Toddler dies after anti-vaxx parents treat his Meningitis with herbs and other remedies instead of medicine.

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Toddler dies after anti-vaxx parents treat his Meningitis with herbs and other remedies instead of medicine.

Two Canadian anti-vaxx parents have been accused of letting their 19-month-old son die of meningitis, a treatable disease for which they refused medical care and antibiotics. Instead, they tried and failed to heal their son with home remedies in March 2012.

David and Collet Stephan tried to cure a disease that infects the fluid around the spinal cord and brain with such treatments as olive leaf extract, whey protein, water with maple syrup, and juice with frozen berries. After young Ezekiel continued to suffer for two weeks, the Stephans changed treatments to apple cider vinegar, horseradish root, hot peppers, onion, garlic, and ginger root.

When Ezekial stopped breathing, the child was finally airlifted to a hospital, but the damage had been done. After lingering on life support for five more days, he died.

The couple is claiming that they are being unjustly persecuted, with a recent social media post from David Stephan dramatically lamenting “Will we ever be free?” before asking his followers for money. They are pleading not guilty on all charges.

The Stephans own and operate a famously fraudulent nutritional supplement company called Truehope, which has been sued by Health Canada for peddling dangerous supplements.

Truehope claims that their supplement EMPowerPlus, which is actually nothing more than a mixture of vitamins and minerals, can treat conditions and symptoms related to “Autism, ADD, ADHD, Stress Depression, Fatigue and Anxiety,” according to their marketing information.

However, actual experts in Health Canada said the supplement actually contributed to the “worsening of psychiatric symptoms in those patients with serious underlying mental health problems, such as bipolar disorder and depression.”

The rise of the anti-vaccination movement has triggered a boom of formerly eradicated illnesses, according to Healthline. Outbreaks of measles, polio, and whooping cough often crop up among the unvaccinated, and they are claiming American lives for the first time in decades. Much of the anti-vaxx hysteria erupted from a claim that vaccinations can cause autism in children, a claim that has never been scientifically proven.

If convicted, the Stephans could receive up to five years in jail and lose custody of their remaining children.


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