Naturopath Parents Blame Ambulance For Toddler’s Meningitis Death

David and Collett Stephan, Naturopathy, Meningitis

Naturopath Parents Blame Ambulance For Toddler’s Meningitis Death

I previously wrote about David and Collett Stephan, who allowed their nineteen month old child, Ezekiel, to die after failing to seek the most basic medical treatment for meningitis. The parents treated Ezekiel’s bacterial meningitis infection using Naturopathy. Ezekiel suffered for approximately three weeks before passing away on March 18th, 2012. The parents were convicted for “failing to provide the necessaries of life” this past April. The parents will be sentenced this Thursday and Friday (June 23rd and 24th). 

If you’re unfamiliar with the story, the parents are anti-vaccine naturopaths. In fact, David was Vice President of a company his own father made, Truehope Nutritional Support Inc, which sells many naturopathic “remedies.”


Naturopathy is nonsense the hypothesis based on the “natural” healing power of nature and healthy lifestyle. Naturopathy encompasses alternative medicine practices such as herbalism, homeopathy, and acupuncture. As we discussed in Episode 002 of our podcast (with Dr. Clay Jones), Naturopaths are essentially whatever they want to be. This often consists of unnecessary tests, herbs, and other treatments that have either been proven to be ineffective or have not had adequate research conducted to be considered effective. Naturopaths do have some overlap with medical doctors in their education (physiology, anatomy, etc.), but as Dr. Jones explained, they’re not taught by experts in each field. 

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Del Bigtree

Del Bigtree is a producer for the documentary VaxxedVaxxed is like your crazy ex who just won’t go away. You know they’re crazy, all your friends think they’re crazy, any human being with an ounce of rational thought thinks they’re crazy, yet it just won’t go away even though we’ve stopped stopped answering their phone calls and nobody intelligent takes it seriously.

Overly attached girlfriend

So it wasn’t a surprise that Bigtree was happy to defend the Stephan parents during its week-long screening in Calgary (about two hours away from Lethbridge, where the parents will be sentenced). Bigtree was even polite enough to do a live video featuring the parents on his personal Facebook page, which he made public. 

In the video, David says

It’s becoming quite a parental rights issue for medical choice, for how we deem to treat our children, and ultimately, what it comes down to is whether we have the right to vaccinate or not to vaccinate without being held liable, or whether or not we have to rush our children to the doctor every time they even get just the sniffles…

inb4: It is a parent’s right to choose which preventable disease their child dies from!

David, the welfare of your child is not a “parental rights issue.” It is your responsibility as a parent to provide adequate medical treatment for your child, despite whatever crazy bullshit you believe. What you’re doing here is literally saying “oops, my bad!” 

The fact that he attempts to trivialize the situation by comparing meningitis to “the sniffles” is outright terrifying. This demonstrates his utter lack of understanding of modern medicine. It also contradicts the fact that the family was told by a nurse that Ezekiel may have meningitis and needed to be seen by an actual medical professional almost a full week before he died.

We were treating our child with different homeopathic remedies, different herbal remedies, like ten of thousands of people do, nothing out of the ordinary, and he wasn’t severely ill.

Nothing out of the ordinary? Wasn’t severely ill?!?!

He. Fucking. Had. Meningitis. You were told by an actual medical professional six days before he died that he may have had meningitis. Water, plants, and maple syrup are not going to cure the swelling of the brain and spinal cord. 

Ezekiel’s Final Moments

When Del Bigtree asked how Ezekiel became braindead, David had the audacity to blame the ambulance for not having the proper equipment, causing Ezekiel to go without oxygen for eight minutes.

What David failed to mention was that Ezekiel had stopped breathing at home as a direct result of failing to seek medical treatment. He’s ignoring and deflecting the two and a half weeks leading into the situation that was caused by their own negligence. That’s like if I said it’s my bank’s fault that I bounced a check, because at the time I wrote it I had a positive balance. How’s it my fault that it went negative?

Besides, according to the medical report, the actual cause of death was “cardiac arrest secondary to what was likely a hypoxic event because of his overwhelming bacterial meningitis.” In other words, not the first responder’s fault.

Appealing to emotion in true anti-vaxxer style, Bigtree asks David about the parents’ other children, and what they would say to their children if they do have to go to jail. I can only imagine that is an awful feeling. As a father myself, the idea of being away from my children for years at a time literally makes me feel ill. Children absolutely need to live with their parents, or other close relatives, provided the parents are able to provide a safe and stable home for the children. Any sympathy I have for their situation is immediately washed away by the fact that David and Collett failed to provide Ezekiel with basic medical treatment, resulting in his death. They demonstrated ignorance at best, and at worst, laziness.

A better question for Bigtree to have asked would have been, “How do you justify and explain the fact that you allowed your child to suffer and die over the course of two and a half weeks because you deny modern medicine?”

What’s somewhat ironic is that when Bigtree encourages people to support the parents, he says the parents are “facing this incredibly lying machine.” If it weren’t so infuriating, it would be laughable, because that’s the exact goddamned thing he’s doing

h/t Raw Story

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Written by Dan Broadbent

Science Enthusiast. Atheist. Lover of cats.




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