Vegan Breastfeeding Death

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Vegan Breastfeeding Death

French vegans charged with child neglect after baby's death
Two vegans whose 11-month-old baby daughter died from vitamin deficiency after drinking only its mother's milk have gone on trial in northern France, charged with child neglect.

French prosecutors allege the vitamin deficiency may have been linked to the mother's diet Photo: ALAMY
By Henry Samuel, Paris 5:18PM BST 29 Mar 2011
Sergipe and Joel Le Moaligou, who eat no animal products, called the emergency services in March, 2008, when their baby Louise appeared listless.
By the time the ambulance arrived at their home in Saint-Maulvis, north of Paris, she was already dead.
Louise weighed just 12lb, compared to an average 17.5lb for a child her age, and was deathly pale.
An autopsy showed that Louise was suffering from a vitamin A and B12 deficiency, which experts say increases a child's sensitivity to infections
French prosecutors allege the vitamin deficiency may have been linked to the mother's diet, and say that the couple also failed to follow medical advice to hospitalise the baby, who was suffering from bronchitis.

The parents, who also have a 13-year-old daughter who did not suffer vitamin deficiencies, became vegan after seeing "a television programme about how cattle were taken to abattoirs," said Stéphane Daquo, the mother's lawyer.
"They preferred applying clay or cabbage poultices whose recipes they found in their books. These are people who read the wrong thing at the wrong time," said Mr Daquo.
The parents are still vegan and "are completely aware of the mistake they made," said the father's lawyer, Patrick Quenel.

If convicted, the couple could face up to 30 years in prison.

From here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/8414195/French-vegans-charged-with-child-neglect-after-babys-death.html

Is a Mother (or parents) responsible if her diet (vegan or omni or whatever) directly contributes to her child's death? What if she suffers from an eating disorder like anorexia? Do the underlying reasons matter (like a vegan diet), or is it neglect regardless because their child died while in their care?

Discuss.

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Good grief. Dont' even know why I'm weighing in on this one, I see it taking a turn for the worst. But yes, the parents are responsible for the child's death. However, 30 years seems rather extreme. Also I'd be interested to know if a ped. had told them that the mothers diet was detrimental to the baby's health.

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I know lots of healthy vegan kids. I also know kids who for a variety of reasons aren't having complimentary foods in addition to breastmilk by 11 months. I don't think either of those things are neglectful. Was this child not receiving preventative medical care? I would question what else was going on that took until this child was deathly ill for this to be addressed, but I think that's very separate from being a breastfeeding vegan.

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"zefroim" wrote:

Good grief. Dont' even know why I'm weighing in on this one, I see it taking a turn for the worst. But yes, the parents are responsible for the child's death. However, 30 years seems rather extreme. Also I'd be interested to know if a ped. had told them that the mothers diet was detrimental to the baby's health.

How can you be so sure the parents are responsible for the child's death?

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

I know lots of healthy vegan kids. I also know kids who for a variety of reasons aren't having complimentary foods in addition to breastmilk by 11 months. I don't think either of those things are neglectful. Was this child not receiving preventative medical care? I would question what else was going on that took until this child was deathly ill for this to be addressed, but I think that's very separate from being a breastfeeding vegan.

Lets suppose exclusive vegan breastfeeding was not the sole contributing factor to this childs death, do you then not find the parents to be responsible for the death of the child?

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I'm confused.

Did the child die of bronchitis, or of the vitamin deficiency? Or are they saying that the child would have been better able to fight off the bronchitis if she didn't have the vitamin deficiency?

At 11 months old, she should have been plenty old enough to eat foods other than the mom's breast milk, so I think that if they are to blame, it may be more from not feeding the child appropriate solids than for the mom's diet alone.

Vitamin A:
Carrots
Sweet Potatoes
Cereal
Spinach
Squash

The B12 is harder. The only vegan sources I found are nutritional yeast (can you give that to a baby?) soy milk and fortified cereals. Sounds like mom and dad may not have been overly educated about that one.

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"zefroim" wrote:

Lets suppose exclusive vegan breastfeeding was not the sole contributing factor to this childs death, do you then not find the parents to be responsible for the death of the child?

The child died of bronchitis. Are the parents of every child who chose not to have their child hospitalized for bronchitis responsible for their subsequent deaths? I think that's a dangerous stretch with the information we have in the article.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

How can you be so sure the parents are responsible for the child's death?

A 12lb, deathly pale 11 month old? Sounds pretty neglectful to me, regardless if the vegan breastfeeding was the main factor or not.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I'm confused.

