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What’s the harm? A child dies a preventable death from an ear infection

A common question, rhetorical or otherwise, that skeptics are asked about alternative medicine is, “What’s the harm?” It’s seemingly an effective ploy for some modalities, so much so that years ago Tim Farley felt obligated to try to answer the question on a website (whatstheharm.net) that catalogues examples of the harm alternative medicine, supernatural and paranormal beliefs, and other pseudoscience do. After all, most homeopathy (at least anything diluted greater than around 12C, at least) is water, without any remaining remedy, effective or otherwise. On the other hand, some homeopathic remedies are adulterated, and some of the “less potent” (i.e., less dilute) remedies might actually have something in them. (homeopathic belladonna for teething babies, anyone?) Moreover, there can be grave harm when the use of ineffective alternative therapies keeps a person from using effective medical therapy. We have seen this over the years, for example, when parents following religions that do not believe in medicine and tell their adherents to rely solely on god for healing, which, sadly, does not work so well for diabetic ketoacidosis, pneumonia, or leukemia. Dead children, however, do not appear to deter belief in such quackery.

File this one as another example of “What’s the harm?” Behold the sad, sad case of Ebed and Christine Delozier and their 18-month-old daughter Hope Elizabeth Delozier, who died in February:

According to a criminal affidavit from Magisterial District Judge Fred Wheaton’s Office, the couple was staying at a camper along Hiduk Road in Herrick Township, a property owned by the Hope Baptist Church. Ebed Delozier brought the toddler to the hospital, who was found to be in cardiac arrest.

Despite efforts made by the medical staff to save her, the child was pronounced dead a short time later. No immediate cause of death was noted.

Criminal investigators were told by a registered nurse on staff that the victim’s mother, Christine Delozier, and aunt, Rebecca Delozier, arrived at the hospital shortly after the victim. The nurse said that the victim’s parents made it clear they were against antibiotics and other chemicals associated with modern medicine.

While emergency room staff worked on the toddler, who was not breathing, the nurse said she overheard Christine Delozier making statements such as, “You’re putting holes in her” and, “You’re putting chemicals in her.”

Yes, the doctors at the emergency room were doing exactly that—to try to save the toddler’s life! In the case of a cardiac arrest, if there’s any hope at all of reversing the situation and saving the victim’s life, it involves some rather radical, invasive medicine. So how did Hope reach this state? It started with an ear infection:

The nurse said that while speaking with the family, they related the child had been sick for two weeks and was displaying symptoms consistent with an earache, headache and a fever. She told police the family indicated they had been treating the little girl with a homeopathic approach and were using herbal treatments to care for her.

Although most children recover from otitis media, which is what Hope appears to have had, and mild cases don’t even require antibiotics, the key to treating children with mild otitis media is close followup, because antibiotics become necessary if the child doesn’t get better quickly and especially if the child’s symptoms worsen, as Hope’s did. In cases of severe otitis media, antibiotics are still necessary, and sometimes tympanostomy tubes are even required. That’s because, if left untreated, severe otitis media can result in a variety of complications, including but not limited to:

  • Chronic suppurative otitis media
  • Postauricular abscess
  • Facial nerve paresis (paralysis of the facial nerve)
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Mastoiditis
  • Temporal abscess
  • Intracranial abscess
  • Meningitis
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak

Unfortunately, of these Hope developed one of the most severe complications:

An autopsy performed on March 26 at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, NY, conducted by Dr. James Terzian, indicated that the 18-month-old toddler had died of “streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis”, which caused a cerebral abscess and terminal cerebral edema. The meningitis reportedly originated in a left ear infection, which had been left untreated by conventional antibiotic therapy.

Dr. Terzian noted “a simple antibiotic would have saved the victim’s life.”

Based upon these findings, Bradford County Coroner Thomas Carman ruled the death as a homicide.

Yes, this child died of something that could almost certainly have been prevented with a bit of that old evil “Western medicine” in the form of amoxicillin. Moreover, the child was sick for approximately three weeks before her death, and, given the severity of her condition, likely suffered horribly, first from pain in the ear and then from the symptoms of advancing meningitis that led to an intracranial abscess and swelling of the brain. Given that the child was being treated with only homeopathic remedies, her illness and death proceeded without treatment even to ease her symptoms. The mother reported that her child had had fevers ranging from 99° to 103° F during that time with occasional vomiting. Five days before her death, the child started draining fluid from her ear, most likely from an ear abscess having ruptured through the tympanic membrane. Finally:

Delozier kept treating the child with natural and herbal treatments to boost her immune system. On the day of the toddler’s death, Delozier laid the little girl down for a nap. Roughly one hour later, she observed her daughter’s breathing to be labored and shallow, taking one breath approximately every 10 seconds. The toddler eventually stopped breathing and went limp.

“I watched her die,” Delozier told police.

She performed CPR on the victim for approximately 30 minutes, at which time Ebed Delozier arrived home and took the child to the emergency room.

By which time it was far, far too late to save Hope. After 30 minutes of CPR and a trip to the emergency room, she had almost certainly sustained, at minimum, severe neurological damage and was most likely dead by the time she reached the emergency room. Another thought comes to mind: WTF was Delozier thinking as her daughter’s breathing slowed to 6 breaths/minute. Didn’t she figure out that something was very, very wrong at that point? Her story implies that, at some level, she must have realized that something was very wrong. It’s not clear how long she watched her daughter’s breathing, but it sounds like the Cushing reflex, which occurs in response to increased intracranial pressure and involves increased blood pressure, lowered pulse, and slower, irregular breathing. Although I don’t like citing Wikipedia for medical matters, the Wikipedia entry on the Cushing reflex has about as apt a statement of the significance of this finding as I’ve ever heard: “Whenever a Cushing reflex occurs, there is a high probability that death will occur in the near future (seconds to minutes). As a result, when a Cushing reflex is detected, immediate care is needed.”

