A Calgary judge says Tamara Lovett, who treated her son with holistic remedies before he died of a strep infection ‘gambled away’ his life.
Lovett was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death on Monday.
Court heard she used oil of oregano and dandelion tea to treat seven-year-old Ryan who had an infection that kept him bedridden for 10 days in March 2013.
“In my view, a reasonable parent would have brought Ryan in to see a doctor when his eardrum burst,” Justice Kristine Eidsvik said.
“She gambled away Ryan’s life.”
Crown Prosecutor Jonathan Hak says if someone believes in holistic remedies it’s their choice, but children need to be protected.
“You can certainly take care of yourself that way, but the law specifically requires you to look after the best interests of your child and if holistic treatment isn’t working for your child, you’ve got to go to plan B.”
The judge stayed a second charge of failing to provide the necessaries of life.
A doctor testified at Lovett’s trial that Ryan could have been saved if he had been given antibiotics.
Yet, the judge pointed out, it did not occur to Lovett that a doctor’s visit was in order.
“Ryan did not get better, but got worse and worse,” Eidsvik said.
The medical examiner also said it appeared that Ryan had died well before paramedics responded to a panic-stricken, early-morning 911 call from Lovett.
The trial heard just a couple of days before he died, Ryan was complaining of pain in his leg, his eyes became jaundiced and he couldn’t stand on his own.
Lovett said she called 911 after he began convulsing and collapsed.
“The Crown’s argument at trial, and the judge’s finding, was that Ryan Lovett was so seriously sick that any reasonable parent would have obtained medical attention for him,” prosecutor Jonathan Hak said after the decision was handed down Monday. “And the court specifically found that Tamara Lovett actually knew how sick he was and simply refused to do so and therefore gambled with his life.”
Lovett’s lawyer Alain Hepner says this was a difficult trial for everyone involved.
“There’s no winners, none at all in a case like that. She lost her son. I know the judge was really hard on her. If you’ll recall her demeanor during several days of the trial, she was in tears in the prisoners’ dock listening to the evidence, watching videos, watching her statement.
“It was difficult, it was emotional, it was hard for everyone in that courtroom.”
Sentencing will come later this year. Lovett remains free on bail until a psychiatric assessment is complete. Her next court date is June 19.