Justice for Ezekiel?

May 4, 2016

The ProfessorLast Tuesday, April 26, was a red-letter day for the TMR community. Many health “revolutionaries,” myself included, were thrilled to be able to attend a United Nations conference where Dr. Martha Herbert, Kevin Barry (filling in for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. who was absent due to a family emergency), and Dr. Leonardo Trasande spoke about the deleterious effects of numerous environmental intoxicants, including those that are injected, on developing brains, and NYU Professor of Law Mary Holland spoke about the human rights implications of compulsory vaccine programs and the need for truly informed consent.

At the same time that we were enjoying this historic step toward international recognition of the rights to bodily integrity and to make one’s own healthcare decisions, a heavy blow to those principles was struck in the province of Alberta, Canada. If you’ve been with TMR for a while, you may be aware that we have been following with interest the trial of David and Collett Stephan, the parents of Ezekiel Stephan, a 19-month-old boy who died of a mysterious illness back in March of 2012.

David and Collett were charged with “failure to provide the necessaries of life” for Ezekiel, a charge approximately equivalent to manslaughter in the United States. The trial had been going on for seven weeks, and the previous week Alberta’s former Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Anny Sauvageau, rocked the proceedings by providing dramatic testimony refuting all the important claims of her previous employee, Dr. Bamidele Adeagbo, the medical examiner who had performed Ezekiel’s autopsy. So it was more than a shock to receive the news Tuesday evening that the Stephans had been convicted.

This verdict hit all of us at TMR very hard, not least because many of us met David Stephan last year at the AutismOne Conference, and all of us were immediately impressed by his humble humanity. In fact, if I were to imagine the ideal father for a child, chances are good he would look and sound a lot like David Stephan: accessible, involved, loving, and wise. Since that time, we have seen pictures of him with his family, his wife, Collett, and their three other sons, and the impression has merely deepened.

david and family

David and Collett with their three surviving sons, Ezra, Ephraim, and Enoch, and a picture of Ezekiel

The guilty verdict probably hit me the hardest of all of us, though, because I too had a child who died of a mysterious illness, and all I could think was how easily that could have been me if the medical examiner in my son’s case hadn’t decided that there was nothing that we or the hospital could have done that would have saved my son’s life. While that was a relief to hear at the time – I had spent the previous twelve weeks thinking up elaborate scenarios where my son would still be alive “if only I had . . . ,” – there remained a cynical doubt in the back of my mind whether or not it was really true or whether the need to exonerate the hospital played any role in that conclusion. In any event, it did help me to drop the guilt of the “woulda, shoulda, couldas” to a large extent, and begin the painful process of healing.

You see, whenever a child dies, loving parents will find themselves wracking their brains for something they could have done differently that might possibly have saved their child and then berating themselves for not making those choices in the first place. Through various support groups, I’ve met many parents of children who have died, and I’ve found that nearly all of them go through this exercise – repeatedly. After all, it is our job to keep our children safe, and there is nothing worse than failing at that job.

Unfortunately, we are not given instructions up front about the best way to go about that for our particular children, however, and we have to make thousands of decisions on the fly as to how best to proceed. There is no possibility that every decision we make will be the “right” one; we just have to do the best we can, based upon the information we have at hand, and hope that we get lucky and are “right” when it matters most.

I have had the heartbreaking experience of listening to a grieving mother berate herself for choosing to co-sleep with her child on the very same day as another grieving mother berated herself for putting her child to sleep in a crib. Each mother was convinced that, had she made the opposite choice, her child would still be alive. But as a witness, listening to their sobs, it was glaringly obvious that neither choice guaranteed a living child.

And that is a very hard lesson for any of us to learn: When it comes to life, there are no guarantees. Period.

Possibly the most excruciating example of “no guarantees” I’ve ever encountered was the father who was also a paramedic who had been unable to save his own child. This father was crushed by guilt; if anyone should be able to “guarantee” their infant’s survival, it would be an emergency medical technician, right? That’s what they do, all day, every day. And yet . . . There are no guarantees. Period.

If given the option, any of us would go back to a time before our child’s death in a heartbeat and make different choices in an effort to forestall it. And it’s possible that, for some of us, those choices could have changed the outcome, but as my son’s autopsy report made crystal clear making different choices cannot provide the guarantee we seek. Despite the cliché that hindsight is 20/20, we can’t truly know what would have happened if we had done things differently. I feel for the parents who are told that they made mistakes that cost their children’s lives. That can be a tremendously heavy burden to bear for parents who were only doing what all of us parents do every day, making the best choices they could with the available information.

In David and Collett Stephans’ case, their son Ezekiel had been sick with a mild croup on and off for over a week. At one point, he was so much better he was able to go out with his family. In hindsight that may have been a little too much too soon, as he subsequently relapsed. He was seen by a nurse and family friend who suggested the possibility of meningitis, but told the parents if he were taken to an emergency room he would likely be discharged as the symptoms were consistent with a mild flu. As Ezekiel didn’t have a fever, stiff neck, or other common symptoms of bacterial meningitis, the life-threatening form didn’t seem likely as viral pathogens cause approximately 95% of all meningitis. In addition, bacterial meningitis generally escalates quickly, often giving its victims less than 24 hours to seek medical help.

But on March 13, Ezekiel took a turn for the worse. His breathing became obstructed as sometimes happens in croup, and David did CPR while Collett called 911. Ezekiel coughed up some mucus and started breathing again, but David and Collett decided they would take him to the nearest hospital themselves rather than wait for an ambulance (this is verified by the recording of the 911 call where Ezekiel’s breathing could be heard). He stopped breathing in the car again, and this time Collett did CPR until an ambulance met them about halfway to the hospital. Unfortunately, the ambulance was not properly equipped to intubate a child, which left Ezekiel without oxygen for seven or eight minutes while paramedics tried to establish an airway.

As a paramedic testified at trial, they had been requesting the appropriate equipment for about a year with no response. Tragically, the equipment wasn’t restocked until the week after Ezekiel’s death.

Ezekiel was admitted to Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary where he was declared brain dead three days later on March 16 and was removed from life support on March 18. The cause of death was not apparent, and an autopsy was performed on March 19.

David, Collet, Ezekiel (in Collet's arms) and big brother Ezra

David, Collett, Ezekiel (in Collett’s arms) and big brother Ezra

The official autopsy report on Ezekiel’s death became the basis for the criminal proceeding against the Stephans. The autopsy’s conclusion was that it was the opinion of the medical examiner that Ezekiel had died due to a bacterial meningitis infection and a lung empyema, both presumably caused by haemophilus influenzae bacteria. The medical examiner had noted as well that Ezekiel had not received the Hib (haemophilus influenzae type B) vaccine. The autopsy report could be, and was, taken to mean that Ezekiel’s parents were at fault for not getting him vaccinated in the first place and not seeking medical attention soon enough.

Four years later, the Crown is pointing a finger at the Stephans and saying, rather loudly, “It’s YOUR fault your child died, and we are going to punish you for it!” despite the fact that the Stephan family has already lived with the ultimate punishment for any mistakes they may have made for the last four years: life without their beloved son and brother Ezekiel.

Like me, you may have trouble understanding exactly how sending loving parents of three living boys to prison for up to five years can possibly be a wise or just decision, but how much worse would it all be if the Crown were wrong about Ezekiel’s death? And worse still if they were being wrong deliberately in order to deflect blame and pursue a government agenda?

It was clear from the autopsy that Ezekiel had meningitis, but what was not clear was the “infectious agent” that caused the meningitis. The infectious agent is extremely important in determining cause of death because, while death from bacterial meningitis is fairly common, death is very rare in viral meningitis cases. If Ezekiel’s meningitis was due to a virus, then it was unlikely to be a causal factor in his death.

