Where the Personal becomes the Political at our whim...
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:: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 ::
Detestable I have no words. This story just makes me angry.
Silva Swinton and her husband, Joseph, followed a strict vegan diet in their Queens home. They swore off meat and dairy products and existed on a regiment of vegetables, grains, seeds and nuts.
When Silva gave birth to a daughter, Ice, in July 2000, they put the newborn on the same plan. Instead of breast milk or baby formula, Ice Swinton got herbal tea, flax seed oil, fruit juices and a homemade soy drink.
The result, authorities say, was a health catastrophe that rises to the level of a crime. At 15 months, the girl weighed only 10 pounds and had no teeth. She could not sit up or talk and had a swollen abdomen.
Doctors diagnosed her with severe malnutrition and rickets, and the Queens district attorney said it was one of the worst cases of neglect he'd seen.
Both parents were suspicious of doctors and medicine, and Silva Swinton delivered Ice at home. The girl weighed three pounds, according to a bathroom scale, Swinton later told a social worker. The Swintons also refused to have their daughter immunized.
The prosecution's case has focused on the severity of Ice's medical problems and her parents' apparent lack of concern.
The doctor who examined Ice in November 2001, after an anonymous tip about neglect led to the intervention of children's services, testified last Wednesday that the girl, then 15 months old, looked like a newborn. He said her spindly arms and legs were bowed by rickets, her belly was distended and her skin covered in "the worst diaper rash you ever saw."
The EMT who took Ice to the hospital told jurors her hair was matted and filthy and her fingernails were so long and dirty as to resemble "claws."
The girl spent nearly four months in the hospital and in a rehabilitation center. Another physician, an expert in childhood malnutrition, testified Monday that Ice was "at a severe and critical risk of dying" when removed from her home. Dr. Roy Brown also said Ice may be dogged throughout her life by developmental delays caused by a lack of nutrition to the brain during her infancy.
Prosecutor Eric Rosenbaum also called a nutrition expert and practicing vegan who said the couple did not seem to be practicing a mainstream vegan diet. Amy Joy Lanou, of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, said that vegans are encouraged to breast feed their children or use a manufactured soy-based formula instead. She also pointed out that the Swintons gave the baby cod liver oil, an animal product vegans avoid.
Lock them up. Throw away the damn key for all I care. Anyone that abuses children should get their own asses kicked in prison for many years. I can't imagine a parent in the world that would consider the condition they found that child in to be reasonably healthy.
:: Bitter 12:46 AM [+] ::