Yesterday, April 26 2016, a Lethbridge couple was found guilty of failing to provide the necessities of life for their son Ezekiel, who died of meningitis. They have faced intense criticism over their use of natural medicine and the fact that they did not vaccinate.
This case was about whether the Stephans failed to provide appropriate medical help for their sick child and, ultimately, the jury decided that indeed they had. The Stephans admitted that Ezekiel was sick and talked about using natural remedies to try to help him feel better. They talked about how he got better then worse then better again, and appeared to be improving right before he died. I don’t run to the doctor for every cold and flu, either (in fact – we’re told not to). I’ve used natural remedies to help provide relief, with great success I might add. Hindsight is 20/20, and I am positive that if these parents suspected anything more than a flu they would’ve been there in an instant. Not to mention that the ambulance that came when they called 911 did not have the ability to provide him with oxygen, and it’s been stated that this simple fact was likely the difference between his recovery or his demise – a fact that many articles on the case have completely omitted. Should the Stephans have sought medical help? That’s not my call to make, but the law thinks so. There are intricacies to this story, and I’m not going to pretend to be an expert. But what I can say is that this case was about whether the Stephans should’ve taken Ezekiel to a conventional doctor – not about his vaccine status.
Before you jump down my throat, I’m not an anti-vaxxer. But, I’m not really a pro-vaxxer, either. I’m a you-get-to-make-your-own-decisions-about-your-kids-because-there-really-are-risks-to-both-sides-vaxxer, and denying that any complications exist from vaccines is naive at best (just as denying that contracting the diseases themselves is harmless is also naive). But regardless of how I, or you, or ANYONE, feels about vaccinations, this case wasn’t about that. It shouldn’t be about that. Vaccinated children still contract meningitis. Herd immunity is a flawed theory. There is no proof that Ezekiel would have lived had he just had his vaccination – and in fact he tested positive for viral meningitis, NOT the bacterial meningitis that the vaccine is touted to prevent. And yet, the pro-vax community is taking this and running with it, condemning the Stephans and all anti-vaxxers as irresponsible, child abusing assholes. And with that, we have turned the tragic loss of a little boy into the poster child for some misplaced and hate-filled campaign. Ezekiel is not your martyr, and shame on you for making him one.