Of course, Delozier is not trained in medicine; so it’s unreasonable to expect her to recognize the Cushing reflex or realize how serious it is when someone breaths like this, but even lay people know that breathing once every ten seconds is too little, particularly if it keeps slowing down. Certainly Delozier recognized that there was something badly wrong with Hope’s breathing. If Hope had been taken to the hospital while still breathing, she might still have had a chance, although probably relatively small. Instead, Delozier did exactly as she stated, and we have no reason to doubt this part of her story. She sat there and watched her daughter die without intervening to try to stop the process.

Not surprisingly, Delozier distrusted “Western medicine,” which meant she was also antivaccine:

Interviews conducted with Christine Delozier on March 24 and March 30 found that her child had been born at home without the use of a midwife and from there on, had never seen a medical doctor, nor did she receive any vaccinations. She said her views against modern medicine stem from her childhood as she was raised without taking pills or receiving shots.

She told police she has done her own research on vaccinations and found they can be related to death, SIDS, autistic disorders, immune disorders and shaken baby syndrome. While her views are not religiously motivated, she said she does feel God is the ultimate healer.

So once again we see the toxic combination of fundamentalist religion and belief in alternative medicine resulting in the preventable suffering and death of a child who could have been saved with the fairly straightforward use of an antibiotic. True, in this case, religion appears to have played a supporting role rather than the primary role, but it’s clear it was important. Be that as it may, unfortunately such is the power of beliefs like this that even now, three and a half months after Hope’s death, Christine Delozier has learned nothing and knows nothing new:

Newswatch16 spoke with Christine Delozier at length at her home on Hiduk Road near Wyalusing. She declined to go on camera, but did explain her religious convictions, how she still mourns the loss of her daughter, and about her lack of trust in the American medical community.

“If doctors expect people to trust them, they need to become trustworthy,” Delozier said. “People are a lot healthier in countries where doctors aren’t paid by patients.”

With tears streaming down her face, she went on to say, “I believe the medical community is at least the third, maybe the first, leading killer in the United States.”

Wait a minute. What does she mean when she says people are a lot healthier in countries where patients aren’t paid by patients? Does she mean countries like Canada or the U.K., which have single payer systems in which the government pays its citizens’ medical expenses? It’s a pretty safe bet that, had Hope been seen by a physician in Canada or England, for example, she would have been prescribed antibiotics and treated pretty much the same way that local pediatricians in Bradford County would have treated her. The treatment of otitis media is fairly standard. As for the trope that medicine is the leading killer in the US, to me it sounds as though Ms. Delozier has been reading too much Mike Adams.

The fact is that the Deloziers’ extreme medical neglect killed their daughter. Period. Sadly, cases like this, though thankfully uncommon, aren’t nearly as unusual as they should be in the US, where a warped view of religious freedom produces an extreme deference to religious beliefs as a justification for the medical neglect children.

In fact, when I first posted this on various social media, at least a couple of people responded by pointing out to me that cases like this aren’t rare but that rather what is rare is that the parents are actually being charged with involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of children. For example, in 2009 Catherine and Herbert Schaible let one of their children die at age 2 months of a treatable pneumonia, which had developed after a cold. Even though the child got sicker and sicker, they refused to take him to a doctor because of their religious beliefs. The courts, bending over backwards not to take the rest of their children away, put the Schaibles on probation and granted them custody if they would promise to take their children to the doctor when they are ill. In 2013, another of the Schaibles’ children died in almost exactly the same manner, of pneumonia that developed after a cold. He was 7 months old.

Indeed, one can’t help but wonder whether, if the Deloziers had asserted that it was their religious belief not to use doctors or medicine (as the Schaibles, who belonged to a church that explicitly forbade its members from using conventional medicine, did) rather than saying that she just didn’t trust doctors and medicine, they would be facing the serious charges they’re facing. As it is, I highly doubt the Deloziers will ultimately serve significant jail time even if convicted. Parents who kill their children through medical neglect like this rarely do. Whatever the case, the Deloziers’ next court date is today.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

301 replies on “What’s the harm? A child dies a preventable death from an ear infection”

C. Delozier said she had “done her own research” on vaccines. In other words, she read some rumours and believed the ones that supported her original opinions.

She told police she has done her own research on vaccinations

Meanwhile in recent comments:
I believe in a parents right to research and decide what is best for their child […]
I’ve done my research on both sides. Have you?

Any concerned parent who has actually done their own objective research can see that there is a pitiful lack of un-biased study on this issue.

Christine Delozier seems to have memorised the whole script word-for-word.

the toxic combination of religion
I can’t see a great role for “religion” here (“While her views are not religiously motivated”). More like a case of “motivated spirituality”, analogous to “motivated reasoning”. Delozier felt entitled to her own facts, and went “researching” for websites that would confirm her prior believes, and in the same way she went looking for a God-the-ultimate-healer” because she’s entitled to a religion that will agree with all her beliefs.

“If doctors expect people to trust them, they need to become trustworthy,”

So her child died after a long painful, untreated illness while an abscess ate through the side of her head into her brain, and it is all someone else’s fault.
I know that people have always been stupid, but sometimes these days it seems like people have less shame about opening their mouths in public and letting the stupid out.

The end sentence of the news article points says the child was found to be “malnourished and dehydrated”. What kind of parent would ignore the fact their child is too ill to eat or drink?

A tragic story.

Based upon these findings, Bradford County Coroner Thomas Carman ruled the death as a homicide.

Definitively “homicide par imprudence”, as we say in my country. Another way of saying, by behaving stupidly you killed people around you.

she has done her own research on vaccinations and found they can be related to death, SIDS, autistic disorders, immune disorders and shaken baby syndrome.

“shaken baby syndrome”
Holy cow. Here we go again.

