Emil and Radica Radita, of Calgary, have been charged with the murder of their 15 year old son, Alex, who passed away in 2013. Although their son was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes at age 3, the Raditas refused to accept this diagnosis, and refused to treat their son's (treatable and manageable) illness.
(Seriously, who denies the existence of diabetes? Fuck.)
In the 12 years between his diabetes diagnosis and his death, Alex experienced numerous health complications, including a bout of illness at age 5 which landed him in the hospital, in grave condition and severely underweight at just 39 pounds. 39 pounds - 2 pounds heavier than Alex was when he passed away at age 15.
So what the hell happened?
I’ve been thinking about this story since I read the above-mentioned article yesterday. I’ve read the comments posted on shares of the story on my Science Moms page, and in The Science Enthusiasts group, and am struck by the emotions that this case brings up: Rage. Sadness. Confusion. This wasn’t just a sudden-onset illness. This was a long, slow, avoidable death. Of a child who didn’t stand a chance.
It seems that the Raditas had such a distrust for modern medicine that they chose to essentially neglect their child, and deny him medical care. They watched him deteriorate, dying in a state of severe malnutrition. I’ve already said it, but I’ll say it again - I can’t fathom holding so tightly to a belief for (or against, in this case) something that I’d be able to stand by and watch my child die before my eyes. Alex Radita suffered and died because his parents refused to treat a manageable illness. He died because his parents cared more about clinging to their (wrong) way of thinking than about the life of their own child.
Some commenters on my page mentioned the fact that there must have been other people who came into contact with Alex and his family, and who must have seen what was happening. Cases like this always seem to present more questions than answers, as to what the parents could have possibly been thinking. Bottom line, though, is that this child should not have died. He should have received the medical intervention that he needed. And the biggest question that remains, to me at least, is how tragedies like this can be prevented in the future.