopaths regulate themselves, they probably don’t have such requirements. Most laymen would assume (as I did) that it’s a normal part of the training.

  2. #2 David Komer
    April 5, 2016

    The strange thing is that this is a given in other fields that involve public safety. A car must pass inspection via a certified facility. Food must pass inspection before public distribution. Police and military must pass authorization/authentication checks. Etc.

    Yet, when it comes to contagious disease, there’s nothing stopping a person from being an accepted authority on how to contain it. I can’t give car certification, pretend to be the police, or even serve unvetted food to the public without being convicted of violating some law. But I can pretend to be a medical doctor and advise someone with meningitis or measles or whatever with little to no consequences, as long as I call myself a “naturopath”.

    This should be a punishable offense. Maybe not jail but at least a fine for fraud or something.

  3. #3 The Naturocrit Podcast and Blog
    http://archive.org/search.php?query=%28naturocrit%29&sort=-date
    April 5, 2016

    What’s also interesting too is the discrepancy in the testimonies of the naturopath’s front desk employee and the naturopath herself.

    Under oath presumably, one said, respectively:

    ‘I introduced her directly to the mother of the little one with meningitis’ while the other said ‘I never saw the toddler or talked directly with the mother’.

    -r.c.

  4. #4 Delphine
    April 5, 2016

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/karen-selick/ezekhil-stephan_b_9585100.html

    Still whoring out their son’s death, though the running tally of $$ is not viewable (they’d raised $33K on their gofundme page before it was shut down) https://stand4truth.ca/donate/

    The testimonies of Vataman and Tannis don’t line up. Something in the milk ain’t clean.

    5 years, that’s the max available. I hope they both get it, and I hope their remaining children are able to stay together and go to a family who will honour them and frequently put their needs first.

  5. #5 mho
    April 5, 2016

    Eric, nds are supposed to have clinical training, I beleive its 1200 hours. But Ms. Hermes has explained that the clinics often didn’t have enough patients who had certain illnesses so the Nds would practice exams on themselves, or make a presentation to count as “clinical” hours. And then they don’t have residencies, so again far few hours in the clinic than a primary care.

  6. #6 palindrom
    April 5, 2016

    Delphine @2 — The woman who wrote that HuffPo article is a legal counsel for an outfit called the Canadian Constitution Foundatation. From what I can tell from a few minutes of searching in between actual work, this appears to be devoted to advancing libertarian and right-wing agendas, making this another “health freedom” pitch. If I recall you’re from the Great White North yourself — do you know this group, and is that a fair characterization?

    The old grind awaits.

  7. #7 palindrom
    April 5, 2016

    mho@3 — If you recall the 1200 hour figure correctly, that’s 30 weeks at 40 hours a week.

    Which compared to what a Real Doctor gets, is pitiful.

  8. #8 Ross Miles
    Barrie ON
    April 5, 2016

    RE: Tim Caulfield
    He is a strong science advocate in Canada having written several books. The latest is: “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash” and prior to that: “The Cure For Everything: Untangling The Twisted Messages About Health Fitness And Happiness”.

    From a Global News interview: “Caulfield says he thinks Paltrow is a great actress, and he loves some of the projects she’s been in.

    But he focused on her, and her Goop lifestyle brand, because she’s the “perfect emblem of the place of celebrities, particularly in the context of health and beauty and lifestyle, because not only does she provide all these recommendations, but it’s part of her brand.”

    “I think given that she is sort of explicitly saying that she is an expert or holding herself out as an expert, it’s fair to hold her to some kind of standard, and I think the standard should be science,”

    “The other thing with Gwyneth is, she just says such crazy things, like the ‘V-steam,’” he added. “That’s just gold, I can’t make that stuff up.””

  9. #9 Denice Walter
    April 5, 2016

    @ Ross Miles:

    Did you ever read Goop?

    Oh J-sus! It’s just hilarious, She also hawks products like Moon Dust ( or suchlike) to put in your gottverdamte morning smoothies!
    However I never heard of the ‘V-stream’ and don’t think that I want to ever.. I can imagine.

    And I don’t like the clothes: after all, just how many over priced designer yoga pants does one need?

  10. #10 Denice Walter
    April 5, 2016

    Now I vaguely recall what the V-stream is ( not a private jet).
    Yiiiii.

  11. #11 sadmar
    April 5, 2016

    I don’t know what press about the Stephan case Orac has been reading, but I’ve looked at everything I can find and I see quite the opposite of what he describes. That is, the majority of the stories implicate naturopathy either explicitly or implicitly. The coverage seems to frame the facts around an existing ‘naturopathy is dangerous quackery’ peg, to the point where accompanying commentary sometimes suggests the Stephans were innocent victims of Tracy Tannis’s medical con-game.

    Of course, in general naturopathy IS dangerous quackery, but in this case the culpability falls entirely on the parents and the defense is trying to transfer responsibility to anyone else in an attempt to get a not-guilty verdict, and the naturopath just happens to be among those available – along with the EMS crew who took Ezekiel to the hospital, and the hospital itself.

    Two key points of press misrepresentation:
    1. There’s no evidence or testimony that Tannis prescribed anything for Ezekiel Stephan.
    2. The Stephans did not at any time ‘take Ezekiel to a naturopath’ in the sense one would normally understand that phrase.

    Per testimony in the case so far:

    A. The Phone Call
    There is indeed confllct between the testimony by Tannis, her employee Lexie Vataman who dispenses naturopathic remedies, and the Stephans’ statements to the RCMP. The only points not in dispute so far are:
    1. Collet Stephan called Vataman, requested something to boost Ezekiel’s immune system, and mentioned that the nurse/midwife who had briefly looked in on the toddler has raised the possibility of viral meningitis.
    2. Vataman concluded an echinacea tincture called ‘Blast’ was the appropriate remedy, but decided to check with Tannis to be sure.
    3. Vataman told Collet Ezekiel should be taken to a hospital.
    4. Tannis did not speak to Collet at this time, nor did she know who Collet was, as the two had never met.

    I’ll not go into the details of the contested points around the phone call and the ‘prescription’ of the Blast in this comment for the sake of straying too far from the point at hand…

    B. Ezekiel Is (Allegedly) Driven To Lethbridge Naturopathic
    The Stephans claim that after Ezekiel took a turn for the worse on the day they eventually called 911, they placed him on the seat of their car as he was too stiff to sit in his car seat, and drove him the 85km to Lethbridge Naturopathic. Yet, all that occurred there was that Collet picked up Blast from Vataman, which the Stephans allegedly administered to Ezekiel on the way home. They did not take Ezekiel into the clinic, and there is no evidence or testimony so far that they even told anyone at the clinic that he was outside in the car, much lest request that he be examined.

    Yes, we’re dealing with some major WTF here…

    Again, I’ll spare the details, and simply state the overall impression: Collet Stephan appears to have been so confident in her own ability to diagnose and treat Ezekiel’s illness that she felt no need to follow the advice of any ‘health professional’ – all of whom she mistrusted – including a naturopath.

    If it were up to me, I would erase the ‘discipline’ of naturopathy altogether. I certainly would de-license nartuopathy for any sort of medical care, and shutter the naturopathy schools. I might allow practitioners trained in naturopathy to serve as diet/lifestyle counselors under strict conventional medicine guidelines and supervision, but that’s as far as I’d go.

    However, the relevance of the ‘crimes’ of naturopathy to the Ezekiel Stephan case is so minimal, the discussion of naturopathy here only acts to deflect attention away from what is at best gross negligence on the part of Ezekiel’s family, and at worst something far more sinister. I’ll leave that ‘worst’ unspecified for now, but if you look through the Truehope website, you might fins some cause for concern, and at least come up with some questions that ought to be explored (but probably won’t be… trails being what they are)…

  12. #12 Sara
    Canada
    April 5, 2016

    “It was probably the same belief system that led them to work for Truehope Nutritional Support, a supplement company.”

    They don’t just work for the company, it’s the family business. David Stephan is one of the 10 children pictured in this family photo on their website. There is a very long and sordid history between this company and the Gov’t of Canada, which is why they are positioning themselves as victims … it’s what he has grown up believing. http://www.truehope.com/the-truehope-story.html

    They have also licensed their flagship product to Q Sciences, which sadly has MDs on their advisory board. http://qsciences.com/q-products/#empowerplus

    Here’s one anecdote you won’t see advertised on their website though. This man went off of his medication in favor of Truehope vitamins and murdered his father. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/mentally-ill-killer-tried-vitamin-therapy-court-told-1.1141861

    As a pharmacist in their local geographic area, I have been inundated with people asking about this product, and have also been asked to sell it. Thankfully, the demand seems to have dropped off significantly in recent years.

  13. #13 Ross Miles
    Barrie ON
    April 5, 2016

    @Denice

    Morning laugh if not so sad. Drop the “r” as is “steam”. Rather than further explain, Dr. Jen Gunter covers this: https://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/gwyneth-paltrow-says-steam-your-vagina-an-obgyn-says-dont/
    However, the pasted address, does say it all.

    Have not read Goop and like many things, is far down my reading list. MUSE ” Maybe if Orac could shorten a post or two, I would have time.”

  14. #14 Sara
    April 5, 2016

    “It was probably the same belief system that led them to work for Truehope Nutritional Support, a supplement company.”

    They don’t just work for the company, it’s the family business. David Stephan is one of the 10 children pictured in the family photo on their website. http://www.truehope.com/the-truehope-story.html

    There is a long and sordid history between this company and the Gov’t of Canada, which is why they are positioning themselves as victims … he grew up believing the gov’t was suppressing their miracle cure!

    As a pharmacist in their local geographic area, I had been asked to sell their crap and have seen many people attempt to switch to it. Thankfully, I haven’t seen as much of it in recent years – possibly due to a prominent murder case in BC where a man stopped his meds in favour of Truehope vitamins and killed his father.

  15. #15 Orac
    April 5, 2016

    I’ve never actually read Goop before. I wonder if I should, you know, for “educational” purposes and blog fodder.

  16. #16 Eric Lund
    April 5, 2016

    the Canadian Constitution Foundatation

    In the US, if a group has certain words such as “Constitution” in its name, that is a red flag that the group is likely to be advancing some crackpot political agenda, usually of the right-wing variety. For instance, there is a Constitutional Sheriff’s Association in the US, which promotes the idea that county sheriffs are the ultimate law authority. They were sympathetic to the people occupying the wildlife refuge in Oregon, and several leaders of that occupation were arrested while attempting to travel to the next county to meet with a sheriff who belongs to that group. If palindorm’s description of the Canadian Constitution Foundation is accurate, that habit seems to have spread to the Great White North.

    “Freedom”, “Patriot”, and “Christian” are other red-flag words. Groups with “Freedom” in the name tend to be about their members’ freedom to recklessly endanger other people (cf. “health freedom”). “Christian” groups habitually ignore the teachings of Yeshua bin Yosef, the man they claim to be the Messiah. And so forth.

  17. #17 Frequent Lurker
    April 5, 2016

    I’ve never actually read Goop before. I wonder if I should, you know, for “educational” purposes and blog fodder.

    Think that vague sort of combined interest and disgust that comes with reading the William Sonoma Christmas catalogue, but add a TON of woo to it.

  18. #18 Delphine
    April 5, 2016

    There is indeed confllct between the testimony by Tannis, her employee Lexie Vataman who dispenses naturopathic remedies, and the Stephans’ statements to the RCMP. The only points not in dispute so far are:
    1. Collet Stephan called Vataman, requested something to boost Ezekiel’s immune system, and mentioned that the nurse/midwife who had briefly looked in on the toddler has raised the possibility of viral meningitis.
    2. Vataman concluded an echinacea tincture called ‘Blast’ was the appropriate remedy, but decided to check with Tannis to be sure.
    3. Vataman told Collet Ezekiel should be taken to a hospital.
    4. Tannis did not speak to Collet at this time, nor did she know who Collet was, as the two had never met.

