March 14, 2016 8:39 pm

‘Very sick little boy’: Pediatrician testifies in case of Alberta boy’s meningitis death

David and Collet Stephan were charged with failing to provide the necessities of life earlier this year.

Global News
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LETHBRIDGE – A pediatrician who treated Ezekiel Stephan testified in court Monday, describing him as a very sick little boy who was not breathing on his own and not moving at all.

Ezekiel died of meningitis in March 2012 at the age of 18 months.

His parents, David Stephan, 32, and Collet Stephan, 35, are charged with failing to provide the necessities of life. They pleaded not guilty.

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READ MORE: Autopsy confirmed 18-month-old Alberta boy died of meningitis, medical examiner testifies 

On Monday jurors heard the testimony of Dr. Shauna Burkholder, a pediatric intensivist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, who specializes in pediatric critical care.

She testified she first became aware of Ezekiel on March 13 2012 when she was called by a doctor at the Cardston Hospital advising her of the toddler’s condition. She said she activated her team to go to Cardston and bring Ezekiel back to the Children’s Hospital where he arrived the next day at about 2:45 a.m.

Burkholder said she was the first doctor at the hospital to see Ezekiel. She said she examined him and sent him for a CAT scan. She testified the results were very abnormal and he had severe swelling of the brain.

Burkholder said she believed he had meningitis, but didn’t know which specific kind, so he was treated for both viral and bacterial.

The pediatrician stated that bacterial meningitis is 100 per cent fatal if not treated with antibiotics.

READ MORE: Jury trial begins for southern Alberta parents accused in toddler’s death from meningitis 

She said she told the 18-month-old’s parents that she didn’t think he would make it. His chance of surviving was less than one per cent, she said.

Burkholder testified she could not say for sure if he was brain dead at that time or not, but it was likely.

She also read the EMS report filled out by the first responder in the ambulance that picked up Ezekiel. She said he was not breathing, had no blood pressure, no oxygen level and was gray in colour.

READ MORE: Clinic employee testifies in trial of Alberta parents accused in son’s meningitis death 

The Crown asked Burkholder to describe his condition in one word and she said “dead.”

Colett Stephan broke down in tears as the doctor described Ezekiel’s condition.

Another doctor from the Children’s Hospital is expected to testify Tuesday.

With files from Emily Mertz, Global News

© 2016 Shaw Media

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