EATING vegan is supposed to be about saving the lives of other living beings, and whilst that’s down to each individual, is enforcing your vegan diet on a child acceptable?
The one-year-old baby girl from Victoria was forced to consume a strict plant-based diet which landed her in the intensive care unit at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.
She was fed homemade formula made up of coconut water and powders which left her with cerebral palsy caused by malnutrition in 2018.
In the County Court of Victoria on Monday, the parents have been fortunate enough to be spared jail after pleading guilty to negligently causing serious injury.
The infant was rushed to Geelong’s emergency department where doctors found widespread bruising, discoloured skin and rashes covering her entire body.
She also had multiple open wounds, was bleeding internally, and was kept alive with life support machines.
The baby girl was in such a dreadful condition she had severe protein-calorie malnutrition known as Kwashiorkor – a condition seen in newborns in countries experiencing famine.
A week before the girl’s father rushed her to hospital, he wrote an email to a herbal health club in the US for advice, the publication reported.
‘ Hi my one-year-old has stopped wanting to drink/eat and when she does it’s not staying down or she starts to cough.’
‘What can I do to help her keep it down and allow her to drink. She doesn’t have a temp. She is on a fruit diet. Please help asap,’ he wrote.
The consulate suggested he feed the infant a ‘stomach tea’ instead of taking her to hospital.
One week later, the child weighed 6.6kg – four kilos less than the average weight. She fought for her life in hospital for over a month.
Despite medical advice, the couple skipped appointments and continued to turn to alternative medicine websites for help.
In one message the babies mother sent to her partner, she asked him to talk about their daughter’s ‘weight loss and floppiness of her body’ with the US group.
County Court judge Claire Quin condemned the parents’ behaviour, particularly their decision to ignore advice from medical professionals.
‘These parents, they weren’t 19 or 20 years old, they were in their early 30s,’ Judge Quin said.
‘They’re told that what they’re contemplating isn’t going to work for their infant, but they continue to do it.’
The couple have since separated after having a second child together, and the father has renounced his vegan diet.
Judge Quin ordered them to serve a 12-month community corrections order and undergo mental health treatment.
The girl, who is now three, lives with her mother who shows ‘commitment and devotion’ to the child and attends medical appointments.
Whilst many parents healthily raise children on vegan and vegetarian diets, the question has to be asked, is it a lifestyle choice we should make ourselves as adults? Or at least once we are old enough to know what an animal is? or is enforcing your vegan diet on a child acceptable?
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