Mother stands trial after 7-year-old son dies from strep infection she treated with dandelion tea
A Calgary mother is accused of criminal negligence after her son died from a bacterial infection that she attempted to treat with holistic remedies instead of medicine.
Tamara Lovett is standing trial in an Alberta courtroom in the March 2013 death of her 7-year-old son, Ryan Alexander Lovett, from a streptococcus infection that caused widespread organ failure and kept him bedridden for 10 days, reported The Canadian Press.
His mother attempted to treat the boy with dandelion tea and oil of oregano before finally calling 911 after the child went into convulsions.
Ryan was pronounced dead shortly afterward at a hospital.
“Every organ in the body was starting to fail,” testified Dr. Elizabeth Brooks-Lim at Lovett’s trial. “The major organs all showed signs of an infection of the blood … and, as a result of this infection, the organs that normally produce the immune response of the body appeared exhausted from having to counter an infection.”
The doctor testified that Ryan’s organs showed signs of decomposition, which suggested his condition worsened over a period of days.
Brooks-Lim admitted that the child’s symptoms might initially have appeared to be a cold or flu to the average person, but she said the convulsions, slurred speech and other worsening symptoms should have suggested more serious illness.
Ryan was already dead when he arrived March 2, 2013, at Alberta Children’s Hospital, another doctor testified.
The 47-year-old Lovett told police that she believed her son was suffering from a cold or flu but seemed to be improving after she administered natural remedies instead of antibiotics.
But she admitted the boy complained of leg pain, couldn’t stand on his own and his eyes became dilated a couple of days before he collapsed and went into convulsions.
Lovett was charged with criminal negligence and failure to provide the necessities of life.
Ryan’s birth was not registered, and his mother said he was born with the assistance of a midwife and she had taken him to a naturopathic clinic for health treatments instead of a doctor.
The boy’s father, who had been estranged from Lovett since shortly after their son’s birth, said he learned Ryan had died through Facebook.
“Just by fluke I just happened to log in one day,” said Brian Jerome, the child’s father. “I probably hadn’t looked for a couple of months or something, and I see all these condolences on her feed — and I’m like, ‘What the hell is this?’”
Jerome, who had created a fake Facebook account to stay informed about his son, contacted a friend of Lovett’s to find out what had happened.
“(She said) you don’t know? And I’m like, ‘know what?’” Jerome recalled. “‘Oh, Ryan was sick and he died.’ This was over a week after it happened so I didn’t know anything. That just blew my mind apart and it’s been horrible ever since.”
An Alberta couple was convicted and sentenced earlier this year on similar charges after their toddler son died from bacterial meningitis that they tried to treat with holistic remedies such as maple syrup and olive leaf extract.
David Stephan was sentenced to four months in jail, and his wife, Collett, was sentenced to three months of house arrest after they were found guilty of failing to provide the necessities of life.
Lovett’s attorneys began their defense Monday.