In 2013, 7 year old Ryan Lovett of Calgary died as a result of sepsis and multiple organ failure after his mother, Tamara Lovett refused to take him to the Doctor. His mother didn’t believe in antibiotics and was treating him with dandelion tea and oil of oregano. Her trial on the charges of failure to provide the necessaries of life and criminal negligence causing death began this week.

Ryan’s birth had never been registered as the family “lived off the grid”. This appears to be a legal sense, not in a physical sense, because apparently they were living in an apartment when he died. I suspect that part of her hesitation on taking him the the Doctor was that she didn’t want to answer questions about why her kid didn’t have a health card, or a birth certificate. I wonder if she was mixed up with the Sovereign citizen movement, or something?

Between this kid and the poor little Stephan boy, I think that child welfare agencies need to engage in public education campaign about calling in situations like this. Go over how if someone has concerns they can call for a consult, and discuss their concerns without naming names with an intake worker, who can guide them around whether or not the circumstances justify a formal report.

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I don’t know that there is much you can do about people who distrust western medicine like the Stephan’s or Tamara Lovett, but in both cases we have reports of friends telling them to take their child to the Doctor. Maybe if they had called child welfare officials it might have made a difference?