CALGARY – A friend of a woman accused of criminal negligence in the death of her seven-year-old son says though the child was in "a state of supreme suffering'' on the night before he died, she did not notify officials.
Barbara La Pointe says she was confused and in a state of shock after bringing groceries to the squalid apartment building where Tamara Lovett lived in 2013 with her son, Ryan.
La Pointe says she saw the little boy in bed looking like "a shell of a shell of a shell.''
Court has been told that Ryan had a strep infection his mother was treating with holistic remedies including dandelion tea and oil of oregano.
He died of massive organ failure but a doctor has testified he could have been saved simply by being prescribed penicillin.
"A building of people living in the darkest realms of poverty''
La Pointe testified on Wednesday that she met Lovett through a tarot card reader who lived in the apartment building, and tried to help the pair by bringing them clothing and inviting Ryan to come play with her children.
She described the place as "a building of people living in the darkest realms of poverty.''
However, on the night before Ryan died she chose not to call 911 because Lovett told her she didn't want a doctor involved.
"Tamara was the mother and I wanted to respect that,'' she said.
Outside court, she told reporters she had been afraid: "I was not strong enough. Looking back, I wish I would have been the woman I am now.''
She said Ryan's death speaks to a larger societal issue.
"It's so hard to be a mom. We need to support mothers and be more of a community. It's amazing how quickly in our society we can become isolated.''
Lovett, 47, also is charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life.
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