    Per the CP reporting: 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.”

    http://www.thecanadianpress.com/english/online/OnlineFullStory.aspx?filename=DOR-MNN-CP.707d5a901df248ea8295e4c010b3dd31.CPKEY2008111310&newsitemid=36676272&languageid=1

  19. #19 Denice Walter
    April 5, 2016

    @ Orac:

    Have a few drinks first.
    Blog fodder for sure!

    So much badness accumulated in one convenient spot.

    ( HOWEVER the how-to-dress section includes places I might like/ where I’ve been so I’d better not scoff too much- but I’d do better than her candy@ssedness)

  20. #20 Delphine
    April 5, 2016

    @palindrom, I don’t know this group well, but from what I do know, I’d say that’s a fair characterization.

  21. #21 Old Rockin' Dave
    In the land of the (sort of) free...
    April 5, 2016

    Eric, you left out “liberty”.
    Two exceptions to your list – The Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. The first promotes Jefferson’s “wall of separation” in society in general; the other does the same in the context of the armed forces.

  22. #22 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    April 5, 2016

    @Eric Lund

    Governments are held accountable to our Constitution

    Canadians would very rarely write like that. We just don’t think of a unitary constitution as we don’t have one. We have bits and pieces and who knows we might have to got back to Magna Carta in some cases

    Rightwing nuts is the likely description

  23. #23 Ross Miles
    Barrie ON
    April 5, 2016

    Canadian Constitution Foundation

    Unfortunately, we do acquire some bad habits, with no implication of where. CCF is an organization advancing a right wing agenda cloaked in freedom statements. There was a CCF political party which was far left though.

    @Orac “yet another reason naturopaths crave state licensure, at least here in the US.” Same in Canada, where they are becoming more legitimate in the view of many. As of yet, no Provincial health plan ( read universal health care ) pays any of a naturopath’s fees, but I suspect it is only a matter of time. Many supplemental insurance plans do pay some or all, so the inroad is made.

  24. #24 TBruce
    April 5, 2016

    Karen Selick is a committed libertarian and a prolific writer from this viewpoint. Her promotion of “health freedom” has led her to promote altie positions, for example thermography for breast cancer screening and the deregulation of raw milk. She attempts to give scientific evidence for her positions but fails miserably. I would be skeptical of anything she tries to present as fact.

  25. #25 Tony C
    United States
    April 5, 2016

    @Orac, #13
    I never had either but I took a cautionary look at the main page.

    Don’t.

    Their featured story today is the $800 “juicer” which essentially is a grown up juice box. Extolling it as the “Coolest Invention of 2016”.

    Further down is the “Bath-Based Detox” which can offset EMF exposure.

    You could probably write a YFDOW blog for the next year from the front page alone.

  26. #26 Chris
    April 5, 2016

    Ross Miles: “CCF is an organization advancing a right wing agenda cloaked in freedom statements.”

    The “freedom” they want seems to be free from paying taxes and other responsibilities. They want to be leeches on the rest of society, just like anti-vaxers are on their community’s herd immunity.

  27. #27 MI Dawn
    April 5, 2016

    @Orac: I know that our revered box of blinking lights has knowledge of everything. However, know that there are actually people out there who read and believe the stupid stuff on that site might cause some overload. If you go there, please use extreme caution, make sure all irony meters are far away, and use only plastic dishes and cutlery.

  28. #28 RTMan
    Alberta
    April 5, 2016

    @sadmar #11:


    B. Ezekiel Is (Allegedly) Driven To Lethbridge Naturopathic
    The Stephans claim that after Ezekiel took a turn for the worse on the day they eventually called 911, they placed him on the seat of their car as he was too stiff to sit in his car seat, and drove him the 85km to Lethbridge Naturopathic. Yet, all that occurred there was that Collet picked up Blast from Vataman, which the Stephans allegedly administered to Ezekiel on the way home. They did not take Ezekiel into the clinic, and there is no evidence or testimony so far that they even told anyone at the clinic that he was outside in the car, much lest request that he be examined.

    I don’t think this is an accurate sequence of events. From what I understand, they called the naturopathic clinic, then a day or two later put Ezekiel in the back seat of their car to drive to the naturopathic clinic. This was when he was too stiff to put in the car seat. Collet then got the remedy from the naturopath and they drove back home. They claim he seemed to get better, but later (the next day?) he had breathing problems and only then did they call 911.

  29. #29 Mike
    April 5, 2016

    “Food must pass inspection before public distribution. ”

    No. Some food must. All meat and poultry products must be inspected for safety before they can be put into the stream of commerce by either federal inspectors for interstate commerce or state inspectors for intrastate commerce.

    In contrast, other foods require little to no inspection. Recently most outbreaks have been due to produce. The FSMA regulations are just being implemented now and they do not require inspection of food, just facilities every once in a while.

  30. #30 Delphine
    April 5, 2016

    I don’t think this is an accurate sequence of events. From what I understand, they called the naturopathic clinic, then a day or two later put Ezekiel in the back seat of their car to drive to the naturopathic clinic. This was when he was too stiff to put in the car seat. Collet then got the remedy from the naturopath and they drove back home. They claim he seemed to get better, but later (the next day?) he had breathing problems and only then did they call 911.

    Yes. And Tannis denies knowing that Collet Stephan (to whom Vataman spoke on the telephone, the day prior) was Ezekiel’s mother.

    Such, such, such flaming, napalm-grade horse manure.

  31. #31 Delphine
    April 5, 2016

    they placed him on the seat of their car as he was too stiff to sit in his car seat

    They had to do this twice — once on the trip to Tannis, the other time, on the trip to meet the ambulance. Different days.

    I will never get that image out of my head.

  32. #32 RTMan
    Alberta
    April 5, 2016

    For what it is worth, naturopaths were not regulated in Alberta when these events took place. Ezekiel died in March 2012, but naturopaths did not get licesure in Alberta until August 2012.

  33. #33 Eric Lund
    April 5, 2016

    The “freedom” they want seems to be free from paying taxes and other responsibilities.

    An attitude we have been seeing far too much of in the US. I am reminded of this insightful quote from John Rogers:

    There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

  34. #34 palindrom
    April 5, 2016

    Or, as the great Frank Zappa had one of his most sophomoric characters say, the narrator of “Teenage Wind”,

    “Free is when you don’t have to pay for nothin’ or do nothin! I want to be free! Free as the wind!”

    That kind of freedom.

  35. #35 Chris
    April 5, 2016

    Eric Lund, that is a great quote. I really enjoyed Tobias Wolff’s treatment of Ayn Rand in his book Old School.

  36. #36 sadmar
    April 5, 2016

    Per the CP reporting: 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.
    Press accounts get lots of things wrong. ‘Tannis asked Vataman to make a tincture’ is not supported by any reported testimony. If you check ALL the stories you find multiple versions of stuff like this. Reporters are summarizing material taken from other stories, which in turn are taken from hastily written notes during court proceedings, and false assumptions flourish. This is SOP for daily news. Most of the stories in the national Canadian news outlets (CBC, etc.) are abbreviated rewrites from The Lethbridge Herald, whose reporter Delon Shurtz may be the only journalist actually attending trial sessions. Shurtz displays rather dubious competence as a reporter.

    RTMan #26
    Delphine #29
    I don’t see what you think is an innacuracy. Few stories are specific with dates, but Collet appears to have called Vataman on March 13. The trip to Lethbridge Natuopathic AND the rush to meet the ambulance from Cardston were both on March 15.

    During an audio-recorded interview March 15, 2012 between Collet Stephan and an RCMP officer at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Collet explained her son developed a runny nose and fever at the end of February of that year. Over the next couple of weeks his parents treated him with various natural remedies for what they initially thought was croup, and several times he seemed to be getting better… However, he later grew worse… When the couple drove into Lerthbridge… they had to place a mattress in the back of their vehicle because Ezekiel was too stiff to sit in his car seat. They picked up some product, gave it to Ezekiel, and drove home. The little boy responded quickly, Collet told Cpl. Ryan Bulford during the interview, and he seemed more relaxed and alert. He had a couple of naps after the family returned home and slept better than he had in a long time. Then his condition grew worse. “All of a sudden his breathing wasn’t normal,” Collet said. The couple called 911 and performed CPR on the toddler as they drove to meet the ambulance from Cardston…http://tinyurl.com/zr8j9jp

    Multiple stories on Cpl. Bulford’s court appearance, during which the tape of his interview with Collet was played, indicate the trip to Lethbridge and the 911 occured on the same day. Which makes sense in that if Ezekiel was too stiff to fit in the car seat on the way to Lethbridge, he was in dire straits and didn’t have long before total system shut-down.

    What doesn’t make any sense is driving a kid so sick you have to lay him out on a mattress 85km to a ‘health care clinic’ just to give him an echinacea preparation sooner than than waiting for the car to return. But that’s what Collet Stephan told the RCMP she did. She didn’t ask Tannis to examine Ezekiel, and she didn’t have Terry Meynders come back to look in on Ezekiel again after he turned for the worse.

    FWIW: The Truehope page that might get folks asking some different questions here: http://tinyurl.com/jslgl5f

  37. #37 sadmar
    if at first you don't get the tags right...
    April 5, 2016

    Per the CP reporting: 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.

    Press accounts get lots of things wrong. ‘Tannis asked Vataman to make a tincture’ is not supported by any reported testimony. If you check ALL the stories you find multiple versions of stuff like this. Reporters are summarizing material taken from other stories, which in turn are taken from hastily written notes during court proceedings, and false assumptions flourish. This is SOP for daily news. Most of the stories in the national Canadian news outlets (CBC, etc.) are abbreviated rewrites from The Lethbridge Herald, whose reporter Delon Shurtz may be the only journalist actually attending trial sessions. Shurtz displays rather dubious competence as a reporter.

    RTMan #26
    Delphine #29
    I don’t see what you think is an innacuracy. Few stories are specific with dates, but Collet appears to have called Vataman on March 13. The trip to Lethbridge Natuopathic AND the rush to meet the ambulance from Cardston were both on March 15.

    During an audio-recorded interview March 15, 2012 between Collet Stephan and an RCMP officer at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Collet explained her son developed a runny nose and fever at the end of February of that year. Over the next couple of weeks his parents treated him with various natural remedies for what they initially thought was croup, and several times he seemed to be getting better… However, he later grew worse… When the couple drove into Lerthbridge… they had to place a mattress in the back of their vehicle because Ezekiel was too stiff to sit in his car seat. They picked up some product, gave it to Ezekiel, and drove home. The little boy responded quickly, Collet told Cpl. Ryan Bulford during the interview, and he seemed more relaxed and alert. He had a couple of naps after the family returned home and slept better than he had in a long time. Then his condition grew worse. “All of a sudden his breathing wasn’t normal,” Collet said. The couple called 911 and performed CPR on the toddler as they drove to meet the ambulance from Cardston…http://tinyurl.com/zr8j9jp

    Multiple stories on Cpl. Bulford’s court appearance, during which the tape of his interview with Collet was played, indicate the trip to Lethbridge and the 911 occured on the same day. Which makes sense in that if Ezekiel was too stiff to fit in the car seat on the way to Lethbridge, he was in dire straits and didn’t have long before total system shut-down.

    What doesn’t make any sense is driving a kid so sick you have to lay him out on a mattress 85km to a ‘health care clinic’ just to give him an echinacea preparation sooner than than waiting for the car to return. But that’s what Collet Stephan told the RCMP she did. She didn’t ask Tannis to examine Ezekiel, and she didn’t have Terry Meynders come back to look in on Ezekiel again after he turned for the worse.

    FWIW: The Truehope page that might get folks asking some different questions here: http://tinyurl.com/jslgl5f

  38. #38 Rosemary Waigh
    Canada
    April 5, 2016

    ” It was probably the same belief system that led them to work for Truehope Nutritional Support, a supplement company.”