Did the child die of bronchitis, or of the vitamin deficiency? Or are they saying that the child would have been better able to fight off the bronchitis if she didn't have the vitamin deficiency?

At 11 months old, she should have been plenty old enough to eat foods other than the mom's breast milk, so I think that if they are to blame, it may be more from not feeding the child appropriate solids than for the mom's diet alone.

Vitamin A:
Carrots
Sweet Potatoes
Cereal
Spinach
Squash

The B12 is harder. The only vegan sources I found are nutritional yeast (can you give that to a baby?) soy milk and fortified cereals. Sounds like mom and dad may not have been overly educated about that one.

What if the baby didn't like solids and refused to eat them (something that I see a lot of on a birth board with 11 months old like my 10 month old son)? Liable? Or, if like some crunchola parents advocate, they believed in breast milk only till 12 months.

I'm trying to decide what I think. This popped up on some foodie site on my FB, with outraged replies. Like you Alissa, I wish I had more info.

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"zefroim" wrote:

A 12lb, deathly pale 11 month old? Sounds pretty neglectful to me, regardless if the vegan breastfeeding was the main factor or not.

I asked why they weren't getting primary care. Some kids are just ill, though, for a variety of reasons. Are all parents who have children born ill neglectful if they're pale or small? I'm just not willing to blame the parents for the death of their infant that quickly.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I'm confused.

Did the child die of bronchitis, or of the vitamin deficiency? Or are they saying that the child would have been better able to fight off the bronchitis if she didn't have the vitamin deficiency?

At 11 months old, she should have been plenty old enough to eat foods other than the mom's breast milk, so I think that if they are to blame, it may be more from not feeding the child appropriate solids than for the mom's diet alone.

Vitamin A:
Carrots
Sweet Potatoes
Cereal
Spinach
Squash

The B12 is harder. The only vegan sources I found are nutritional yeast (can you give that to a baby?) soy milk and fortified cereals. Sounds like mom and dad may not have been overly educated about that one.

I know one family in particular where the child had some sensory issues and just refused to eat solids until he was well over a year. The mom kept nursing/pumping and the child was growing fine and receiving lots of medical care, but the kid just wouldn't eat. What do you do? Force feed?

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

I know lots of healthy vegan kids. I also know kids who for a variety of reasons aren't having complimentary foods in addition to breastmilk by 11 months. I don't think either of those things are neglectful. Was this child not receiving preventative medical care? I would question what else was going on that took until this child was deathly ill for this to be addressed, but I think that's very separate from being a breastfeeding vegan.

Don't you think there has to be some kind of trade off though? Like, as an educated vega, they know that while they are breastfeeding they either need to get enough of the necessary vitamins to sustain themselves and their babies, OR they need to make sure that the child at least is getting those vitamins from an alternate source such as complimentary foods. If they do neither, they are setting their children up for possible deficiencies. I think it's irresponsible to not do either of those two options unless there some medical reason why the mom couldn't be getting enough of the vitamins to pass along in her breastmilk AND a medical reason why the child couldn't be eating complimentary foods.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

I asked why they weren't getting primary care. Some kids are just ill, though, for a variety of reasons. Are all parents who have children born ill neglectful if they're pale or small? I'm just not willing to blame the parents for the death of their infant that quickly.

The article states that they "failed to follow medical advice and hospotalize the baby", which to me, means they were made aware how critical the baby's condition was and chose not to obtain proper medical care which may have saved the baby's life. I'm not sure what the laws are there, but here, that would constitute neglect.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

I know one family in particular where the child had some sensory issues and just refused to eat solids until he was well over a year. The mom kept nursing/pumping and the child was growing fine and receiving lots of medical care, but the kid just wouldn't eat. What do you do? Force feed?

No, in that case I would make sure that I was getting enough vitamins in my own diet to ensure that my child wasn't getting a deficiency. I would also ask my ped about suppliments. I know they make iron suppliments for babies - do they make any others?

That is the point I was trying to make in my other post. I believe that it's possible to have healthy babies while eating a vegan diet, but in that case you either have to make a very conscious effort to get those vitamins yourself or to make sure that the child is eating an adequate complimentary diet. Doing neither is irresponsible.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Don't you think there has to be some kind of trade off though? Like, as an educated vega, they know that while they are breastfeeding they either need to get enough of the necessary vitamins to sustain themselves and their babies, OR they need to make sure that the child at least is getting those vitamins from an alternate source such as complimentary foods. If they do neither, they are setting their children up for possible deficiencies. I think it's irresponsible to not do either of those two options unless there some medical reason why the mom couldn't be getting enough of the vitamins to pass along in her breastmilk AND a medical reason why the child couldn't be eating complimentary foods.

