CALGARY, CANADA – Ryan Alexander Lovett, 7, died after suffering from a severe strep infection last March and his mother who only gave him homeopathic treatments is being charged with neglect.
Authorities accused mother Tamara Lovett of negligence due to treating his bacterial infection with homeopathic herbal remedies instead of taking him to a doctor. That decision directly lead to the child’s death, they claim.
“It was a belief system in homeopathic medicine that contributed to this death,” acting Staff Sgt. Mike Cavilla said. It should absolutely serve as a warning to other parents. The message is simple: if your child is sick, take them to the doctor.”
The single mother reportedly rejected conventional treatments in favor of holistic remedies. Police claimed that there was never any record of the child being brought in for regular checkups or treatments.
“We have no medical record of his entire life,” said Cavilla.
Family members are disputing the charges of negligence, claiming that Lovett was a very attentive mother. Grandfather of the child Donn Lovett said that the police are wrong to persecute her over her belief in holistic remedies. He said, “She devoted her life to that child. Ryan was beautiful, bright, happy and intelligent. I had seen Ryan the week before he got sick. I was supposed to pick him up on Monday and she said he had the flu. But then she sent a message he was looking good on Wednesday or Thursday and might be in school the next day.”
But Ryan would not return to school. He died in an emergency room from what the doctors called a flesh-eating disease. The family did not know that the mother was a suspect in her death and were shocked when the accusations came. Police reported that the woman’s friends were worried and instructed her to take the child to a real doctor. “According to people who saw the child prior to the death (he) looked very ill,” said Officer Cavilla.
Police reported that the woman called for help when the boy finally began convulsing in fits of seizures. Ryan died that night in the hospital with an autopsy confirmed a strep infection. Officers consulted medical experts and gained a warrant for her arrest. She will face charges of criminal negligence and failing to provide the necessities of life.
Canadian law makes it illegal for a parent or guardian to deny children food, shelter, medical care and the attention to sustain life and the protection from harm. “If you do not provide medical attention for your sick child, you will be held accountable,” said Officer Cavilla. “The legal requirement is that she get medical attention through traditional western medicine to deal with the illness. And in this case it was a bacterial infection that could have been easily treated with antibiotics such as penicillin.”
Homeopathic medicine has a long history, with its roots from Hippocrates and to Dr. Christian Hahnemann, a Saxon physician. Hahnemann believed that homeopathic medicines become more effective the more they are diluted. Homeopathic solutions are often so watered down that they don’t contain even one molecule of the original medicine or substance it came into contact with. Holistic cures do not work better than placebos, despite a thriving market for these “cures”. [contextly_sidebar id=”8154d026c2fb90d6695f27df58d9a254″]
Homeopathy has experienced a resurgence in modern times due to increasing disillusionment with modern medicine. Critics of “Big Pharma” often point to the profits that the modern medical industry receives as an incentive to force others to comply. However, those activists ignore the enormous profits from the anti-Big Pharma industry that also have major incentives to sell their remedies. “Big Homeopathy” is a $363 million a year business with a 7% annual growth rate and 3,988 businesses registered in the United States alone.
The legal questions have emerged in recent years due to increasing numbers of investigations and prosecutions for negligence when parents neglect medicine in favor of placebos. The question is if the mother willfully neglected her son due to her unwillingness to embrace the remedies that would have actually worked to save his life. Homeopathic remedies are absolutely ineffective. So did she kill him?
No, the disease did. But she was absolutely responsible for him not being able to recover. How liable should a parent be in the death of their child if they ignore the warnings of their neighbors and refuse to seek modern medicine? Modern legal theory is only now starting to set precedent with these sorts of cases.
Video of Ryan
(Photo Credit: Darren Cullen – spellingmistakescostlives.com)