    Actually, Truehope is the family business!

    Truehope was cofounded by David Stephan’s father, Anthony Stephan, and David Hardy, a cattle feed salesperson. Anthony Stephan was complaining about his children’s behavioural problems caused by ADD and mania. Hardy said it sounded like Ear and Tail Biting Syndrome in pigs, and suggested a supplement used by some pig farmers to supposedly treat ETBS.

    So Truehope started out as a pig feed supplement!

    They claim this stuff can cure all kinds of things including bipolar illness. They encourage people to stop taking medications that work and take their overpriced pig feed supplement instead.
    http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2015/07/16/truehopes-confusing-message-empowerplus-q96-claims-to-treat-bipolar-adhd-depression/

  39. #39 sadmar
    April 5, 2016

    tag fail, tried to post correction, didn’t go through.

    ¶ 1 Quote from Delphine

    ¶ 2 &3 Me

    ¶ 4 Quote from Lethbridge herald

    Remainder: me

  40. #40 Delphine
    April 5, 2016

    You’re right, sadmar, it appears the trip to Tannis and Ezekiel’s subsequent rapid decline leading to death transpired on the same day, two different trips taken (Tannis and meeting the ambulance)


    Press accounts get lots of things wrong. ‘Tannis asked Vataman to make a tincture’ is not supported by any reported testimony.

    Except it is, though. When Collet responded that a nurse had already seen him, Vataman went to the clinic’s doctor to ask what she would suggest. She stated that the doctor recommended an echinacea mixture, which the Stephans later picked up.

    Are you saying that Vataman didn’t testify to this?

    http://lethbridgenewsnow.com/article/506422/naturopathic-clinic-employee-says-she-told-mother-seek-medical-care

  41. #41 David Komer
    April 6, 2016

    @Mike – thanks for the clarification.

  42. #42 Lighthorse
    April 6, 2016

    More grist for the proverbial mill, after passing the disease to her baby, a mother in Australia now regrets her avoidance of vaccination for whooping cough while pregnant; her reasoning at the time being that she was healthy, ‘organic’, and fit:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-35975011

  43. #43 Amethyst
    The Crystal Gem
    April 6, 2016

    @Lighthorse, #39 – The most annoying part about anti-vaxxers is their belief in their “Ubermensch-hood”: they’re superior human beings who don’t stuff their bodies with “toxins” and whose super-human immune systems don’t need no stinkin’ medicine!

    Which, as Orac pointed out in a recent blogpost, means that if YOU get cancer (or any other nasty disease) it is YOUR fault for not living the super-duper Lifestyle of these organic and natural Ubermensch…

  44. #44 sadmar
    April 6, 2016

    Delphine asked:

    Are you saying that Vataman didn’t testify to this?

    No. I overstated. That ‘Tannis asked Vataman to make a tincture’ is unclear and appears to be in dispute. The press reports only hit what the reporters/editors consider highlights of testimony, and when they summarize in their own words they make errors. Furthermore, I’d guess the prosecutor only seeks to establish that Collet was told to take Ezekiel to the hospital/real-doctor, but didn’t, and thus isn’t concerned about how exactly the Blast was ‘prescribed’ and didn’t try to get clarity on things we might want to know.

    As an example of how sloppy reporting is, Lethbridge News Now reporter Patrick Buries gets the date of the drive-to-meet-the-ambulance wrong in at least two different stories. It’s clearly 3/15 but he reports it as 3/13. He also seems to be the source of the 3/13 date for Collet’s phone call to Vataman, so he may have pulled that out of his butt. In different stories and different testimony the phone call is listed as the same day as the emergency, the day before, or two days before. I’d guess since these events happened four years ago, none of the folks who’ve testifed so far remember exactly, and the Crown hasn’t bothered to subpoena phone records to check.

    Anyway, back to the Blast… First, it’s not clear Vataman had to make anything, since there are at least three commercial echinacea products with ‘Blast’ in their name:
    Master Formulae Blast, The Herbalist Immuno-Blast; and Natural Factors Quick-Blast.

    Now, look at this passage from the coverage of Vataman’s testimony by Bill Graveland of The Canadian Press, which you quoted in part earlier:

    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… The trial in Lethbridge has been told that the couple first thought the boy had croup and treated him with natural remedies and homemade smoothies containing hot pepper, ginger root, horseradish and onion. 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 who is the referent of the pronouns ‘she’ and ”her’ capitalized above? Graveland does not bother to clarify. If it’s Tannis, we’d have a MAJOR conflict I have a hard time imagining any reporter (even these bozos) failing to note. Tannis testified she did not know Collet Stephan, and no one has indicated that Ezekiel had even been seen at Lethbridge Naturopathic for anything. So if Tannis knew Ezekiel was tolerating horseradish she’s lying out her butt. But it doesn’t make sense for Vataman to tell Tannis the tincture is strong if Tannis prescribed it. So, surely Vataman was saying she told Collet the tincture was strong, and Collet replied that Ezekiel was tolerating horseradish. “”I was quite surprised that a baby would be able to tolerate that,” we can assume, was extracted by the prosecution to indicate Vataman thought Collet’s home remedy was inappropriate for a toddler.

    In Tannis’ testimony “Questions continued about whether it was Tannis who had recommended the echinacea mixture, but she flatly denied it.” Also:

    Tannis says Vataman pulled her out of an appointment with another patient to ask for advice, and that she immediately responded by saying, “You need to tell the lady to take the child to emergency right away.” She says she waited to hear Vataman relay the message, and then went back to her patient. Tannis explained that meningitis is not something she is prepared to handle at her clinic, and that emergency care is required. Questions then turned to a later point, when Collet Stephan came to the clinic to purchase an echinacea mixture called Blast to treat the child. Tannis stated that while she had a brief conversation with Collet, she didn’t realize it was the same person who had called about a treatment for meningitis, adding, “I really thought that woman went to emergency.”

    Now, let’s go back to a different press account of Vataman’s testimony;

    She testified the mother told her she was afraid for the child to get a spinal tap, and that they thought the illness might be viral rather than bacterial because he didn’t have a fever. [Vataman] said she asked the doctor about giving something for the immune system and she said the only thing they could give is “Blast,” an echinacea mixture. The employee checked with the doctor to make sure that was right, then Collet came in to pick up the mixture but didn’t bring in the child.

    This makes no sense. If Vataman asked Tannis for ‘an immune booster’ during Collet’s call, and was told ‘Blast is all we can give’, Vataman wouldn’t need to ‘check with the doctor to make sure that was right’, now would she? Of course, this could just be bad newswriting, but “checked with the doctor to make sure that was right” sure sounds like the Blast was Vataman’s idea… Perhaps the trial transcript would help untangle this mess. Perhaps not.

    I don’t know if the defense will call Collet, but if they do, I’d guess she’ll testify Vataman didn’t say anything about doctors or emergency rooms. She might say whether Vataman put down the phone to check with Tannis, and came back with the recommendation for Blast, but I wouldn’t trust anything any of these folks say. Vataman gave herself a bit of an out by testifying, “her memory isn’t that good” under cross.
    ______

    OK, forget the question of ‘who suggested Blast’ for now, and consider some questions none of the reporting addresses. Why did Collet Stephan call Lethbridge Naturopathic of all places to seek ‘an immune system booster’ for Ezekiel? If she never spoke to Tracey Tannis before March 15, had she acquired herbal remedies from Vataman before. Did those two know each other in some other context? Or did she just look up a naturopathy clinic in the Yellow Pages.

    Here’s a twist I’ll bet you didn’t see coming: Why was Collet asking Vataman for an immune system booster when her father-in-law and husband make and markets a product with exactly that claim: “Truehope OLE” (Olive Leaf Extract) – “Antioxidents for a healthy immune system”…

    … naturally strengthen your immune system… a natural extract from the olive leaf, standardized to 17% Oleuropein. The antibacterial, antifungal effects of Oleuropein are well-known and are even thought to help reduce the need for pharmaceutical antibiotics. Boost immune system and bowel function by reducing yeast and other pathogens from the body using Truehope OLE.

    Hey, if you’ve got something to reduce the need for antibiotics in the family warehouse, why drive 85km for plain ol’ echinacea?

    Truehope is as venal a supplement scam as you can find, charging $80 bottle for a vitamin formula similar to Centrum (claiming it lets folks get off their psych meds…), and making ‘customer support’ follow-up calls from a hard-sell boilerroom to snooker web buyers into buying a bucketload of other Truehope products ‘necessary to make the EMPower Plus work correctly and avoid drug interactions’. They’ve gotten into any number of their customers for thousands of dollars over brief periods. The Stephan family has been lying to their customers for 20 years, and lying to duck government action and lawsuits for at least 12 years. I have no reason to believe they’re telling the truth about any aspect of Ezekiel’s illness, and what they did or did not do about it.

  45. #45 Amethyst
    The Crystal Gem
    April 6, 2016

    (claiming it lets folks get off their psych meds…)

    That… doesn’t sound quite safe… and very, very irresponsible and potentially dangerous!

  46. #46 Amethyst
    April 6, 2016

    I just realized I called it “not safe” AND “dangerous” in the same sentence…

    -facedesk-

  47. #47 Ethel
    April 6, 2016

    One thing that I keep wondering about this case – how legal is it in Alberta to transport a child on a mattress in the back of the car? Of all the stupid things about this case the driving the poor child to and from the clinic is the one that makes me the angriest.

  48. #48 Helianthus
    April 6, 2016

    @ Amethyst

    I just realized I called it “not safe” AND “dangerous” in the same sentence…

    Don’t sweat it, say it was for stylistic effect 🙂

    In the context of weaning someone off his/her meds, emphasis of the risks by redundancy is actually perfectly justified.
    A schizophrenic friend of mine scuttled his marriage by his paranoia. His new doctor had him dropping his meds regimen 1-2 months before.
    Anecdotal, n=1, correlation not causation, and all that. For all I know, the relationship between the two spouses could have taken a turn for the worse either way.
    But, from the little me and other friends saw, he was better at social interactions and the marriage looked like a stable partnership before the meds drop.

  49. #49 sadmar
    April 6, 2016

    @ Amethyst:

    Semantics Nazi sez: “not quite safe” and “potentially dangerous” are NOT synonyms. And Morality Nazi sez: “very, very irresponsible” is an understatement. I’d go for “criminal” myself:

    A man with schizophrenia killed his father and gravely injured his mother at their home in North Vancouver, British Columbia. Jordan Ramsay was off his prescribed antipsychotic medication at the time, instead taking an alternative multivitamin preparation called Truehope EMPowerplus™. He believed his parents were aliens and felt compelled to kill them.

    And…

    In September 2001, Caro Overdulve told his parents he wanted to drop his schizophrenia medications and take a vitamin and mineral supplement from an Alberta company called Truehope. The company promised its EMPowerplus™ supplement would bring mental wellness without drugs. Caro was sold… In the two years since, Caro, now 32, has descended into psychosis and been charged with assault, mischief and criminal harassment… He paid for the first few months of EMPowerplus™ himself, selling his used Chevrolet Cavalier to pay. His parents were skeptical, but willing to try anything that might help their son. They agreed to foot the rest of the bill, arranging for automatic credit card deductions for the pills. From November to February, they were billed six times, for a total of more than $1,600. In March 2002, they were charged $1,248 for an additional six-month supply of the pills. But the Overdulves found their son’s supplements weren’t working. Worse, his behaviour was getting increasingly bizarre and even alarming. When they went to visit him in a townhouse they owned in Barrhaven, they found the place filthy. Pots with the charred remains of food were piled in the sink. Drinking glasses and mugs containing liquids were floating islands of mould, recalls Mrs. Overdulve. Her son was taking 32 capsules a day, but he was eating them by the handful. Often he missed his mouth, scattering capsules everywhere. The Overdulves found that their son had racked up $600 on his phone bill for calls to a Truehope support line in Orléans, even though the centre had a toll-free line. (Ottowa Citizen, http://tinyurl.com/h8rv74v)

    The Citizen also reports Truehope’s co-founder, David Hardy, calls EMPowerplus™ “the most significant breakthrough in health since time’s beginning.”

