Let’s talk: should these anti-vaccers go to jail over their son’s death? 62



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It’s every parents nightmare: losing a child far too young.

Unfortunately for David and Collet Stephan that’s exactly what happened to them when their 19-month-old son Ezekiel passed away suddenly from bacterial meningitis and empyema, two conditions routinely cured with antibiotics.

Ezekiel’s parents do not believe in vaccinations and instead tried to treat him with natural remedies like smoothies containing hot pepper, ginger root, horseradish, onion and apple cider vinegar.

They refused to take him to the doctor, even after a family fried who was a nurse warned them, and only took him to the emergency room when he started to have trouble breathing.

By then it was too late and Ezekiel passed away.

Ezekiel with his parents David and Collet Stephan. Photo: Facebook.
Ezekiel with his parents David and Collet Stephan. Photo: Facebook.

Now David and Collet are being charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life for their child and face up to five years in prison if they are convicted.

The toddler’s tragic death has raised questions of whether and when parents have a duty to take their children to the hospital, despite their personal or religious beliefs.

Ezekiel wasn’t old enough to speak for himself when he died. Nonetheless, he has become a mascot for the raging debate on vaccinations.

In his death, some see neglect and unfounded medical beliefs like natural therapies. In his parents’ trial, however, others see a witch hunt.

“Isn’t losing their child punishment enough?” one supporter asked.

“Children have a right to evidence-based medical care, not just prayer and useless folk remedies,” shot back a commenter.

The Stephans family on holiday. Photo: Facebook.
The Stephans family on holiday. Photo: Facebook.

By all accounts, David and Collet are excellent parents and care for their remaining child with the love and attention every child deserves.

There is no evidence to suggest they were anything but loving parents to Ezekiel too, which leads us to ask: should they face losing their remaining child and being put behind bars for choosing to treat Ezekiel with natural remedies?

Some say yes, they neglected to properly care for their sick child and should face the consequences over his death.

While others point out that if they are convicted it sets precedent for any case where a child dies while in their care of their parents.

David and Collet’s trial is expected to conclude next week.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Should parents face prison time if their child dies from not being vaccinated? Or, should parents be able to choose how their child is medically treated?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Yes they should have provided the care needed ..they are intelligent adults with the capacity to use reason therefore responsible for not getting the medical care that would have saved him

    1 REPLY
  2. Yes, at least one of them should go to gaol.

    They are reasoning, intelligent adults who obviously knew that their child was very ill, yet they refused him medical care – even when a trained nurse told them that they needed to get the child to hospital.

    That is criminal neglect.

    1 REPLY
    • I totally agree. Their other child should be taken from them too or at least have regular checks from child protection.

  3. They did take him for medical attention but unfortunately it was too late. They are probably not the first parents to make the decision to seek medical help too late and they will not be the last. Children can die from complications from the common cold. The question here is bordering on do we have free will to make decisions or not.

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    • For a toddler their natural remedies sound a lot worse that the vaccinations.

      “Ezekiel’s parents do not believe in vaccinations and instead tried to treat him with natural remedies like smoothies containing hot pepper, ginger root, horseradish, onion and apple cider vinegar.”

  4. They deliberately with held medical attention that a reasonable person acting reasonably would have provided. There is no question that they did it for anything but some private belief. They are old enough to decide for themselves to let themselves die but the community has to speak for the child. To suggest that they are suffering enough because their child died is treating the child like a chattel. The little baby lost its life because of a calculated decision by these two to allow it to die. The fact that they eventually resorted to mediine for help is damning evidence that they didn’t even belive in their God when it came to the crunch. What if their religion required them to pour boiuling water over ther child. Would that be OK with you?

  5. Free will to make a decision or not??????
    Some parents choose to offer their child’s body for hire so they can afford a chosen life style. Do they have that right?
    Sell your children and buy a 90 inch TV? Sounds fair to me.

    1 REPLY
    • I agree . There has to be legal confines on “a free will”. A free will to commit heinous crimes ???

  6. I think it depends if they’ve learnt from it. They have a remaining child..losing parents hurts that child more than anyone else
    I believe one of the conditions be that the other child be properly vaccinated so it doesn’t happen again.

  7. It’s about time that children’s vaccinations should be made compulsory unless there is a doctors opinion that certain vaccinations would be harmful to that particular child and supported with a second opinion with another doctor. We cannot rely on herd immunity, especially with a toddler. They simply don’t have enough contact with other children to get that sort of immunity. A jail term would not achieve anything except revenge. The parents need counselling and do x hrs community service, preferably in an appropriate ward in a childrens care facility.

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  8. I’d like to know if they intend to have their other child vaccinated. If not, then they have not learnt anything by the death of this child. Let’s stop all vaccinations and see if we don’t have an epidemic of measles, diphtheria, whooping cough and the many other diseases that have killed millions of children prior to the invention of vaccines! Some people just can’t see past their own noses and remain uneducated on the history of killer diseases.

  9. I’ve just read the ingredients in the smoothie that was given to the 19 month old. What the hell were these weirdos thinking? Hot pepper, ginger, horseradish, apple cider vinegar – these ingredients alone would have taken his breath away!! The poor little thing didn’t stand a chance in life with these types of parents….very, very sad…

  10. I can’t help noticing that certain comments are awaiting moderation
    Is this your right wing religious creationist bias showing?
    Do you only want comments from people who agree with you?

    1 REPLY
    • At least your comments have been published… mine have vanished in the fog

  11. I do not see where this is about non vaccination. It is clearly the fact that they only like alternate medicine – sometimes that is not enough, they should have sought medical help.

    1 REPLY
    • Thank you MIchelle. Non-Vaccination is totally another issue. This child needed medical help and this is where their duty to their child was lacking. Sadly, they will live with this for the rest of their lives as will his little brother.

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