Debunking "Alternative" Medicine

Convicted Quack Who Killed Her Son Might Escape Punishment

Ryan died just seven years old after his mother, Tamara Lovett, had refused to get him medical attention from his severe Group A strep infection in 2013. Instead of seeking real medical aid, she gave her son dandelion tea, oil of oregano and other fake alternative medicine products.

The boy had meningitis and pneumonia and although the mother felt that he was getting better, Ryan’s health was worsening and he eventually died due to multiple organ failure. The court came to the verdict that the mother knew how sick her child was, but refused to seek medical attention. A doctor testifying at the trial stated that a simple course of antibiotics could have saved Ryan.

Lovett was convicted of failing to provide the necessaries of life and negligence causing death in early 2017.

Now she could avoid any legal punishment due to delays in the criminal justice systems.

What happened?

Ryan, aged seven, became sick with Group A strep infection. His mother gave her son different kinds of fake “treatments”, such as oil of oregano and dandelion tea because she did not accept mainstream medicine. Over a period of ten days, Ryan developed pneumonia, meningitis and multiple organ failure. Tamara found her son dead outside the bathroom on March 2 of 2013 and made a chilling 911 call to the authorities. Ryan did not have a birth certificate and had never been to a hospital in all of his life. She was convicted in early 2017 for failing to provide the necessaries of life and negligence causing death. Sentencing was originally supposed to take place in June, but due to delays it was postponed to September.

Mother regrets her decisions, but far too late

During the September 21 sentencing hearing, the mother explains that she has now come to the realization that she was mistaken. She calls herself ignorant and that she no longer holds the same beliefs that she did when she used quackery to “treat” her son of a serious disease. Her was her statement:

Every day I punish myself; I think about Ryan and I blame myself for not knowing better and for holding limiting beliefs that ultimately led to the death of my child. At the time, I thought I was doing the best for my child. And although I have lost faith in myself and can’t begin to forgive myself, I hope others learn from my ignorance because these beliefs are no longer entrenched in my psyche and this has been a painful lesson.

“Every moment of every day is a reminder of what I’ve lost. I loved my children, and as any single mother can attest, I wanted the best for them. I believed I was doing what was the best at that time. I now know better. Forgive me for my ignorance. It has cost me a loving son and there is a pain which will last forever. And at the end of the day, it’s all about Ryan, it’s not about me, and I am so sorry.

Although it is good that she has finally come to the realization that her decision to rely on useless quackery instead of real medicine killed her son, this is far too late. Had she applied a tiny bit of critical thinking and an appreciation for science, her son would still have been alive. Had she accepted mainstream medicine and just gone to a doctor, her son would have been alive. Had she even just asked a credible friend or family member who has not in her alternative medicine bubble and followed their advice to seek medical help, her son would have been alive. Her realization came at a much to high price: the price of Ryan’s life.

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Ultimately, Tamara could no longer hold on to the illusion of quackery. The terrible consequence of her beliefs and actions shook her from her ignorant worldview. This is in stark contrast to another Canadian case involving Ezekiel Stephan who got killed by his parents David and Collet who relied on quackery. To this day, they refuse to give up their support of alternative medicine and insist that they are innocent. David and Collet were convicted, both sides appealed, David keeps pushing naturopathy quackery, appeal trials has started.

Mother could escape justice entirely

Now Tamara Lovett might entire escape any punishment for her crime after government delays. The defense attorney requested a psychiatric evaluation, which was granted by the judge Justice Kristine Eidsvik. The sentencing was originally supposed to happen during the middle of June, but has been postponed to September. This was because there was a delay in the psychiatric report. The judge expressed some frustration on the delay, which Crown Prosecutor blames on Alberta Health Services as he submitted the request immediately. The results of the delayed psychiatric evaluation indicated that “grief-stricken for failing her son.” and that “Lovett is socially isolated and feels helpless and hopeless.” The prosecutor is aiming for four to five years in prison.

However, the Supreme Court of Canada decided (R v Jordan, 2016, cache, cache) on a set of guidelines for determining when criminal trials has gone on for so long as to violate the legal rights of the defendant, which states that there is a ceiling of 18 months or provincial courts and 30 months for superior courts. These limits apply even if the defendant, like in the case of Lovett, has already been convicted. The lawyer for the defendant will argue in court that the constitutional rights of Lovett has been violated because of time delays. Lovett was initially charged in late 2013 and the trial began three years later. If the judge buys into this line of argument and blames the delay on the government, the entire case would halt and nothing else would happen. The expected decision is November 17.

In other words, Lovett would not be sentenced and thus completely evade any punishment for her crimes. A mother who has convicted of neglecting her mortally sick child to death would escape justice entirely.


Debunker of pseudoscience.

2 thoughts on “Convicted Quack Who Killed Her Son Might Escape Punishment

  • She just got sentenced to three years in prison. Whether she’ll actually do the entire three years remains to be seen.

  • Lots of people become fine upstanding citizens with plenty of remorse for their actions. When they are facing jail terms.

    I wonder if this is a lifelong conversion or one that that will revert back to its original as soon as those views are no longer a threat to the jail survival concerns of the individual?

    3 years. That usually means 1-1.5 years in actual time served. If this woman actually has seen the light, she will become a lifelong fighter of alt med quackery. Only then, would I be convinced of our jail term conversion.

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