*sending a stream of French expletives toward Buttar and other child abuse apologists*

What’s the harm, indeed? Just other people taking your sh!t seriously and getting afraid of life-saving treatments.

I can confirm that over here with our socialistic NHS (while we still have it) the standard treatment for otitis media is antibiotics, like what I was prescribed last year when I had it.

And if I had been in Merkinania I would happily have paid for the same thing, ‘cos it works…

But I am a retired nurse and so obviously a Big Pharma Shill, so I would say that, wouldn’t I?

“If doctors expect people to trust them, they need to become trustworthy,” Delozier said. “People are a lot healthier in countries where doctors aren’t paid by patients.”

With tears streaming down her face, she went on to say, “I believe the medical community is at least the third, maybe the first, leading killer in the United States.”
_____
Pardon my French, Mrs, Delozier, but f*ck you, you baby-killing cretin. You sat there and watched your baby Cheyne-Stoke for God knows how long while you sat on your ass and did nothing.

Rot in prison. Rot in hell, since you’re so religious.

She performed CPR?

I doubt it was anything remotely close to CPR.

Chronic suppurative otitis media

Side note, we French had a king with this condition, and a few co-morbidity, including epilepsis. Historical chroniclers agreed his medical conditions didn’t improve his character.
Coincidentally, he was the one who ordered the St-Bartholemy slaughter.

Actually, I will stop beating around the bush and try to be more precise:
It’s chaffing at me that people who expressed – and still express – fears of vaccines/medical treatments inducing neurological damages ended up letting a real infection with real risks of neurological damages run wild on their defenseless baby.

And it’s not as if the risks of such damages were unknown, for anyone with some education.

@ hdb

So her child died after a long painful, untreated illness while an abscess ate through the side of her head into her brain, and it is all someone else’s fault.

Maybe she should sue her god, since apparently He forgot to intervene.
And the FSM will answer, “there was a frelling hospital 10 clicks away, what’s next? I have to tile your fields and empty your chamberpot myself?”

@ NH Primary Care Doc

Pardon my French, Mrs, Delozier, but f*ck you, you baby-killing cretin.

I, for one, pardon your French, and give you licence to swear more, should you wish to do so.

With tears streaming down her face, she went on to say, “I believe the medical community is at least the third, maybe the first, leading killer in the United States.”

Says someone who’s child died from being treated with homeopathy.

So, if mrs delozier was so concerned about chemicals, why in the world would she be eating or drinking anything, considering that everything we consume is a chemical?

Stories like these made me angry and sad. Sad for a child that had died needlessly, angry that a parent caused the death, even if indirectly. What makes me more furious is that it could have been completely preventable, and that the mother saw the child declining yet did nothing to help the child, then when medical and nursing staff was trying to save the child’s life, she had the gall to complain.

I doubt it was anything remotely close to CPR.

Probably true, although the father apparently had some EMT training. Perhaps the mother had taken a BLS course or something. Who knows? It doesn’t affect the outcome.

“People are a lot healthier in countries where doctors aren’t paid by patients.”

The unavoidable implication is that if only the US had followed a different model for paying doctors, Delozier would have allowed her child to receive exactly the same medical care that she refused out of deep philosophical principle. The rigidity of her principles apparently vary with the funding model.
That makes no sense at all, but has the advantage that it’s someone else’s fault.

So, vaccinations are now linked to shaken baby syndrome? Someone shakes the hell outta their kid in a fit of rage, enough so that the child is badly injured, and the vaccine did it? I thought I’d heard (read) just about everything.

No, wait. A mother that let her child die horribly from a treatable condition cries and says the medical community is the biggest killer she knows. The complete lack of self awareness and accountability is gobsmacking. Unbelievable.

I am a little confused by Orac’s jump to attacking religion in this case. Like commenter #2, this murder appears to be due to the organic fallacy that natural is better and chemicals are evil.

Interviews conducted with Christine Delozier on March 24 and March 30 found that her child had been born at home without the use of a midwife and from there on, had never seen a medical doctor, nor did she receive any vaccinations. She said her views against modern medicine stem from her childhood as she was raised without taking pills or receiving shots.

How does she know what modern medicine is like if she has had no experience with it? This paragraph implies that Christine might not have ever seen a doctor. It also tells us that she’s a second-generation anti-vax loon. Is she young enough to have been able to attend school with a philosophical objection waiver on her parents’ part, or was she home schooled?

And what about her husband? I didn’t see anything in the post regarding his views. Does he share her mistrust of (or lack of experience with) doctors? Did he try to do anything to get Hope treated sooner, and was overruled by Christine, or did he go along with it?

@SelenaWolf

Put shaken baby syndrome into the search box of this blog. You’ll find a number of stories where anti-vaccine folks have tried to blame SBS on vaccines in an effort to exonerate some parents. The most famous example is Alan Yurko.

@Eric Lund

Not sure about Mr. Delozier’s views, though I did find his FB page, as well as a couple police reports from 2013 and 2014 for DUIs. The DUI reports were for an Ebed S. Delozier of Falls, PA. Could be a different Ebed S. Delozier than the one in Orac’s post, but I doubt it.

Todd, I am guessingthe same Ebed S Delozier. One news report I read stated he was not bailed due to an outstanding warrant. It also quoted him as stating, in somewhat unconvincing fashion, that he agreed with his wife’s opinions about medicine. My guess, goshIam doing a lot of dot joining, is that Ebed had not drunk the koolaid quite as deeply, but let his wife have her way for a quiet life.

I would suspect there is more going on here. That line about western medicine being the number one killer in America suggests to me she is suffering some form of delusions. Clearly she was totally disconnected from the world. Perhaps a postpartum mental disorder was in effect.

She believes her dead child would have been treated differently in England? To some extent that is true. I do not think she would have been allowed to not give her newborn baby any form of post-natal medical examination. I think if she had continued to refuse a check up the child would have been taken in to care by its assigned social worker and therefore still been alive today. So there would have been that much difference.

