A vegan couple starved their child daughter of nutrients after putting her on a plant-based diet that was so extreme she had permanent brain damage. The County Court of Victoria heard that the child had cerebral palsy due to malnutrition caused by a strict diet.
The mother and father from Australia fed the one-year-old child a homemade formula made from coconut water and powders after she stopped breastfeeding in 2017. When the medics told the parents that their daughter's diet was not much nutritious they turned to other websites in Queensland and the US for guidance and also did not attend medical appointments, as per reports.
In one message the mother sent to her partner, she asked if he will raise the issue regarding their daughter's weight loss and floppiness of the body with a consultant in the US. In August 2018, the baby ended up on a life support machine following which she got rushed to The University Hospital Geelong and the medics discovered that she was internally bleeding, had blood in her stool, open wounds, bruising, rashes, and skin discoloration.
Girl Had Cerebral Palsy Due to Malnutrition
She was also suffering from severe protein-calorie malnutrition known as 'Kwashiorkor'. The court heard that it is often witnessed in children from nations experiencing a famine. A week ahead she got hospitalized and her father wrote an email to a US-based 'herbal' health club for advice. "Hi my one-year-old has stopped wanting to drink/eat and when she does its not staying down or she start 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 said.
The consultant told him about a 'stomach tea' for the baby. The court heard that the baby weighed just 6.04kg when she was in the intensive care for a month. Her diet caused her to develop cerebral palsy, which is a permanent movement disorder, which causes poor coordination, tremors, and muscle weakness.
Judge Claire Quin ordered the parents to serve 12-month community corrections orders and also have mental health treatment. The couple had split up ahead of the case going to the court and the girl is currently three years old. "The exercise of mercy is warranted. She (the girl) faces a difficult and challenging life," Judge Quin told. If the parents breach the community corrections order they would be taken to court for re-sentence.