  50. #50 Denice Walter
    April 6, 2016

    @ Amethyst:
    @ Helianthus:

    Unfortunately, alt med advocates often are adamantly opposed to psychiatric medications of any sort:
    there is a movement called Orthomolecular Medicine which would replace them with vitamins and of course, there is Scientology with its systemic mythos.

    Amongst those current dis-information sources I survey, anti-depressants and anti-psychotics are most reviled: nearly every day, an article will pop up at Natural News describing horrors- like mass shootings- associated with these meds- in fact they even have their own expert, Mike Bundrant Prn.fm includes a show by Peter Breggin, chief amongst the scoffers. Studies exploring side effects are highlighted and exaggerated whilst the benefits of these medications are totally ignored.

    Frequently, a woo-meister will argue against mental illness IN GENERAL, saying that it doesn’t exist at all. Depression is merely an emotion that people have all the time. Most people have bouts of elation and sadness- that’s not an example of Bi-polar illness. What is more ( in their view), psychiatrists invented these conditions**, creating them by committee at DSM meetings and then, using them to market new psychotropic medications to enrich themselves and Pharma. Some insist that the meds themselves cause mental illness.
    There is no blood test or CAT scan/ MRI that can be used to diagnose these conditions – so they aren’t real***

    People who experience these conditions would do better, they claim, meditating, praying, cleaning up their diet, taking supplements and herbs and being more spiritual. They preach that ‘talk therapy’ ALONE is the answer- without any medication- for serious mental illness like schizophrenia.

    Believe it or not, there is a market for these ideas amongst people who perhaps don’t understand or accept their own condition- woo-meisters are simpatico and seek out their business..
    Alt med causes unnecessary suffering again as it does in cases of untreated physical illness.
    There’s so much more here. Believe me,

    ** like these illnesses didn’t exist before the Age of Pharmacology.

    ***.you can’t scan how someone behaves or thinks and there’s no blood test for feelings.

  51. #51 Ruth/STL
    St. Louis, MO
    April 6, 2016

    15 years ago, many in my family told me my child’s autism was due to poor discipline and daycare. Funny how many of the no meds in-laws show signs of OCD. (My daughter is now functioning well at community college and the family has become more tolerant. Moving 3 states away helped, too.)

  52. #52 Denice Walter
    April 6, 2016

    @ Ruth/STL:

    I’ve always said that perhaps the alties who push these theories suffer from similar conditions themselves along with a heaping dose of anosognosia as well. No wonder they appear to have so much empathy for their patients,
    I’m not entirely joking.

  53. #53 Wzrd1
    April 6, 2016

    Reading through that heartbreaking story, I had to repeatedly stop, as I had a near-irresistible urge to quite literally tear someone’s face clean off.
    Granted, a lot of that is my hyperthyroidism, for which I’ve had my dosage of methimazole increased and fortunately, such emotional lability will pass over time. Apparently, the hyperthyroid was going on for quite a while before I showed significant physiological symptoms.

    Of course, a naturopath would ignore that urge, ignore the 40 pound weight loss in two months, ignore the BP of 200/100 and pulse of 128. The pulsing belly would also be ignored.
    It’s just as well that I saw a real physician, rather than a soon-to-be faceless naturopath. Last evening, my beta blocker dosage has been reduced from a level that would drop a horse to one that’d render the Hulk unconscious.
    Eventually, my endocrinologist assures me that all issues of hyperthyroidism should resolve and I’ll eventually no longer require that anti-thyroid medication.
    If the urge to disassemble people manually doesn’t resolve by then, there are other real medical professionals to discuss appropriate treatment with, it’s a bit early currently, as my FT3 and FT4 levels are still markedly elevated.
    Oh, the pulsing belly that has likely worried the medical professionals here? It’s only a 2.2 cm dilation, we’re watchfully waiting to see if it progresses toward something really, really bad.
    I’ll stick with real medical professionals, thank you. I’m alive because of evidence based medicine, I’ll stick with it.
    That doesn’t mean that I avoid herbal teas, I enjoy them after clearing them with doctor – as a tea, not a treatment.
    Which reminds me, I’m getting low on artichoke tea. It gives me a wonderful artichoke flavor and doesn’t interfere with any of my medical treatments.

    Naturopathy for meningitis, for crap’s sake! If I was on the jury, the parents would get the maximum sentence.
    No, I’d be medically unfit for that jury, lest I harm those two idiots.
    But, had either of our daughters tried to pull that, on day one, CPS would have been summoned and repeatedly summoned until they acted. Fortunately, both of our now grown children are big on evidence based medicine.

  54. #54 Denice Walter
    April 6, 2016

    @ Wzed1:

    Believe it or not, I’ve heard woo-meisters recommend herbs like hawthorne and foxglove and magnesium for CV conditions like tachycardia, CHF et al. There is a rescue pack that can be assembled ( including cayenne, garlic, magnesium, vitamin C) for sudden heart attacks/ strokes.

    They have no sense of responsibility for their speech.

    • #55 Wzrd1
      April 6, 2016

      Denice, there is a recourse to teach them responsibility for their “speech”, conviction of criminal negligence.

  55. #56 MI Dawn
    April 6, 2016

    @Wzrd1: Glad to see you are improving slowly and that Real Doctors (TM) are watching over all of your health and belly pulsing.

    Now, here are some herbs and crystals that will help you. Oh, and that laptop is pre-programmed to take you to my personal store “istealmoneyfromidiots.com” (ducks and covers)

    • #57 Wzrd1
      April 6, 2016

      @Dawn, do ignore that smell, it’s nothing.
      Beyond my pulling my finger. A proper three layer cloud there, the first letting you know it’s there, the second drawing you into it and the final one dissolving you entirely. Makes HF look tame. :P:p:P:p

  56. #58 elsworthy
    April 6, 2016

    I just keep thinking of that poor baby and how much pain he must have been in. I’m a life-long migraine and ear infection sufferer, and those make me want to scoop my brains out through my eye socket. My husband had aseptic meningitis as an adult, and says words can’t describe how much it hurts (he reached the “hand claw” stage before finally going to the ER).

    That poor baby. *rage*

  57. #59 Helianthus
    April 6, 2016

    @ Denice Walter

    like these illnesses didn’t exist before the Age of Pharmacology.

    Right. At the risk of going into clichés about mental illnesses, I’m sure you can illustrate half the descriptions of the DSM with the portraits of various Roman emperors and other illustrious members of old Europe royalty.
    Those of them who got a nickname like “crazy” didn’t earn it by just being a bit eccentric. Narcissism, paranoia*, and bipolar disorder would also be well represented.
    * I will admit they often had very good reasons to be paranoid.

  58. #60 NH Primary Care Doc
    April 6, 2016

    Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that Tannis really never did see the child, and in fact never even heard of the child. The fact remains, she was employing someone to prepare herbal and homeopathic remedies and she was apparently OK with this employee dispensing medical advice and remedies without her knowledge.

    In my opinion, this makes her completely complicit in this debacle. That would be like me handing my secretary my script pad and telling her to have fun with it.

  59. #61 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    April 6, 2016

    # 47 Denice Walter

    Frequently, a woo-meister will argue against mental illness IN GENERAL, saying that it doesn’t exist at all.

    Ah yes, and let’s not forget Thomas Szaz http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-myth-of-thomas-szasz

    Psychiatry is conventionally defined as a medical speciality concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mental diseases,” he wrote. “I submit that this definition, which is still widely accepted, places psychiatry in the company of alchemy and astrology and commits it to the category of pseudoscience. The reason for this is that there is no such thing as ‘mental illness.

    The problem was that he was not a woo-meiser but psychiatrist (Or was that the same thing back then?)

  60. #62 Orac
    April 6, 2016

    Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that Tannis really never did see the child, and in fact never even heard of the child. The fact remains, she was employing someone to prepare herbal and homeopathic remedies and she was apparently OK with this employee dispensing medical advice and remedies without her knowledge.

    Exactly.

    I dealt with this issue explicitly in my first post:

    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.

    Tannis was definitely complicit by failing to carry out the most basic task of a responsible health care provider.

  61. #63 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    April 6, 2016

    Possibly OT but I think of general interesst: People may find this interesting I have only given this a quick scan and a) the sample sizes may be a bit small and b) they use dynamite plots which I thought had pretty well died out years ago but it is definitely suggestive.
    Horne, Z., Powell, D., Hummel, J. E., & Holyoak, K. J. (2015). Countering antivaccination attitudes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(33), 10321–10324. http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1504019112
    http://www.pnas.org/content/112/33/10321.full.pdf

  62. #64 Kate
    London
    April 6, 2016

    Every time I read more about this case, I come up with more colourful and inventive swearing (we’re good at swearing in the UK). I’ll refrain from treating you all to today’s outburst, and instead note that, re Gwynnie, there’s a lovely takedown of her latest “therapy”, bee stings (yes, really) by Dean Burnett on the Guardian’s website today. Enjoy! https://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2016/apr/06/gwyneth-paltrows-bee-sting-beauty-treatment-just-wont-fly

  63. #65 Politicalguineapig
    April 6, 2016

    MIDawn: I know that our revered box of blinking lights has knowledge of everything. However, know that there are actually people out there who read and believe the stupid stuff on that site might cause some overload. If you go there, please use extreme caution, make sure all irony meters are far away, and use only plastic dishes and cutlery.

    I recently read an article on Gwyneth Paltrow. One of her new things is drinking smoothies with cordyceps- that fungus that turns ants into zombies. I dunno, but that doesn’t sound safe to me.

    Wzrd1: My deepest sympathies. I know a family whose furbaby is going through the same treatment. Hope you feel better soon.

    I’m still completely outraged by this. I hope that couple never sees their surviving kids again. I know cats and dogs that are treated better than poor Ezekial.

  64. #66 RTMan
    Alberta
    April 6, 2016

    @Ethel:

    Car seats are required by law in Alberta until the child is 6 years old and weighs over 40 lbs. It’s just a fine – $115 back in 2012.

  65. #67 Michael5MacKay
    The Centre of the Universe ;-)
    April 6, 2016

    Just to clarify jkrideau’s comment at #20, if anyone — besides me — cares about Canadian Constitutional law.

    While it is true that we don’t have a constitution like the United States’, as a nation-founding document, we are not like the United Kingdom, either, for which I think jkrideau’s description is accurate.

    The Canadian Constitution constitutes two written documents, the Constitution Act, 1867, http://canlii.ca/t/ldsw which created Canada out of the 4 original provinces (British colonies at the time), which was called the British North America Act when I was in school. This was in fact a British Act, passed in the British Parliament.

    The second is the Constitution Act, 1982, http://canlii.ca/t/ldsx through which then Prime Minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, threw off the last shackle of colonialism, by giving Canada complete power of self-government. Again, we had to first get permission from the British Parliament to adopt this Constitution. The 1982 Act contains the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (our equivalent to the U.S.A.’s Bill of Rights). When Canadians, such as the RWNJ Karen Selick, or even your average Tim Hortons customer refer to the Constitution, they typically mean the Charter and the rights it gives, as the rest of the 1982 Act is largely a bunch of procedural gobblydegook.

  66. #68 herr doktor bimler
    April 6, 2016

    nearly every day, an article will pop up at Natural News describing horrors- like mass shootings- associated with these meds

    Half the time, the evidence that a perpetrator was actually taking pills is along the lines of “He was a weird kid, therefore he was autistic, therefore he must have been on medication, QED.”

    I’m going to go out on a limb and speculate that Natural News, PRN et al do not cover the cases mentioned by Sadmar, where someone is persuaded to quit their medication and then kills a family member.