The arrogance of this woman is sickening. He ignorance barely less so. The combination is toxic.

That line about western medicine being the number one killer in America suggests to me she is suffering some form of delusions

If Ms Delozier is deluded then it is a delusion shared by Mike Adams and his countless acolytes; it is a delusion repeated across bulletin boards and the Faceborg; it is a very profitable delusion from the perspective of quacks and grifters, and one that they encourage.
When a delusion is sufficiently widespread it is a symptom of our shared human stupidity, rather than of individual post-partum psychosis.

I wonder if the strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae was one of those covered by Prevnar (you know, one of the evil childhood vaccines).

I seem to be more emotional the past couple days (over tired from a busy weekend, I think). I am sitting here crying for a baby I never knew. Mr Woo is a bit disgusted (strong believer in antibiotics; his woo is intermittent, and usually based on the fact woo assures you they “cure” while medicine only “treats”). Part of me would feel sorry for the mother, but the fact she is three months after the fact and still has no real remorse horrified me.

Sadly, this story should be kept at hand to combat the vaccinations mean ear infections anti-gay assertion.

I don’t know what to believe… let your child die? My kid ran a fever more than two days and I was frantic for a doctor.

Stupid question – are they very poor without health insurance?

The post-partum mind disturbance seems plausible, and as a mother, so tempting. I cannot fathom watching your baby die. But as the baby got sicker, she would actually be a lot less active, sleeping more… a mentally ill mother, rather than being alarmed, might find it a relief.

Poor baby girl.

# Herr Doctor Bimler
I know that people have always been stupid, but sometimes these days it seems like people have less shame about opening their mouths in public and letting the stupid out.

When you are that ignorant you don’t even realize how stupid you sound.

On the other hand “People are a lot healthier in countries where doctors aren’t paid by patients.”
seems true if you look at OECD stats. But it does not seem to have anything to do with treatment, more likely, access to healthcare.
As they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

I always liked Shaw’s statement.
That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg, is enough to make one despair of political humanity. G. B.Shaw http://www.online-literature.com/george_bernard_shaw/doctors-dilemma/0/

The father said they couldn’t afford the medical bill for the hospital and they live in a camper on a church’s property. You have to wonder if they’re equally distrustful of government. It doesn’t sound like they have Medicaid, and are just one step above being homeless.

I would suspect there is more going on here. That line about western medicine being the number one killer in America suggests to me she is suffering some form of delusions.

She shares this delusion with at least one of her parents–note her claim that she didn’t take pills or shots when she was growing up. In an environment like that, she would think that distrust of doctors was normal. And one of the downsides of the internet is that she can easily find like-minded people, such as Mike Adams (as HDB notes above), who appear to people who don’t know better to have some credibility on the issue. I can’t rule out post-partum mental illness in Christine’s case, but her mistrust of doctors does not originate from that.

@Todd W.: Thanks, that clarifies the situation a bit. With two DUI incidents in two years, it’s likely Mr. Delozier’s driver license has been suspended or revoked, so he would not be able to take Hope to the hospital even if he thought it necessary, and if he was also a fugitive, I can understand his reluctance to call an ambulance. That doesn’t excuse his not calling somebody else for help–apparently they lived on the grounds of their church, so he could have asked the pastor or one of the other church staff (assuming he and his wife weren’t the church staff), who ought to be willing to help out in such a situation.

Certainly on certain point Mrs Delozier know more than the author of the article, (assuming the author really believe what he wrote). Indeed it is an established fact that american medicine
1) has been toroughly corrupted by pharmaceutical companies and some greedy (to a psychopathic level) doctors
2) and it has now become a major mortality cause in the USA.
Yes Mrs Delozier is very scientific on this because she could be defended by some of the world leading epidemiologists, including Dr Pete Gotzsch (co-founder of the prestigious Cochrane Collaboration group) (see his latest book: Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare). Dr Marcia Angel, former editor in chief of the New England of Medicine wrote that she has come reluctanly to the conclusion after many years at the NEJM that she cannot trust the studies she read in mainstream medical journal, just like Mrs Delozier.
Furthermore I found the harrassment against the well-meaning lady incredible, especially given the atrocious pain for this lady of losing her child.
The author of the article (who does not state if he has any link to pharmaceutical public relation firms) won’t put in contrast this rare death with other death created by anaphylactic reaction to antibiotics, and millions of death caused by pharmaceutical companies. On the whole for 1 exceptional case like Mrs Delozier child there might be 100 other cases (probably a lot lot more) that would be saved by a systematic distrust of the pharmaceutical establishment.
And while Mrs Delozier clearly had the best of intention, it is not the case with pharmaceutical who have and will continue to favor profit over customers death.
And I see no pharmaceutical CEO being charged with “homicide by imprudence” even there are dime a dozen cases cases of mass “premeditate homicide” with a clear profit motive (a recent one is Mediator in France)
A big mistake was for Mrs Deloziers to stay in the extremely toxic society that has become the USA in 2015 and move to some place where she could have found a less-corrupted medical community which could have respected and even shared some of her views while gently providing the missing knowledge and help that might have saved her child.
As the jews in the nazi germany have learn the hard way, it is sometime imperative to leave a toxic country

I am going to make my standard observation for such cases:

Notice that ‘Dumbfuck A’ on the left is wearing glasses. These people believe their god is ‘the great healer’ yet won’t even trust their own myopia to said healer. But their daughter’s bacterial meningitis clearly run amok? No problem, they’ll sit back and do nothing.

Which to me, this reveals an extreme narcissism on the part of the parents. I’ve noticed that these healing cult adherents almost always wear glasses; i.e. they aren’t willing to experiment their ‘faith’ on themselves.

