March 20, 2016–Los Angeles, CA–Darren Kavinoky joined John Vause at CNN International live on air to discuss the case of couple David and Collet Stephan who are facing charges in Canada failing to provide their son the necessities of life after their son Ezekiel died of meningitis.
Ezekiel Stephan died from bacterial meningitis and empyema, according to reports and the parents are facing five years in prison for refusing to take their sick son to a doctor and treat him at home with homeopathic remedies instead.
Reports John Vause, “In Canada the parents of a 19 month old boy who died from bacterial meningitis and a lung infection are on trial. Prosecutors say Ezekiel Stephan’s parents repeatedly refused to take him to a doctor after he became sick in February 2012 choosing instead to give him home remedies. A few weeks later, the toddler stopped breathing, was rushed to hospital, where he soon died. David and Collet Stephan are charged with failing to provide their son the necessities of life.The case comes at a time anti-vaccine sentiment is rising. Ezekiel was not vaccinated.”
According to Darren Kavinoky, on CNNi lat night, “The failure to provide the necessities of life is essentially the failure to provide a reasonable medical care to a child and of course this really invites a discussion of the conflict between religious beliefs and religious freedoms versus your obligations when you’re caretaking somebody else. But this is a 19-month old child who doesn’t have a voice of his own when it comes to his own medical care. And so the nature of the charge is a much lesser charge than murder still subjects the parents to up to five years each in prison though. This is significant on many levels. …There are temporary orders that are requiring [their] other kids to be examined regularly by doctors.”
Vause asks, “When are the parents required to seek out conventional treatment for a sick kid? …When did they become guilty for not acting fast enough?”
Darren Kavinoky replies, “Well ultimately it turns on questions of reasonableness and here we need to look at the laws that are going to apply in different jurisdictions. There is definitely a trend towards providing a legal voice for these kids and most states now have a law that does require parents to act reasonably in order to seek out that medical care even if it does conflict with their personal religious beliefs. …Sadly this was a death that could have been alleviated by antibiotics.”
Adds Kavinoky, “We all have the right to make personal decisions. We have these freedoms to decide for ourselves. It’s where those decisions are in conflict with the rights of other people that we really get in to problems, or it invites problems. And here, while the parents may have been making personal choices based on religious views or otherwise, it’s where it starts to impact the health and well being of a child then we really have an issue. And sadly, even though authorities could come in and seek even temporary guardianship, often times it’s only after it is too late that that’s realized.”
For more on the story, and to watch Darren Kavinoky live on air discussing the story with John Vause please visit CNN:
John Vause on CNN http://www.twitter.com/vausecnn
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