  67. #69 Denice Walter
    April 6, 2016

    @ herr doktor bimler:

    You’re right – and it IS curious- but I’ve never once heard of any cases like that via these outlets.
    Usually the tales end with the protagonist being totally cured and starting a great career- sometimes as a doctor.

  68. #70 Darthhellokitty
    State of Astonishment
    April 6, 2016

    Goop has a Quantum Bra!

  69. #71 Politicalguineapig
    April 6, 2016

    Like Schrodinger’s cat quantum or one-size-fits-none quantum?

    • #72 Wzrd1
      April 6, 2016

      Politicalguineapig, isn’t that wave-particle duality?
      It’s whatever it needs to be to befuddle the experimenter’s results. 😉

  70. #73 sadmar
    April 6, 2016

    FSM on a crutch! Y’all are being played. Smacking Tannis is carrying water for the defense, as she’s a key witness for the Crown.

    David and Collet are represented by Shawn Buckley, Truehope’s long-time legal ‘muscle’. His agenda is protecting the Stephan family business, which he has done by any sketchy means necessary against lawsuits and Canadian government action, including threatening litigation against anyone who says ‘boo’ about EMPowerPlus™. He’s going to try to pin responsibility for Ezekiel’s death on anyone and everyone not named ‘Stephan’, and you can bet if Vataman and Tannis have spoken to private attorneys, they’ve been warned they could be named in a wrongful death suit.

    The fact remains, [Tannis] was employing someone to prepare herbal remedies and she was apparently OK with this employee dispensing medical advice and remedies without her knowledge.

    True in general, but per Tannis’s testimony, not for anything that might be meningitis. Vataman may have gone completely rogue, though I doubt we’ll ever learn what really happened inside Lethbridge Naturopathic.

    Now, I’m not a doctor, obviously, but based on the ME’s report and Clay Jones notes on bacterial meningitis over on SBM, the Stephan’s story that Ezekiel seemed to get better then worse, better then worse is at best improbable. It sounds to me as if on the morning of the day Ezekiel lapsed into a coma he would have been in very dire straits. They key point here then is that the parents didn’t ask anyone to examine him, not a real doctor, not Collet’s midwife RN Terrie Meynders, not even a naturopath. Collet just drove 85km, hopped into Lethbridge Naturopathic, picked up an echinacea tincture, and left.

    Why? Try these ‘what ifs’: What if Collet and David awoke on the morning of March 15, 2012 to find their infant son on death’s door? What if they called family patriarch Tony Stephan (David’s dad and Truehope mogul) to ask for advice? What if Tony rang up Shawn Bradley, and Bradley told Tony that Collet and David needed to find someone, anyone, to scapegoat for this in court?

    Tannis has testifed that when she spoke to Collet on the afternoon of March 15, she had no idea Collet was the mother who had phoned Vataman stating a worry about meningitis. Which begs the question: how did Collet come to speak with Tannis? What if she asked to have a word with ‘the doctor’? That would seem to leave two possible scenarios:
    1) Tannis is telling the truth, and Collet said nothing to indicate she was the mom who had sought an ‘immune booster’ for her toddler, or that the lad was outside in the car.
    2) Tannis is lying, and Collet asked to see her to confirm that Blast was the right thing to give a tot so sick he had to be laid out on a mattress, and Tannis said ‘Yes, that’ll do the trick. Have a nice day!’
    Wanna bet what Collet’s account of this encounter is going to be? Wanna bet that Shawn Buckley and Tony Stephan are above using a carrot of pay-offs and a stick of litigation threats to get Lexie Vataman to perjure herself?

    So it’s true that the naturopath prescribed a treatment for a potentially serious condition without seeing the patient.

    Not at all. That will likely be alleged by the defense (oh, the hypocrisy!), but that doesn’t make it true.

    Here’s a question I’d like someone in the know to answer: do herbal remedies need any kind of prescription? Let’s say what Vataman gave Collet was Master Master Formulae Blast, which is made in Canada and approved by Health Canada. It’s available mail-order, and if Lethbridge Naturopathic had it stock, I’d guess anyone could walk in, shell out the $30C, and walk out with it no questions asked.

    The Blast page on the Master Formulae website includes the following text:

    Do not use… with infectious or inflammatory gastrointestinal conditions or for infants or children under the age of 12.

    Now, if Tannis keeps this stuff in stock, what are the odds she doesn’t know this, or ignores it? Keeping in mind that Truehope sells a product that competes with Blast, what are the odds that Tony Stephan doesn’t know this? Collet and David told the RCMP that Ezekiel only became critical a few hours after they gave him the Blast. Any dots begging for connection there?

    Here’s a query: Could one of the MDs here take a look at the ME’s report on Ezekiel’s death and weigh the comparative odds of these two possibilities?
    1) As the Stephans claimed to the RCMP, Ezekiel was looking better and napping quietly a short time before they called 911.
    2) Ezekiel was actually comatose before Collet Stephan departed from home to fetch the Blast from Lethbridge Naturopathic?

    Here’s another query for anyone in that part of Alberta: Was Lethbridge Naturopathic the closest source for Blast, or just the closest source where an unwitting naturopath who didn’t know the Stephans from Adam could have been drawn into the case?

    Look, if you’ve read anything I’ve said about naturopathy here or on SBM, you know I’m all in on the proposition “naturopaths shouldn’t treat children—or anyone else”. But from the get-go, I smelled a rat behind the news coverage, and after considerable digging into this thing I am 99 and 44/100% convinced this is a Truehope story, not a naturopathy story, and Shawn Buckley is trying to set up Tracey Tannis for the fall to protect Tony Stephan’s financial and personal interests.

    Truehope apparently has quite a bit of pull in Alberta, and with the local press taking the ‘bad naturpath’ peg and being all but mum on Truehope, let’s just say I’m not convinced that’s entirely innocent. AFAIK, I’m the only person following this trial who bothered to check whether Truehope is in the “immune booster” business, and since that’s not exactly hard to find on the company’s website, I have to wonder ‘why?’. Knowing daily journalism as I do, I can say that a version of Hanlon’s Razor definitely applies, and one should generally not attribute to malice that which can be explained by mere incompetence and standard reporting routines. But I also know that incompetence and routine almost always spin to protect the powerful, and clever political actors are highly skilled in feeding that, and using it to their advantage.

    Whether by chance or design, the Ezekiel Stephan case is spinning towards ‘blame natuorpathy’ vs. ‘blame the family of outrageous supplement scammers’. A lose-lose proposition for public health. So far, Tony Stephan is positioned to get out of this clean, even if his son and daughter-in-law have to take some of the fall. Given Shawn Buckley’s record, I wouldn’t be surprised if the trial results in an acquittal, hung jury, reduced charge, or light sentence.

    If naturopathy is as messed up as the NaturoChat leaks suggest, skeptics will (unfortunately) have plenty of opportunities to make the case against naturopathy without deflecting scrutiny from venal murderous scumbags like Tony Stephan. Y’all might want to give some very serious consideration to shifting the spotlight here, don’t you think?

  71. #74 Brook
    April 6, 2016

    @sadmar – thank you. I appreciate learning about the media aspect as much as I appreciate learning about the science.

  72. #75 Denice Walter
    April 6, 2016

    @ Darthhellokitty:

    I saw the quantum bra!

    Alright, physicists out there! Who can make the best joke?

  73. #76 herr doktor bimler
    April 6, 2016

    Dirac’s Bra-Ket notation is serious stuff.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bra%E2%80%93ket_notation

  74. #77 Politicalguineapig
    April 6, 2016

    Wzrd1: Politicalguineapig, isn’t that wave-particle duality?
    It’s whatever it needs to be to befuddle the experimenter’s results.

    I suppose so- like for instance, one can have a bra that’s attractive and one can have a bra that will *fit* but the two are usually not the same.

  75. #78 Emma Crew
    April 6, 2016

    I gotta say your take is depressingly plausible, Sadmar. There is plenty to pin on naturopathy without turning the focus of this case on a few moment’s interaction with Tannis (who clearly had incomplete information) compared to DAYS of the family doing basically nothing. I fully believe the parents would have ignored Tannis’s correct suggestion of the ER given what else they didn’t do. She may be a quack, but I don’t think she’s a monster, unlike certain other players in this tragedy.

    • #79 Wzrd1
      April 6, 2016

      @Politicalguineapig, see? With a little setup, the bra jokes practically write themselves.

      Emma, what contribution the naturopath had would have to have been in the days before. By the time they went to the “clinic”, meningitis was well established and his course quite predictable. Regardless of the bacteria causing the meningitis, the condition was dire after a week, beyond dire at two weeks and at a month, I’m uncertain if any physician could alter the lethal course of the infection.
      That he survived for a month is astonishing and suggests that he had a different infection initially, which progressed into meningitis, for which one typically has a day or two tops before the course is set to death.
      That they waited until things go so dire as the child was so near death is something I cannot comprehend! Meningitis doesn’t sneak up on you and the signs are quite clear and classic.

  76. #80 Emma Crew
    April 6, 2016

    PGP- I have found a few bras that hit the quad-fecta of fairly attractive, comfortable, supportive, AND correctly sized. I had to spend a full hour trying on one bra after another to get there though.

  77. #81 sadmar
    April 7, 2016

    Wait, so there isn’t a quantum bra, and Darthhellokitty is just making fun of Gwenyth? You could have fooled me. Sounds like a killer marketing idea. They used to sell Chi Pants here in NoCal, Very nice , very comfortable casual pants by all accounts, but for an extra $5 they came with a small crystal sewn into the back of the waistband.

    You won’t feel the crystal; you’ll just feel the energy! The rhythms of the water cascading down out of the mountain, the feathering of vegetation … the flow of rocky crags into boulders to gravel and into soil all resonated the beauty of nature’s creation. It is what I call “etheric energy”. The forming and animating energy which expresses the basic patterns of life and then enlivens us all. We call it Chi. It is the joy of creation seen in the effervescent babbling water at the source of all creation. It is that sense of health. When people try on a pair of ChiPants for the first time they get excited. ‘Wow! These are really different!* is usually what they say. “My body feels like it’s smiling.”

    Not to spoil the party, but the ChiPants mogul wasn’t taking this all that seriously:

    [The crystal] was a way of having fun with something. I thought. ‘Everybody wears crystals around their necks — why not put one in pants?’ I don’t say a lot of people don’t laugh.

    Anyway, I’m no physicist, but I’ll toss my 2¢ to Denise’s challenge anyway.

    _____
    In 1972, scientist Lyman Van Vliet harnessed the power of nuclear physics to put The Strongest Force in the known Universe into an amazing household product that binds together anything and everything.
    “I used to call it Gwenyth Glue, and I’ve used it to solve countless fashion and cosmetics problems over the decades. It’s a truly inspirational product!” — Gwenyth Paltrow
    Behold: http://tinyurl.com/haca8kg

  78. #82 sadmar
    April 7, 2016

    @ Emma Crew:
    Not ‘DAYS’.
    ‘WEEKS’.
    The Stephans told the RCMP Ezekiel fell ill at the end of February, and Collet didn’t go for the Blast until March 15, a few hours before he was delivered to EMS “not moving or breathing, with his eyes closed and face ashen in color. An electrocardiogram machine also showed a flat line…”

    Buckley began his case for the defence with his opening statement to the jury in which he said evidence will show the Stephans thought their child was simply suffering from a cold or flu, and that at times he appeared to be getting better, right up until the night he took a turn for the worse and had to be rushed to the hospital.

    IANAL, but it seems to me that so far, the main block to reasonable doubt here is Tannis’s testimony that she heard Vataman tell Collet to take her son to the emergency room. The Crown doesn’t seem to have done enough to establish the medical implausibility of the Stephan’s tale, working back from the cause of death. On cross, Buckley got a pediatrician prosecution witness to agree “a cold or flu can exhibit the same symptoms, particularly when the child’s health at times improves enough to attend preschool and church.”