Dr. Adeagbo claimed that the meningitis was bacterial in origin, and that he had found evidence of haemophilus influenzae bacteria, which does indeed cause meningitis. But a swab done when Ezekiel arrived at the hospital tested positive for enterovirus or rhinovirus, both of which can cause croup, and enterovirus is also the leading cause of viral meningitis. The presence of enterovirus can easily explain both the low-grade croup illness that Ezekiel had been experiencing and the later development to meningitis.

So why, then, did the medical examiner say it was his opinion that bacterial meningitis had killed Ezekiel? Dr. Adeagbo gave a few reasons for his opinion at trial: no evidence of croup; predominance of neutrophils, a particular type of immune cell more associated with bacterial than viral meningitis; and the presence of some Gram-negative bacilli in the empyema.

It was, of course, crucial for the defense to do their own analysis of the autopsy evidence. They hired Dr. Anny Sauvageau, the former Chief Medical Examiner for Alberta, who testified at trial that she had been fired from her position as CME after refusing to make politically motivated alterations to death certificates. She chose to expose the corruption rather than keep it a secret, saying at the Stephans’ trial, “My soul is not for sale.”

Under the circumstances, Dr. Sauvageau might be expected to bear a grudge against the Crown for her dismissal, but if she did, she doesn’t seem to have allowed it to cloud her thinking. In order to prepare her report, she refused to hear what the Stephans had to say in case it would color her judgment of the evidence. Instead, she listened to the 911 calls, went over Ezekiel’s medical file and the autopsy report in detail, including pictures, slides, and CT scan, and read the 193 pages of Dr. Adeagbo’s testimony and the five-page report from Emergency Services.

What did the former Chief Medical Examiner who was fired for being too ethical conclude when she went over all the evidence?

Surprisingly, she came to an entirely different conclusion than that of Dr. Adeagbo, and in her report, which was later used as the basis of her courtroom testimony, she systematically destroys every foundation for Adeagbo’s opinion. One would not expect to see independent evidence of viral croup at autopsy, she attests, because autopsy findings for croup are indistinguishable from findings associated with mechanical ventilation with intubation, which was clearly the case for Ezekiel from March 13 to March 18. In addition, the breathing pattern exhibited by Ezekiel Stephan that could be heard on the original 911 call was consistent with obstructed breathing due to croup.

The report makes it explicitly clear that predominance of neutrophils does not rule out viral meningitis, particularly when caused by enteroviruses (she cites four different scientific sources for this information). In addition, Dr. Sauvageau’s analysis of the autopsy slides indicated no evidence of a predominance of neutrophils in the first place!

Adeagbo’s third argument was that Gram-negative bacilli had been found that were identified as haemophilus influenzae when analyzed by an experimental technique. Dr. Sauvageau asserts that a positive identification cannot be made for trial purposes with an experimental technique and also suggests that Dr. Adeagbo may have been confusing types of bacteria at the outset. Adeagbo was quite definitive about the finding of “Gram-negative bacilli,” which means a rod shaped bacteria, when haemophilus influenzae is in fact a Gram-negative coccobacillus, somewhere between a rod-shaped and spherical bacteria.

Dr. Sauvageau says that the finding of a few Gram-negative bacilli could easily be explained by a phenomenon frequently seen at autopsy known as bacterial translocation, where bacteria from other parts of the body migrate after death or even while on life support. A lumbar puncture, a somewhat risky procedure which could have positively identified the infectious agent, was understandably not performed while Ezekiel was alive, and no bacterial growth was seen in the cerebrospinal fluid after autopsy.

In short, Dr. Sauvageau says, there was no reliable evidence on which to base a conclusion as to the infectious agent. In the absence of such evidence, the most likely agent would be enterovirus as it causes the majority of meningitis cases and Ezekiel tested positive for it on admittance to the hospital. It can also easily explain all of the clinical findings.

Possibly the most damning piece of testimony from Dr. Adeagbo referred to the lung empyema. According to Dr. Adeagbo this empyema was in the later of two stages, implying that Ezekiel had been sick with bacterial pneumonia (like with meningitis, it is the more dangerous kind) and struggling to breathe for some time before the Stephans brought him to the hospital. It would be understandable for people to feel vindictive about parents who see their child struggling to breathe with pneumonia and don’t seek medical attention pronto, but is that really what happened?

Not according to Dr. Sauvageau. First, even if Ezekiel had an empyema in one lung, two weeks was not likely to be anywhere near long enough for the empyema to cause death. Secondly, Ezekiel’s empyema was in the second of three stages and not as advanced as Dr. Adeagbo testified, and was most probably caused by the intubation process as aspiration pneumonia is common under those circumstances. Thirdly, if Dr. Adeagbo really believed that the empyema was a causal factor in Ezekiel’s death, it was odd that he did not sample the empyema in order to determine an infectious agent, as the antibiotics that Ezekiel received would not have been likely to kill bacteria there.

And, lastly but most importantly, an initial chest x-ray taken shortly after Ezekiel’s arrival at the hospital made it clear there was no empyema at that time. This x-ray, however, was not in the medical file given to the defense in the discovery process. Why would an x-ray that obliterates the most damning evidence presented by the Crown not be included in the discovery material unless the Crown were deliberately attempting to misrepresent the facts? And if they were deliberately misrepresenting facts, why would they do so?

One clue may be the cause of death according to Dr. Sauvageau: medical misadventure.

According to Dr. Sauvageau, Ezekiel had the croup and meningitis, probably due to enterovirus. While they can cause breathing obstruction, they are very rarely fatal, and the likelihood is that with proper intubation Ezekiel would have survived. The lack of appropriate equipment on board the ambulance meant that Ezekiel’s lungs, and more importantly his brain cells, were deprived of oxygen for an extra eight minutes. This lack of oxygen according to Dr. Sauvageau was the reason Ezekiel died.

Oddly, Dr. Adeagbo left out any discussion of anoxia (lack of oxygen) in the autopsy report and argued at trial against anoxic damage because he didn’t see the characteristic pink color associated with that type of injury. According to Dr. Sauvageau, though, that color is a short-term phenomenon, on the order of hours (references cited), and would not have been expected to be present five days after the initial injury.

Wouldn’t one expect the medical examiner performing the autopsy to know that? Is it possible, therefore, that the Crown’s case against the Stephans is more about covering up their own culpability in not providing the proper equipment for handling respiratory arrest in a child than it is about any real negligence on the part of the parents? The apparent misrepresentation of autopsy evidence and the absence of an exonerating chest x-ray in discovery material would make that scenario seem likely.

Of course, there may be another agenda at work as well. The Stephans are well known for being “crunchy,” meaning they tend to prefer, when reasonable, alternative methods of healthcare to more mainstream ones. In fact, Health Canada had previously sued David’s father, Anthony Stephan, who owns a supplement company, over claims made about the use of one of his supplements in treating bipolar disorder. However, in 2006 the judge ruled in favor of Mr. Stephan when it became apparent at trial that his supplement, EMPowerPlus, was effective for the many patients who relied upon it to keep them well.

Like many of us here at TMR, the Stephans don’t vaccinate. As Canadian citizens, that is completely within their rights; due to a clause in the Canadian Constitution, vaccines cannot be mandated. This is a frustrating situation for Health Canada, which has made no bones about their desire to increase vaccine uptake rates. How do you do that if you can’t make them compulsory? Answer: Scare people into doing it. If talk of “deadly diseases” won’t do it, then scare them with the prospect of legal action against people who don’t vaccinate.