If it were them slowly dying, I highly doubt the would have just sat there and let nature take its’ course. But their defenseless daughter whose wellbeing is dependent on them? Sure, they’re willing to go Holy Roller on her.

Evil. Pure evil.

What the fuck! I hope all of their other children are taken to safe homes, and never allowed to be near their relatives ever again. How do you not notice a toddler in that much distress? Why do anti-vax parents even have kids? Is it just for the social points?

Personal story: me and little sis at about fiveish and three got ear infections. We were in pain and spent most of that time screaming. We got treated quick, because our parents actually cared. Of course, we subsequently made their lives a misery because the antibiotic was awful (and little brother got in on the action because he thought the anti-biotic was a special Big Kid thing.)

I once talked to somebody very much against “Western medicine”, who told me that she’d never give her children antibiotics. When I asked about treatment for, say, an infection, her response was that she’d cure them by squirting breast milk wherever the infection was (I swear I’m not making this up.)

This was in an online forum 5 or 6 years ago. I wish I could find it. There were a lot of crazy statements on that same line.

(the breast milk thing came from her belief, which I know I’ve heard other places, that she doesn’t need to vaccinate because breast milk provides antibodies. Then I asked about other things kids are taken to doctors for, like ear infections, and she mentioned breast milk with that too.)

There’s more going on here than mere distrust of “modern medicine”. I trust modern medicine; but if my kid was in this much pain and unable to eat and drink, and modern medicine had failed to cure him, I would try anything – anything! – to make him feel better. That includes homeopathy and chicken sacrifice. Watching you kid suffer and die while not doing anything is not normal.

(waving at Helianthus: salut, fellow countryman! Homicide par imprudence is manslaughter, if I’m not mistaken)

It takes a special level of evil to dismiss the death of a child. Oh look, there’s Johnny @35, right on cue.

Herbert from Canada:

Indeed it is an established fact that american medicine…has now become a major mortality cause in the USA.

Citation needed. Citation needed that Medicine is a “major mortality cause”. Citation needed that patient outcomes would have been better without medical treatment.

The author of the article (who does not state if he has any link to pharmaceutical public relation firms)

Pharma Shill Gambit. Oh, and if you click on Orac’s name at the top of the page, you’ll be taken to his “About” page, which will tell you all you need to know.

this rare death with other death created by anaphylactic reaction to antibiotics, and millions of death caused by pharmaceutical companies.

As I said before, citation needed.

” warped view of religious freedom produces an extreme deference to religious beliefs as a justification for the medical neglect children.”
While cultural deference toward faith is certainly part of the reason so few cases of religiously motivated medical neglect are prosecuted, I don’t think that it is the only or even primary factor in the failure to hold the guilty responsible. When parents who love their child lose that child due to their ignorance, there is a tendency for observers to say two things: 1) “they have suffered enough already.” and 2) “they didn’t know any better so it’s not really their fault.”

Congratulations, Johnny! You’ve identified one real, serious adverse event associated with one vaccine used during a single seasonal flu season–albeit one with an very low incidence rate (1 cses per every 1000 inocculations). By compariosn, note that the overall clinical fatality ratio’s associated with influenza infection in the Untied Kingdom was 0.4 per 1000 infections over the same time period–20 times higher–and within specific at risk groups much higher (for example, 1.5 fatalities per 1000 in indviduals aged 65 or older.)

Of course, public health agencies rapidly acted to withdraw the vaccine from use, and to investigate whether other 2009 and later seasonal flu vaccines containing the same A(H1N1)pdm09 virus strain were associated with increased risk of narcolepsy (they were not–see http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2014/10/15/WNL.0000000000000987.short)

So if your argument is that the 2009 Pandremix flu vaccine was associated with a severe adverse event occurring at a very low incidence rate, you’ve succeeded.

Other than that, though…

Johnny-

Running away from our conversation yesterday on SBM, I see. I’ve posted several questions for you that you have conveniently ignored. I’m patiently waiting… but then again that’s your MO. Make claims you can’t support, then run away, only to return the next day with the nice memory hole where the rebuttals resided…

Another success story for homeopathy.

Key paragraph from the story

She told police she has done her own research on vaccinations and found they can be related to death, SIDS, autistic disorders, immune disorders and shaken baby syndrome. While her views are not religiously motivated, she said she does feel God is the ultimate healer.

This is not really a case of medical neglect.Deliozer is just another rabid antivaxer.A graduate of Google U.She is no different than the crazies that post at Age of Autism.

I really feel sorry for this poor child.I have some idea what she went through.I had recurring inner ear infections for many years.Well into adulthood.I did develop labyrinthitis,that mostly eventually improved.I found out eventually that my ear infections were just one manifestation of a cellular immune deficiency secondary to inborn metabolic disease.

Antivaccine beliefs kill children.It’s as simple as that.

@Todd W. #16

“Put shaken baby syndrome into the search box of this blog. You’ll find a number of stories where anti-vaccine folks have tried to blame SBS on vaccines in an effort to exonerate some parents. The most famous example is Alan Yurko.”

Good gawd. I have no words after reading …

While cultural deference toward faith is certainly part of the reason so few cases of religiously motivated medical neglect are prosecuted, I don’t think that it is the only or even primary factor in the failure to hold the guilty responsible. When parents who love their child lose that child due to their ignorance, there is a tendency for observers to say two things: 1) “they have suffered enough already.” and 2) “they didn’t know any better so it’s not really their fault.”

Although religion is probably not the primary motivator in this case (as it was for the Schaibles, for instance), it clearly is a factor. (If I were the defense attorney, I’d build a case based on parental rights and religious freedom, because that’s the only one that might work.) Also, there does tend to be more of a reluctance to prosecute parents who lose a child as a result of their belief in religion—but only if it’s a good, Judeo-Christian religion, no matter how nutty the fundamentalist sect is. No such deference, I will admit, is given for fringe religions that are not offshoots of the dominant Judeo-Christian religious paradigm. (For instance, imagine someone who is Muslim justifying her actions with respect to refusing conventional medicine based on her religion. I doubt the deference would be anywhere near as great.)