People don't seem to have the same nutritional standards for omnivores. Is it neglect if omnivorous parents aren't that educated about nutrition and their children therefore are anemic or have other micronutrient deficiencies? Most people aren't well educated in nutrition, which is a serious problem but it's also just a fact. I wish we knew more about the medical history of this child and whether or not she had other issues that prevented her from taking to complimentary foods.

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What concerns me as in this article it stated that the doctor advised them to take the baby to the hospital for bronchitis at 9 months. So for 2 months they treated the bronchitis themselves which wasn't getting better while she was losing weight? Yes, I believe that was neglect.

"The couple did not follow the doctor's advice to take the baby to hospital when they went for her nine-month checkup and found she was suffering from bronchitis and was losing weight," he said. Instead they treated her with cabbage poultices, mustard and camphor and washed her with earth and clay instead of giving her baths, the court heard.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/29/vegans-trial-death-baby-breast-milk

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

What concerns me as in this article it stated that the doctor advised them to take the baby to the hospital for bronchitis at 9 months. So for 2 months they treated the bronchitis themselves which wasn't getting better while she was losing weight? Yes, I believe that was neglect.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/29/vegans-trial-death-baby-breast-milk

So do you charge every parent who chooses homeopathy over western medicine with neglect? I think homeopathy is a scam at best, but who gets to decide what is appropriate medical care, parents or the state?

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When the kid dies because of the parents' decision, the state does. It was neglect.

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"wlillie" wrote:

When the kid dies because of the parents decision, the state does. It was neglect.

So it's a retroactive decision? How do you regulate that? Any parent who chooses homeopathy is neglectful and should have their child removed? Every parent who doesn't vaccinate on schedule is neglectful and should have their child removed? What if the child doesn't die but just gets really sick? Parents lose the right to make medical decisions? What if the state was wrong and thought the child was really sick but wasn't?

ETA: If a parent refuses a chickenpox vaccine against the recommendations of their pediatrician and the child dies from the chickenpox, should the parents be tried for neglect? I mean, the parents went against medical advice and the child died. Clearcut?

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

People don't seem to have the same nutritional standards for omnivores. Is it neglect if omnivorous parents aren't that educated about nutrition and their children therefore are anemic or have other micronutrient deficiencies? Most people aren't well educated in nutrition, which is a serious problem but it's also just a fact. I wish we knew more about the medical history of this child and whether or not she had other issues that prevented her from taking to complimentary foods.

How many omnivores have a serious vitamin deficiency though? I'm of the impression that eating a typical omnivorous diet of a variety of meat, vegetables, and grains typically lends itself to being within the normal RDAs of most vitamins, so there is less education necessary. I actually tried to look this up just now, and so far I have found that the most common vitamin deficiency in the US is folic acid (5% of the population), and presumably the majority of those people are eating an omnivorous diet.

I think that when you start really limiting your food sources (such as with vegans) then you do have an extra responsibility to do some research to make sure that you are doing it in a healthful way, particularly when there are also children involved. Like in the case of B12, that almost always comes from animal products, so if you are cutting those out completely, you could be setting yourself up for real trouble if you aren't looking at how you can replace that lack.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

How many omnivores have a serious vitamin deficiency though? I'm of the impression that eating a typical omnivorous diet of a variety of meat, vegetables, and grains typically lends itself to being within the normal RDAs of most vitamins, so there is less education necessary. I actually tried to look this up just now, and so far I have found that the most common vitamin deficiency in the US is folic acid (5% of the population), and presumably the majority of those people are eating an omnivorous diet.

I think that when you start really limiting your food sources (such as with vegans) then you do have an extra responsibility to do some research to make sure that you are doing it in a healthful way, particularly when there are also children involved. Like in the case of B12, that almost always comes from animal products, so if you are cutting those out completely, you could be setting yourself up for real trouble if you aren't looking at how you can replace that lack.

I would argue that the average American omnivore doesn't get a variety of meat, vegetables, and grains, though. The average American omnivore eats a lot of processed crap that is micronutrient deficient.

ETA: What percent of vegans have a serious vitamin deficiency? I would imagine it's incredibly small, just like everyone else.

