I'm just waiting for Dr. Berchelmann to get connected online, so we can start our monthly chat. Thanks for joining us.
I've got her on the phone, and she just needs a couple of minutes to get set up.
For some background on the first story we are going to discuss this afternoon. It's about a Canadian couple who is facing charges involving the death of their 18 month old baby.
David Stephan, 32, and his wife Collet Stephan, 35, have pleaded not guilty to failing to provide the necessaries of life for 19-month-old Ezekiel, who died in March 2012. RCMP said at the time that the boy had been ill for a couple of weeks but his parents only called for an ambulance when he stopped breathing. The Crown alleges the parents fed the boy supplements with an eye dropper, lay down with him and consulted a friend.
Ezekiel was airlifted to a hospital in Calgary and, after five days, doctors took him off life support machines.
Doctors told the boy's parents he died of meningitis.
This case raises questions of when parental rights about a child's medical treatment cross the line.
I was involved in a similar case in St. Louis, of a family who sought alternative medical care but not alopathic medical care. When their child was ultimately admitted to the hospital, DFS took custody of the child.
So, Dr. B., when do you think a parent's judgment on a child's course of medical treatment becomes an issue for the state?
As we both know, there's a huge diversity of opinion on medical interventions, ranging from pro and anti circumcision to pro and anti vaccination.
The whole question is one of neglect. Has the child been neglected? Our government has long held that you cannot refuse lifesaving medical care for your child based on philosophical or religious beliefs. This has come up many times with Christian Scientist families and Jehovah Witness families.
But what about when a family seeks medical care from a state licensed alternative health care provider, and that provider provides bad advice? I have seen kids removed from parents in this situation, also.
In the case, it may have been difficult for the parents to know whether or not this child's illness was life-threatening.
But, common sense would indicate that if you child has had a fever or pain for several days and is not getting better, you need to seek outside help.
What qualifies as appropriate outside help? Can you call a spiritual healer? Our laws say that is not enough. How about a an alternative care provider, such as a homeopathic physician? This is very debatable under the law.
Hi CrunchyMama, in this particular case, the science does exist to clearly show that meningitis can be diagnosed and very effectively treated with common antibiotics if caught early.
Parents philosophical objections to medical care should not trump a child's right to live. This toddler died from an illness is treatable.
But I understand your concerns, that you are made to feel like a crackpot. No one wants to be disrespected.
In this case: Court heard the couple on tape explaining to the police officer that they prefer naturopathic remedies because of their family's negative experiences with the medical system.
The Crown told court the couple loved their son and are not accused of ignoring or killing him. But they should have sought medical help sooner, the Crown argues.
The Stephans run a nutritional supplements company called Truehope Nutritional Support Inc. out of Raymond, Alta.
Their fear of a "negative experience" with the medical system led to the worst possible outcome.
I suspect the court will find that they are criminally negligent. Our legal system is increasingly supporting the idea that there should be no philosophical or religious exemptions to live-saving medical care or vaccination.
Part of the problem is that there is a segment of the population who cannot be convinced with data or facts or science because it goes against a "belief" or anecdotal stories they have heard or seen. People are free to make those choices for themselves, but not if it risks the life of a child dependent on them.
Religious objectors actually make up a very tiny percentage of those who decline western medical care and vaccinations. The majority are philosophical objectors. Our constitution provides very specific protections for religious freedom, but not for philosophical freedom. There is a big difference between the two, they are defined very differently. So it begs the question, should we lump these two groups of objectors together, or treat them differently?
That's an interesting distinction, Dr. B.
We have a question on a different topic.
Both are clearly using sex to sell and promoting the sexualization of women. In the Victoria Secret's commercial, they are still selling a product, namely underwear. In Kim's case, she's selling her body.
I don't think there is much difference-- both are meant to evoke sexual emotions for the audience.
Even if a naked selfie is "censored" is obvious that she posted a completely naked picture of herself for the world to see. That's a different message than using sexy bodies to sell bras and underwear.
If you have an 11 year-old, they’ve probably seen porn. The average age of first exposure to pornography is somewhere between age 9-11. As more middle school and elementary aged kids get smart phones with unfiltered internet, this number is only going to get younger. Don’t believe me? Here’s some data:
- In a 2010 survey of English students between 14 and 16 years old, almost one third claimed that their first exposure to Internet pornography was at 10 years old or younger.
- In a 2011 survey, 31 percent of adolescent boys admitted visiting web sites that were intended as “Adult Only.”
I didn't realize that the porn industry has ways in which young audiences are specifically targeted to see porn, even before they think about searching it out on their own.
In the U.K., the major Internet providers have filters that prevent pornography from showing up on devices unless the customer specifically opts in to access it.
Porn is well understood to be especially addictive to the adolescent mind.
In America, we have allowed Silicon Valley and porn profiteers to become very rich and powerful while exposing our children to graphic, violent sexual images. And that exposure has consequences.
I interviewed an author who has studied this topic for years who says there's a growing number of college-aged boys suffering from erectile dysfunction because they cannot maintain an erection without porn.
The science is clear that porn use diminishes people's ability to have sex with real partners.
For parents whose tweens and teens use popular social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, they can click on a trending topic that sounds completely innocent, and it will inevitably bring up pornographic images on their phones and devices.
Most kids don’t look at porn once– they keep looking. There is good neuroscience behind the attractive and even addictive nature of pornography, both written and visual. (YourBrainOnPorn.org is a great place to start understanding the science behind this.) By the time our children become young adults, most view pornography regularly:
- According to a 2014 Barna Group survey, among males 18-30 years old, 79 percent viewed pornography once per month and 63 percent viewed pornography greater than once per week. - Among females 18-30 years old, 34 percent viewed pornography once per month and 19 percent viewed pornography more than once per week.
- A 2008 study in the Journal of Adolescent Research revealed that 67 percent of young men and 49 percent of young women found pornography acceptable.