A Canadian mom was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday for giving her son dandelion tea and oregano oil instead of taking him to the hospital as he suffered a severe case of strep throat.
Tamara Lovett, 48, was convicted in January of criminal negligence, which led to the death of her 7-year-old son, Ryan Lovett, Yahoo reported.
“Ryan suffered terribly from this inaction,” Justice Kristine Eidsvik said. “He died an excruciating, unnecessary death.”
“Our children are vulnerable,” Eidsvik said, according to CBC. “[Lovett’s] actions resulted in the senseless death of an innocent child who needed her protection.”
Ryan was bedridden for 10 days in March 2013. The boy had swollen lymph nodes, oozing ears and jaundiced eyes at the time of his death. Lovett treated him with dandelion tea and oregano oil.
Lovett said she thought her son had the flu or a cold, but Ryan had a strep throat infection, which caused organ failure.
Doctors who testified at the trial said that the infection could have been treated with antibiotics. The judge also heard evidence that the child had meningitis and pneumonia on top of the strep infection.
During the trial, the justice said that Lovett “gambled away” her son’s life by choosing home treatment and not taking the boy to the doctor.
The court recognized that the heartbroken mom was grieving and suffering. She admitted that she was wrong during the trial.
“Her remorse, I believe, is genuine,’ Eidsvik reportedly said during the hearing.
Lovett’s lawyer, Alain Hepner, argued that the case should be dismissed because 38 months passed between the time of her arrest and the subsequent conviction. Canada’s Supreme Court has a 30-month time frame for cases to go to trial, but there is flexibility on cases where the charges were issued before the order was laid in July 2016.
“The parties were clearly operating under the old regime,” she said. “In my view, it would not be just to set aside a conviction here and enter a stay.”
Lovett’s lawyer asked for a sentence of one year plus probation, while the defense lawyer asked for 4-5 years in prison.
“This sentence of three years really pales in comparison to the life sentence she’s received already for being responsible for the death of her child,” Hepner said.
The judge said that the harsh sentence was meant as a signal and warning for other parents in a similar situation.
“If your child is not getting better, you are legally and morally bound to take your child to an actual doctor for actual medical care,” Jonathan Hak, the prosecutor, said.
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