Still, you make good points, but you forgot yet another reason for deference. Parental rights trump the rights of the child in many cases.

And there goes Johnny – whistling past the cemetery again….

I can’t even imagine the pain and suffering that these parents allowed their child to endure before death….they deserve to be burned at the stake or subjected to the exact same treatment that their child suffered through….that would be justice.

And for Herbet above – really, the same applies as to Johnny – asshats who wouldn’t know reality if it came up and bit them.

“As the jews in the nazi germany have learn the hard way, it is sometime imperative to leave a toxic country”

Ah! And there it is! Was waiting for it…

The post-partum mind disturbance seems plausible, and as a mother, so tempting.

The question of whether or not the mother was suffering from some sort of mental illness has undoubtedly been looked into from a legal and medical standpoint since this utterly disgusting event occurred; it doesn’t seem to have been a factor, and discussing it seems pretty pointless.

^ That was in regards to the discussion of delusion, post-partum disturbance, etc., in general, not directed specifically at Mrs. Woo.

Although religion is probably not the primary motivator in this case (as it was for the Schaibles, for instance), it clearly is a factor. (If I were the defense attorney, I’d build a case based on parental rights and religious freedom, because that’s the only one that might work.) Also, there does tend to be more of a reluctance to prosecute parents who lose a child as a result of their belief in religion—but only if it’s a good, Judeo-Christian religion, no matter how nutty the fundamentalist sect is.

I am quite possibly missing something, but I didn’t pick up any suggestion that these awful [email protected] belonged to any particular sect, or even that they were Christians. “[S]he said she does feel [G-d] is the ultimate healer” could simply refer to a vague belief in some sort of G-d, even a “Life Force” or whatever.

If her views are “not religiously motivated,” and there’s no evidence that she belongs to any particular religion, I’d go with HDB in surmising that the problem is simple stupidity and rejection of the “medical paradigm” in favor of, well, nothing, I guess.

^ Oh, derp, I did miss something – the reference to the Hope Baptist Church. Should not be commenting while grading homework.

[email protected]

I think we can all more or less agree that antivaccinationism and all that goes with it,has become very much like a religious cult.The mistrust of government and mainstream medicine,the belief that homeopathy,MMS and other “sacraments” can “heal”,the god like worship of Andrew Wakefield,etc,etc,etc.Deliozer may not have had an autistic child,but neither do a lot of parents in the antivax cult.There are parents who fervently believe in this stuff,who think that their antivax,anti mainstream medicine beliefs prevented their child from becoming “vaccine damaged”.

Notice that ‘Dumbfuck A’ on the left is wearing glasses. These people believe their god is ‘the great healer’ yet won’t even trust their own myopia to said healer. But their daughter’s bacterial meningitis clearly run amok? No problem, they’ll sit back and do nothing.

Further to this point: she is wearing earrings in that photo. I may not be the best judge of such things, but those don’t look like clip-ons to me. So at some point she had her ears pierced. A procedure which I would expect (I have not been through it myself) to involve having some kind of needle stuck through the ears. So she’s not anti-vax because she’s afraid of needles–that would still be wrong, but at least understandable. But no, she’s willing to have needles stuck in her, as long as the person doing the sticking isn’t a doctor.

Yikes, every time I think about this, she comes off looking even worse.

As the jews in the nazi germany have learn the hard way, it is sometime imperative to leave a toxic country

Thanks to the misguided parents the child has left this( toxic) world.
And please, leave nazi germany out of the equation.

I wonder if the strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae was one of those covered by Prevnar

“In May, police investigators met with Dr. Paul Bellino, who is the director of the pediatric residency program at Geisinger-Janet Weis Children’s Hospital. Bellino reviewed the pathology report prepared by Dr. Terzian as well as the investigative details and photographs associated with the victim’s death. Bellino agreed the child could have been saved with a vaccination or simple antibiotic.”

@ Gargoyle

salut, fellow countryman! Homicide par imprudence is manslaughter, if I’m not mistaken

*waving back*
It’s nice to know I’m not the only Frenchman/woman wandering here 🙂
(although there are a few other French people among the regulars, I believe)

And yes, manslaughter is the proper translation for “Homicide par imprudence”. Oddly enough, the “slaughter” part makes it much more ominous than the French sentence, to my ears.

These folks live in rural north central Pennsylvania. These beliefs and more are common there and up into rural New York where I am. (A local woman once told me that deaths from vaccinations and “big Pharma” were a secret method of government population control.) Mrs. Delozier is sadly not uncoommon in these parts.

@JP, as much as it might seem like I was wondering that, I was admitting to my own very human reaction – “was this woman crazy? Only a crazy mother could endure watching that kind of suffering in a child…”

I am tempted to disagree with Orac on her best defense. I think I would use extreme emotional disturbance and suggest that she was suffering from undiagnosed post partum psychosis and that her childhood made her more prone to be scared of medical intervention in her deranged state.

It is likely a lie, but most human beings cannot fathom refusing a child valid medical treatment and would struggle to remain skeptical about mental illness.

My son was very colicky and I would do anything and everything to relieve his discomfort. When it was obvious he inherited my familial allergies, ear infections became the norm until he was old enough for Zyrtec. He seemed the least bit off and we were at the pediatrician’s again. I cannot imagine no, wait, I can. I am watching an adult kill himself. You can find it more comforting to believe in woo’s absolutes rather than science-based medicine’s honest percentages. Still… not even believing in antibiotics… then again, I suspect the neighbor doesn’t vaccinate, and I know she believes in “natural progression of fevers to heal.” Not sure where she stands on antibiotics. She does do surgeries…

@herbert

Furthermore I found the harrassment against the well-meaning lady incredible, especially given the atrocious pain for this lady of losing her child.