    Tannis stated that while she had a brief conversation with Collet, she didn’t realize it was the same person who had called about a treatment for meningitis, adding, “I really thought that woman went to emergency.” Cross examination by the defence attacked her credibility, with the Stephan’s lawyer, Sean Buckley, suggesting Tannis was “fabricating” evidence to protect herself. He asked if there had been any issues on social media since the trial started, and Tannis acknowledged that she had removed all of her social media accounts because of a comment where someone said the parents and naturopathic doctor should be killed. Buckley asked why Tannis wouldn’t have taken the phone call herself, and went over the original statement Tannis made to police, in which she didn’t say she stayed to listen and confirm Vataman relayed her message. She responded by saying it’s not her practice to take calls, and that she would rather they make an appointment. She added that she believed the officer knew she had followed Vataman to ensure the caller was told to take the child to emergency. Questions continued about whether it was Tannis who had recommended the echinacea mixture, but she flatly denied it. [Lethbridge Herald, 3/16/26]

    • #83 Wzrd1
      April 7, 2016

      …’a few hours before he was delivered to EMS “not moving or breathing, with his eyes closed and face ashen in color. An electrocardiogram machine also showed a flat line…”’

      There’s a highly technical term for the observed condition, it’s referred commonly to being dead.
      While it is technically clinical death, when presented to EMS in that condition, very, very, very frequently, legal death is declared soon after.
      An emergency situation was bungled for a minimum of days before death occurred, with changes in level of consciousness attested to and ignored.

  79. #84 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    April 7, 2016

    # 63 Michael5MacKay

    Re Canadian Constitution

    I always thought that there were unwritten or at least un-legislated bits as well as the BNA Act and CR&F as well.

    For example there does not seem to be anything about the office of Prime Minister in either as far as I could see but I have not read either in years so my memory may be at fault.

  80. #85 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    April 7, 2016

    # 47 Denice Walters

    Frequently, a woo-meister will argue against mental illness IN GENERAL, saying that it doesn’t exist at all.

    And then we had Tomas Szaz who said the same thing and he was a psychiatrist. Of course that was back in the 1960s and it may be that psychiatrist was the same as woo-master back then. They were still doing frontal lobotomies in the ’50’s and early 60’s.

  81. #86 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    April 7, 2016

    # 69 sadmar

    do herbal remedies need any kind of prescription? Let’s say what Vataman gave Collet was Master Master Formulae Blast, which is made in Canada and approved by Health Canada.

    No, all you need is a Health Canada approval that madly easy to get. Herbal remedies, homeopathic water, etc are not considered as real medicines.http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/health-canada-licensing-of-natural-remedies-a-joke-doctor-says-1.2992414

    Hopefully Health Canada will follow the FDA? and require some real evidence. There was no hope of that under the Conservatives but the new Minister is a “real” doctor.

  82. #87 sadmar
    April 7, 2016

    Thanks jrk!

    Two questions for Canadians:
    1) Does the Health Canada approval thing mean that Lethbridge Naturopathic would be dispensing the approved Master Formulae Blast, rather than having Vataman (who seems to be a glorified receptionist) mix up some sort of echinachea tincture from scratch? Some of the news stories say Vataman “mixed’ the remedy, which struck me as likely in error, as it would be beyond her skill level, and simply impractical since the approved commercial product exists.

    2) Do you know how widely available Master Formulae Blast is, and what sort of businesses carry it? I’m wondering whether Collet really needed to drive 85km each way to get this stuff, (assuming that’s indeed what Vataman dispensed).

  83. #88 Delphine
    tea
    April 7, 2016

    sadmar, http://masterformulae.ca/products/store-locator.php

    A few stores in or around Lethbridge where Master Formulae Blast is purportedly sold.

    The Stephans live (or were at the time living) in Glenwood, which is pretty small. One retailer about 20kms away, the others 60+kms.

    Per your question at #69 Here’s a query: Could one of the MDs here take a look at the ME’s report on Ezekiel’s death and weigh the comparative odds of these two possibilities? these reports aren’t available the general public.

  84. #89 sadmar
    April 7, 2016

    Thanks, Delphine!

    I probably shouldn’t have said “the ME’s report”, but “reports of the ME’s testimony”, which of course may not have enough info or journalistic innacuracies. Anyway,here’s what I have, from three different news accounts:

    Ezekiel Stephen, died of bacterial meningitis and empyema, the province’s medical examiner testified Thursday. Forensic pathologist Bamidele Adeagbo said the toddler died of a combination of the two conditions. Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, and empyema is an accumulation of pus in an anatomical cavity. In Ezekiel’s case, his lungs were covered in pus. Adeagbo told the four-man, eight-woman jury that while the condition would have made breathing difficult, symptoms would also have fluctuated with spikes and dives…

    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. According to Adeagbo, when he examined the child’s brain there were no signs that it was a lack of oxygen. He said Ezekiel was dead before EMS intervened. 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. Adeagbo said symptoms can vary from person to person, some showing very few signs. He also said the lung infection would impact breathing and both illnesses could make a person lethargic and weak. Adeagbo testified meningitis would not come on within minutes or hours, but would take days to infect a patient. In this case though, he couldn’t specify how many days it took.

    Dr. Adeagbo testified that he found an infectious process that had severally impacted Ezekiel’s right lung and brain, concluding that he died from bacterial meningitis and a lung infection. Going over his report, the doctor noted that Ezekiel would have had problems breathing, as he didn’t have proper lung function. There also would have been a number of side effects from pressure on his brain, caused by infection and inflammation on the membrane covering it.

    I also looked at the Master Formulae store finder. The listed location closest to the Stephans, in Cardston, doesn’t sounf like a store, and doesn’t show up on Google. There are three natural foods retail stores in Lethbridge listed, but none of their websites lists Master Formulae among their featured brands, not that that means anything. But I conclude the store finder is not a reliable indicator of how accessible Blast would have been to the Stephans.

    It does reaffirm though, that Blast is available at retail. Given Collet Stephan’s Google-fueled DIY healthcare ethos, and distrust of all ‘medical authorities’, that makes it all the more curious that she would be asking anyone at Lethbridge Naturopathic for a ‘prescription’, especially since the Stephan family sells their own ‘antibacterial immune booster’.

  85. #90 Politicalguineapig
    April 7, 2016

    sadmar: Wait, so there isn’t a quantum bra, and Darthhellokitty is just making fun of Gwenyth? You could have fooled me. Sounds like a killer marketing idea.

    Heh. Reminds me of the Onion’s “Quantum Pants” article a few years back.

    Emma Crew: I was joking around 🙂

  86. #91 Denice Walter
    April 7, 2016

    @ PGP:

    There WAS a quantum bra – I typed that into the search box on GOOP.
    HOWEVER…..
    it did not incorporate any mind-boggling permutations of space time or divers oddities which turn up in sci fi films-
    It was merely the name of the bra – or company that manufactured the bra.

    I was disappointed too.

  87. #92 herr doktor bimler
    April 8, 2016

    And then we had Tomas Szaz who said the same thing and he was a psychiatrist. Of course that was back in the 1960s and it may be that psychiatrist was the same as woo-master back then. They were still doing frontal lobotomies in the ’50’s and early 60’s.

    I incline to cut Szasz some slack. Partly because he started his anti-psychiatry crusade back at a time when, as you say, his colleagues were amputating troublesome lobes at the drop of an ice-pick. The pendulum had not yet swung to the Reaganite money-saving paradigm of closing psych hospitals and shipping patients from state to state (Grayhound therapy).
    Also, one of his books introduced me to the Viennese essayist Karl Kraus.

  88. #93 sadmar
    April 8, 2016

    @hdb

    One of the cool things about Orac’s beloved The Knick was it’s depiction of psychiatric quackery among the hoi poloi. While the snooty Mrs. Gallinger gets her comeuppance by having all her teeth pulled, Thack gets to go to posh rehab where he just gets more drugs. The show didn’t present the fate of poor people with SMI specifically, but we saw enough of the class divide in medicine to guess.

    My dad had a serious depressive episode in the late 1950s. He was just a public school teacher, so he got the routine not deluxe treatment, which amounted to repeated applications of old school EST. By that time, I have the impression the lobotomies were reserved for pacifying the unwanted – mainly the poor or others on the wrong end of a power divide. I think I’ve relayed the tale of Myrellen’s Coat here before, so I shan’t repeat it. And sample-of-one etc. One of the Profs at my last school was working on recovering the histories of mental asylums in the Jim Crow South, and it was disturbing stuff. If Blacks or women got too ‘uppity’ they just dumped them in snake pits that make ‘Shock Corridor’ look like paradise.

  89. #94 Dr RJM
    April 8, 2016
  90. #95 James Christianson
    Seattle, WA
    April 8, 2016

    @orac

    So, the medical world that you worship (while condemning anyone who blasphemes it)…that medical world has a 100% clean track record? They never have lost a patient or given medical advice, nor performed a surgery that worsened a condition? They never prescribed drugs to treat symptoms what were created by poor nutrition and lack of exercise (instead o prescribing good nutrition and exercise).

    Your god complex oozes out of every arrogant, condescending, megalomaniac, condemning word. Your worship of flawed humans in the medical industry and attack on blasphemers incriminates you.

  91. #96 aairfccha
    April 8, 2016

    Meanwhile in Australia…

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/apr/08/perth-judge-overrules-parents-of-six-year-old-boy-and-orders-chemotherapy-for-child

    Perth judge overrules parents of six-year-old boy and orders chemotherapy for child

    “However, family court Judge Stephen Thackray in March said “parental power was not unlimited” and found the parents were not acting in their child’s best interests because doctors believed he would die within a few months without treatment.”

  92. #97 Amethyst
    The Crystal Gem
    April 8, 2016

    @#95:

    “AMA national ethics chair and WA president Michael Gannon said he thought the doctor’s decision to legally challenge the parents was brave.”

    That’s an understatement! The balls (or ovaries, I’m not sexist!) of this doc must be made out of steel or possibly titanium.

  93. #98 MI Dawn
    April 8, 2016

    Oh look! Another chew toy.

    @James Christianson, if you’re not a hit-and-run poster: try using the handy dandy search box. You’ll find plenty of instances where Orac has written against conventional medicine practices. And you’ll also NEVER find an instance where anyone – Orac or frequent commenters – has stated that medical interventions are 100% safe or effective (those comments only come from trolls like you). Most educated commenters are aware that anything in life has risk and choosing to use a medical risk is being aware of the risk/benefit ratio being better than the risk/benefit ratio of NOT treating.

  94. #99 MI Dawn
    April 8, 2016

    @Dr RJM or aairfccha: any idea of what the treatment they want to take their son to is? Is it our old quack friend Burzynski who “doesn’t use chemotherapy” and who isn’t supposed to be treating children, anyway?

  95. #100 DrRJM
    April 8, 2016

    Hi MI Dawn,
    The reports don’t specify what treatment in the US is that the parents are trying to access. It’s a bit confusing, because the article goes on to say that the parents want their child to be palliated (although I am aware that you can have palliative care alongside active treatment for cancer).

  96. #101 Darthhellokitty
    A Place of Great Beauty
    April 8, 2016

    Where are people finding these doctors who don’t recommend better nutrition and exercise? Mine lectures me on both of those topics every time I see her! So did the doctor I used to see before I moved, which means I got a second opinion and the diagnosis was the same: fat!

