Calgary mother Tamara Lovett, who treated her son with holistic remedies before he died of a strep infection, has been found guilty of criminal negligence causing death.
But the judge issued a judicial stay on a second charge against Lovett of failing to provide the necessaries of life.
“In my view, a reasonable parent would have brought Ryan in to see a doctor when his eardrum burst,” Justice Kristine Eidsvik said Monday.
“She gambled away Ryan’s life.”
Lovett gave her seven-year-old son Ryan dandelion tea and oil of oregano when he developed the infection that kept him bedridden for 10 days in March 2013.
“There’s a time when just a runny nose becomes much more serious and that’s what happened here,” Eidsvik said.
Watch below: Global’s past coverage of Tamara Lovett’s trial
The judge said it should have been obvious to Lovett that Ryan was suffering from more than an ear infection and that he was on a “downward spiral.”
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.
Alberta’s chief medical examiner testified at Lovett’s trial that the boy’s body was full of group A streptococcus, which caused most of his major organs to fail.
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 Lovett failed to give the boy life-saving antibiotics. She told police officers she thought Ryan was suffering from a cold or the flu, and that he seemed to be getting better.
Just a couple of days before he died, he was complaining of pain in his leg, his eyes became jaundiced and he couldn’t stand on his own, she said during a police interview.
She 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.”
Hak added he hopes this decision will send a message out to parents who choose to deal with medical situations in a manner like Lovett did. He told the media there is a difference between making a choice on how you choose to treat your own ailments and that of a minor.
“The law specifically requires you to look after the best interest of your child. And if holistic treatment isn’t working for your child, then you’ve got to go to plan b.”
With files from Global’s Tracy Nagai