By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Canadian couple, the Stephans, who were convicted of letting their two year old son die of meningitis because they were so committed to their willful ignorance.
Because sitting back and doing nothing while your child dies of meningitis is considered unacceptable in most civilized societies, a jury in Canada just convicted a mother and father of failing to provide for their 2-and-a-half-year-old son when he became deathly ill four years ago. Maybe you remember this story: David and Collet Stephan are religious fundamentalists who own a company called Truehope Nutritional Support, which sells natural, homeopathic remedies and nutritional supplements. Not surprisingly, the Stephans favor homeopathic remedies over ones that, you know, actually work, and when their son Ezekiel came down with meningitis they tried to cure him by feeding him “water with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horseradish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root.” This nonsense cocktail was supposed to boost his immunity. Needless to say, it didn’t work.
That’s right. It didn’t work. Ezekiel died. Their defense at trial consisted of pleading ignorance — they didn’t know how sick their feverish, rigid, screaming child was — and, unbelievably, that it was the fault of the ambulance that finally picked up their dying child. They haven’t learned a thing. David Stephan was whining on facebook about it.
I deeply Love each one of you and appreciate the tremendous sacrifice that you have made over the last 8 weeks. I only wish that you could’ve seen how you were being played by the crowns deception, drama and trickery that not only led to our key witnesses being muzzled, but has also now led to a dangerous precedent being set in Canada. The flood gates have now been opened and if we do not fall in line with parenting as seen fit by the government, we all stand in risk of criminal prosecution. Remember what the crown prosecutors closing remarks were to combat the fact that the ill equipped ambulance resulted in Ezekiel’s brain death. She communicated that this was not about him dying, but rather about whether or not his life was endangered at any point due to our actions. How many parents have lost children for various reasons, all of which could be concluded that the child’s life was endangered and that the parents should have been able to foresee it? How many parents have had close calls to losing a child, wherein it could be concluded that the child’s life was endangered and the parents should have been able to foresee it? Whether medical attention is sought or not and your child lives, it is of no consequence. It is only about whether or not it can be proven that at some point your child’s life was endangered, and if so you may find yourselves in the same boat as us.
The flood gates have now been opened and my main concern is no longer for Collet and I, but rather for Canadian’s as a whole.
May Heaven help us all!
Aww, you can’t blame them for not being able to foresee that Ezekiel’s condition was deadly dangerous! Except, of course, that they did know that he was extremely sick with severe symptoms — so sick that they were stuffing him with every magic herb they could find on the shelf, and they drove him to a naturopathic clinic to get him a dose of…echinacea. Jebus.
I’ve been in Ezekiel’s shoes, roughly. When I was 8 or 9 years old, I came down with what my parents thought was the flu…only it kept going, and it kept getting worse, with my fever going up and up. I remember it was so bad that I started drifting in and out of consciousness, which was weird — to be lying down in the house one moment, then next thing I’m lying down on a car seat, and then I’m at my grandparents’ house (the other kids were being dropped off), and then my mother holding me while Dad was doing some white-knuckle driving. I also remember how terrified my parents looked.
I’m sure the Stephans were also terrified and wanted the best for their painfully ill son.
But here’s the difference: my parents weren’t rushing me to the naturopathic clinic, but to the hospital, where I was diagnosed with acute appendicitis and immediately trundled into surgery (well, almost immediately — I also remember vomiting explosively all over the hospital lobby, which may have helped expedite a response).
Another difference: I lived. Ezekiel died.
But the difference wasn’t that my parents loved me more than Ezekiel’s parents did him: loving someone harder and wishing them well with all the fervency in the world doesn’t help. It’s what you do with that love that matters, that you use that love to do what is right and good for others, that you use reason and rational action to keep the love alive.
So I was lucky to have parents who tried to do what was objectively best for me, and weren’t more interested in propping up their ideology or their religion or their pseudoscience with my life — which is actually a rather low bar for someone to hurdle, but it’s obvious that there are quite a few people who can’t manage to clear it.
Thanks, Mom, for being both caring and sensible.