A husband and wife from the Raymond, Alberta area have been charged with ‘failing to provide the necessaries of life’ in connection to the death of their 19-month-old child.

On March 13, 2012, the child stopped breathing and was transported by EMS to Alberta Children’s Hospital.  After days of medical treatment, the infant was pronounced dead on March 18.

A police investigation into the child’s death has led officers to believe the child had been ill since February 2012.

29-year-old David Robert Stephan and 32-year-old Collet Dawn Stephan, the parents of the infant, will appear in Lethbridge Provincial Court on May 23, 2013.

The family released a statement on Wednesday saying:

In March of 2012 our 19-month-old son came down with a slight flu like illness. Like any other good parents, we attended to the matter and treated him accordingly to standard practices and recommendations like millions of parents do each year. Over a period of a number of days it appeared as though he was doing much better. Within 45 minutes of him passing, he quickly began to regress. Without warning, he stopped breathing. CPR and Artificial respiration were administered while at the same time 911 was called.

We live in a rural residence within 5 minutes of the nearest ambulance that could have been dispatched to us. Without being properly notified by 911 dispatch we took it upon ourselves to meet the dispatched ambulance half way on the highway. It took approx. 40 minutes from the initial 911 call before he was in the care of the attending EMTs. When EMT finally arrived, the ambulance was not equipped with the correct intubation equipment for our son who could not breathe on his own. The EMT that arrived on scene rushed our son to the nearest hospital where he was then airlifted to Calgary Children’s hospital. He remained on life support for another week after which he was removed from Life support.

It was later determined that our son did have a lung infection which then led   to meningitis. The EMT’s who attended have indicated to us that they have been frustrated for some time prior to this tragic event, because they have been after Alberta Health Services to no avail to properly equip their ambulances with the proper intubation equipment for small children, the same equipment needed that tragic night. 

Alberta Health Services Concerns:

  • 40 minute 911 response time (nearest available ambulance was located literally 5 minutes away)
  • Ambulance that arrived on scene did NOT have the required intubation equipment to save a child’s life.
  • 911 failed to contact the EMT dispatch located 5 minutes away in spite of that ambulance being readily available as confirmed by the attending EMTs.

Alberta Health Services also issued a brief statement saying:

This is a sad event, and our hearts go out to those involved.

Given that the parents have been charged by RCMP and this is an ongoing police and legal matter, it’s not appropriate for AHS to comment at this time.

The town of Raymond is located approximately 35 km south of Lethbridge.