It seemed that this was exactly what the Crown intended with their prosecution of the Stephans. The fact that the Stephans had not vaccinated Ezekiel with the Hib vaccine was mentioned in the autopsy report and, despite a lack of evidence, Dr. Adeagbo argued that it was haemophilus influenzae that killed Ezekiel. The Crown ended up dropping this line of prosecution at trial, possibly because it didn’t want the testimony of immunologist Tetyana Obukhanych on the record. If I were the Crown, I wouldn’t want her testimony on the record.

Given the control the government has over the healthcare system in Canada, the Stephans may be considered political dissidents for seeking less invasive, less dangerous, and more efficacious alternatives to the standard mainstream system of pharmaceutical-based care. This plus Anthony Stephan’s winning court case may have made the Stephans an attractive target for the Crown – the idea being that the Crown wanted a precedent that allowed them to crack down on outliers.

This might all seem a bit unlikely, if not paranoid, if it weren’t for two things: A prosecution of this type had never been done before in Canada; the Stephans’ attorney could find no case law to refer to. And since the Stephans’ case was filed, at least two other similar cases have been filed in Alberta.

On Tuesday, April 26, the Stephans were found guilty by a jury of twelve people, many of whom seemed conflicted as six of them were said to be crying as the verdict was read. The next step is sentencing, which is scheduled to take place in June. The sentencing is in the hands of the judge who presided over the trial and could range from probation to a maximum of five years in prison for both David and Collett.

For people who believe that individual freedom to make lifestyle choices, including healthcare, is an important value, the Stephan case has to be an affront. It is predicated upon the idea that there is only one valid approach to healthcare, that which is sponsored by the government. The underlying assumption is that not doing exactly what Health Canada considers appropriate makes one a negligent parent.

It may not be obvious how absurd this position is until you consider that “medical misadventure” is not at all unusual. In fact, it is so common now in the United States that medical mistakes in hospitals may be harming up to nine million people a year and killing up to 440,000 of them, making them the third leading cause of death. In addition, pharmaceutical drugs killed 29,471 people in 2013, far more than the 17,000 that were killed by illicit drug use.

A 2015 study at Massachusetts General Hospital, generally considered a leader in patient safety, found that medication errors occurred in nearly half of all surgical procedures. In 2009, more than half of the nearly 4.6 million drug-related visits to U.S. emergency rooms nationwide were due to adverse reactions to prescription drugs, most of which were taken as prescribed. At a medical conference, a Harvard professor “looked out at a room of 2,000 doctors and asked ‘How many of you know of another doctor who should not be practicing because he is too dangerous?’  Every hand went up.”

My niece once took her two-month-old daughter to the hospital with a fever. The hospital gave her the wrong antibiotic, causing cardiac arrest. Medical personnel denied there was anything wrong until my niece pointed out that her daughter was turning blue. The baby was without oxygen for about seven minutes as a result of the hospital’s error and nearly died. Hospital staff used what was at that time a new technique, medically induced hypothermia with a slow return to normal temperature, to minimize the damage and maximize her chances of survival, but she still suffered significant brain damage, has cerebral palsy, and lives her life in a wheelchair, all because of hospital errors.

It would be one thing if this kind of situation were unusual, but it seems that the only unusual detail was that the evidence of error was not effectively covered up. There are many more stories of very sick children brought to emergency rooms who were either not treated for what was wrong with them or were treated for something that wasn’t.

Medical kidnapping cases like Justina Pelletier have become more and more common as parents increasingly find themselves at odds with a medical establishment that doesn’t recognize the complexities of today’s chronic childhood illnesses. Many children with autism end up in hospitals at some point with excruciating gastrointestinal pain (just like the children in the infamous 1998 Wakefield et al Lancet paper), only to be treated with inappropriate cocktails of antipsychotic drugs.

Yes, emergency room personnel often do amazing work saving people’s lives, but it is pretty clear that the odds are good when seeking mainstream medical attention that mistakes will be made that have potentially devastating consequences.

david and family 2

David, Collett, Ezra, and Ezekiel

Given the above facts, is it any wonder that many parents are not eager to turn their children over to doctors and institutions that are so likely to make grievous errors in their care?

Isn’t the assumption behind the Stephan prosecution, that children are better off getting mainstream medical care as soon as possible, just that: an assumption?

And isn’t that assumption based more on faith in the omnipotence of medical institutions than on the available evidence, making it more of a religious belief than a fact?

In actuality, wouldn’t a rational response to these facts be an attempt to minimize mainstream medical care when possible in order to “first, do no harm”?

Assuming for a moment that Ezekiel would still be alive if his parents had made different medical choices, which is by no means a foregone conclusion, why are conscientious parents who make mistakes which result in a child’s death prosecuted as criminals when medical professionals whose actions kill children are only prosecuted if there is evidence they did it deliberately?

If medical professionals are (frequently) given the leeway to make fatal errors without going to prison, why are parents held to a much higher standard? And if we are prosecuting parents for making “wrong” decisions, why do we not prosecute parents who take their children to medical professionals who then kill them?

Clearly, either way a mistake was made that led to a child’s death. Apparently only one type of error is considered actionable – the error committed by the medical heretic.

From my perspective, it’s exceptionally difficult to see how separating David and Collett Stephan from their three surviving sons and sending them to prison serves any beneficial purpose whatsoever. It won’t bring back Ezekiel, and knowing the kinds of messages I received from my son after his passing, I suspect Ezekiel would be the last person to want his parents to go to prison – especially given the likelihood of further trauma for the brothers who have already been through so much.

But I recognize that I’m biased. You see, I too had another child who needed me. A child whose world was rocked to the core when her baby brother died. I can’t claim that I was the best parent in the world, or even on my street, at that time. Most parents of children who have died experience a tremendous loss of confidence and are over-protective of surviving children, and I was certainly no exception. But no parent ever tried harder to provide their child with a happy, stable home life than I did, and it chills me to the bone to consider what her life would have been like if her father and I had been sent to prison.

Much as I hate thinking about the effect on the Stephan boys’ lives if their parents are indeed sent to prison, it may be only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to consequences of this prosecution. The precedent being set – the idea that it’s okay to go after good parents whose medical decisions are based on anything other than blind faith in the god of medicine – can only be harmful to any society that believes itself to be “free.”

~ Professor

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50 Responses to Justice for Ezekiel?

  1. Laura says:

    Ezekiel’s death could almost certainly have been prevented by vaccination. From the pediatrician Clay Jones:

    “the autopsy on Ezekiel revealed meningitis, which is typically an infection related inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. I can’t find confirmation of the organism but it is exceedingly likely that it was bacterial rather than viral given the severity of his presentation. Not that viral meningitis can’t be deadly, it just usually isn’t in an otherwise-healthy older child.”

    “The fact that Ezekiel, like his older sibling, was not vaccinated, further increases the likelihood that he died from bacterial meningitis. The most common cause of bacterial meningitis in a toddler, Streptococcus pneumoniae, as well as the bug that used to be, Haemophilus influenzae type b, are both exceedingly deadly if not treated in a timely fashion. They can cause severe neurologic injury and death even when they are.”

    “Both infections can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine. I’ve diagnosed zero cases of HiB meningitis and only one case of pneumococcal meningitis in 13 years of practice. Prior to these vaccines, pediatricians that far out of medical school would have seen hundreds of cases considering that 1 out of every 200 children used to suffer invasive Hib disease alone.”

    Ezekiel was not vaccinated and had never even been seen by a doctor – he was born with the help of a midwife. His parents were just not in the habit of taking him to a doctor, and they adhered to this habit when he got an illness that didn’t go away on its own, as he got sicker and sicker.

    They and other people who saw Ezekiel during his last illness, say he didn’t seem all that sick. But this is dubious, because they have an obvious interest in doing so – they want to stay out of legal trouble, and they don’t want to feel they did something wrong that caused his death.