    • #102 Wzrd1
      United States
      April 8, 2016

      The only dietary advice my doctor gave me after we moved was to eat protein supplements.
      That said, I had dropped so much weight from my hyperthyroism that I was losing significant muscle mass and was 148 pounds, struggling to keep that much on.
      Cholesterol was low, for the first time since I was 30, I expect that to soar again once I’m euthyroid again. :/

  97. #103 Darthhellokitty
    Amazed
    April 8, 2016
    • #104 Wzrd1
      April 8, 2016

      The old underwire bra and cancer gambit, wasting tons of money to disprove a flawed study, rather than researching the actual risk factors.
      http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/FactorsThatDoNotIncreaseRisk.html
      If Komen isn’t good enough:
      http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/breast-cancer/about/risks/possible-breast-cancer-risks

      What was ignored in all of the “studies” was the inverse square law of electromagnetic energy and wavelength. One has to have the right wavelength to make an efficient reflector or receiving antenna (not to mention dipole elements).
      2.4 GHZ has a wavelength of 4.92 inches, lower frequencies, have correspondingly longer wavelengths, like good old CB, with its short wavelength of 36.196 feet. Cell phones have 1.23 feet and 0.51 feet in wavelength.
      Those are some awfully big straight underwire antennae!
      Maybe half a wavelength, halve the numbers and recall that capacitive coupling between the wire and skin will detune that “receiver” or reflector.

  98. #105 Narad
    April 8, 2016

    There WAS a quantum bra – I typed that into the search box on GOOP.
    HOWEVER…..
    it did not incorporate any mind-boggling permutations of space time or divers oddities which turn up in sci fi films

    I don’t know that entanglement would be a particularly desirable outcome in any event. (Some sports bras do seem to result in a superposition of states, but I’d have to review d’Colletage’s principle and the statistics of bosoms. Or something.)

  99. #106 sadmar
    April 8, 2016

    @ jrkrideau

    The gist of what follows is that ideas about psychiatry and ‘mental illness’ don’t divide on some science vs. woo line. That’s mainly because there’s no real ‘science’ in it at all.

    I’m not familiar with Szasz, but I skimmed some of the piece you linked and I don’t think he sounds like the wooey anti-psychiatry folks — Scientologists and snake-oil-slingers – mainly as he’s an academic and not trying to push product or get anyone to join a cult. And if it was woo-ey to “amputate troublesome lobes at the drop of an ice-pick”, then as hdb noted, it seems Szasz was the skeptic who stood against that, called the enterprise pseudo-science, and, you know, asked for proof and all that.

    But since I can’t evaluate Szasz on the basis of one article, and one guy’s opinion is not that big a deal either way, I’ll address the general proposition: ‘a serious problem is not necessarily an illness that is best approached with the disease model, and treatment designed to eradicate the supposed disease’. Having suffered from depression for about 15 years, to the point where I made plans to take my own life, I take the issue rather seriously, and frankly, I can see both sides. For one thing, I think it matters a lot how serious those problems are in terms of threatening yourself or others, and whether or not you can function in the world at all.

    I have a friend now in his 50s, who was beaten as a kid, and has had recurring problems with self-harm ever since. I.e. he’s a cutter. He’s found relief for awhile now (can’t say if it will last, obviously) in the perspective of The Icarus Project, some of whose members he’s worked with professionally. Like a lot of the Icarus folks, he’s an artist. As you can imagine, artists have a problem with both narcotization and pacific conformity, the zombifying effects of mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics especially. So the Icarus take, as best I understand it from a distance, is not unlike the neuro-diversity take on ASD: ‘I’m not broken. I’m just different.’ These folks will talk about things like embracing ‘madness’ (their preferred term) as a gift, and that by accepting their difference rather than trying to eliminate it, they’re able to control it, channel it, and lead productive lives.

    The disease model of mental illness is now so central to American medicine and culture that the most common response to Szasz… is typically something like: “Just look around — anguished teenagers, depressed adults, distracted children. Only a fool would believe that mental illness is a myth.”

    The New Atlantis scribe created a set-up line with that, to be sure, but I’ll follow the path and note that only a fool would think all those problems can be lumped into a generic category of ‘illness’ along with schizophrenia, paranoid delusions, and severe bipolar disorder.

    I’ve met people who absolutely needed meds and/or some form of institutional supervision, and were never going to NOT need at least the meds. I’ve also met people who’d been diagnosed as bipolar, given meds and trips to the mental hospital which absolutely harmed them. And I’ve known people who couldn’t have gotten through crises w/o some very nasty meds, but got weaned off them in relatively short order and are managing fine w/o them, doing cool things they couldn’t do under medication…

    My thought du moment is that we could re-conceive meds outside of a disease model, as just addressing problems that reach the level of genuine harm. Instead of taking patients as ‘broken’ in ways we try to ‘fix’, why not just try to alleviate danger and suffering that goes to a certain level?

    On the other hand, I do see an upside to the rubric of ‘sickness’ for mental problems, if not to all the ways the medical establishment deals with them. Mental health problems are severely stigmatized in our culture, which is so stuck in philosophical Idealism that any weird thoughts or behaviors we afflicted may display are considered somehow our fault, weaknesses we could control if we just had some damn discipline. Having a diagnosis at least gets some people to back off, show some compassion, and understand that sh!t we do, say, feel whatever is way beyond our control. Of course, no one gets down on depressives like we get down on ourselves, and having experienced the disconcerting feeling of having no control whatsoever over my thoughts and emotions, the ability to chalk that up to something outside of my own ‘responsibility’ was key to maintaining any thread of sanity, self-respect, etc. If the world, or I, can only accept that under the label ‘illness’, that beats the alternative.

    Back to what little I can glean about Szasz, I feel sorry for the guy as his position seems to have misconstrued by a lot of people. Specifically, I get that he was using ‘myth’ in the cutural anthro sense, ‘not something that doesn’t exist, but a kind of collective reasoning’. He says the horrible things that come from a wayward mind “very much exist”…

    The issue is what are these things? The myth refers to the fact that the people say they are illnesses that doctors can cure. I say they are wrong. They are not illnesses people can cure. They are using the term mental illness mistakenly.

    The article says Szasz “has obstinately argued that a mind can only be sick in a metaphorical sense.” Well, I think that’s true, but a metaphorical ‘sick’ still merits attention. The author seems sympathetic to Szsaz, but even he can’t get out of the trap of the literal:

    It is hard to doubt the reality of mental illness, especially when the suffering of affected individuals is so complete and the impairment so extreme, when psyche and identity are crippled almost beyond repair.

    Well I’ll take the perhaps Szaszian position if only as devil’s advocate and say I’m not doubting the reality of suffering, impairment, shatterd psyches and identity. Been there. Had that. I’m doubting the reality that these are illness. They are problems, and I don’t think we knew much about how to deal with them in the 1960s, nor do we know that much more in the 2010s.

    The New Atlantis indicates psychiatrists knew what Szasz meant by ‘myth’, but attacked him because they thought public mis-interpretation of that would be a serious “threat to the guild”.

    “See, he had just written his book,” Halpern remembers. “Here I was trying to tell the community, ‘Hey, you know you ought to allocate tax funds for the development of psychiatric units in the general hospital.’ And people would say, ‘Why should we do that when mental illness is a myth?’ You can see why I would oppose some of his ideas, only from a practical point of view.”

    This resonates for me as a dark sign. If you have a new class of ‘sick’ people, you open new hospital units, right? I don’t think so. While I suffering through my depression and panic disorder, I was getting the usual meds (an SSRIs for the depression, and a benzo for the anxiety attacks), and a bit of bi-weekly one-on-one CBT. But despite that, at several points I just couldn’t cope day-to-day. I wasn’t, at that point, suicidal or anything. Just kind of withdrawn into a hole. So I told my psydocs, ‘this isn’t working’, and asked ‘what else can I do?’. They said, ‘Well, you can go to the ER, and check into the hospital.’ I asked, ‘How would that work?’ They said, ‘They give you a bed, and once they verify you’re not a danger to yourself or others, they discharge you.’ The last thing I need was two days in a hospital bed. I asked, ‘Isn’t there anything else?’. ‘No.’ Eventually, I figured my psych providers might just not know about other options, so I decided to check on my own. I called every social service agency, public and private, in that part of the state. Nothing. Each place just referred me to one of the others, around and around in a circle.

    Mental health services in the U.S. are woefully under-supported, woefully limited, and woefully misdirected…

  100. #107 Delphine
    April 12, 2016

    Guise, he wasn’t too stiff to sit in his car seat. He was just too uncomfortable to sit in his car seat. David Stephan wants you to know this, because apparently, it’s an important distinction.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-parents-toddler-meningitis-collet-david-stephen-defence-1.3529565

    “We’re not abusive parents who inflict physical harm on our children.”

    http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/were-not-abusive-parents-man-whose-son-died-of-meningitis/

    No, you’re just neglectful, narcissistic parents who did nothing useful to prevent your child from dying.

  101. #108 Delphine
    April 12, 2016

    “The jury also heard evidence that the child became so stiff, he was unable to sit in his car seat and had to lie on a mattress in the back of the family’s vehicle.

    David Stephan disputed that Monday, saying the problem wasn’t that Ezekiel was too stiff but that he found it too uncomfortable.”

    How does this guy even get these words to come out of his mouth? Think about it, think about the end result. And you want to mitigate this somehow? Because it’s so damaging, because people like me, because your fellow human beings are so horrified by the thought of a baby so sick, so stiff, so “uncomfortable”, that he could not sit in a car seat and instead had to lie in the back of the family vehicle??

  102. #109 Delphine
    April 12, 2016

    I’ll STFU but David wants you to think of it this way. Don’t imagine a little boy so stiff that his normally bendy toddler self can’t be bent into a car seat. Instead, it’s “this car seat is too uncomfortable” which if you’re the parent of a car seat age child, you’ve heard/witnessed at least once, generally expressed via screaming and outrage. It was cool, people. He was just too uncomfortable. We’ve all been there.

    I *hate* these people.

  103. #110 sadmar
    April 12, 2016

    Keep it coming, Delphine.

    The bit of actual news in yesterday’s reporting is David admitting that Tony Stephan “came and ‘prayed over’ Ezekial… giving him a blessing the night before he was rushed to the hospital.” Also, “Court was told in previous testimony that Ezekiel was sitting on his grandfather’s lap the day before the toddler was taken to the hospital, and he seemed to be doing better.” And Tony is scheduled to testify.

    I shall note again that we only have the word of Collet and David Stephan that Ezekiel was in the car, either too ‘stiff’ or ‘uncomfortable’ for the car seat, on the trip to Lethbridge naturopathic. Since no one apparently saw the tot in the car, he may have been near death lying on the mattress, or back at home. I can’t say what Ezekiel’s actual condition or location was, of course, but I have no reason to believe the parents have been telling the truth about anything, and I’m curious to say the least of what role Tony Stephan played in counseling his son on how to deal with Ezekiel.

  104. #111 Nat Whilk
    April 13, 2016

    The physician’s report, based on “information obtained from Collet Stephan (mother)” is utterly damning. They knew that Ezekiel was desperately ill.

    “The following day (Mar 6th) Ezekiel was usually lethargic. … He laid in bed the entire day and his only response would be to moan unhappily when Collet left the room. He again would not eat or drink and was restarted on his extra herbal remedies. Collet also describes noticing an unusual ‘neurological symptom’ that day where Ezekiel had repetitive movements of his right arm where he would pull at his diaper or rub his cheek and these movements seemed unusual and involuntary to Collet. She wondered if these were related to starvation as he had eaten so little the week before…”

    Oh, she wondered, did she? Read that to the jury.

    “On Mar 11th Ezekiel’s symptoms worsened again. He would not eat or drink, was lethargic, and they noticed his body to be very stiff. These symptoms persisted on Mar 12th and he started being so stiff that his back was arched.”

    Read that to the jury.

    “At that time they called their family friend/birth attendant again who came over to examine Ezekiel by checking his vitals and listening to him with a stethoscope. According to Collet their friend concluded that Ezekiel’s symptoms could be from meningitis. Collet then looked up meningitis on the internet; specifically she mentioned looking at the WebMD website. She came across the Kernig and Brudzinski’s test for meningismus and tried them on Ezekiel.”

    She what?

