When 19-month-old Ezekiel Stephan contracted bacterial meningitis, his religious, anti-vaxxer parents refused to seek medical treatment.
Instead, they "treated" the boy at home with an odd combination of maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and ginger root. Ezekiel's parents, David and Collet, are Mormons from Canada who own a small business called Truehope Nutritional Report. The couple not only sells homeopathic remedies, but uses them to care for their four small children, none of whom are vaccinated.
A few days after falling ill, Ezekiel stopped breathing. His parents finally called 911, but it was too late. After five days on life support, Ezekiel Stephan died.
While Collet researched and called a nurse about her son's condition, David adamantly refused medical intervention. Instead, he fed Ezekiel his company's flagship product, EMPowerplus, which he claims cures everything from infections to autism to ADHD. Health Canada has already filed one complaint against the product.
As disturbing as that is, the entire situation could have been avoided if Ezekiel had been vaccinated.
Vaccines have saved more lives in the last 50 years than any other medical procedure or product. However, parents are still able to keep their children from receiving them by claiming "religious exemption."
Why would any parent opt out of life-saving preventative treatments? Part of the problem is the presence of high-profile anti-vaxxers like Jenny McCarthy. Despite having zero medical or scientific training, McCarthy's claims that vaccinations cause autism have become popular among parents.
There's absolutely no proof that this is true (especially since the "study" they all cite was proven to be fraudulent years ago), but guess what is proven? Vaccines save lives!
David was sentenced to four months in jail for his negligence, while Collet served three months of house arrest. They've also been ordered to take their remaining three children to a doctor once a year and to a public health nurse every three months.
At sentencing, the Honorable Judge Rodney Jerke said, "Any prudent person would have taken action. [David] loved his son, but to this day refuses to accept his actions played any role in Ezekiel's death. David's moral culpability is greater than Collet's."
However, after just three weeks behind bars, David was released for good behavior. He was met with the support of other anti-vaxxer parents. It's terrifying to look at this image and know that any one of these children could fall deathly ill or cause the death of another sick child.
What do you think? Do you vaccinate your kids? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!
Personally, I trust the know-how of scientists and doctors who save lives every day with the help of vaccines!