Doctors call for investigation into naturopath who testified in child's meningitis death

An Alberta naturopath is being investigated for her role in treating a toddler who died of meningitis. Dr. Michelle Cohen asked The College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta to investigate, in a letter signed by 43 doctors.
David and Collet Stephan were found guilty of failing to provide the necessaries of life to 19-month-old Ezekiel, who treated him with hot peppers, garlic, onions and horseradish before he died of bacterial meningitis. (Facebook)
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An Alberta naturopath, who testified in court about a child's meningitis death, is being investigated for her role in treating the toddler.

The court found Ezekiel Stephan's parents responsible for his death, for failing to provide the boy the necessities of life. 

David and Collet Stephan leave the courthouse in Lethbridge April 26, 2016 surrounded by family and supporters after being found guilty of failing to provide the necessaries of life in the death of their 19-month-old son Ezekiel in March 2012. (David Rossiter/The Canadian Press)

The 19-month-old died of bacterial meningitis in March, 2012 after being treated with natural remedies.

Ezekiel Stephan died in 2012 from meningitis. (Facebook)

Now a group of doctors has asked a regulatory body in Alberta, where the family lived, to investigate the conduct of Tracey Tannis, the naturopath who David and Collet Stephan consulted when their son was ill.

To me it seemed as though there was a real accountability gap in what had been going on in terms of the naturopath's care of this child.- Dr. Michelle Cohen, family physician

Dr. Michelle Cohen drafted the open letter to the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta (CNDA), which was signed by 43 physicians.

"To me it seemed as though there was a real accountability gap in what had been going on in terms of the naturopath's care of this child," Dr. Cohen tells As it Happens host Carol Off. 

Cohen says the CNDA has already responded to her concerns. It is treating the letter as an official complaint, which will be investigated.

She believes that the naturopath should be investigated for "some sort of role" in Ezekiel's death, and says only an investigation can determine what that was. 

"Someone had told (the mother) this would be a good treatment for your child and it wasn't and ultimately it was a few days later he died." says Cohen, who practices family medicine in Brighton, Ontario.

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