    Clay Jones also says:

    “[The autopsy findings] add to my suspicion that Ezekiel was much more ill-appearing than described by his parents and the nurse who visited the family’s home. Although there may have been some degree of waxing and waning of his symptoms, particularly with the fever he almost certainly developed during the course of his illness, I am very skeptical of claims that he had any significant recovery just prior to his arrest. This also makes it more likely that he suffered a great deal prior to his death.”

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Laura, I’m sure you think you are helping to clarify the situation, but you have linked to a blog site that has proven itself to be unconcerned with either truth or humanity. Instead, it promotes a very particular viewpoint that is called “skepticism” but in reality is anything but. I removed the link you posted because we will not promote them.

      In this particular case there is no way that anyone can say that “Ezekiel’s death could almost certainly have been prevented by vaccination,” certainly not you or Clay Jones who is completely unrelated to the case and has a vested interest in promoting that view. There are a myriad of possibilities, including but not limited to Ezekiel being harmed or even killed by the Hib vaccine (it happens), Ezekiel’s vaccine “failing” (that also happens) and he gets bacterial meningitis anyway, the vaccine working just fine but Ezekiel gets sick anyway, because this was not a case of bacterial meningitis in the first place, and the ambulance STILL doesn’t have the proper equipment to open an airway in a child Ezekiel’s size.

      The reason Jones “can’t find confirmation of the organism” is because that information was not provided by the medical examiner, a medical examiner who made conclusions that don’t make sense and whose conclusions directly contradict those of another medical examiner. That information was readily obtainable. So why was the test not done? Or why was it not included in the medical examiner’s report. The most likely thing is that it didn’t support his conclusions. There were x-rays that were suppressed in discovery taken at the first hospital that show conclusively that what the medical examiner claimed happened cannot have happened. Clay Jones is basing his entire argument on a highly flawed document, saying “given the severity of his presentation” when several people testified that the presentation WASN’T severe. The only thing other than illogical statements made in the ME report arguing for severity of presentation is that Ezekiel died, but that is hardly surprising given the fact that he was without oxygen for an extended period while the paramedics tried unsuccessfully to open an airway. So much for Jones’s “skepticism.” It is in fact much likelier, given the course of the illness, that Ezekiel had viral meningitis, which is very rarely fatal.

      For some reason both you and Clay Jones believe that ALL the people who saw Ezekiel were lying about his condition. Frankly that is ridiculous as well as presumptuous. People in the courtroom, including the judge, were very clear that these parents obviously provided a loving and caring home for their children. Loving parents do not ignore major illness on the part of their child. Even if I did not know the parents personally and know how scrupulously honest they are, that fact alone would not add up. Just because they weren’t in the habit of taking their child to a medical doctor doesn’t mean that were unwilling to take him to one when it was necessary, and calling the ambulance makes that clear. In addition, they had an older child, David Stephan’s father had 10 children, and the nurse had seen countless babies and toddlers in her career. There were plenty of people involved who were not first-time parents. They knew children. Does anyone REALLY think that a loving mother would have gone out of the house that night to a women’s meeting at her church if she were at all worried about her child’s health? The suggestion is preposterous. If the child truly were as “ill-appearing” as Jones speculates (and that is all his account is, pure speculation), then why did the nurse, the child’s grandfather, and the people at church not notice it and tell the parents so? The simplest and most logical explanation is that events happened exactly as the Stephans said they did, and the only reason they were on trial in the first place was because the Province of Alberta wanted to cover their own butts for not sending an ambulance with the appropriate equipment to save Ezekiel’s life, or in order to promote an agenda that allows for only one state-sanctioned way to parent.

      In any event, vaccination is not compulsory in Canada, so whether or not it could have saved Ezekiel’s life is moot. It cannot legally constitute “failure to provide the necessaries of life.” In short, while Clay Jones clearly wants to believe that medical science is all-powerful, all-seeing, and all-knowing (in short, God), anomalies and mistakes can and do happen every day, even fatal ones, and medical science itself is responsible for a good chunk of them.

      • Bradfordgs says:

        Professor, a pile of new evidence was recovered. For all intents and purposes, it appears that Ezekiel did not die mysteriously but rather had his life taken as a result of medical negligence. over 175 pages of hospital records have been recovered and it paints a dark picture of not only his death but also of methods employed in the attempted cover-up. The doctors not only created a second heart attack by giving him a drug that he was contraindicated for but then after he had somewhat stabilized and while they were alone in the air ambulance they gave him three more doses of the same drug at levels that were grossly over the recommended dosage for a healthy adult. It appears they may have been attempting to recreate a third heart attack which would reduce potential liability by tens of millions and reduce the paper trail that would lead back to them. Keep an eye on this case. The government is going to do anything they can to bury the truth as it rolls out over the next few weeks and as they are heading to the Supreme Court of Canada.

  2. Matt says:

    This whole piece is severely biased and in no way aims to look at this case from a different perspective other than the side of the accused. First of all, starting this piece going on and on about how nice the family is and how you wish you had a husband like David kind of marks this as a throw-away from the start. And then adding the little detail that you’ve met/know him? Where’s the journalistic integrity here, eh? It’s pretty clear you were on his side before the facts even came to light.

    That being said, 4 months of jail time for willfully ignoring his child’s worsening condition (leading to a terrible death) isn’t something that should get a “thinking-mom” as upset as you are. I mean, regardless of intent, the man was cocky in his placebo remedies instead of taking the child to a doctor. The child doesn’t get a choice when it comes to their body. But the parents know better. Hopefully this is a lesson for future/current parents that believe they know something others don’t. At the very least, it will help to deter parents like this from harming their child.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      First off, I’m not a journalist. I’m a blogger, and I think that is very, very clear. As such, I’m not subject to “journalistic integrity.”

      Secondly, despite the fact that I am not a journalist, I have enough “journalistic integrity” to disclose up front that I know David and to make it clear that the acquaintance — and my own experiences — colored my perceptions of the case — and NOT, as you said, after “going on and on about how nice the family is.”

      Thirdly, if you think I said anything about wishing I had a husband like David, then your reading comprehension needs work. For all you know from this piece, I am gay and have exactly zero interest in any sort of man as a husband. Given your poor reading comprehension so far, it would probably be worth your while to reread everything having to do with the case because it’s clear that your own biases are getting in the way.

      I was indeed “on his side” before knowing all the facts of the case. I will not apologize for that, nor do I think it’s a bad thing. You can’t know this about me, but I am a very good judge of character. Can I be wrong about someone? Certainly, but it doesn’t happen often. And the older I get, the more I trust my instincts.

      Neither David nor Collett “ignored” Ezekiel’s “worsening condition,” willfully or otherwise. Collett was very attentive to Ezekiel’s condition, and he was seen by an emergency room nurse twice, including THE DAY BEFORE HE DIED. Do you honestly think that an emergency room nurse would ignore an obviously dangerously ill child? That defies logic. It also defies logic that they would consult an ER nurse and ignore what she had to say. The only logical conclusion is that Ezekiel was not obviously very ill, in which case the parents weren’t negligent at all, merely unlucky. My own son was sick for more than two weeks after I wrote this. My son was considerably sicker than Ezekiel for much of the time he was ill. He had a fever, spiking briefly up to 104.5, for a week, aches and pains, and finally a nasty cough. When we thought he was finally well enough to go to school after his fever had dropped for three days, he too relapsed, coming home with a 102 fever again. Know what the doctor’s office said both times we went? “There isn’t anything we can do. Adenovirus is everywhere. It just needs to take its course.” I was told to come back if the fever spiked AGAIN or the pattern didn’t get better, otherwise it was unlikely that antibiotics were a wise course. The situation just crystallized further for me how absurd this prosecution and the many assumptions people are making are.

