A Child Died of Meningitis After His Anti-Vax Parents Treated Him with Maple Syrup and Garlic

In March of 2012, 19-month-old Ezekiel Stephan died of meningitis — a disease involving the inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain and spinal cord. Very serious problem. The condition can sometimes be treated with antibiotics or antiviral drugs, but even then, it’s a longshot for full recovery.

What’s appalling is what his parents did as he was suffering.

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David Stephan and wife Collet Stephan, who live in Alberta, Canada, gave their son a series of home remedies:

In a bid to boost his immune system, the couple gave the boy — who was lethargic and becoming stiff — various home remedies, such as water with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root as his condition deteriorated.

Court heard the couple on tape explaining to the police officer that they prefer naturopathic remedies because of their family’s negative experiences with the medical system.

The Stephans run a nutritional supplements company called Truehope Nutritional Support Inc. out of Raymond, Alta.

The Stephans didn’t give their son the vaccine that normally helps prevent meningitis.

Normally, when we hear stories like this, of children whose parents neglect to take them to a doctor when they’re clearly in need of help, it’s because the parents belong to some religious sect that forbids outside medical help.

I’ve never heard of parents who let their child die because they thought maple syrup would cure his debilitating disease.

The Stephans explained their all-bullshit approach to medicine to a jury on Monday. If found guilty, they could go to jail for up to five years in addition to losing custody of their other children. (Yep. They have others. Let’s hope they’re healthy.)

In the meantime, David (the father) is e-begging for support while complaining that everyone’s persecuting them in a bizarre, rambling, God-referencing Facebook post:

To the group that has actively and maliciously attacked Collet and I… We Forgive You! Not only do we forgive you, but we Love you. We Love you as Divine Creations of our Father. And as hard as it has been to come to this conclusion, we thank you! Albeit, we do not like the hardship you have put us in, we are grateful for the role that you have played in our progression. May God bless you with an abundance of Love as he has blessed us. May any bitterness that has place within your soul be far removed from you.

They’re not getting much sympathy in the comments.

Incidentally, the Stephans own a company that sells a supplement called “Empowerplus,” that purports to cure bipolar disorder. So it’s not enough that they’ll let their own children die. They want to spread false hope and hurt other people, too.

These people are despicable no matter their intentions.

(Image via Facebook)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.