A Calgary mother has been sentenced to three years in prison for failing to medically treat the strep throat that caused her seven-year-old son’s death. Per CBC News, Tamara Lovett was found guilty of criminal negligence in January after treating her son Ryan’s illness with home remedies in 2013. Believing he had a cold or the flu, Lovett said she administered Ryan dandelion tea and oil of oregano and didn’t take him to the doctor.
Ryan remained bedridden for 10 days before Lovett found him on the floor of their home. She called 911, but Ryan was dead when the paramedics arrived. During the sentencing, Justice Kristine Eidsvik called Ryan’s death “senseless” and said the decision to give Lovett prison time is meant to send a warning to parents.
“Ryan suffered terribly from this inaction. He died an excruciating, unnecessary death,” she said. Eidsvik also expressed sympathy for Lovett and noted that she believes the mother’s thinking around medicine has evolved since the tragedy. “Her remorse, I believe, is genuine,” she said, per CTV News. Lovett’s defense lawyer Alain Hepner had argued for a shorter sentence of one year with an additional year of probation.
“She’s received a life sentence already for being responsible for the death of her child,” he said after the hearing. Hepner attempted to get Lovett’s case dismissed due to the long time frame between her arrest and conviction, but was denied. (A new Canadian law limits superior court cases to 30 months; this one took 38.)