      So far, you have clearly been lucky enough to be “cocky in” your mainstream medicine. I’m delighted for you, but many, many others have not. As needs to be repeated frequently, medical errors are now considered the third leading cause of death in this country, and one-fourth of all Canadians have been affected by medical errors. Your biases are at least as evident as mine and are only pointed up by your use of the words “placebo remedies.” Just because they are not your remedies of choice doesn’t make them placebos. In fact, the things you call “placebos” are often the basis for pharmaceutical drugs.

      I, too, hope that this case turns out to be “a lesson for future/current parents that believe they know something others don’t” — like you.

    • Antonina says:

      Matt, it’s clear you only read mass media twisted and dirty propaganda. If you had an open mind and ability/desire to comprehend what actually happened you wouldn’t be making false statements about what took place with such conviction. Your opinions are cheap regurgitation of mussinfirmation already abundantly spread. Congratulations on swallowing garbage and spreading hatered, you got an A. I would be embarrassed however.

  3. lynda says:

    Exactly zero REASONABLE parents are afraid “to look after their kids” because of this case.

    And before you jump on the “oh you don’t get it” bandwagon, I didn’t vaccinate my children, and in the majority of circumstances, I believe we are wildly over-medicated as a society. There are instances where medical intervention is not only prudent to explore, but is imperative to saving lives.

    When my daughter became ill, we tried ever thing we could think of. On the fifth day, she seemed to be improving. On the 7th day, she rapidly worsened. WE DID NOT WAIT. She was quickly diagnosed with leukemia. We were not vilified nor treated any differently because we did not vaccinate; though many doctors did not understand, they were respectful. My daughter would not be alive without medical intervention. To wait that long in a deteriorating situation was foolish and bullheaded. It did not happen that this boy instantaneously worsened.

    He should have been taken to the hospital when he couldn’t get into the car seat.

    A reasonable person would have realized this. No amount of echinacea was going to fix that. The parents are not stupid people as I have gathered from the sheer amount of support, but they were willfully ignorant of what the boy needed, deliberatly shunnong docotrs in an atrempt to prove the establishment wrong, and that is what made their choices unreasonable . It is that willful ignorance that landed them in court. Not anti vaxxing, not ties to a supplement company, only failing to make a reasonable choice to save their child’s life, and to make that choice BEFORE he stopped breathing.

    They are not matyrs. We are all free to make choices in life, but we are not free to live without consequences when we conciously make poor choices, especially those choices that cost someone else their life. I understand that there is a possibility my children could contract a disease and that they will suffer one of the rare effects that could make them severely ill. However, I believe the risks of the vaccine FAR outweigh the risks of the illness and the rarity of the body not to be blessed to cope. I am not afraid that I will go to jail for not vaccinating. I would be worried if I failed, over a period of many days, to seek medical attention for for a deteriorating person. That would be true whether they were vaccinated or not.

    I do not absolve the hospital for failing to provide proper equipment, especially since it was so late and past the point of emergency for the poor child, he was critically in need of every bit of intervention available. But I do expect the parents to shoulder the part of the blame that is squarely on their shoulders.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I’m sorry, Lynda, but you don’t have the facts. You have what the media wishes you to believe.

      You said they should have taken him to the hospital “when he couldn’t get in the car seat,” but he COULD get in the car seat, he was just uncomfortable in it as one might be if one had the flu. The media has made it seem like the “stiffness” that the Stephans were talking about meant that he was stiff as a board. Simply not the case. The Stephans are not stupid human beings, nor are they opposed to emergency medical care. They meant “stiff” in the sense of “achey” — like when you’re a little “stiff” after a good workout, or you’ve got the flu. If everyone who ever gets achey needs to go the hospital, the medical system would be even more overwhelmed than it is already. As the ER nurse who saw Zeke the day before he died said, with his lack of symptoms, an ER would probably just send them home. SHE didn’t see this dramatic worsening that supposedly happened, nor did Zeke’s grandfather, who was so concerned about the health of his own children that he started a supplement company to treat them! If they didn’t see it, and his extremely attentive mother didn’t see it, it is not “reasonable” to assume that anyone else would have seen it either.

      One of the reasons that people believe it MUST have been true is because the medical examiner claimed that the lung empyema meant that Zeke had pneumonia for a long time and had to have been worsening. However, the x-ray that was missing from discovery makes it clear that the lung empyema did not even EXIST until AFTER the eight and a half minutes in the ambulance, by which time he was supposedly brain dead. This means that the ME’s version of events CANNOT be true. If he was brain dead by the time he got to the ambulance it certainly wasn’t due to the lung empyema — which DIDN’T EXIST AT THAT TIME (making it far less likely that was possible). If he wasn’t, then the eight and a half minutes without oxygen were CRUCIAL.

      Sometimes shit just happens, as I well know, and that can happen to anyone, even people who rush their children to the hospital.

    • Grace says:

      Now there’s a double standard for you! Lynda can take the chance that her child will be harmed by injecting substances into its little body to suit herself, but those loving parents could not take the chance to try to look after their child the best they could given that medical treatment is now the leading cause of death and disability in North America and for many, it’s the last place you want to seek help if you are sick! I am willing to bet anything that this pontificator has no idea what is in any of the vaccines she forces on her child–yes, forces! Meanwhile she is so superior a human that she can take a chance with her child’s life while judging other parents.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Grace, you didn’t read her comment well. She does NOT vaccinate. And, as David Stephan himself says, mainstream medicine IS the place you want to go for an emergency. That is what it does well. What it doesn’t do well is healing.

      • Grace says:

        Professor and Lynda…yes, I re-read it some more and agree, I misread. My apologies. However, just can’t agree that taking your children to emergency is necessarily going to put you into the safe lane automatically. Conventional emergency medicine in Canada is better than most in the world, however in too many cases, emergency staff do not recognize catastrophic situations and either just send people home or treat them for the wrong issue. The problem in my view is that reporting of adverse reactions to treatment is voluntary, not mandatory. Also, unless it were mandatory reporting to independent agencies, pharma would continue to change wording and categories of adverse reactions to suit their needs. Death and attempted suicide, for example, that are a direct result of psychiatric drug treatment is never reported as such. In fact, there is no separate category for death by psychiatric drug in a coroner’s list of reasons for death, yet such deaths are epidemic now especially among veterans and children. Many psychiatric drugs come with black box warnings for increased risk of suicide and homicide, yet the stats are buried by the medical-pharma cartel.

        It is really too bad that these parents could not appeal. I don’t understand why a top lawyer out there does not step up to the plate on this one and do it pro bono. The punishment does not remotely fit the crime…the sentence was payback for granddad having crossed the ‘system’ a long time ago.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        They can appeal, but while the appeal would be happening, David will be in prison.

        It’s interesting that you mentioned death from psychiatric drugs. David Stephan’s own mother took her own life two weeks after starting Prozac.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        And agree with regard to emergency medicine. It CAN be life-saving, but it is also a source of many, many medical errors.

    • Antonina says:

      Lynda your comments would make sense if you solely rely on media distortions of what happened. If you knew the parents and what happened based on the facts they shared you would not be saying this.

  4. Layne says:

    Couldn’t find a place to email you and found here. My daughter, never speaking in the backseat did one day. Others hearing and seeing this have appreciated the hope. Feel free to share as you think.

  5. What I personally have always resented is how medical-model advocates, with a track record that would have forced any other industry out of business 50 years ago, is referred to as ‘a necessity of life’ and anyone who does not care to take a chance with the most dangerous medical system in the world ‘is failing to provide the necessities of life’.

    It is not ‘failing to provide the necessities of life’ to avoid exposing one’s child to today’s medical doctors who have a pill for everything and couch every prescription with ‘here try this’. And that’s without even considering the kickbacks from Big Pharma for prescribing deadly drugs.

