Toddler Dies Of Meningitis His Anti-Vaxx Parents Tried To Treat With Maple Syrup

David and Collet Stephan, a pair of Mormon parents in Canada, are facing up to five years in prison and the removal of their children after refusing to give their 19-month-old son the medical treatment he needed for meningitis--in favor of treating him home remedies and nutritional supplements.

Instead of taking their son, Ezekial, to a doctor and getting the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine after a nurse friend told them he had meningitis, the Stephans instead opted to feed him various home remedies meant to “boost his immunity,” such as “water with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root as his condition deteriorated.”

The couple insists there is no proof that giving the boy the vaccine would have saved his life.

Prosecutors say that although the boy was sick for several weeks, the Stephans refused medical treatment right up until Ezekial stopped breathing. By the time they finally got around to calling for it, the boy had to be airlifted to a hospital in Calgary, where he stayed on life support machines for five days before dying.

The Stephans own a company called Truehope Nutritional Support Inc., which sells a supplement called “EMpowerplus”–which they claim can treat bipolar disorder, autism, anxiety, ADD/HD, fatigue, depression and basically all of the things. Prosecutors say they also gave these supplements to their child in hopes of curing the meningitis.

The company was previously the subject of an unsuccessful case by Health Canada to stop them from selling the supplement, and has previously issued warnings against it’s use.

The parents have posted on Facebook asking people to stop persecuting them and in which they also accuse Health Canada of being “greatly responsible for initiating the seizure of our mental health supplements at the border back in 2003, that ultimately resulted in numerous suicides as over 3000 Canadians were relying on our products in favour of pharmaceutical medications and were now put into a place of hardship” and persecuting them for their love of non-traditional “medicine” that doesn’t work. They are also asking for money for their court case, as you can’t fight a court case with maple syrup and olive leaf.

Here’s the thing. I’m sure these parents loved their child very much. I’m sure they thought they were doing the right thing by refusing medical treatment, and that they really, truly believed that maple syrup could cure meningitis. I’m sure they believed that vaccines were really, really bad and evil–and that’s the problem

Regardless of how many damn times all these theories about why vaccines are bad are completely and totally debunked, there are still people out there peddling this nonsense. Heck! One of them is running for President of this country! Donald Trump thinks vaccines cause autism! As long as people keep doing that, kids are going to keep dying of treatable illnesses.

The Stephans think this is just a way for the government to go after parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids, because they can’t manage to pass a law banning them from doing so. I am fine with that–I am fine with going after these people in any way possible if it means that other parents will be discouraged from doing the same thing to their kids. Parents should have the right to make a lot of decisions for their kids, but this decision should not be one of them. You should not get to decide whether your toddler lives or dies because you think you’re smarter than scientists.