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This isn't the first time something like this has happened. These parents were convicted of their daughters death because they prayed instead of seeking medical care. I don't see how that is any different.

http://www.komonews.com/news/national/63673127.html

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I'll just save myself time & trouble, and say that ITA with everything CalBear has said, or will say, in this debate.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

This isn't the first time something like this has happened. These parents were convicted of their daughters death because they prayed instead of seeking medical care. I don't see how that is any different.

http://www.komonews.com/news/national/63673127.html

Just because it's happened before, that doesn't mean it's a good thing. Does anyone else find it weird that I'm the one arguing against Big Government here?

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"Potter75" wrote:

What if the baby didn't like solids and refused to eat them (something that I see a lot of on a birth board with 11 months old like my 10 month old son)? Liable? Or, if like some crunchola parents advocate, they believed in breast milk only till 12 months.

I'm trying to decide what I think. This popped up on some foodie site on my FB, with outraged replies. Like you Alissa, I wish I had more info.

It's a hard one - I don't completely blame the parents even if it was purely the vitamin deficiency that killed her. The not treating for bronchitis thing is different, but that doesn't have anything to do with the fact that they vegan other than maybe it just shows how granola crunchy they were.

As I was saying to Kate, I do think that when you really limit your diet, you do have more of an onus to be more mindful of it, particularly when there are children involved, because eating a wide variety of foods typically is how we make sure that we are getting enough vitamins and nutrients. But Kate is also right, how many people are really uber educated about it, no matter what they eat?

I don't know, I think part of what bothers me is that it seems like there were a lot of warning signs, like the losing weight, the really small size for a child that age, the 2 months of bronchitis, ignoring medical advice. If the baby just up and died one day without a lick of prior evidence that she was struggling, and then later they found out that it was a vitamin deficiency, I think I would feel differently about it. But it just seems like there should have been a lot of red flags that the poor baby wasn't getting everything that she needed (whether that was vitamin b12 or medical attention or both) and that is why I feel more strongly about this particular case.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

How many omnivores have a serious vitamin deficiency though? I'm of the impression that eating a typical omnivorous diet of a variety of meat, vegetables, and grains typically lends itself to being within the normal RDAs of most vitamins, so there is less education necessary. I actually tried to look this up just now, and so far I have found that the most common vitamin deficiency in the US is folic acid (5% of the population), and presumably the majority of those people are eating an omnivorous diet.

I think that when you start really limiting your food sources (such as with vegans) then you do have an extra responsibility to do some research to make sure that you are doing it in a healthful way, particularly when there are also children involved. Like in the case of B12, that almost always comes from animal products, so if you are cutting those out completely, you could be setting yourself up for real trouble if you aren't looking at how you can replace that lack.

I would argue that most people have vitamin deficiencies. Overweight does not mean they are not malnourished. I'd actually argue that most Americans, even with our obesity problems, are malnourished.

Kate- yes, very funny actually!

I think this is an over reach. I'm feeding kids lunch so I can't get into it yet, but I can't wait to come back and see where this one has gone.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

How many omnivores have a serious vitamin deficiency though? I'm of the impression that eating a typical omnivorous diet of a variety of meat, vegetables, and grains typically lends itself to being within the normal RDAs of most vitamins, so there is less education necessary. I actually tried to look this up just now, and so far I have found that the most common vitamin deficiency in the US is folic acid (5% of the population), and presumably the majority of those people are eating an omnivorous diet.

I think that when you start really limiting your food sources (such as with vegans) then you do have an extra responsibility to do some research to make sure that you are doing it in a healthful way, particularly when there are also children involved. Like in the case of B12, that almost always comes from animal products, so if you are cutting those out completely, you could be setting yourself up for real trouble if you aren't looking at how you can replace that lack.

Or anorexics, as per the question in the OP (as I was hoping that this this this did not become JUST a vegan thing). I agree that a normal omni, even one not particularily well versed in nutrition, is able to meet their most basic vitamin and mineral requirements, even if only through fortification.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

I would argue that the average American omnivore doesn't get a variety of meat, vegetables, and grains, though. The average American omnivore eats a lot of processed crap that is micronutrient deficient.

ETA: What percent of vegans have a serious vitamin deficiency? I would imagine it's incredibly small, just like everyone else.

