A vegan couple’s decision to ignore health advice resulted in their baby developing cerebral palsy because it lacked nutrients, a court has heard.
The one-year-old girl was subjected to a strict plant-based diet, which eventually ended up in intensive care at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
The child was so badly off that the doctor compared her condition to newborns in developing countries affected by famine.
Her parents pleaded guilty to Victoria’s County Court on Friday for negligently causing serious injury to the child.
Vegan couple’s decision to ignore health advice resulted in their baby developing cerebral palsy because it did not have enough nutrients, a court has heard
The child developed widespread bruising, discolored skin, rashes covering her body and multiple open wounds as a result of the parents’ vegan diet.
Upon closer inspection, doctors found she had internal bleeding and bloody stools, they reported the age.
After the health check at Geelong Hospital, she was taken to the Royal Children’s Hospital and spent a month in intensive care.
It was later discovered that the onset of the toddler’s disability was linked to nutrition, court documents revealed.
‘[The baby] suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of brain injury secondary to malnutrition, ”wrote Dr. Neil Wimalasundera, the clinical director of the Royal Children’s Hospital rehabilitation service.
Her parents had fed her a diet without animal products, despite the advice of medical professionals, their nutritional plan was inadequate.
Her parents pleaded guilty to negligent serious injury to the child at Victoria’s County Court on Friday (pictured)
The one-year-old girl was subjected to a strict plant-based diet that eventually ended up in intensive care at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne (photo)
They had repeatedly ignored doctors’ advice before completely distancing themselves from mainstream medicine.
Prosecutor Justin Lewis told the court that a nurse became so concerned about the child’s health after the parents disappeared that she considered escalating the case.
But they are said to have dismissed her concerns by threatening to file a complaint against her.
He also told the court that the father made his own baby food from dates, fruits and vegetables because he could not find a vegan alternative.
Meanwhile, the father has since completely abandoned veganism.
County Court Judge Claire Quin condemned the parents’ behavior, particularly their decision to ignore the advice of medical professionals.
Another couple (pictured) had their child taken away after being malnourished due to food choices in New South Wales last August
The extreme vegan diet left another 20 month old baby seriously malnourished in NSW
The toddler was unable to crawl or even roll over when first taken to hospital
“These parents, they weren’t 19 or 20 years old, they were in their early 30s,” Judge Quin said.
“They are told that what they are considering will not work for their child, but they will continue to do it.”
The couple have since divorced, after having a second child together.
They will be sentenced later this month.
The incident comes nearly a year after another couple had their child taken after their food choices left it malnourished in New South Wales.
The couple avoided jail time after being found guilty of neglect after not adequately feeding their 20-month-old baby girl.
The extremely vegan diet left the 20-month-old child severely malnourished.
At the time, she had no teeth, couldn’t stand up, weighed less than 5 kg and looked like a three-month-old.
The child, who was fed a diet of oats and rice milk, was “defenseless and unable to protect herself from her parents, and developed rickets.
ARE VEGAN DIETS SAFE FOR BABIES?
About 3.5 million people living in the UK are vegan – the equivalent of about seven percent of the population, according to estimates.
And as the diet has become more and more popular, more and more mothers are choosing to turn their baby into a vegan.
The NHS says babies and young children on a vegetarian or vegan diet can get the energy and most of the nutrients they need to grow and develop.
However, the plant-based diet is known to contain few important nutrients for babies such as vitamin B12 – found milk and eggs, iron, calcium and zinc.
A vitamin B12 deficiency is a rare and treatable cause of stunted growth and development in infants, researchers wrote in the journal Pediatrics.
It can also lead to malnutrition and ‘irreversible damage’ to their nervous system, experts at University College London once concluded.
Iron deficiency can prevent a child from gaining weight, affect their appetite and energy, and can lead to anemia, which can be life-threatening in severe cases.
Consuming too little protein can lead to stunted growth, nutritionists have warned over the years. But beans, lentils and chickpeas are high in nutrients.
And eating too much fiber can make kids feel full faster and prevent them from getting enough food, pediatric dietitian Lucy Upton told the Mail in March.
Two senior nutrition teachers at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Shirley Hinde and Ruth Fairchild, said the diet was “not ideal” for babies.
However, sign up The conversation They added that it is “not out of the question” that the diet can be healthy for a baby.
And they claimed there is “no reason” why a baby couldn’t survive on a vegan diet that was varied in many nutrients, if their parents were sensible.