I’m sorry? Well-meaning? So it’s OK to kill people if you are well-meaning?
And harassment? I don’t force her to read my opinion.

Atrocious pain?
And the atrocious pain of the baby during three weeks, before she died, did you think of it, you self-righteous douchecanoe?
Please go tickle a brown bear pooh in front of its mother.

If we want to prevent such harms in the future, we need to understand why they occur, and chalking them up to ‘stupid’ does not help at all. I suppose the usage is figurative, but it still over-simplifies complex mental mechanisms, and short-circuits our understandings of what are most likely social pathologies. Even if Ms. Delozier has mental health issues, there are reasons she went down this particular anti-medicine path in her distress that have nothing to do with brain chemistry.

So yeah, the particular form of spirituality she holds (as opposed to ‘religion’ per se) is likely a significant factor, though not THE cause. I like HDB’s concept of “motivated spirituality”, and suspect it’s a good guess that Delozier went ‘shopping’ for both ‘research’ and ‘theology’ that would confirm her existing beliefs. The questions are: how did she come to those beliefs in the first place, how can we best ‘innoculate’ against the adoption of such dangerous beliefs, and best ‘treat’ the mental maladies when they do occur?

If we frame the problem as ‘stupidity’, the answers are too easy, and likely just wrong. If anything is clear from reading Orac’s reports on the woo-besotted and the troll posts that follow, it’s that exposing folks to the factual discoveries of medical science has no curative power. Literally stupid people don’t process well in any direction. They’re more befuddled than anything. That Delozier has developed a detailed mythological belief system to which she holds fast even after her child’s easily preventable death indicates not befuddlement, but rather what we might call a warped active intelligence.

The language of ‘stupid’ functions to keep us on the plane where scientists and skeptics are most comfortable: ‘fact’, ‘reason’, yada yada yada. Yet, if science and reason tell us anything about ‘the human condition’ they tell us that homo sapiens sapiens generally are not inherently ‘rational’ and scientific. Our ol’ lizard brains remain closer to the stem than out cerebral cortex, and ‘instinct’ or ‘the subconscious’ are going to trump (or dictate) abstract cognitive function most of the time.

Science speaks with great authority about objects and phenomenon that don’t involve consciousness. On matters of human thought and behavior, what passes for ‘science’ remains woefully bad. A couple millennia later, we still haven’t really improved on Aristotle’s .Rhetoric as a model for understanding persuasion and belief. Ari posed three parts of rhetoric, working in combination. Logos (the logic of the word) remains the least of these, the most easily ‘disposable’. Then we have Ethos, the personal ‘vibe’ of the rhetor apart from the subject at hand (e.g. I’m likely to accept things Orac says as i <i.feel he is generally knowledgeable, trustworthy, well-intentioned, witty, etc. etc.) And finally, the least dispensable element is Pathos, the activation of emotions.

Of course, that’s all extremely broad-brush. The question at hand would seem to be how these elements played out in specifics as Christine Delozier developed her hostility to conventional medicine. To begin to venture an answer, we would need to dig into her personal history. I doubt she came to her position by reading at pseudo-science websites. More likely this was a way of working out an identity that either meshed with her family and immediate community, or her define herself in opposition to them. Perhaps she had or witnessed some extremely painful experience she (or they) attributed to a medical professional, or medical professional are serving as a locus of projection of some other psychological injury at the hands of an authority figure too painful to deal with directly. Of course, the animus could be utterly idiosyncratic, but if it did turn out to be paradigmatic of some larger pattern, we might get some pointers on useful reforms to the way medicine is delivered in practice.

Again, i must suggest that anyone wishing to better protect the innocent Hopes of our society, including sbm advocates, could gain some insights on the issues here from cultural studies, specifically analyses of postmodern culture: which suggest that ‘virtual communities’ are coming to replace the roles of meat-space personal connections in many people’s everyday lives. Which is to say, pseudo-science web forums could indeed become places that function as identity-formation agents in the form or either conformity or rebellion. Baudrillard would likely consider them simulacra, a form of ‘the hyper-real’, but point out that in our ever more media-saturated culture, the hyper-real not only becomes experientially indistinguishable from the concrete real, but supersedes it in some cases. (“Television is reality, and reality is less than television” is a line from Videodrome, but it might as well be J.B.)…

Which leads me back to another thought i have regularly reading RI and SBM… It seems Orac and the SBM bloggers scan news feeds for instances of woo, and then critique the woo itself, as if the stories about the woo are some transparent window on things that already matter in the real world. This, I argue, misses the forest for the trees, the forest being the media representations that define these subjects one way or another and give them a ‘reality effect.’ The OPs have hyperlinks to the sources, but rarely cite them, and almost never interrogate why and how the ‘news organizations’ are covering the story at hand, or what the effects of the choices made in framing that coverage might be. Also, stories on internet sites with minimal readership are treated the same as stories distributed by wide-circulation media agencies… It’s all about the relative face-palm reaction to the degree of woo involved… In more than a few cases, the woo at hand is utterly trivial in itself, for, even if outrageous, there are only like a half-dozen wiggy people in one obscure involved — but the story about the woo is anything but, as it acts as metaphor or synecdoche for larger trends and may reaches millions (and millionss… and…)

One positive aspect of Hope Delozier’s otherwise horrible death may be that not only has a prosecutor brought manslaughter charges, but an editor has decided the case is newsworthy, and presented it within the conventions of a hard news crime story, which may add a few drops to the bucket of dissuading others from following in the Delozier’s footsteps. What the conventions of reporting on criminal cases will not do, though, is offer any insight into how the Deloziers came to do such a ‘stupid’ thing…

Chris [email protected]

She performed CPR?