I would bet it is very small too, but I would also argue that most vegans also take the time to educate themselves about how to eat a healthful vegan diet. What is funny about all of this is that (at least out of the people I personally know) the vegans are typically the people that I know that know the most about nutrition. But again, I would argue that this is because they need to know the most, because again, they are limiting their diets. I'm not putting down vegans - I think it can be a very healthy way to live, and again, I think that many vegans are extremely educated about their choices. I just also believe that if you embark on it without educating yourself, it may be a dangerous choice.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

So it's a retroactive decision? How do you regulate that? Any parent who chooses homeopathy is neglectful and should have their child removed? Every parent who doesn't vaccinate on schedule is neglectful and should have their child removed? What if the child doesn't die but just gets really sick? Parents lose the right to make medical decisions? What if the state was wrong and thought the child was really sick but wasn't?

ETA: If a parent refuses a chickenpox vaccine against the recommendations of their pediatrician and the child dies from the chickenpox, should the parents be tried for neglect? I mean, the parents went against medical advice and the child died. Clearcut?

Well, yes, it would be a retroactive decision. Isn't that how they decide all cases when death is involved? You can't try someone for death before there's a death.

These parents chose to go against recommendations that are known to improve the health of a child. For two months, they did their own thing and it didn't work. Two months is too long for an infant to have bronchitis, of all things! They should have thought, "Hmm, my child is still sick, is pale and losing weight (something every parent should know is problematic for under one year old). Maybe I'll have to try modern medicine because what I'm doing isn't working."

I don't think the chickenpox vaccine is a good analogy. If a child didn't get a chickenpox vaccine, then got sick and had life-threatening complications that could be treated medicinally, and the parents chose not to treat the child, then yes, maybe they should be tried, too. The difference is that the vaccine happens before the illness. They chose to ignore obvious indications of their child's illness; they didn't just ignore preventive care.

I don't think anyone is implying any of the ideas you're saying about removing children or the state deciding proper course of treatment of living children. Cause of death is different because, well, it's about death.

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Bronchitis, vitamin deficiency, malnutrition, vegan, whatever... The child died of neglect and that is the parents fault. Yes, they should be charged.

This wasn't a sudden, unforeseeable accident. The girl was only 12lb at 11 months! Social services should have been called.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I would bet it is very small too, but I would also argue that most vegans also take the time to educate themselves about how to eat a healthful vegan diet. What is funny about all of this is that (at least out of the people I personally know) the vegans are typically the people that I know that know the most about nutrition. But again, I would argue that this is because they need to know the most, because again, they are limiting their diets. I'm not putting down vegans - I think it can be a very healthy way to live, and again, I think that many vegans are extremely educated about their choices. I just also believe that if you embark on it without educating yourself, it may be a dangerous choice.

I'm just not convinced. Whenever I get in conversations like this, I think back to my favorite class which was a decision analysis class. People tend to view doing nothing or not changing as a neutral with no negative consequences and only tend to think about the costs of doing something different. I would argue there are risks and benefits of both a standard American diet and an "alternative" diet and that our bar for how educated one should be to partake in each diet should be the same. This may be going too off-track, though.

I have a different question. If the parents had admitted their apparently immune compromised child to the hospital per medical advice and that child had died from a hospital acquired infection, would people be blaming the parents for that death? If not, why not?

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

Just because it's happened before, that doesn't mean it's a good thing. Does anyone else find it weird that I'm the one arguing against Big Government here?

I don't see it as a big government issue, at all. Our government tries death cases all the time. The kid died. Now they're trying to determine the cause of death and whether there should be consequences. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

If the government were trying to use this as a way to declare that a vegan diet is bad and anyone who chooses to follow it will be tried and may lose their child, then I would see it as a big government issue.

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"b525" wrote:

Well, yes, it would be a retroactive decision. Isn't that how they decide all cases when death is involved? You can't try someone for death before there's a death.

These parents chose to go against recommendations that are known to improve the health of a child. For two months, they did their own thing and it didn't work. Two months is too long for an infant to have bronchitis, of all things! They should have thought, "Hmm, my child is still sick, is pale and losing weight (something every parent should know is problematic for under one year old). Maybe I'll have to try modern medicine because what I'm doing isn't working."

I don't think the chickenpox vaccine is a good analogy. If a child didn't get a chickenpox vaccine, then got sick and had life-threatening complications that could be treated medicinally, and the parents chose not to treat the child, then yes, maybe they should be tried, too. The difference is that the vaccine happens before the illness. They chose to ignore obvious indications of their child's illness; they didn't just ignore preventive care.

I don't think anyone is implying any of the ideas you're saying about removing children or the state deciding proper course of treatment of living children. Cause of death is different because, well, it's about death.

What in the world is the point of jailing a parent after a child dies, though, and ignoring the child while it's alive? That doesn't prevent any deaths or make anyone healthier. It's purely punative. Why is one parent neglectful and sent to jail for doing the same thing as another parent whose kid just didn't happen to die?

