CALGARY – A seven-year-old boy who was treated with holistic remedies by his mother before he died was riddled with an infection that caused all of his major organs to fail, the woman's trial heard Tuesday.
Tamara Lovett, 47, is charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life and with criminal negligence causing the boy's death.
Ryan Alexander Lovett died in March 2013 after getting a strep infection that kept him bedridden for 10 days.
Ryan was treated with dandelion tea and oil of oregano before he went into convulsions and his mother called 911. He was pronounced dead in a Calgary hospital.
Alberta's acting chief medical examiner testified that her autopsy found the boy's body full of group A streptococcus, which had caused most of his major organs to deteriorate.
"Every organ in the body was starting to fail,'' said Dr. Elizabeth Brooks-Lim.
"The major organs all showed signs of an infection of the blood ... and, as a result of this infection, the organs that normally produce the immune response of the body appeared exhausted from having to counter an infection.''
Brooks-Lim said Ryan appeared to be a reasonably healthy child otherwise. There were no signs of abuse and his height and weight were considered normal.
She said it is clear that the boy's health didn't take a turn for the worse overnight.
This was not something that occurred within minutes or hours."
"The picture I have is more of a process that took potentially days to occur. This was not something that occurred within minutes or hours.''
Brooks-Lim said there were signs of decomposition – cells dying –in all of Ryan's major organs.
Under cross-examination, she said his symptoms might have initially appeared to be a cold or the flu to the average person.
"He was certainly already dead"
But his condition worsened to the point where he suffered convulsions, his speech slurred and his body simply gave up, she said.
Dr. Jen D'Mello was working in the emergency room at Alberta Children's Hospital when the boy was brought in on March 2, 2013. She said he was unresponsive and his pupils were fixed and dilated.
"He certainly was already dead at the time he arrived in the emergency department and was cold to the touch,'' she told court.
"I thought it was very unlikely that we would be able to revive him from the time that he arrived. Any time that a child is arriving without any signs of life, (there) is a real low probability that we will revive them.''
Ryan Alexander Lovett was treated with dandelion tea and oil of oregano instead of antibiotics, a trial heard Monday. (Photo: Getty Images/iStockPhoto)
Lovett's lawyer asked Brooks-Lim if she had any background in naturopathic medicine.
"Are you familiar with homeopathic remedies?'' asked Alain Hepner.
"It's not something I specialize in. No,'' Brooks-Lim replied.
"In your medical training did you ever learn or hear of dandelion tea, oil of oregano, those types of things that are generally dispensed by naturopathic doctors?'' Hepner continued.
"`I know of them but not in my capacity as a professional,'' said Brooks-Lim.
"It's not something I know enough about.''
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