    “She reports the tests were obviously positive, further indicating to her that Ezekiel was suffering from meningitis. Based on her reading she felt he more likely had viral meningitis than bacterial as he hadn’t really had a fever.”

    And isn’t she pleased with her diagnostic acumen?

    “Ezekiel’s parents began treating him by resuming his olive leaf extract, garlic, and MSM. … They called their naturopath in Lethbridge to ask for recommendations for treating viral meningitis and were advised to start him on something called BLAST.”

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2800482-Scan-1.html

    • #112 Wzrd1
      April 13, 2016

      I am guessing that BLAST is an amorphism for shovel protocol, which itself is an amorphism for digging a grave.

  105. #113 RTMan
    Alberta
    April 13, 2016

    There is a CBC article that includes the physician’s report and autopsy report.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/lethbridge-trial-stephans-cross-examination-fathter-ezekiel-meningitis-1.3531700

    Some interesting quotes from the Physicians Report:


    Collet also describes noticing an unusual “neurological symptom” that day [March 6?] where Ezekiel had repetitive movements of his right arm… and those movements seemed unusual and involuntary to Collet.

    On March 12th he started being so stiff that his back was arched.

    Collet then looked up meningitis on the internet; she specifically mentioned looking at the WebMD website. She came across the Kerning and Brudzinski’s test for meningismus and tried them on Ezekiel. She reports the tests were obviously positive, further indicating to her that Ezekiel was suffering from meningitis.

    The next day (Mar 13th) the family decided to drive to Lethbridge to do some errands which included picking up the BLAST from their naturopath. Ezekiel seemed a bit more alert that morning but he was too stiff to be successfully placed in his car seat so his crib mattress was put in the back of the car and he laid on that and then drove back home.

    Then later that day he started having breathing problems and they called 911.

  106. #114 RTMan
    Alberta
    April 13, 2016

    One more quote:


    Ezekiel has never seen a physician.

  107. #115 sadmar
    April 13, 2016

    The physician’s report offers good evidence of the unreliability of news accounts.

    The report itself seems to have some issues — Dr. D’Mello may be mixed up about the dates, and when she wrote “They called their naturopath in Lethbridge to ask for recommendations for treating viral meningitis and were advised to start him on something called BLAST” she may have mistaken what Collet told her, and/or Collet may have been misrepresenting the situation. That is, the testimony suggests a more accurate phrasing would be “Collet called a naturopathic clinic in Lethbridge to ask for a recommendation for ‘an immune system booster’ and was advised that something called BLAST performed that function.”

    So while some of the press conclusions about Tannis’s role could be explained by D’Mello’s use of “their naturopath”, Collet apparently told D’Mello a very different story about the trip to Lethbridge Naturopathic than what any casual reader would take from the way the press reported it. That is, the news accounts clearly give the impression that the trip to Lethbridge was for the sole purpose of doing something about the fact Ezekiel’s condition had worsened to the point where his stiffness became alarming to them. However, D’Mara wrote:

    the family decided to drive to Lethbridge to do some errands which included picking up the BLAST from their naturopath. Ezekiel seemed a bit more alert that morning but he was too stiff to be successfully placed in his car seat so his crib mattress was put in the back of the car and he laid on that for the drive. They picked up the BLAST and started Ezekiel on that and then drove back home.

    So, it seems they were just picking up the BLAST because they had other errands to run in Lethbridge, they weren’t all that concerned about Ezekiel’s stiffness, they brought him along in the car because they couldn’t leave him alone at home, and they had no intention of doing anything at Lethbridge Naturopathic besides picking up the BLAST — specifically no intention of asking Tannis to examine him.

    Again, we don’t know how truthful Collet was in relating Ezekiel’s story to D’Mara, or how accurate D’Mara was in recording the non-medical details. But we can certainly see how the press accounts, and thus the commentary relying on the press accounts, deviate significantly from the documents presented to the court.

    The following sentence has been repeated in several news stories, despite the fact it makes no sense whatsoever:

    Ezekiel seemed a bit more alert that morning but he was too stiff to be successfully placed in his car seat so his crib mattress was put in the back of the car and he laid on that and then drove back home.

    So, now we know that someone just dropped more than a line from D’Marra’s report, and no editor has yet caught the error. Let that be be your reference for how well news reflects reality.

  108. #116 Delphine
    April 13, 2016

    The physician’s report is a stark indictment of David and Collet’s decision-making abilities.

    I didn’t expect much else, but it was still upsetting to read. I could tell you of patients who came to the clinic my parents ran in the DRC, poor and marginalized people for whom seeing a physician often required significant sacrifice — time and energy, mostly. The young labouring first time mother who arrived with a dead baby hanging out of her vagina. The boy was otherwise healthy, he just had the terrible misfortune of being in an abnormal position and not being in proximity to someone who could have actually delivered him safely.

    David and Collet had every advantage, no out-of-pocket expense for a doctor, no walk for miles, no lack of a vehicle or access to qualified care. This little boy, Ezekiel, very likely would have lived, but the people who were supposed to put his needs above their own couldn’t or wouldn’t get out from under the weight of their own hubris and blinkered ignorance.

    Five years. I hope they get it and serve it all.

  109. #117 sadmar
    April 14, 2016

    @ Delphine:

    I hear you. but I do have wonder about one thing:
    The Stephans had economic privilege, but being part of a family of predators has it’s disadvantages. Their hubris and blinkered ignorance isn’t that of the typical self-appointed ‘natural health’ crusader, hell, it isn’t even theirs. It’s Tony Stephan’s, and the blinders are all about the hubris of high dirty profits. If you look at the Truehope pages, you’ll see that David Stephan is about the lowest on the totem pole of Tony’s kids. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s totally dominated by his father and has little mind of his own. He also works in Truehope ‘sales and marketing’ according to the reports, which means he’s close to the scammiest, most unethical part of the operation. So every day, when he goes to work, he’s suborning lies about health that he likely knows at some level are lies, but have just become automatic discharges whenever he opens his mouth. In a way, he could be a victim, too. I wonder if he ever thought of straying from the fold, and just couldn’t cut the puppeteer’s strings.

    Not that David and Collet don’t deserve a conviction or anything. I’m just wondering if the Big Fish is getting away…

    Since I don’t have kids, here’s a query for those who do:
    The Stephans appear to be a close knot clan, and David works for his father, so you’d have to guess they see each other at the office all the time. It’s only been in recent days that the news coverage has said anything about Tony visiting Ezekiel during the tot’s 2-week-plus illness, and all we’ve now heard is that he was at Collet and David’s the night before the 911 call to pray for the lad. Does that sound right? What would account for so little and late an involvement? Wouldn’t you imagine David (if not Collet) would mention to Tony that his grandson was ill, and that after a week at least, he’d hop on over to look in on the boy, dispense some sage advice?

    Here’s another question I’ll bet the prosecutor won’t ask. D’Mara’s report says:

    They also started Ezekiel on some herbal/naturopathic remedies which they believe help fight off viral infections and have given Ezekiel in the past when he has a cold. These included olive leaf extract, garlic, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).
    Would that “olive leaf extract” have been Truehope OLE™? Truehope offers it to “strengthen your immune system” and says it’s “thought to help reduce the need for pharmaceutical antibiotics”. With such a magic formula on hand, tell me again why Collet asked Lexie Vataman for “an immune system booster”? Could that explain why the Stephans only dropped by Lethbridge Naturopathic to pick up the BLAST when they had other errands in town to run?

    I feel awfully cynical noting the following, but how can anyone who follows the exploits of medi-scammers like Andy Wakefield on this blog not be jaded: Truehope markets EMPowerplus via tales of Tony Stephan using the formula to ‘cure’ one of his sons and one of his daughters of severe Bi-Polar disorder (http://www.truehope.com/the-truehope-story.html). Why can’t I shake the thought he would have just loved to have a similar family miracle story to promote Truehope OLE™, and that might somehow figure in poor Ezekiel’s death?

  110. #118 sadmar
    Another tag error
    April 14, 2016

    ^^ blockquote was supposed to end at “methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)”

  111. #119 Amethyst
    The Crystal Gem
    April 14, 2016

    It is just so tragic that, in the end, it was the innocent son who ended up ultimately paying for the “sins” of the father and grandfather with his life…

  112. #120 shay simmons
    April 14, 2016

    I don’t have kids. I do have pets*. If either my dog or my cat had been sick for a week without looking like they were snapping out of it (hell, a couple of days would be enough), we’d all be on our way to the veterinarian’s.

    *I also have a husband who usually refuses medical attention, but my in laws can be relied on to apply the necessary pressure in his case.

  113. #121 Delphine
    April 15, 2016

    http://www.lfpress.com/2016/04/15/tearful-mom-testifies-about-sons-meningitis-death-in-negligence-trial

    I was going to pull quotes, but the entire piece I’m, “fuck you, Collet.”

  114. #122 Narad
    April 15, 2016

    I do have pets*. If either my dog or my cat had been sick for a week….

    I don’t know about dogs, but an overtly sick cat is basically a veterinary emergency.

  115. #123 Delphine
    April 15, 2016

    The rule in our house is anything that doesn’t get better within a day or two merits a visit to the doctor. The rule particularly enforced with our daughter, because, you know, that’s your fucking job as parents, David and Collet.

  116. #124 Delphine
    immoderate
    April 15, 2016

    That rule was different for a toddler/baby and particularly with stuff like wheezing/difficulty breathing (which Collet describes as occurring on the FIRST day Ezekiel was sick, the “worst” day) is seen right away.

    The first time Delphinette was ever sick, she awoke in the middle of the night, aged around 9 months old, with a fever of 104.7F. She wouldn’t nurse, she was hot, dry, and listless. We got her temp down to around 101 with Tylenol and she was seen 4 hours later by her pediatrician.

    It’s not like David and Collet didn’t know Ezekiel was sick. They just didn’t want to actually have to DO anything about it. That would have screwed up their storybook fantasy “natural” life.

  117. […] clear if Tannis urged Ezekiel’s parents to immediately take him to the emergency room, but it is clear that she dispensed a tincture containing echinacea to Ezekiel’s mother to treat meningitis. In fact, the […]

  118. #126 RTMan
    Alberta
    April 26, 2016
  119. #127 Katie
    Canada
    April 27, 2016

    The arrogance of these people has to be seen to be believed. Not once has anyone expressed remorse, regret, sorrow. They stubbornly claim they did nothing wrong and the latest this evening is the grandfather (owner of the business peddling ground up leaves and roots for a small fortune) is grabbing headlines declaring he “fears” for all parents because the “state” is telling parents how to raise their children and everyone better just watch out or else blah blah blah blah. I wish someone would shut these people up once and for all before any more children are killed. He claims they are considering appeal and short of mental deficiency, I’d like to know what grounds he plans to use.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/father-convicted-sons-death-fears-for-other-parents-1.3556405

  120. #128 Katie
    Canada
    April 27, 2016

    Correction, sorry: it’s the convicted father (not his father) who is claiming some kind of conspiracy against him, blaming everyone and everything else.

  121. #129 Orac
    April 27, 2016

    Did you actually read the post? If you had, you would know that I discussed and quoted from the letter from the 43 Canadian doctors and discussed David Stephan’s conspiracy mongering about his prosecution.

  122. #130 Katie
    Canada
    April 28, 2016

    @Orac
    I’m new here. Who are you addressing?
    The letter from the 43 Canadian doctors is a separate issue; I posted a link to the CBC report about Stephan’s “letter to jury” as soon as it came up. Am I not supposed to comment if you already have? I can’t see your post you’re talking about, by the way. Is it on another board? Best wishes, K

  123. #131 Chris
    April 28, 2016

    It is because he included that particular letter in the more recent article, perhaps you should have checked all of the articles about this case:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2016/04/27/the-death-of-ezekiel-stephan-quackery-and-antivaccine-views-go-hand-in-hand/

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