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"b525" wrote:

I don't see it as a big government issue, at all. Our government tries death cases all the time. The kid died. Now they're trying to determine the cause of death and whether there should be consequences. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

If the government were trying to use this as a way to declare that a vegan diet is bad and anyone who chooses to follow it will be tried and may lose their child, then I would see it as a big government issue.

Why does the government only care about the child after she's dead and they're looking for someone to blame?

ETA: Of course it's a big government issue. It's the government determining retroactively whether or not parents parented appropriately since they chose alternative medical care. You don't see that as the government getting involved in parenting choices?

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

I have a different question. If the parents had admitted their apparently immune compromised child to the hospital per medical advice and that child had died from a hospital acquired infection, would people be blaming the parents for that death? If not, why not?

I would not blame the parents. I would think the hospital would be considered to be at fault, since they "caused" the death.

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From Wikipedia:

Neglect is a passive form of abuse in which the perpetrator is responsible to provide care for a victim who is unable to care for oneself, but fails to provide adequate care to meet the victim's needs, thereby resulting in the victim's demise.

Neglect may include failing to provide sufficient supervision, nourishment, medical care or other needs for which the victim is helpless to provide for him/her/itself. The victim may be a child, physically or mentally disabled adult, animal, plant, or inanimate object.

In this case, at best, I would think a prosecutor has the grounds to charge and convict this couple of neglect resulting in death. Are the parents responsible? Absolutely. They knew this baby was SICK, and what they were providing was not making her better, leading to her death.

I think it's a wild stretch to say that they knew she was malnourished, which led her to be vitamin deficient, which led to her getting bronchitis that was untreated for months, which led to her death, and charging them with murder on those grounds. They didn't intentionally harm their child with the intent to kill her, but intent doesn't have to be there to be charged with certain types of homicide, neglect included. If this child was truly THIS ill for 2 months, and the parents did nothing, it was neglectful. The diet issue is insignificant in this case as far as I'm concerned. The illness, and lack of treatment, is enough to charge the parents with the death of their child.

Any parent who chooses homeopathy is neglectful and should have their child removed?

No, but any parent who chooses homeopathy, whose child ends up dying because they neglected to get them care when they weren't getting better/getting worse should. I don't think you can legislate how sick a child has to be, but if we know that a parent isn't doing their job keeping their children to the best of their health, nutrition, shelter, cleanliness and other basic needs, they need to be removed from the home. And obviously the state was not wrong in this case saying she was ill, if she wasn't ill, she wouldn't have died.

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"b525" wrote:

I would not blame the parents. I would think the hospital would be considered to be at fault, since they "caused" the death.

But the parents would have consented to the medical treatment. Just like they didn't consent in this case. Why aren't the parents responsible for the outcome of the decision either way?

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"MommyJannah" wrote:

From Wikipedia:

In this case, at best, I would think a prosecutor has the grounds to charge and convict this couple of neglect resulting in death. Are the parents responsible? Absolutely. They knew this baby was SICK, and what they were providing was not making her better, leading to her death.

I think it's a wild stretch to say that they knew she was malnourished, which led her to be vitamin deficient, which led to her getting bronchitis that was untreated for months, which led to her death, and charging them with murder on those grounds. They didn't intentionally harm their child with the intent to kill her, but intent doesn't have to be there to be charged with certain types of homicide, neglect included. If this child was truly THIS ill for 2 months, and the parents did nothing, it was neglectful. The diet issue is insignificant in this case as far as I'm concerned. The illness, and lack of treatment, is enough to charge the parents with the death of their child.

No, but any parent who chooses homeopathy, whose child ends up dying because they neglected to get them care when they weren't getting better/getting worse should. I don't think you can legislate how sick a child has to be, but if we know that a parent isn't doing their job keeping their children to the best of their health, nutrition, shelter, cleanliness and other basic needs, they need to be removed from the home. And obviously the state was not wrong in this case saying she was ill, if she wasn't ill, she wouldn't have died.

So if a parent treats their kid homeopathically and the kid is fine, that's ok, but if the kid dies, it's neglect? How is that different than mandating (what is in the US, at least) very expensive medical care and allowing the state the right to decide how a child should be cared for?

Should a woman be charged with neglect and possibly jailed if her child dies at home during a homebirth? The standard care in the US is a hospital birth, so I can see that fitting nicely into your definition of neglect from wikipedia.