  6. Tracy says:

    I’m concerned with biased and skewed statistics and statements like saying it’s likely doctors will make grievous errors. It makes it harder to believe anything said in the article. I can tell you that all 3 of my children would not be alive today if it wasn’t for doctors and medicine, but I’m not going to say “Doctors save children 100% of the time.” I TRULY want to be educated on this topic, but I can’t trust a source that is so loose with facts and data interpretation.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      “Biased and skewed statistics”? You mean like the ones I quoted DIRECTLY from mainstream articles on the subject? There is no bias or skewing happening. Those are (for the most part) mainstream outlets saying that, “Yeah, medical errors are EXTREMELY COMMON.” Seriously, medication errors in HALF of all surgical procedures in a hospital KNOWN to be among the better hospitals when it comes to patient safety? That doesn’t tell you that the likelihood that doctors will make grievous errors is pretty damned high? Again, I say that YES, doctors often do life-saving work — like with your children, but that doesn’t negate that there is a high probability of medical errors. So far your experience with modern medicine has been mostly favorable. Unfortunately, many people cannot say the same. As a matter of fact, another mainstream source says that one-fourth of all Canadians have been affected by medical errors. http://www.cmaj.ca/content/171/2/123.2.full That is, of course, errors reported by the patients, meaning that the patients know about them. How frequently do you think errors happen that the patient DOESN’T know about?

      You may not LIKE the facts (frankly, neither do I), but that doesn’t mean I’m “loose” with them.

      • Few people know that there is no mandatory reporting of adverse effects of medical treatment…it is strictly voluntary. Now, what other industry do you know of that can harm others and it is not reported. But based on the voluntary numbers reported, medical treatment is about the most dangerous thing you can undergo.

    • leslie moore says:

      I am glad you trust the medical profession, but keep in mind that medical error is the third leading cause of death after cancer and heart disease.
      The point is, Doctors are humans and makes mistakes, no one expects them to be perfect. We also cant expect parents to be perfect, this family loved and offered the best care they could for this child.
      My heart goes out to this family who have been obviously used as pawns to be vilified. They do NOT deserve this harsh treatment. This sets a dangerous precident for all parents – tow the line or you will suffer.

      • A really dangerous precedent is when a so-called expert is permitted to spew falsified findings and make up ‘stories’ in a court of law…especially where a person’s liberty is on the line. We are all in deep trouble if that is what they rely on as a Medical Examiner…but then again, maybe it wasn’t incompetence at all. Just maybe it was an effort to eliminate natural treatments from the continent. Naw…couldn’t be, could it?

    • Antonina says:

      Doctors errors are officially the third leading cause of death… And this is only what’s admitted by the industry.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Technically, that’s the United States, but Canadian studies have revealed that one-quarter of all Canadians have been the victim of significant medical errors.

  7. Ian says:

    The ‘strange’ disease was meningitis and if they had got the kid vaccinated the little fella would still be alive.
    You need to be allowed to assert your freedom over your body but when you are a parent it is not your body it is the child’s body, of which, you are guardian until that child becomes an adult, it’s almost like a lease, you look after it but ultimately it belongs to the kid. Once the kid is an adult by all means undertake as many or as few medical procedures/interventions as you like, but if you knowingly deny a child a perfectly good vaccine and then ignore the advice of medical professionals to take the kid to a hospital then you are culpable for that child’s death and should be punished in accordance with the law.
    I can’t imagine the loss the parents feel but they haven’t even admitted any fault on their part, they are looking to blame paramedics and other medics, which if they fell short once the kid finally arrived at the hospital they should be investigated and punished if negligent, but that wee boy was let down by the people he should have been able to trust the most, his parents.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Ian, thank you for your input.

      “Meningitis,” especially viral meningitis (which would not be affected in any beneficial way by a vaccine), is not nearly as straightforward as you believe. Whether or not you choose to acknowledge it, there is NO guarantee that getting a vaccine or getting to a hospital earlier would have saved Ezekiel. Parents of children who did everything “right” according to the mainstream medical model can frequently attest to that fact. The only way to determine whether a choice was “correct” or not is to analyze the outcome. Clearly, that is not possible when actually making the decision. Your decision can be based upon the acknowledged “odds” (not necessarily correctly presented), medical advice, your past experiences, your intuition for the current situation, or your fears. All of those things are likely to influence a parent’s decision, and unfortunately NONE of them come with guaranteed outcomes. There are parents who followed each line of decision-making who have lived to regret it.

      Your description of the vaccine as a “perfectly good vaccine” makes all sorts of assumptions that are by no means demonstrated or proven. Heather Fraser has made a particularly strong case that the Hib vaccine is likely to be a strong factor in the fact that more than 1% of the child population has life-threatening peanut allergies in her book The Peanut Allergy Epidemic http://www.amazon.com/Peanut-Allergy-Epidemic-Whats-Causing/dp/1616082739. I know a number of parents of peanut-allergic children whose lives are daily at risk who would give everything they had to TAKE BACK that vaccination for their children. In their case, they believe (with a good deal of evidence to back it up) that they made the WRONG decision when choosing that “perfectly good vaccine.” Does that mean they are correct? There is no way to know for sure because it is possible that at least one of them have a child who would have had bacterial meningitis (and possibly died as a result) if they had not had the vaccine. In other words, NONE of these issues are straightforward, and parents will make decisions that are colored by their own experiences (like the one-fourth of Canadians affected by medical errors mentioned in another comment). We cannot legislate particular courses of action assuming that OUR OWN experiences of medical treatment as benign are universal. Plain and simply, they are not.

      The parents have not looked to “blame paramedics.” If they had, they would have sued them sometime in the past four years. Dr. Sauvageau, on the other hand, the former CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER, has blamed “medical misadventure,” which does not in any way implicate the paramedics but rather the bureaucrats who supplied the ambulance. And this “blame” doesn’t even necessarily imply that there was any negligence on their part.

      • Ian says:

        Hello ProfTMR,
        I absolutely agree, earlier medical intervention would not have guaranteed the survival of the boy nor would the vaccination, as anybody knows there are no such guarantees in life. However, his chances of survival would have been monumentally improved if he had and the fact that this change in behaviour could have saved the boy yet the parents insist they did everything they could (when clearly they haven’t) strikes me as the parents not acknowledging their mistake and therefore the courts and jury had to find them guilty.

        As with the guarantee on medical intervention there is no guarantee that the vaccine would save his life either but it would have improved his chances greatly, just speak to the millions of kids that won’t die like this child because they have the vaccination. I guess the small fallibility of a vaccine is kind of similar to the gamble the Stephans took, there is no guarantee that the vaccine won’t have a side effect and cause harm to you so rather than take a chance on the side effect (an assessed risk) they take the gamble on not vaccinating, then the kid dies of that very disease. If it was me I would be unfathomably annoyed with myself for having not vaccinated the child.

        They are blaming anybody they can, the justice system for holding a grudge form the 2006 case, the medical system for being corrupt and they did not blame the paramedics, I apologise for that, they tried to lay blame with the ambulance dispatcher, my mistake.

        It seems like a lot of the anti vaccination supporters are jumping on this case like a bit of band wagon, which is good when people rally together and support one and other, but when you are forcing a message that says “don;t trust medicine we have a better understanding of our bodies,” that is divisive and forces people to pick between medically trained professionals and, more often than not, some sort of religious based natural remedy, although not all incorporate a religion admittedly. It would seem that the medical industry needs to be kept in check so I do see a worth in arguments like this but you’ve got to focus on the right elements, and the fact that negligent parents should be allowed to let their child die and then just go home is not a good message to try and spread to justify your own cause.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Again, the parents aren’t “blaming” anyone. The MEDICAL EXAMINER is the one who said it was “medical misadventure,” which by the way has nothing to do with the ambulance dispatcher.