I doubt it was anything remotely close to CPR.

She missed the first step: call for help. These stories break my heart.

Anyone else note the dissonance between

“I watched her die,” Delozier told police.

and

With tears streaming down her face, she went on to say, “I believe the medical community is at least the third, maybe the first, leading killer in the United States.”

As always it’s never about the child; she’s too busy blathering on about the evils of modern medicine. It might be denial or even just how the reported wrote the article but it seems like I’m more upset over this child’s death than her own mother.

“Bellino agreed the child could have been saved with a vaccination or simple antibiotic.” NobRed

What more could we expect from the rubbery one. So from looking at photos the kid could have been saved.

Looks like more marketing promotion for the vaxxers to me, lots of appeals to emotion and false promise, taking advantage of undereducated people.

If it was science alone your opinion would be less than worthless. Get out that tissue box

“I think we can all more or less agree that vaccinationism and all that goes with it,has become very much like a religious cult.The mistrust of nature ,the belief that vaccines, drugs and other “sacraments” can “heal”,the god like worship of Paul Offit,etc,etc,etc. may not have had an autistic child,but neither do a lot of parents in the vax cult.There are parents who fervently believe in this stuff,who think that their vaccines and mainstream medicine beliefs prevented their child from becoming “vaccine damaged”. Roger Burp

“Well into adulthood.I did develop labyrinthitis,that mostly eventually improved.I found out eventually that my ear infections were just one manifestation of a cellular immune deficiency secondary to inborn metabolic disease.

Antivaccine beliefs kill children.It’s as simple as that. Roger Burp

No Roger, those recurrent ear infections were probably due to the DPT vaccine. childhood vaccines kill children. period

“Looks like more marketing promotion for the vaxxers to me, lots of appeals to emotion and false promise, taking advantage of undereducated people.”

That preventing the infection (vaccination) or treating the infection (anti-biotic) could have saved her life is undebatable. Well, at least to people with a shred of intellectual honesty. Which you have clearly demonstrated you don’t have. There is someone under-educated here and it isn’t just the parents of this child…

I’m still waiting for your response over on SBM. Running away simply reinforces the fact that your arguments are specious and you know it…

Sadmar, I think that comment above should properly have gone on your “One Ragged Claw” blog.
johnny:

So from looking at photos the kid could have been saved.

Given how easily the conditions are treated if they’re caught in time, yes the child could have survived.

Religion in the USA is very cultural and I find that many people are more spiritual than they are religious although they identify as Christian. It is an American thing and goes along with “God Bless America’ and national pride. It seems that this couple were more spiritual than religious.
They are probably going to use religious freedom in their defence as it will go better than the actual truth of neglect.

Also, not to detract from how evil this couple are but the US health care system is truly awful. All doctors need to band together to reset it completely. I am working here for a short time and being treated so shabbily makes me want to rush back home where I am treated with respect AND in a timely manner. Your current system is contributing to turning people away from science based medicine and over to this woo based nonsense.

There was an outbreak of mumps among NHL (National Hockey League) players on several teams this past winter. Does anyone know how it began, and whether failure to vaccinate was involved?

“No Roger, those recurrent ear infections were probably due to the DPT vaccine.”

This child’s parents were strongly anti-vax and anti-medicine. Nice try…

@Johnny – your one of the most vile and idiotic people I think we’ve ever had the unpleasant experience of dealing with.

#1 – the child was unvaccinated

#2 – the child died of an ear infection

#3 – the parents did absolutely nothing to treat the child (homeopathy is just that, nothing)

How many children do you know that die of ear infections, Johnny-boy?

Orac said: As it is, I highly doubt the Deloziers will ultimately serve significant jail time even if convicted. Parents who kill their children through medical neglect like this rarely do.

I second this. I had a toddler whose mother beat him to death with a table leg. She only got 11 years for murdering her son. Medical neglect is so passe compared to actual abuse, or at least our legal system seems to think so. 😡

This whole thread is a repeat of the Disney bull about measles. Ok a couple of sad uneducated parents demonstrate pizz poor parenting, absolutely. But to use that to promote vaccines is again a sick piggy back and definitely not going to stop this kind of thing happening.

There is no justification for vaccinating dogs, let alone children. That is the real issue.

Andrew #32: it is true that breast fed babies are less likely to get ear infections. It has less to do with the antibodies in the milk and more to do with how the babies suck from a human nipple as opposed to a bottle nipple. And while there’s some evidence that breast milk rubbed on an umbilical cord stump results in outcomes as good as soap and water or alcohol, there is a big difference between that and treating an actual infection.

I hate it when people conflate something that is healthy in one way as being a magic bullet to treat everything :facepalm:

I’m wondering if any of the medical pros here might have some thoughts/suggestions for a young friend (seeking) seeking an education program toward a career in medicine;

She isn’t qualified enough to pursue an M.D., and doesn’t want that level/sort of work anyway. Her plan was to become a PA, but she wound up only being wait-listed at any of the schools where she applied, all of which were in CA (where her family is) and are apparently among the more competitive for admission nationally. She’s trying to decide whether to cast a wider geographic net for PA programs, or seek training for Nurse-Practitioner instead.

I take it some readers here know this terrain pretty well, and I’d welcome any comments on the relative merits of the two career paths, or recommendations for good programs in either where she might have a better chance of gaining admission. (She’s an A1 ‘kid’, BTW, and would be a valuable contributor to medicine in either capacity, imho.) The pragmatic limiting factor is that her partner is a young chef working his way up in the world of ‘fine dining’ cuisine. So they pretty much need to live in a city with an active restaurant scene that would have job opportunities conferring some cred in the culinary world — which probably leaves out any universities in ‘university towns’.

Her dad’s a retired English professor; mom’s a graphic artist… there’s no personal resource for info/advice on medical training among close family and friends, so any informed input the minions might share would be great! (tia)

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