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"kris_w" wrote:

This wasn't a sudden, unforeseeable accident. The girl was only 12lb at 11 months! Social services should have been called.

I can't say I agree with this. Size has nothing to do with overall health if a child is growing. My first daughter was 14lbs 2oz at 12 months. She was 5lbs 5oz when she was born. She's still a small girl. Ben has had a tough time growing because of medical issues. Should social services be called purely because he's a small baby? He may very well be close to 12lbs at a year. He's 3 months old and has gained 2lbs since birth. That doesn't mean he's unhealthy or that I'm neglectful, but that other issues are involved. I think that if she were 12lbs at one year, after receiving medical treatment and oversight, her size has little to do with her general condition. Overall health and wellness is more important to me than size.

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I have a couple of thoughts. First, I think that the parents were negligent in not providing appropriate medical care for their child despite being advised to take the child to hospital. I believe that this is the key issue. For example, if you don't get your kids' flu shots that's your prerogative as a parent and in and of itself does not make you negligent, legally speaking. However, if your child became seriously ill with the flu and you sought no medical attention or refused to take a doctor's recommendation to take your child to the hospital for treatment, that does make you negligent. Doesn't matter what country you live in, medical care is a global human right and I believe this child was denied that right.

Second, I think it will be difficult, if not impossible to prove that the mother's vitamin deficiency was caused by her vegan diet. While I do think that her diet may have contributed to vitamin deficiency, 'may have' doesn't exactly meet the burden of proof required in criminal cases (and of course I'm under the assumption that French courts have the same burden of proof as U.S./Canadian courts, among many). IMO it is a long road to prove a mother's diet caused the death of her child.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

So if a parent treats their kid homeopathically and the kid is fine, that's ok, but if the kid dies, it's neglect? How is that different than mandating (what is in the US, at least) very expensive medical care and allowing the state the right to decide how a child should be cared for?

Should a woman be charged with neglect and possibly jailed if her child dies at home during a homebirth? The standard care in the US is a hospital birth, so I can see that fitting nicely into your definition of neglect from wikipedia.

You're reaching. Homebirth has nothing to do with a child who is knowingly ill and not receiving any form of effective treatment or oversight. If a child dies because a homebirth parent fails to get treatment for them after finding that the child is ill, it has nothing to do with a homebirth, but the fact that they failed to care for their sick baby. And yes, if a child is treated homeopathically and is fine, the parents are not neglecting to give them the care they needed to make them healthy. How is that hard to understand?

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

Why does the government only care about the child after she's dead and they're looking for someone to blame?

ETA: Of course it's a big government issue. It's the government determining retroactively whether or not parents parented appropriately since they chose alternative medical care. You don't see that as the government getting involved in parenting choices?

Because we frown on people getting involved in everyday parenting decisions. There is a certain level of freedom expected and provided in this country. I also agree with whoever said social services should have been called. If a child is obviously sick and malnourished, someone needs to look into the situation (just like we do with cases of obvious physical abuse). They try to butt out for as long as they can until it's obvious. But, the state can't check out a problem situation if they don't know about it.

Let's say I make the choice not to feed my child much because I am afraid he'll get fat. I go to a check-up and the doc says, "You know, your child has lost quite a bit of weight. I'm really concerned about his health. I'd like you to get his blood levels checked and increase his food consumption." I choose to ignore this advice because I'm the parent and can make my own parenting decisions. I feel very strongly about not allowing my child to become overweight because it's a major issue in my family. My child dies from malnutrition (or because he's too weak to fight off an infection, since that fits the analogy better). The government would be well within its rights to consider the particulars of my case and determine that I was neglectful. That's not big government.

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This family clearly sought medical attention. How else could bronchitis have been diagnosed or the recommendation for hospitalization be made?

If a child doesn't get the chickenpox vaccine, gets the chickepox and dies shortly thereafter, too quickly to be transported for medical care, is the parent negligent?

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"MommyJannah" wrote:

You're reaching. Homebirth has nothing to do with a child who is knowingly ill and not receiving any form of effective treatment or oversight. If a child dies because a homebirth parent fails to get treatment for them after finding that the child is ill, it has nothing to do with a homebirth, but the fact that they failed to care for their sick baby. And yes, if a child is treated homeopathically and is fine, the parents are not neglecting to give them the care they needed to make them healthy. How is that hard to understand?

Yes!

