Trial underway for Calgary mother accused in death of young son
The lawyer for a Calgary mother charged with negligence in the death of her seven-year-old son from a bacterial infection in 2013 entered a not guilty plea in court on Monday.
Tamara Lovett, 47, is charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life and criminal negligence in the death of her son Ryan three years ago.
The little boy contracted a strep infection while living with his mother at an apartment in the 900 block of 17th Avenue S.W. and his mother allegedly provided him with holistic remedies instead of seeking medical attention.
Ryan was transported to hospital by emergency crews who were called to the home after the boy suffered a seizure.
Prosecutor, Jonathan Hak, told the court in his opening statement that Ryan sustained multiple organ failure and that his immune system was exhausted.
Hak said that Ryan lived in ‘squalor in a dark, dirty, cluttered, subterranean apartment’ and that his birth was never registered so he had no birth certificate.
The Crown said that the boy had been sick for a few weeks and that a friend of the family offered to take him to the doctor the day before he died, but his mother refused.
Court also heard the 911 call that was placed by Tamara Lovett on the morning of March 2 saying that her son had a fever, was convulsing and not breathing.
EMS arrivedabout six minutes after the call was made and found the boy on the floor in a hallway. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
An autopsy was conducted on the boy and the cause of death was determined to be from overwhelming sepsis due to group A streptococcus and parainfluenza virus infections.
A paediatric specialist is expected to testify on Tuesday in the case and will talk about how the boy’s illness could have easily been taken care of with antibiotics and his death prevented if he had received medical care.
The boy was treated with dandelion tea and oil of oregano and health and ethics experts say the trial is likely to reignite the debate over the use of natural and alternative medicine.
"This is the third case where parents have been brought to trial in Alberta for failing to provide their children with medical treatment. In each case, each case was a boy, and in each case the boy died and the boy probably would have lived if he'd been able to see a doctor and so I think it will reignite the debate about whether parents have an obligation to see a physician," said Juliet Guichon, Assistant Professor, University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine.
The case is being heard by judge along and is scheduled for two weeks.