        And, again, you are making MONUMENTAL assumptions that are not supported by the evidence. WHY do you make those assumptions? I think it’s likely that you’re making them because you wish to believe that as a parent you are in control of your children’s lives. According to the former Chief Medical Examiner who was fired because she refused to lie, there was NO EVIDENCE of bacterial meningitis, no reliable evidence of the presence of even a small amount of haemophilus influenzae, and zero evidence that IF there was haemophilus influenzae that it was type B. THREE conditions for which there is no evidence would have to be true for even the possibility, much less probability, that the vaccine would have saved Ezekiel’s life. Just because you would be “unfathomably annoyed” with yourself on the basis of no evidence doesn’t mean that is a rational response.

        There is also no real evidence that earlier medical intervention would have prevented his death. It may have, but the timing of intervention and quality of intervention are as much a question of luck as anything else. He was unlucky in the ambulance. He could as easily have been unlucky in an emergency room, as the study showing that one-quarter of all Canadians are affected by medical errors indicates.

        And, for the record, four years after the fact, you have no idea what the parents’ process was. The fact that they are not flagellating themselves publicly before people who are so quick to judge says absolutely nothing about what they have gone through in the past.

        And I’m sorry but you are COMPLETELY misrepresenting our position. First of all, we don’t “force” ANYTHING. That’s the point. We believe in the freedom to CHOOSE the healthcare that works best for you and your family, no matter how much or how little you rely on mainstream medicine. You assume that WE are divisive because we advise people to THINK and RESEARCH the medical interventions that they or their children are undergoing. That is ridiculous. Why should that be “divisive”? It’s simply common sense. The divisive position is the one that says “You have to be 100% on board with everything we say you should be doing or we will do everything we can to make your lives miserable.” The divisive position is the one that says, “You are only allowed to make the kinds of mistakes WE in the medical theology hierarchy approve of.”

    • How much were you paid Ian, to write that drivel? You didn’t even bother to read the entire piece, or the reports of an ethical doctor… Those parents are blaming no one and they did nothing wrong at all. The medical system we have is exactly like that the Nazis set up.

      In fact, more than one researcher has shown that but for the pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatrists, there would have been no WWII and no holocaust.

      Why do you think we are never taught the facts in school about how atrocities like the holocaust start? So that people like you can go on and on defending the indefensible.

      Why don’t you tell us how it is the medical examiner could be so wrong on so many counts? Incompetence or moral and ethical deficiency?

      • Ian says:

        Hello Grace,
        I am not being paid and I did read the entire article as well as follow the court case and the various evidences, I’ve even watched the video about the x-rays.
        The parents are blaming others, they are blaming the Canadian Justice and Health administrations for being corrupt and holding a grudge regarding the 2006 lawsuit against Truehope. They are blaming ill-equipped ambulances and they are blaming corrupt, evidence altering doctors, presumably the nurses and health support workers are complicit.
        I cannot speak of your alleged causation of the second world war, however, the education I have received has lay blame at the feet of the rise of the Nationalist Socialist movement from the devastating aftermath of the first world war, I’m unsure what you think I’m defending beyond the verdict in this specific court case.
        2 doctors have different opinions on a medical diagnosis, I’m not qualified to wade into that argument but this moves to the treatment the child received after he was finally taken to a hospital. Remember the case was not about the hospital, the case was about whether or not the Stephans should have taken the child to hospital sooner for real medical attention. Like I said in my original post, if the medical provisions where insufficient then there should be an investigation and anyone found to be at fault prosecuted in the exact same way as the Stephan’s have been. There are two cases to answer here, the negligence of the parents to get the kid to proper medical treatment and the alleged negligence and fundamental lack of equipment from the paramedics.

    • Antonina says:

      Most meningitis deaths are among fully vaccinated. Learn your stats.

  8. Maureen Moss says:

    I couldn’t help but take note of the fact that the ambulance was ill-equipped and did not have the necessary oxygen for the child. This did not appear to be even mentioned during the trial, whereas this article indicated that had the ambulance had the oxygen it could have made a difference in prolonging the life of the child. Personally I think that this couple was railroaded by the crown because they preferred alternative procedures to governmental strategies. I certainly do NOT think these parents need to be jailed! Haven’t they suffered enough with the loss of their child? And what happens to their other children? I suppose they will be taken in by the government too?? That’s all they need! NOT!

  9. Don Cuthbert says:

    The Public Health Agency of Canada has stated, “Unlike some countries, immunization is not mandatory in Canada; it cannot be made mandatory because of the Canadian Constitution.” They go on to say that “legislation and regulations must not be interpreted to imply compulsory immunization.”


  10. Heda says:

    If a hospital covers up a case of misdiagnosed Meningitis in the medical system then they are not held accountable due to their ability to cover up and conceal it.
    This happen to me.


    Even when people do go to the hospital as I did you cannot trust the Dr’s working are capable of doing their jobs properly.

  11. Carol Labelle says:

    A very well done article and highlighting of the very important issues surrounding the wrongful charges laid against the Stephan family. This court case indeed has implications for every Canadian family.
    Supporting the points raised in this article, I will bring up the exchange that occurred between an ER doctor in Lethbridge, and a friend of mine with breast cancer who chose first to access out of country care which was combination alternative and mainstream
    cancer treatment options. She was told by the doctor here, that as the cancer progressed, she would inevitably come crawling in begging for pain medication. When that happened they would forcibly admit her into the Psychiatric Ward, and force her into cancer treatment. That they would even threaten.to do this to a mentally competent adult is terrifying.
    I find it baffling that the slogan of “my body, my choice” is socially acceptable by many Canadians, as it applies to abortion, but not in how you approach your health and treatment options for disease. We can chose to die, but not how to live. The premise is that there is only ONE right way.
    As well, by refusing all options recommended by the medical community, my friend was refused important tests that she had every right to access, and important markers to access were not even established until a naturopath stepped in and demanded the GP provide this very basic cancer care.
    It was an “all or nothing” attitude. It seems wrong to me that a person not be able to be informed and navigate care options as they see fit. This same principle applies to vaccines. Where these become mandatory by law, we will see an ever increasing move towards mandating other aspects of health care. It is far more than about one issue. It is about the dividing line between personal freedoms and government forced adjendas.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I resonate so strongly with the “my body my choice” and “all or nothing attitude.” What exactly is WRONG with consciously CHOOSING the level of medical treatment you wish to access? Why are only the heavily medicated socially acceptable among us? And where did we go so terribly wrong on this?

      • Professor: what wrong? From the medical/pharma cartel point of view, what’s wrong with letting us make our own decisions is that they can’t make big profits…follow the money.

    • Cat says:

      Psych wards are where medical malpractice victims can end up IMO. Anyone going into an ER with a brain disease that is misdiagnosed in the ER in my opinion is especially at risk. Psychosis from illness can be deemed as a mental issue. You can be kept and treated medically in a psych ward while the real problem( misdiagnosis) is covered up. All they have to do is bring over doctors from a hospital to treat you medically. The IV antibiotic treatment they failed to give in the ER they can give it to you in the psych ward. You can also get round the clock nursing care.
      Then psychiatrists can write up the records to hide the fact you have been in their facility bed bound hooked up to an IV and catherter for weeks. They can also do ECT treatments against your written consent. In my opinion this is done to disable any memory you are starting to regain about what happen in the ER(misdiagnosis)

      Below are two links. A woman had a stroke and was put into a psych ward and a woman with Meningitis was deemed crazy and on drugs when she was brought to the ER.


      No surprised they threaten your friend..