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"MommyJannah" wrote:

You're reaching. Homebirth has nothing to do with a child who is knowingly ill and not receiving any form of effective treatment or oversight. If a child dies because a homebirth parent fails to get treatment for them after finding that the child is ill, it has nothing to do with a homebirth, but the fact that they failed to care for their sick baby. And yes, if a child is treated homeopathically and is fine, the parents are not neglecting to give them the care they needed to make them healthy. How is that hard to understand?

I'm not reaching at all. We're talking about refusing the standard of medical care for a child and that child's subsequent death being neglect. That is no different than if a child dies during a homebirth. They are both acute health care situations where the child may have survived if they were receiving standard medical care.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

This family clearly sought medical attention. How else could bronchitis have been diagnosed or the recommendation for hospitalization be made?

If a child doesn't get the chickenpox vaccine, gets the chickepox and dies shortly thereafter, too quickly to be transported for medical care, is the parent negligent?

It's weird to me that they sought medical attention, but didn't take the advice of the doctors. Why didn't they go to an osteopath, who might have been able to direct their course of treatment better? Or, if they did go to an osteopath, why would they ignore THAT docs recommendation to get to a hospital? Does that seem strange to anyone else?

Instant (or nearly so) death doesn't strike me as a negligence issue. Isn't a finding of neglect usually a pattern of behavior?

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"b525" wrote:

Because we frown on people getting involved in everyday parenting decisions. There is a certain level of freedom expected and provided in this country. I also agree with whoever said social services should have been called. If a child is obviously sick and malnourished, someone needs to look into the situation (just like we do with cases of obvious physical abuse). They try to butt out for as long as they can until it's obvious. But, the state can't check out a problem situation if they don't know about it.

Let's say I make the choice not to feed my child much because I am afraid he'll get fat. I go to a check-up and the doc says, "You know, your child has lost quite a bit of weight. I'm really concerned about his health. I'd like you to get his blood levels checked and increase his food consumption." I choose to ignore this advice because I'm the parent and can make my own parenting decisions. I feel very strongly about not allowing my child to become overweight because it's a major issue in my family. My child dies from malnutrition (or because he's too weak to fight off an infection, since that fits the analogy better). The government would be well within its rights to consider the particulars of my case and determine that I was neglectful. That's not big government.

Sure it's big government.

I know it's fun to play armchair quarterback and all, but what do you think the point of jailing a parent after their child dies (when it's not a homicide) is? It's to punish the parents who are already being punished because their kid is dead but more to affect the parenting decisions of others. It's all about sending other parents the message that alternatives to standard medical care are unacceptable and god forbid something bad happens to your kid, we will send you to prison.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

Sure it's big government.

I know it's fun to play armchair quarterback and all, but what do you think the point of jailing a parent after their child dies (when it's not a homicide) is? It's to punish the parents who are already being punished because their kid is dead but more to affect the parenting decisions of others. It's all about sending other parents the message that alternatives to standard medical care are unacceptable and god forbid something bad happens to your kid, we will send you to prison.

Maybe it's to say that, if your child is obviously sick and your methods aren't working, maybe you should try something else?

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"b525" wrote:

It's weird to me that they sought medical attention, but didn't take the advice of the doctors. Why didn't they go to an osteopath, who might have been able to direct their course of treatment better? Or, if they did go to an osteopath, why would they ignore THAT docs recommendation to get to a hospital? Does that seem strange to anyone else?

Instant (or nearly so) death doesn't strike me as a negligence issue. Isn't a finding of neglect usually a pattern of behavior?

I hear people on this exact website all the time talk about going to the doctor and not liking the advice they got, so they're going to ignore it. About how doctors don't know anything and that parents should do their own research and make their own medical decisions based on that. I think it's strange, but it's clearly not uncommon.

If a child dies of a preventable disease where the parents elected to not allow that child access to the prevention, how is that not a pattern of behavior and neglect?

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

Sure it's big government.

I know it's fun to play armchair quarterback and all, but what do you think the point of jailing a parent after their child dies (when it's not a homicide) is? It's to punish the parents who are already being punished because their kid is dead but more to affect the parenting decisions of others. It's all about sending other parents the message that alternatives to standard medical care are unacceptable and god forbid something bad happens to your kid, we will send you to prison.

I do want to say, just because I thought of it, that in my time on the debate board, I think this is the first time we've disagreed. I'm a bit uncomfortable. ROFL Blum 3

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"b525" wrote:

Maybe it's to say that, if your child is obviously sick and your methods aren't working, maybe you should try something else?

If that was the message they were trying to send, it would be sent before the child died. After the kid's dead, it's too late to change course on your medical treatments, no?

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