Calgary

Pediatric specialist calls CT scan of toddler's brain one of the 'most devastating' she's seen

Dr. Shauna Burkholder testified Thursday at the trial of David and Collet Stephan on one count each of failing to provide the necessaries of life for their son, 19-month-old Ezekiel Stephan.

Doctor who directed the care of Ezekiel Stephan for hours suspected bacterial meningitis

David and Collet Stephan were found guilty in a court in Lethbridge, Alta., in 2016 of failing to provide the necessaries of life to 19-month-old Ezekiel. They treated him with hot peppers, garlic, onions and horseradish before he died of bacterial meningitis. (Facebook)

A pediatric critical care specialist says the results of a CT scan on the brain of a boy whose parents are on trial in his death was one of the "most devastating" she had ever seen.

Dr. Shauna Burkholder was testifying Thursday at the trial of David and Collet Stephan on one count each of failing to provide the necessaries of life for their son, 19-month-old Ezekiel Stephan.

They treated the toddler with alternative and natural medicines instead of seeking medical assistance right away.

A medical examiner has previously testified that Ezekiel died of bacterial meningitis and a lung infection in 2012.

Burkholder testified that she directed the boy's care for hours when he was flown to Calgary Children's Hospital from Lethbridge.

The Crown is seeking to have Burkholder declared an expert witness at the judge-alone trial and her comments have not yet been entered as evidence.

Burkholder was asked by the Crown about her diagnosis of the boy.

She testified that the CT scan and blood tests in combination with her physical exam and speaking with the Stephans led her to believe that Ezekiel likely had bacterial meningitis.

At this point in the voir dire, David Stephan, who is representing himself, challenged Burkholder's qualifications and ability to accurately read a CT scan.

His cross-examination of Burkholder is to continue Friday.

It is the second trial for the Stephans. A jury found them guilty in 2016, but the Supreme Court overturned the convictions last year and ordered a new trial.