  12. Edda West says:

    Dear Professor,

    Edda West here at Vaccine Choice Canada. Love your powerful article. I’m just making article selections for our spring/summer newsletter and would greatly appreciate permission to reprint your article and also to post it on our website.

    I’ve been involved in the vaccine issue since 1977 when my youngest daughter suffered a severe reaction to MMR vaccine. I was also involved in forming the first Canadian group which fought against mandatory vaccine legislation in Ontario in 1982. We subsequently won the right of parents to legally file philosophical exemptions for their school age children in Ontario in 1984. The personal belief exemption still stands even though public health officials do everything in their power to deny this right to parents and students. Currently Ontario is planning to impose mandatory vaccine “education sessions” on parents choosing to exempt their children – same game plan as happened in California last year – something we are opposing vigorously.

    One thing I want to point out is a small inaccuracy in this sentence where you write, “As Canadian citizens, that is completely within their rights; due to a clause in the Canadian Constitution, vaccines cannot be mandated”. Please note there is no specific clause in our Constitution or the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms that addresses vaccination or that states vaccines cannot be mandated.

    What we have is a Constitutional guarantee of “freedom of conscience and religion”. Based on these two freedoms people have the right to make personal decisions based on conscience or religion. It is these two freedoms that stand between mandatory vaccination and parents’ right to refuse.

    In a separate email to you, I’ve also attached our previous print newsletter to give you an idea of the quality of our publication. Thank you so much for considering the request to reprint your article. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes,

    Edda West, President,
    Vaccine Choice Canada
    [email protected]

  13. Jillian Skeet says:

    I am sending out an Open Letter to Federal Minister of Health today regarding the Stephans and the state of our ‘medical’ system. It has images that make it awkward to post online. Can you please send me an email address that I can send it to?

  14. Antonina says:

    Fantastically written article, great subject/case awareness and detail.

    As always, thank you for taking your time to cover these unfortunate events, and injustice done to one of the most beautiful, conscious and caring family. David speaks highly of TMR Team and your amazing work.

  15. Nick says:

    Awesome, article! Thank you, Professor. So many implications in this crushing story, not just for the family, but for society at large.
    And thanks for the “first, do no harm” link. I had always assumed that this WAS the Hippocratic oath, but now I see it’s not so simple. You would hope that even with traditional medicine, risks will always be weighed against the benefits.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      We have this idea that doctors take an oath above all not to harm their patients, but that is untrue. That is actually a much more conservative position than doctors tend to take. I believe that all of us, and doctors particularly, have a cultural bias toward intervention and action — any action — over inaction, even though in many cases judicious periods of inaction would bring about a preferred outcome. In this regard, I believe we are often our own worst enemies.

  16. Suzanne Burrall says:

    This is an excellent expose. There are many factors described, the first being David’s father winning a lawsuit regarding his alternative, natural supplement for Bipolar Disorder. I suspect that’s where the train wreck began with a desire for revenge and need to validate themselves. Of course, as with the U.S., the global pharmaceutical monopoly and congressional control aids and abets all attempts to smear the alternative health industry and personal choices. (Ty Bollinger’s The Truth About Cancer digs into the history of how the pharmaceutical companies gained so much power.) And the amount of power multinational pharmaceuticals have comes across with the mysterious deaths and disappearance of at least 12 Holistic doctors recently.

    “I don’t think this is about meningitis, or medical misadventures or keeping kids safe. What the Stephan family experienced wasn’t a court case where truth was the goal; it was a railroad train with a carefully engineered legal outcome. I think this misuse of power was choreographed from start to finish by Pharmaceutical Multi-National Corporations to circumvent the law of Informed Consent in Canada.”

    Thank you for writing and presenting such a comprehensive piece.

  17. Amy burkett says:

    I have been following this story and I appreciate this article. It’s all terrifying. My question is- what can we do? How can we help? I know this is a wide spread issue and these are loaded questions. It’s all complicated and murky, in terms of basic human rights becoming a term of the past. I believe this case is very important and needs support. How can I support this family right now? Words of encouragement, money, (not that I have much but could send a little) ? Is there a group forming that I can support?
    This is family has endured the unthinkable and now must deal with court sentencing? I used to work in social services, I witnessed incredible neglect and abuse, most of which fell short of “needed evidence” to pull the kids from the home. Not that I stand in a place of believing in pulling kids from most homes, due to the decrepit state of the systems resources and current programs. But its apauling to me that a loving, responsible family faces jail time for using alternative medicine, while children currently live in abuse and neglectful environments, with no judgement brought to the parents. It shows the agenda of our time and we must come together. This will most likely, in my opinion end up in a revolutionary situation. As people will only put up with so many poisons being forced upon us and our children. As I work hard to educate people on my world, what can I do for this family now?
    Any ideas are greatly appreciated. It all hits close to home. And should hit close for all parents who consciously understand- no matter what you believe is best, we all make choices for our children based on the information we have. We must respect one another’s choices. Period. Disease exists on earth, none of us want it, but it is. The powers at be intend to cover the masses with a warm, cozy blanket of fear. Hoping all citizens go to sleep (or stay asleep) as they are told to. If every human who refuses to sleep gathers together at one corner of the blanket and begins to roll the blanket off, we have change. it’s time now. Time to take action. I realized a couple years ago, I never planned on this, but I must raise my children to be conscious, loving soldiers who are solid in their beliefs and armed to fight against agenda of money and power. We must unite!

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      The family can receive donations at this site: https://stand4truth.ca/. They had a gofundme page that was revoked because they were supposedly violating the terms of use. Nope.

      I understand the feeling of needing to fight, but I think our greatest asset in any attempt to change the status quo is our focus on DIFFERENT values. If we are truly focused on love and compassion because we feel it is better for us and our children to live in a world ruled by those ideals rather than fear and greed, we will draw people to us and bring about the change we wish to see.

  18. Nelda McEwen says:

    This is an excellent and honest overview. I too look at this and think, this could be be.

    I’m just not sure what parents in Canada are supposed to glean from this story? These parents may have misjudged. But the medical care misjudged in this instance too. This legal judgement really opens up a can of worms. If the (Canadian Federal) Crown wanted a way to over-reach into our personal and intimate lives, this finding might do it.

    In Canada our government may not be able to mandate medical treatments but this legal precedent really puts parents in a place. Parents can be charged for a criminal act even if it is clear that other factors were involved outside of parental control.

    I don’t think this is about meningitis, or medical misadventures or keeping kids safe. What the Stephan family experienced wasn’t a court case where truth was the goal; it was a railroad train with a carefully engineered legal outcome. I think this misuse of power was choreographed from start to finish by Pharmaceutical Multi-National Corporations to circumvent the law of Informed Consent in Canada.

    The issue is when simply put: Parents in Canada are on notice now; that you are liable any time you time you nurse your own children at home; use anything other than Tylenol; fail to rush to the emergency rooms with the least sniffle, fever or cough?

    What is the real agenda here? While the kid beating, junk food feeding pharma-numb parents are safe at home watching TV, these parents who care are having their lives destroyed in the public domain. They have other children who will suffer too.

    For once, I am really feeling ashamed to be a Canadian. I thought we were better than this. The only thing that makes sense to me is, that this whole circus is a ploy to make parents terrified to look after their kids, and warn parents that if they don’t follow the drug road they will be criminally liable. They want our kids and to do so, they have to get us parents out of the way.

    In the US it is just the same, just working the legal paths differently. Our kids are a huge natural resource, perhaps one of the real last big money makers. “There is gold in those there veins” and they want it. I am happy to see that this case motivated the powers that be to stock ambulances with the proper equipment for children. No jail term threatened there though. Never mind, there are parents to blame; and isn’t that the point of it all.

    How do you Gaslight a Nation?

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