Calgary

'I never thought he had anything I couldn't treat,' says Tamara Lovett of son Ryan who died of infections

The mother who treated her son with dandelion tea and oil of oregano before he died of a strep infection told court Monday she didn't realize how serious his illness was.

Defence began arguing case Monday with mother saying she thought son only had cold and flu

Tamara Lovett, 47, is on trial for charges of criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessaries of life to her son, Ryan Lovett. (Facebook/YouTube)

The mother who treated her son with dandelion tea and oil of oregano before he died of a strep infection told court Monday she didn't realize how serious his illness was.

Tamara Lovett, 47, testified for the first time in the second week of her trial in Calgary on charges of criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessaries of life to her son, Ryan Alexander Lovett.

Seven-year-old Ryan was found dead on March 2, 2013, by paramedics who were called to the family's home after his mother called 911.

"I just thought I was dealing with the cold and flu. I didn't realize where he was at in what is now on the autopsy report," Lovett said, saying she'd also treated him with tea tree oil, garlic oil and a potato poultice.

"He started complaining of an earache. I just figured he had water in his ear," she said. "I just treated that with a heat compress, olive oil, garlic, cotton balls. Garlic is a natural anti-bacterial agent."

Lovett also testified that when Ryan was sick and complaining about pain in his groin he still wasn't that sick. "He wasn't bed, bed, bed, bedridden."

"I never thought he had anything I couldn't treat. I never expected him to do anything but get better," said Lovett, who cried, rocking back and forth while looking at the floor.

"I failed. I failed because I didn't know."

Lovett told the courtroom that she turned away from traditional medicine after battling clinical depression and having bad experiences with prescription medicine.

She told court that the last time she saw a family doctor was when she was pregnant with her first son in the late 1990s. That son lives with his grandparents.

Downward spiral 

Lovett said that at that time, she had a Bachelor of Arts degree and was working as a legal assistant but felt burned out.

That started a downward spiral of psychosis, she told court. "I became extremely suicidal."

She said she quit the medication cold turkey.

"That's when I turned to alternative medicine."

By the time paramedics and police arrived at the apartment building and found him lying in a hallway, the boy was covered in vomit and cold to the touch.

Ryan had been sick for several weeks and his health had deteriorated in the 10 days before his death, according to evidence presented at the trial.

Death could have been prevented

The boy ultimately died of a strep infection, doctors say.

He ultimately died of massive organ failure, suffering from meningitis, pneumonia and a strep infection.

Dr. Taj Jadavji testified last week that Ryan's death could have been prevented with "a very simple penicillin" early on to address the strep infection.

Lovett was taken into police custody and interviewed the day Ryan died.

With files from Jennifer Lee and The Canadian Press

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